In the vision for the metaverse articulated by social media and technology companies, devices like virtual reality headsets, digital glasses, smartphones, and other devices will allow users access to 3-D virtual or augmented reality environments where they can work, connect with friends, conduct business, visit remote locations, and access educational opportunities, all in an environment mediated by technology in new and immersive ways.
The metaverse is not just one type of experience. Instead, it refers to a continuum of immersive digital experiences that will be available to users in the future and which will allow them to engage in a range of different activities in completely digital spaces. That could mean participating in a massive virtual reality multiplayer game accessed through a VR headset or experiencing integrated digital and physical spaces such as location-specific immersive digital content from business users who are visiting via digital glasses or smartphones.
The metaverse therefore isn’t one digital space but a number of digital spaces and experiences currently being created by companies to offer more realistic and immersive digital experiences. The technology has a range of potential functionalities from augmented reality collaboration platforms that can enable better collaboration and integration to work productivity platforms for remote teams that might, for example, allow real estate agents to host virtual home tours.
Currently, some aspects of the metaverse are integrated into existing internet-enabled video games such as Second Life, Minecraft, and Fortnite. These games offer immersive social and virtual experiences that have a persistent virtual world in which players from around the world can engage simultaneously. While not synonymous with virtual reality, the metaverse will offer more of this type of virtual reality experience.