It's a combination of multiple elements of technology, including virtual reality, augmented reality, and video where users "live" within a digital universe. Supporters of the metaverse envision its users working, playing, and staying connected with friends through everything from concerts and conferences to virtual trips around the world.
Companies working on:
Meta. The tech giant formerly known as Facebook has already made significant investments in virtual reality, including the 2014 acquisition of Oculus. Meta envisions a virtual world where digital avatars connect through work, travel, or entertainment using VR headsets. Zuckerberg has been bullish on the metaverse, believing it could replace the internet as we know it. "The next platform and medium will be even more immersive and embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it, and we call this the metaverse," said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Microsoft. The software giant already uses holograms and is developing mixed and extended reality (XR) applications with its Microsoft Mesh platform, which combine the real world with augmented reality and virtual reality. Earlier this month, Microsoft showed off its plans for bringing mixed-reality including holograms and virtual avatars to Microsoft Teams in 2022.
Epic Games. Tim Sweeney, CEO of the company that developed Fortnite, has said, "It’s no secret that Epic is invested in building the metaverse." It's held concerts by the likes of Ariana Grande and Travis Scott, movie trailers and music debuts, and even an "immersive" re-imagining of Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 historic "I Have A Dream" speech. And it's developing photorealistic digital humans with its MetaHuman Creator, which could be how you customize your digital doppelganger in future open-world games(Real gear in a virtual world and From NFL to Air Jordan to Ariana Grande: The biggest Fortnite crossover events so far).
Roblox. The platform, founded in 2004, houses scores of user-generated games, including role-playing offerings like Bloxburg and Brookhaven, where users can build homes, work, and playout scenarios. Roblox is now valued at more than $45 billion after going public this year.
Minecraft. Another virtual universe beloved by kids, the Microsoft-owned Minecraft is essentially the digital equivalent of Legos, where players can create their own digital characters and build whatever they desire. As of August, Minecraft boasts more than 140 million monthly active users. During the pandemic, it has exploded in popularity among kids who had to rely more heavily on virtual connections.
Future: Tech leaders describe the online world as an extensive place where people and their avatars can work, shop, attend classes and even walk on the moon.