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Why the Metaverse isn’t Fiction Anymore

Written on Mar. 1st, 2022

We are not too far away from Ready Player One or Wall-E societies, where virtual reality (VR) and similar technologies welcome us into augmented reality (AR). There we can socialize, have meetings, shop, and create the world of our dreams from the comfort of well … wherever.

We’re entering the age of the metaverse. What is it? Writer Neal Stephenson coined the term in his 1992 novel, Snow Crash. The metaverse is where people use the internet to enter a virtual environment. You use AR and VR to create your virtual presence. While it’s not old-time VR games, you are connecting with real people. This digital reality combines familiar experiences such as online gaming (Second Life or Fortnite), social media, and cryptocurrencies (to buy and sell). You will also be able to move through this space using various devices (digital mobility) without issues. 

Why do you care? What are the implications for business?

If you’re in business, you most likely won’t be able to reject the metaverse, even if you “don’t do social media” or think, “this is for kids and nerds.” 

Remember how the pandemic forced us to move from in-person meetings to Zoom? Struggling technophobes had to be pushed onto the platform to participate in essential business. This may well be the same with the metaverse. 

Large brands are already exploring the metaverse. Celebrities and brands play in this area, having concerts and showing off new products. Of course, Facebook/Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg is already well engaged in bringing this to his users.

In the endless metaverse, you can travel to various lands or spaces. In “lands,” you can view, test, and order products in the virtual world and receive them in the real one. It’s open every hour of the day and night, has no barrier to entry, can accommodate unlimited numbers of people, and allow consumers to buy and sell everything, including real estate. 

At work, meetings that look like Hollywood Squares will be more like Star Wars Jedi Council, where sophisticated avatars meet and gesture, move around, and can even whisper to colleagues.

Where is the Metaverse Going Next?

The technology that runs the metaverse is still in a somewhat primitive state. People trying out the metaverse for the first time should expect clunky hardware, awkward user interfaces and graphics that aren’t “true to life.” That being said, technology companies have made investment in this technology a priority. The generations will continue to improve on the last. 

As time goes on, we will see the implications of the metaverse in every area of life. Many social barriers will be broken down as long as we can figure out universal access to technology. Greater collaboration and relationships can occur. People will have experiences in a whole new way from travel to concerts.

Regardless of how you feel about the metaverse, it’s already here, and it will be something you need to understand. If you’ve already embraced the metaverse, please invite me to your next party. I have the perfect virtual dress to wear.

Mary Louise VanNatta is CEO of VanNatta Public Relations. @PRSalem.com www.PRSalem.com

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