Sent October 18, 2021, 12:07 pmUpdated October 18, 2021 at 2:18 pm
Will we one day meet a loved one who lives thousands of miles away, in a parallel reality, but with the very real feeling of being with him? Impossible to say today but companies are working hard on it: it is the “metaverse” project.
While Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg believes this parallel universe is “the Holy Grail,” his social network announced on Monday the creation of 10,000 jobs in Europe to accelerate the search for the metaverse. Here’s everything you need to know about this project.
1. A difficult concept to define
The “metaverse” is an English concept (meta universe), which quite broadly describes a digital universe. Before being a technological project, it is a literary concept: it was mentioned for the first time in 1992, in the science fiction novel “Snow Crash”, by Neal Stephenso.
In fact, it is a question of going beyond the possibilities currently offered by the Internet, passing from a two-dimensional reality to a three-dimensional reality. Thanks to virtual reality and augmented reality, this new digital reality intends to offer an immersive experience, in its own space-time.
An avatar or a hologram would allow the different actors of this metaverse to meet in conditions as close to reality as possible. It would therefore be a question of going beyond the experiences currently allowed by virtual reality viewers or even holograms.
2. Several companies on the subject
Under the impulse of its founder, Facebook is one of the digital giants most interested in the development of this metaverse. For Mark Zuckerberg, the goal is to transform his social network into a metaverse company within 5 years, to offer users an “embodied Internet”. The company recently launched Horizon Workrooms, an accessible collaborative work tool with a virtual reality headset.
Other players in the metaverse, different video game developers, such as Epic Games, the publisher of Fortnite, or even Roblox, want to go further in the development of their digital universes where players can already meet and interact. Another example of the industry, the Pokémon Go game had already stood out as the cornerstone in building the metaverse, allowing players to catch imaginary animals scattered on the street with their cell phones.
3. A universe still inaccessible
If the beginnings of the metaverse can already be lived, the “Grail” is still a long way off. Pour que cet univers en deveenne vraiment un, il faudrait tout d’abord créer un espace numérique totment unifié, where the avatar de l’usager pourrait se balader dans les différents sites du metaverse, comme il peut passer de boutiques en boutiques dans la Street.
Furthermore, for the experience to be total, it would be necessary to be able to mobilize the five senses in a completely synchronized way, allowing the user to influence this digital environment with his whole being. This requires a coordination effort between the different services which is far from obvious, as Zuckerberg acknowledged.