We don’t know what the Metaverse is

What is the metaverse anyway? Is it a conference room to hold a work meeting with your avatar colleagues? Is it the great virtual escape, where you go surfing with your pal? Is it a concert hall where you meet up with friends regardless of their location?

We don’t really know, and in 2022 we’ll get a little bit closer to understanding what it might be.

Anyone who tells you what the metaverse will be is either guessing or kidding themselves. “The topic lately fills me with frustration,” says CNET’s Scott Stein, our resident expert on virtual worlds. “It’s not just about VR and AR headsets.” The metaverse will be much more nuanced than the technical platforms it’s superficially associated with.

Even the term “the metaverse” is simplistic: A number of metaverses will emerge along the lines of social media platforms, with a handful becoming dominant and largely incompatible. “Everyone’s promising interoperability but history suggests it will be multiplatform, semicompatible and half-broken,” Stein predicts, though he’s intrigued by the “cross-border portability” envisioned by Meta, formerly Facebook. But “metaverse” shouldn’t have a “the” in front of it, because there won’t be just one. 

The metaverse isn’t what you think it is, because we don’t know what it is

I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine spending my whole day wearing a head set: first at work, and then at night for leisure? They are just too bulky and too heavy, not to mention uncomfortable. They also restrict you from seeing what goes on around you. That’s not how I want to spend my day, and I’m betting most of us won’t either. Humans are social beings and we need to see and communicate with others in real life.

However, considering that we will work remotely for the foreseeable future, and the next pandemic could be just around the corner (scary thought), I have no doubt we’ll see the first work applications this year. Especially with Microsoft jumping on the Metaverse, office applications seem very likely. And once they appear, more will certainly follow.

One thing is certain: just as we have many social media platforms, we will have more than one metaverse platform, especially considering the decentralization focus of the technologies used. And would you really want one avatar for your work and personal life? I don’t think so.

So who’s going to design a wallet that holds all my avatars?