You've no doubt heard of the metaverse, a developing concept in which users plot a course through an augmented or full virtual universe using a VR headset and avatars. Now, huge corporations such as Meta (previously Facebook) are stepping up, investing billions of dollars in what they view as a considerable market opportunity. This opens up a lot of potential in the metaverse design space.
Neal Stephenson, in his 1992 sci-fi novel ‘Snow Crash’, in which readers follow a character who alternates between dystopian reality and a virtual world, invented the word ‘metaverse’. In fact, the metaverse is far from a new idea. Many people identify the metaverse with a platform called Second Life, which was released in the early 2000s.
Today, though, it's more about building an immersive virtual environment in which individuals may engage with one another. Envisage a 3D world filled with real people's avatars that provides an all-embracing digital experience.
With this in mind, the metaverse can be viewed as a natural evolution of the workplace. The hybrid paradigm, in which some individuals are physically present in the office while others are not, works admirably in the metaverse. People can work together as a team regardless of where they live since the metaverse provides them with a feeling of shared physical location.
The metaverse, from the perspective of a designer, is an enormous digital platform containing hundreds of distinct services with which a user can interact. The metaverse has the potential to be a key component of web 3.0, a new generation of a more egalitarian version of the internet built on blockchain. Product designers will focus on building 3D locations that are either regenerations of current physical places such as the office or entirely new worlds, even expanding into outer space. With the metaverse, the sky really is the limit!