Need-To-Inform. Metaverse and More


Jaron Lanier. His Octopus Avatar. Copyrights Image Public Domain

Looking forward that all pieces of this puzzle will fit in an interlay, we have launched that in 2007, roughly a million people flocked to Second Life, eager to experience the three-dimensional, web-based alternative reality launched four years earlier.

Those users roamed around as customisable, cartoonish versions of themselves called avatars and enjoyed a wide array of activities. They could listen to Kurt Vonnegut give a live talk, dance at popular nightclubs like Hot Licks and Angry Ant, shop for both virtual clothes and real ones at the Armani store, visit reconstructions of famous landmarks like Rockefeller Center, have virtual sex—and, most famously, speculate on digital real estate. After exchanging actual greenbacks for Second Life’s Linden Dollars, users were spending $100 million a year on virtual purchases, much of it on real estate. Early investors like former schoolteacher Ailin Graef—briefly famous under her Second Life handle Anshe Chung—possessed Second Life real estate portfolios putatively worth $1 million or more as property prices spiked.

Riding the boom, Second Life founder Philip Rosedale secured a $100 million-plus valuation for his startup and over $30 million in funding, including money from another man thinking intently about the internet’s potential to change how we live: Jeff Bezos. Bezos liked sitting around with Rosedale in real life, pondering what Second Life could become.

“We were thinking that we were going to be spending half our time online as avatars,” recalls Rosedale. Creating a world like that “turned out to be much harder than I thought,” he says.

For a time, Second Life made it seem like the metaverse—an idea for an immersive, 3D world originally conceived in a 1990s sci-fi novel—had finally arrived in our own world. It hadn’t. 2007 marked Second Life’s peak popularity. After that, its user count plateaued, then ebbed steadily lower, hampered by glitchy graphics, sluggish internet connections and the emergence of a new popular place to congregate online: Facebook.

While Second Life still plods on today, reportedly with around 600,000 users, Facebook now has 2.9 billion. Rosedale stepped aside in 2008. As for Bezos, he quickly turned his concentration to dominating the two-dimensional mainstream internet, and Amazon never set up an official presence in Second Life.

Today another tech billionaire hopes to finally—and more fully—conjure up the metaverse, and ironically, it’s the same person who helped bring about Second Life’s ruin: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Under siege on multiple fronts, Zuckerberg has pinned his trillion-dollar company’s future to creating a metaverse, renaming Facebook as “Meta.” (For simplicity, we’ll continue to refer to Zuck’s company as Facebook in this story.) Zuckerberg has said the concept will cost $10 billion this year–then more in future years—and expects the metaverse to lose money for the foreseeable future.

The numbers are big, but Facebook can stomach those losses just fine: It netted $29.1 billion in profits on $86 billion in sales last year.

Zuckerberg’s project isn’t earth shatteringly new. Fragments of it have kicked around Silicon Valley for years—as Second Life and Bezos’ interest in the metaverse make clear. But Facebook does have a couple things going for it that others in the past didn’t.

One is the ability to deploy more money in the next two or three years than the total of all the dollars spent on the metaverse during the prior 30 years. Another is the simple fact that we’re all a great deal more comfortable with virtual communication now after working from home for much of the past 20 months.

“Our goal is to help the metaverse reach a billion people and billions of dollars in commerce in the next decade,” Zuckerberg said on a conference call with Wall Street analysts last week. Getting there, he noted, “will be a long road.”

What is the metaverse?

A boundless, 3D digital world accessed as easily as the internet, where we do things like hang out in a park, play a game, see a concert or suffer through a work conference. Metaverse is a portmanteau of -meta (beyond) and -verse (universe). Current ambitions are centred on addressing technological limitations with modern virtual and augmented reality devices, as well as expanding the use of metaverse spaces to business, education, and retail applications. The metaverse has come to be criticised as a method of public relations building using a purely speculative, „over-hyped“ concept based on existing technology. Information privacy and user addiction are concerned within the metaverse, stemming from current challenges facing the social media and video game industries as a whole.

Whered the idea come from?

In 1978 MUDs and MOOs are multi-user virtual environments often based on a map of connected locations and described in text to the users who navigated through the environment and the puzzles with it, here was the beginning of all the great future.

A computer scientist named J