Virtual Life Is Going To Stay, But Will That Be The Metaverse?

Recently Facebook announced a name change and a bit of a new vision for the company’s future. That new vision, called the metaverse, is really a vision for the internet, not just Facebook. 

As a concept of a future iteration of the internet, the metaverse made up of shared virtual reality isn’t a new idea. However, as described by Facebook, it seems unlikely to be a feasible or desirable idea. Writing for DCC, Daniel Payne compared the idea to a utopia that doesn’t and cannot exist

John Carmack, the consulting CTO of Oculus, who has long advocated for a metaverse, doesn’t like Facebook’s idea of a metaverse. Speaking at Connect, Carmack said, “I have pretty good reasons to believe that setting out to build the metaverse is not actually the best way to wind up with the metaverse.”

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We already have a pretty extremely virtual world. Fragmented social networks, websites, chat programs, streaming services, video conference tools, video games, and hybrid concepts already bind our physical and virtual lives. Someone could start a day watching a new movie on Disney+ while scrolling Twitter. Jump into Slack to check when a meeting starts, hop onto a Zoom call, and join their coworkers in an online escape room after work.

As described in a video hosted by Mark Zuckerberg, the metaverse sounds like a walled garden internet serving as a more robust version of Second Life

According to Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat, ” Second Life (the virtual world that debuted way back in 2003) is still going strong. And it plans to play a role in the modern metaverse, thanks in part to a cross-platform payment system called Tilia Pay that enables people to cash out the virtual currency they earn in Second Life and convert it to U.S. dollars.”

It’s unclear if the metaverse is going to happen or not. And It’s further unclear if it will be good for the world. By many metrics, Facebook hasn’t been good for that place.

Photo by NASA,

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