Over the past two years, a word has emerged at the center of that debate. It’s the metaverse. It’s a loose term with a lot of implications, but loosely refers to an imaginary future state of the web characterized by immersive virtual experiences.
This is the pitch. Augmented reality devices (an umbrella term that refers to virtual reality, augmented reality, and everything in between) will eventually achieve mass-market global penetration. Augmented reality will be one, if not the only, way for billions of people to access the web. As a result, the web will be rebuilt around these devices, reinvented for mobile, and the user experience will move into three dimensions. The internet of the future will therefore constitute a network of interconnected virtual experiences where people can potentially congregate endlessly to socialize, work and play.
Will it happen? As with any prediction, it’s impossible to say. But those who agree with this prediction—those working on metaverse devices, software, and infrastructure—have no illusions about the challenges they must solve to make it happen. Here are three…
Many believe that in order for the metaverse to be the next iteration of the Internet, it needs to be “interoperable”. In other words, the virtual worlds that make up the metaverse must be able to exchange data freely.
Perhaps the most widely debated rationale concerns digital assets, which are seen as the foundation of the Metaverse economy. If you purchase an item such as a trainer for your avatar in one virtual world, you should be able to use it in another virtual world. If you can’t do that, its value is limited. However, other forms of interoperability are also considered important. For example, he can carry his ID, history, and payment methods with him as he travels the Metaverse.
Dan Moller, creative strategist at Meta, which has invested heavily in XR, said: “There’s also the idea that the metaverse should be stateful. Changes I make should move with me. I don’t have to create a new avatar every time I use a new experience.”
Interoperability is difficult because it requires agreement on standards and norms among a large number of companies. The web as we know it today was co-created from the ground up by government agencies, scientists, and others (not corporations). So agreed standards like HTML and TCP/IP were just the foundation.