In October, Mark Zuckerberg not only rebranded Facebook as Meta, but also unveiled his mammoth new project, the "Metaverse". The vision behind it is the creation of the "new mobile internet", as a fusion of physical and virtual reality.
With the help of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology, it should be possible to create a new internet that can be experienced and virtually accessed.
The name comes from Snow Crash, a 1992 science fiction novel by American author Neal Stephensen, which posited a world of virtual spaces in which people met as avatars and escaped from the real world.
Like the internet, the Metaverse should not belong to anyone. It should be accessible and open to everyone to further develop, design and discover. Even if Facebook (now Meta) is not the only company working on the Metaverse, it is certainly already a big player in this market due to its enormous monetary resources alone and will make a significant contribution to shaping the "new internet".
Within the Metaverse, there will now be a variety of virtual spaces that people can create, design, use or explore for themselves. There should be no limits to the imagination and almost everything should be open to visitors within this virtual space.
It is conceivable that there will one day be a world parallel to and independent of the real, physical world, with its own currency and its own economic system, in which people can communicate and interact with each other simultaneously and in real time. It should become a place to hang out with friends, work, play, learn and create, but of course also spend money.
The Metaverse therefore not only offers its visitors new dimensions in the future, but also opens enormous opportunities for established companies and start-ups to extend their business models to the cyberworld or to establish completely new ones in it.
There are no limits to the Metaverse when it comes to business. Not only can real objects be scanned and imported into the Metaverse and used or exhibited there, but virtually almost anything can be represented and integrated into this virtual world. This is especially interesting for the entertainment and gaming industry, but also for the entire advertising and e-commerce sector.
Thus, for example, you can play a round of chess with Darth Vader on Mount Everest, dance as a Super Mario avatar at the next virtual Pink concert, or take part in a yoga lesson in a Tibetan monastery. In virtual shopping malls, you can try on the latest styles from the hottest avatar fashion designer in real time, and then continue working on your thesis on your virtual walk-in desktop at Hogwarts.
While it's exciting to think about how the Metaverse will develop over the next few years, it is already clear that billions are currently being invested in the development of its sister technologies augmented and virtual reality, and many companies are waiting to jump on the bandwagon of the new "next big thing".