The term “metaverse” was first used by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 cyberpunk novel Snow Crash. It describes a virtual world that can be explored using avatars, offering players a completely immersive experience. Today, we see similar worlds in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) such as Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite, Second Life, and others, but these games are still nowhere close to the immersive experience described in Snow Crash.
The modern metaverse concept consists of multiple independent and connected virtual spaces. As such, it is impossible for a single company to build the entire metaverse on its own. An optimistic estimate would be that the full-fledged metaverse is five to ten years away from complete deployment. However, in the next three to five years, we expect the market to see more metaverse-like applications. Some, such as Decentraland and Crypto Voxels, as well as games like Minecraft and Second Life, already exist.
Current metaverse-like applications are designed primarily for gamers rather than the general populace. In the future, we expect that daily tasks like remote work, entertainment, education, and shopping will be done in next-generation metaverse-like applications. Many of these applications will naturally share cyberspace, and that will eventually transform into a single metaverse when the underlying technology (hardware, software, network infrastructure, and ubiquity) reaches maturity. In this shared space, users will be able to effortlessly switch between applications, and access the metaverse using a wide variety of hardware.
But the metaverse will also attract its own flavor of crime. We will explore this in the following blog and the accompanying research paper.