So here I sit in my house, out in the middle of nowhere(tm) tapping away on a 10-year-old Apple Bluetooth keyboard, with an Oculus Quest 2 on my head. Welcome to the ‘Metaverse’. Well, welcome to the Meta-Hype-Verse at least.
We are a long way away from ‘The Oasis’ of Ready Player One. That novel describes a unified virtual experience where people can seamlessly move from one virtual activity/game to another. It’s a universally accepted platform that everything in the Ready Player One future is built on. It’s the next ‘World Wide Web’. Yeah, I said it. That’s what the world at large used to think of as the usable internet. Back when email was dominated by America Online (AOL) and dial-up modems.
In a very real way that is where we currently are in Metaverse time. You can get into VR if you invest in some specialized hardware that lets you use specialized software on a closed platform. Ubiquity is the first great milestone for any Metaverse development.
Before the iPhone and then smartphones in general, people got on the internet from their computers because those were the devices that had the computing power to browse the web. With the mobile-first internet of today you’re more likely to be on a small mobile device, bouncing from one dedicated mobile application to another, and a browser now and then. That experience is now ubiquitous and ‘everyone’ knows how to do it.
Until VR reaches some level of ubiquity the metaverse will continue to develop as pocket universes, pushing to develop common and accepted frameworks to link these walled gardens together into something that could, maybe, one day deliver some part of the metaverse promise that the media and Mark Z. are trumpeting.