The metaverse: all hype?

Do you feel like you’re constantly hearing the word “metaverse”? Us too! The term is making huge headlines and stirring animated discussion.

So, what is the metaverse? One of the most succinct definitions we’ve read comes from USA Today. They describe it as “an online virtual world which incorporates augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D holographic avatars, video and other means of communication.”

The concept pushes the boundaries between the virtual world and the real world. It envisions a new universe where both realities coexist seamlessly. Hundreds of tech services will come together to offer a new reality. Companies, individuals, commodities and programs will be connected. More about that later.

In this article, you’ll get a grasp on what the metaverse is (or at least, the opportunities it offers to disrupt the future). After coming to understand the metaverse, you’ll learn about ground-breaking opportunities for businesses.

We’ll answer your burning questions:

What is the metaverse?
What are some examples?
How can the metaverse reshape businesses?


First up, here’s some of the speculation around the metaverse…

There are some mind-boggling predictions about the future of the metaverse. “When it’s complete, our physical reality will merge with the digital universe”, claimed Kevin Kelly of Wired.

“The Metaverse is the hottest new wedding venue”, claims, while Rolling Stone provokes us with the outlandish question, “Would You Pay To Be ‘Buried’ in a Metaverse Cemetery?”. There’s an abundance of radical ideas around how the metaverse could shake up our existence. 

But, is the metaverse just another hyped-up buzzword? Or, could it live up to the claims? Could it reshape the way humans conceptualise and experience the world?


Okay, so what is the metaverse, exactly?

Time to dig deeper into what all this means.

Let’s take a look at the origins and etymology behind the world. The term “metaverse” was coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel, Snow Crash.

The prefix “meta” means “beyond”, or even “more comprehensive”, with “verse”, derived from “universe”, describing an alternative world. Put together, it means the metaverse is a more comprehensive world where various realities coexist.

According to Forbes, it’s not only a new medium, but rather, a revolutionised mode of connectivity: “Currently, you can only experience the internet when you go to it, but with new connectivity, devices and technologies, we’ll be able to experience it all around every single day.”

The magic lies in how the metaverse breaks down the boundaries between the virtual and the real. A great example of this was given by The Conversation. “​​In some visions of the metaverse, the virtual stuff in the virtual world actually represents real stuff in the real world. For example, you might fly a virtual drone in the metaverse to steer an actual drone in the real world.”


So, what are some examples of the metaverse?

One of the earliest versions of the metaverse was created in the game Second Life. It rose to peak popularity in the late 2000s. The platform offered a virtual world where players navigated an alternative reality as an avatar. Unlike a video game, there were no goals. Rather, participants shaped the metaverse by creating content, plus buying and selling commodities using real money.

It’s no secret that Facebook is wildly ambitious in the space. After recently renaming the company name to Meta in October, Zuckerberg announced that it planned to enter the metaverse. They did so by creating Horizon Worlds, which launched to U.S. and Canada on December 9 2021. 

Horizon Worlds encompasses virtual reality through the use of Facebook’s Oculus virtual reality headsets. Wearers can then navigate the virtual world and meet other avatars.

The platform offers more than just game play. Participants can listen to music, socialise with friends, and even use the space to host meetings. This is an example of how the blended functionalities can offer services we’re already familiar with, such as online conferencing and music streaming. 

So, while the metaverse is technically “virtual”, it is a way to access real world technologies and experiences. For example, you might attend a live music concert with your friends, or explore street art in your suburb, which would both be enabled by Virtual Reality. You could use cryptocurrency to purchase tickets to the concert, and donate a tip to the artist.

This brings us to our next point… the commercial opportunities. The metaverse offers a reimagined world in which participants can buy, sell and reach audiences in whole new ways. Let’s explore this further now.


How can the metaverse reshape businesses?

When it comes to the metaverse, the thing we’re most excited about is the way it removes borders and enables human connectivity. This is hugely enabling for the world of business. Here’s how.

Removing boundaries

Think about some of the limitations your business might currently face. You may struggle to source and recruit the right people. Or, it may be challenging to tap into new markets and reach new audiences.

Now, think about the way in which the metaverse can solve these challenges. Participants in the metaverse are no longer confined to geographic locations, meaning anyone can walk into your store, view your art, or buy your service from any location. Likewise, you could recruit talent from anywhere in the world, which is not only hugely enabling for your business, but also brings job opportunities to people all around the globe.

“When it comes to the metaverse, the thing we’re most excited about is the way it removes borders and enables human connectivity.”

You might be thinking that existing technologies already offer these kinds of opportunities. After all, we can already purchase almost any product online. Likewise, remote working is already enabled by an abundance of apps and tools, such as video conferencing. This is true, but we believe that the metaverse offers a more immersive and holistic experience, which at heart, enables human connection. Let’s explore that further.

Enabling human connections

Blending virtual reality, augmented reality, and our lived existence enables a powerful experience. Let’s take the example of remote working. You will no longer be bound to static screens and segregated tools. You will be able to experience being in the (virtual) room with your team, and seamlessly dive into unlimited integrated softwares. 

Similarly, the products purchased in the metaverse will no longer be constricted to one app, game, or platform. “Imagine being able to wear the Sandy Liang fleece you got in Animal Crossing on your Twitter and Instagram profile pictures,” suggests Mashable.

A world of new products and services

We’ve already started to get a sense of the volatility behind this creative economy, and how businesses can construct it. Fortnite, a free-to-play Battle Royale game, has launched music concerts on the metaverse. Globally renowned  music artists have taken to the metaverse stage, such as Ariana Grande.

The experience has been described by a punter on The Verge. To say that it sounds immersive and strange is an understatement:

“…in a black room lit by stars, a towering Grande appeared, taking players through an extremely surreal world. There were giant floating bubbles in the sky, a ride on a glittering llama, an M.C. Escher-style castle, and finally the pop star emerging from a crack in the ground to smash all of her fans with a bejeweled hammer. It was a lot of fun.”

Ariana Grande on the metaverse
Image source:

So, is there a lot of hype around the metaverse? Yes, definitely. But we also feel that the hype may be valid. Afterall, you could soon be buying, selling and living in ways we have never seen before. It’s a limitless world where individuals can pave their ideal reality. We’re excited, and we can’t wait to see what comes next.