Internet of the future: welcome to the metaverse! | Company | BR culture stage

2003, the Second Life online world kicks off – and quickly becomes a huge hype. Because here you can find everything there is in the real world – and much more: university lectures, cool clubs, fetish orgies with monster tentacles, a Deutsche Telekom shop and real estate agents sleazy who want to sell you virtual properties. Things have calmed down around Second Life now, but a few people are still hanging around chatting, building, dancing, and copulating.

Internet becomes a real space

We can imagine the metaverse as a network of virtual city-states, which also have their own rules, cultural codes and architectural particularities. Plus: You can travel seamlessly between these virtual city-states, much like surfing from one website to another. The internet already consists of many websites, communities and forums. The metaverse could give this sphere some sort of spatial embodiment – or so it promises. But no one knows what exactly it will look like.

In pop culture, visions are clearer. The term “metaverse” first appeared in a novel in 1992. But how Neal Stephenson interprets the metaverse in “Snow Crash” has little to do with what is meant by that term. today. The Metaverse at Stephenson is on a huge road. From there, you can enter various sub-universes. The metaverse of Tad Williams’ 1996 sci-fi series “Otherland,” meanwhile, is a veritable web of linked virtual worlds. The user only has to log in once and can access all worlds. In William’s book series, humans also populate the Metaverse not only as representations of themselves, but also as animals, spirit beings, or even disembodied entities. Ernest Cline’s book “Ready Player One”, which was filmed by Steven Spielberg in 2018, is also about a metaverse. The virtual world “Oasis” began as an online role-playing game, but was constantly expanded, expanded and equipped with new features, so that it became a kind of “on the Internet”.

READY PLAYER ONE - Official Trailer 1 [HD] |  Image: Warner Bros. Pictures (via YouTube)

READY PLAYER ONE – Official Trailer 1 [HD]

Mark Zuckerberg: “Facebook becomes Metaverse”

Even today, there have long been online games, or game-like environments, such as Roblox or Fortnite, that come quite close to the idea of ​​a metaverse. This is another reason why the metaverse isn’t just a grand vision that haunts the minds of science fiction writers like an obsession. Concrete work is carried out there. There are always lighter and more powerful VR glasses. There are servers capable of calculating virtual environments for thousands of people. And there is blockchain technology, which not only enables digital money, but also virtual items that can be taken from the various metaverses. But what is also there above all: investments – and commercial interest. “Because of course companies would also make money with everything in this metaverse, depending on how many there are,” says Michael Förtsch. For example, when someone buys land, uses a virtual apartment, an item of clothing, or a fast travel feature.

The CU chain of stores plans its own store on the Metaverse Zepeto platform |  Image: Yonhap/Yonhapnews Agency/picture alliance

Retail chain CU plans own store on Metaverse Zepeto platform

But it’s not just businesses getting excited about the Metaverse, it’s everyday people too. Aetheria, a virtual cyberpunk city, is currently being created on Decentraland, one of the largest Metaverse projects with around 20,000 users. At some point, you should be able to walk around the Malls and participate in Digital Reader Hunts in the Arenas. But that’s not the only reason the Metaverse could become quite a dystopian event. Mark Zuckerberg recently said he wants to convert Facebook to a metaverse. It almost sounded like a threat.

Enclosed garden or metaverse?

Because it’s hard to imagine that the outrageous Facebook will lead the world into a bright metaverse future. A company known to be less interested in an open Internet and more interested in an Internet within the Internet. “A true metaverse can only happen when the different worlds really grow together,” says Michael Förtsch. “So if you don’t have Decentraland here and the Facebook metaverse there.” On the contrary, the different spheres should be connected, as if one could now easily move from the online game World of Warcraft to Second Life, to then end up in the space game No Man’s Sky. Just as in the boring internet of the present, the metaverse of the future will also be about how open it can be – and should be.

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