The term “metaverse is growing in popularity, but until now, many people don’t have a clear idea what it is. It is clear with the main technologies that lay the foundation for a metaverse:
But debates about a metaverse, its development, and the forms it may take are becoming more heated.
Moreover, such three concepts as metaverse, multiverse, and omniverse are often used interchangeably. So, what is a metaverse and how does it differ from a multiverse and omniverse?
The term Metaverse was first used by Neal Stephenson in his science fiction novel snow Crash in 1992. There, a metaverse was a virtual world where people could escape from reality. In this digital world, people could perform the same actions as they did in the real world: they could interact, shop, work, etc.
While some specialists compare a metaverse to the internet, it is not correct. We will be able to experience a metaverse as a digital space only when our internet experiences stop being dependent on devices.
Some people believe it will become possible with the mass adoption of such technology as brain-computer interfaces when microchips can be implanted directly in a human brain and will enable us to experience the virtual space as if it were the physical world.
But even this is not enough for a real metaverse. Now, we deal with a lot of digital worlds: gaming platforms and social networks such as Facebook metaverse, Google metaverse, and similar. It looks like everybody is working on their metaverse now. And still, we are too far from experiencing a real metaverse.
Now we deal rather with a multiverse rather than a metaverse. Multiverse means that there are many virtual worlds, and each virtual world serves its purpose.
A gaming metaverse is used for gaming. The metaverse developed by Microsoft provides its users with a digital space for collaboration which became popular during the latest global pandemic. New social media companies work on their metaverses. Industrial giants get a powerful virtual tool for creating industrial digital twins before building real-world buildings. It enables to use of the available manufacturing space and resources more efficiently and prevent possible errors when completing emerging orders.
But these multiple universes exist separately. Some of them may be connected and somehow enable the metaverse users to move between virtual realities.
Once the virtual realities created by different platforms can communicate and once users are able to move in these fictional universes as if they were moving through one universe, we will be able to tell that we are dealing with a real metaverse.
But for now, the existing Web 2 with multiple siloed platforms has more similarities with a metaverse than all those virtual worlds that call themselves metaverses.
Now, it is more or less clear why there is no metaverse for now and how these three concepts differ. Instead, we can talk about new digital worlds that form a multiverse. But at this stage, it becomes unclear how a metaverse differs from an omniverse.
An omniverse combines all the existing metaverses, multiverses, or whatever is there, and the physical worlds of the users. You may have heard about Nvidia omniverse which is a multi-
GPU scalable development platform. Indeed, it enables design collaborations in a single virtual environment. However, Nvidia’s omniverse can be rather considered a proper name than a term.
For a real omniverse to arrive, many more things are needed. We can say that the arrival of an omniverse will be the culmination of the multiverse era.
At some point, metaverse groups will move from separate platforms competing for users and income to a decentralized infrastructure. Universal interoperability will be achieved, with users able to use their digital user identity in both the physical world and the united virtual world.
The virtual space enabling technologies will provide users with an opportunity to have immersive experiences. But this will happen only when a metaverse turns from being just one website separated from other platforms, parallel universes into a single ecosystem. In this single universe, all virtual reality worlds and the users’ physical space form a single digital reality.
When is it going to happen? For now, it is difficult to give even an approximate estimation of the time needed to move from discussing metaverse vs omniverse to a real omniverse experience. Many specialists insist that even when Web3 comes, major platforms will be still competing for controlling the metaverse multiverse and omniverse.
So, some kind of a major shift is needed, and this shift shall happen not only in technology but also in our minds.
User identity will be valid for your digital existence in general, not just for a single platform. For example, the same user identity will be used for online social games, collaboration spaces, buying or selling digital assets, etc.
It is clear that technologies that enable a single digital space are not here yet or are not developed enough to comply fully with user demand. But we can already distinguish some developments in technology, we can call them metaverse builders, that speed up the arrival of a metaverse era.
When we talk about metaverse multiverse and omniverse jointly or about each of them separately, we mean, first of all fully immersive experience. We plunge into a virtual world as if it is our physical world. We can do there whatever we do in our daily lives:
At the moment, quality VR glasses provide something similar to the expected experience, but it is far from being immersive. And most sets are pretty bulky.
It is believed that brain-computer interfaces will replace not only VR glasses but devices (computers, smartphones, keyboards, etc.) in general. We will be able to manage the universe with our brains only. Now, such technologies are already being developed, and it is just a matter of time before they become mainstream.
Augmented reality enhances your experience of the real world. It adds a layer of information over the real world by making reality brighter, more detailed, or more informative. We can say that it is your physical world but better.
Some specialists argue with this position, but we believe that without blockchain, the creation of a real metaverse is impossible. Blockchain can provide 100% transparency in everything.
Whether a video game avatar or anything else representing digital identities in a metaverse buys in game assets, moves somewhere, or does whatever – everything is recorded on the blockchain and broadcast over the entire network.
Blockchain or similar technology is the only way to ensure full control of users over the network and transparency.
Along with secondary tasks such as avatar refining, improving non-player characters, etc., AI can perform also moderation functions.
Now, after a limited experience in a metaverse-populated space, many users have noticed that without proper moderation and control, a metaverse starts drowning in hatred and spamming. A metaverse vs omniverse where users can do what and how they want has no chance to survive, or even if it does, it is likely to turn into a wild space with wild rules.
AI, provided it is fed with correct data, can take the role of a moderator. Needless to mention that people in a metaverse vs omniverse won’t be able to handle its function effectively. But the AI’s reaction is incomparably faster, and the learning abilities are impressive and growing constantly.
Even though all technologies that enable a digital world are here already, we are still far from experiencing a real virtual existence on one platform.
Even though we have many online social games and platforms where you can get your own set of in-game items, buy your own corner, a piece of digital art or other virtual property, or perform any other activity, we are still far from the real metaverse experience.
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