What is the Metaverse?

The big question everyone is asking is why do we need the Metaverse? The answers are various


Metaverse is composed of two words; Meta means “beyond”, and Verse  “turn”. So it refers to the next stage, beyond the upcoming turn in our journey. It’s a very forward-looking concept looking at somewhere we haven’t been before. In recent months, the term entered collective use after Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of Facebook, declared that the next stage for the social network is to create the Metaverse. But don’t let the term intimidate you; in a nutshell, it simply means living in a three dimensional (3D) virtual world.

Of course, this is nothing new since people have been playing around with the concept since the 50s. Virtual Reality (VR) is the principal technology whereby a user wears digital glasses (referred to as a headset) and finds himself immersed inside a virtual world. He can look around, on top, behind, underneath; basically, he has the freedom to move inside the 3D space and interact with all the entities. 1957 saw the birth of The first VR system called Sensorama, but it was too bulky to be of any tangible use. In 1968, the Sword of Damocles was the first headset providing limited freedom.

The 80s popularised the VR concept, but the technology was still rudimentary. Hollywood immediately jumped on the VR bandwagon and released movies such as “The Matrix” or “Ready Player One” to further push the idea of living in a virtual world. Today, technology is rather ripe, and the existent VR glasses make it very difficult to distinguish between the virtual and the real world, but bulkiness is still a problem. However, rumours abound that a new headset aimed at revolutionising VR forever is on the horizon.

Another technology, equally essential, is called Augmented Reality (AR). With AR glasses, virtual entities become visible on physical objects. I can read my emails on the wall of a waiting room or play tennis with a virtual opponent on a real court. Similarly to VR, the glasses are the limiting factor at the moment.

Of course, the big question everyone is asking is why do we need the Metaverse? The answers are various, and the following are a few examples:


People can play any game, from chess to table tennis, in the real world but using virtual objects and against opponents located on the other end of the earth. Rather than viewing the opponent through a tiny computer display, he will appear next to them in the form of a hologram.

Since our digital reality is no longer limited to a computer screen, the world around us will become our playground. Can you imagine playing a game of virtual Tetris on a real skyscraper? Or Battleships whilst at the beach?

People will customise their appearance like never before with virtual apparel or performances. They might want to go around the virtual world with the head of a lion or dressed as a princess whilst virtual rose petals drop to their feet as they walk and firework displays going on when they finish speaking.


Training with Artificial Intelligence (AI) agents will be the next big thing. They will help you achieve more by analysing your weaknesses and pushing your limits to overcome them. This concept goes beyond today’s fitness trainers because they will also measure every inch of your body (without you realising it) to tune the training in real-time.

But the training doesn’t need to be a solitary activity. Nothing stops you from playing basketball, football or any other sport with other people located across the globe.

Even when undergoing solo activities such as indoor cycling, one can choose to change the background and make it seem as if you’re paddling through the realistic natural scenery of Iceland or even the fantasy landscape of Middle-earth in Lord of the Rings. Rather than going solo, hundreds or even thousands of indoor cyclists can join you from around the globe. You’ll be able to see them next to you and even talk to them. Anyone can take part in a personal Tour de France now, from the comfort of his living room.

The Metaverse will also provide a platform for AI beings to live in it. So if you want to play tennis on a real court, you can choose to do so against an AI-controlled Roger Federer or Steffi Graf. You can also tune their difficulty level down to newbie and experience the thrill of winning (cheating) against a world champion.


The word of work, too, will experience significant changes. Remote working will become much more appealing. Surfaces around the house (such as walls and windows) act as windows onto the office, thus reducing the isolation which remote workers experience. Work colleagues can chat freely through them, similar to what would happen in a physical office.

The desktop, typically limited to a computer screen, grows by several orders of magnitude, taking over the entire room.

Digital media such as images, music, video, 3D models and much more will appear in three dimensions. Artists can paint pictures with a digital paintbrush, an engineer can ride the 3D model of a car he built, and an architect will be able to walk inside a virtual building he’s designing. And all of this will happen in collaboration with other content creators.

All of these scenarios might sound surreal, but they will become a reality in a few years. And this is just the beginning. We still have to understand the technologies involved and push them to their limits. I’m sure there will be a lot of glitches and challenges along the way, but it’s a fascinating period. If the Metaverse finally takes off, it will be as crucial as the launch of the Internet, if not more. And will change the way we live and interact with technology forever!

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