Recent developments in the tech world have created a lot of buzz regarding the metaverse. This buzz started after popular social network Facebook announced it would be renaming itself, Meta.
There have also been discussions about the multiverse, a term commonly interchanged with the metaverse. What do both concepts mean? Do they share any similarities? What are their differences?
This article will provide an in-depth analysis of both terms. Additionally, we will discuss their differences while analyzing some popular platforms that already deliver some aspects of the metaverse to their users.
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse can be defined in several ways. However, the explanation provided by Mattew Ball, a well-known metaverse VC influencer, is the most frequently cited one.
According to Ball: “The Metaverse is a massively scaled and interoperable network of real-time rendered 3D virtual worlds which can be experienced synchronously and persistently by an effectively unlimited number of users with an individual sense of presence, and with continuity of data, such as identity, history, entitlements, objects, communications, and payments.”
In simpler terms, the metaverse is an idea that focuses on the development of a connected virtual world. This metaverse would allow users to seamlessly switch between different ecosystems according to their needs.
Based on Mattew’s definition, the metaverse transcends merely functioning as an augmented or virtual reality. This concept extends beyond virtual shopping malls, massive collections of online multiplayer games, or simulations of social environments. It is also imperative that you keep in mind that the metaverse is not a product of Meta, the organization formerly referred to as Facebook.
Indeed the metaverse will contain all of the features stated above. However, the metaverse must incorporate one final ingredient into its current virtual mix to reach its full potential. This ingredient is interoperability. We will discuss this concept later in this article. For now, let us define the term multiverse.
In simple terms, the word multiverse refers to multiple universes. Currently, the concept behind the term multiverse is mainly theoretical and has no solid basis in real life.
A standard theory about the multiverse focuses on the relationship between atomic particles. According to the proponents of this view, the cosmos comprises atomic and subatomic particles that progress randomly every time.
Due to this factor, our current universe and many other universes can exist simultaneously. However, each universe would have its history. In addition, certain universes would operate according to unique physical laws that differ from ours.
Another popular theory about the multiverse is the Many Worlds Interpretation which approaches this subject using quantum physics. This theory maintains the claim that many other alternative universes exist. It also holds the position that these universes exist simultaneously.
The Many Worlds Interpretation also makes use of the principles of quantum superposition to support its argument on the multiverse. According to those principles: Until it is observed, a particle is in both state A and state B until its quantum state becomes fixed.
An additional claim attached to these principles focuses on forming parallel universes. According to the Many Worlds Interpretation, parallel universes will emerge as a result of observations based on the principles of quantum superposition.
In practice, based on the explanations above, if you finish reading a book in this universe, there is a parallel universe where you don’t read a book. Other parallel universes exist without books and readers, mobile devices, or the internet.
Despite several theories supporting the idea, it remains a question of whether facts or concrete evidence can support any of the multiverse theories.
There are several key differences between the multiverse and the metaverse. Let us consider some of these differences.
The ultimate goal of the metaverse is a connected virtual world that allows users to access various services seamlessly. In simpler terms, this refers to a single virtual connected universe that incorporates all services required by its users.
In contrast, the multiverse consists of multiple unconnected universes that are completely separate. These universes also differ in terms of their characteristics and may follow different physical laws.
Due to the properties of the metaverse, users can own properties on the metaverse. Currently, numerous metaverse platforms allow users to access data, purchase assets and own several in-game assets and properties.
These platforms also allow users to create their assets and trade them on the metaverse. These assets include in-game collectibles like non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Compared to the metaverse, the principles behind the multiverse do not support the purchase or ownership of properties across different universes. This lack of support can be attributed to two primary reasons.
First, there are no connections between the universes within the multiverse. Secondly, events with the multiverse occur randomly. As a result, actions with the multiverse are unplanned and uncontrollable.
Although many believe that the metaverse and multiverse consist of multiple ecosystems, careful consideration of both concepts proves this claim to be false.
In the case of the multiverse, an infinite number of unconnected ecosystems exist simultaneously. Unlike the multiverse, the metaverse delivers a single connected ecosystem where users can switch between different services.
These services include games, virtual shopping malls, and social environments. Additionally, users can create, transfer, and share experiences with other users on the metaverse due to its status as a single ecosystem.
There are not too many similarities between the metaverse and multiverse concepts. By their principles, both are virtual realities that involve activities carried out by humans. However, we must clearly state that other entities are present on the metaverse. These include artificial intelligence and robots.
Is Metaverse A Fictional Universe Or Is the Multiverse real?
The simple answer is no. Unlike the multiverse, which is entirely hypothetical, the metaverse is not a fictional universe. Several platforms within the crypto space deliver different aspects of the metaverse to their users.
These platforms offer users access to virtual shopping malls, real estate, multiplayer online games, and social environments that incorporate several aspects of the metaverse.
Additionally, services offered by these platforms have real-world applications in our day. For example, the popularity enjoyed by NFTs can be attributed primarily to the existence of different metaverse themed games.
The rise of NFTs has led to the development of a new avenue to create wealth for users of the metaverse. All of these would not be possible if the metaverse were fiction. Some popular platforms that currently offer features of the metaverse to their users include The Sandbox, Decentraland, Axie Infinity, and Star Atlas.
The metaverse has made significant strides in its development over the past few years. However, one key issue remains, interoperability. Despite immense growth in this sector and the development of several aspects of the metaverse, there is yet to be a single connected virtual ecosystem for all.
However, there is hope for the future; with Meta (formerly Facebook) already planning to create its metaverse, the development of a single virtual ecosystem may not be far off.
Apart from Meta, many other top-rated tech companies have begun to develop virtual worlds based on metaverse principles. These also indicate the possibility of a single virtual ecosystem in the not-so-distant future.
However, the launch of an interoperable metaverse raises other questions. These concerns are based on control. Many people wonder, will control of the metaverse be centralized or decentralized? How will the rules be determined and implemented?
All of these questions remain unanswered. However, we are hopeful that this sector will keep developing over time. Until that occurs, continue to enjoy the experiences delivered by existing metaverse platforms available today.