The corporate previously often known as Fb has wager massive on the metaverse. CEO Mark Zuckerberg hyped the already fashionable time period in October, when he modified the corporate’s title to Meta and led viewers by its dizzying imaginative and prescient of the longer term.

However “the metaverse” is a a lot larger — and extra complicated — thought. From its origins in science fiction, it’s turn out to be a catchall for something that mixes individuals’s bodily and digital lives. That features digital and augmented actuality headsets; 3D digital worlds like Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft; and decentralized Web3 providers together with cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens or NFTs. Numerous “metaverse” proponents don’t agree on a single definition for the phrase or on how a lot persons are already dwelling in it.

Whereas Meta is making massive investments, different corporations have already constructed metaverse-style platforms — some, like Second Life developer Linden Lab, years earlier than Fb even existed. Right here, we delve into the ambiguities of 2021’s most omnipresent tech buzzword and why it may not seem like any of those corporations have predicted.

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