Vincenzo Cosenza will participate in a panel on the metaverse moderated by Barbara Gasparini, Thursday 29th at 11:30 am, in the Duomo.
About a year after Zuckerberg’s announcement of the change of name and mission to his company, from Facebook to Meta, the term metaverse has now entered the vocabulary of many people. The problem is that everyone has a different idea of its meaning. There are those who make the metaverse coincide with virtual reality, those with augmented reality, those who identify it with some games such as Fortnite, Roblox and Minecraft. The truth is, it’s none of this and a little bit of it. The most complete description of the metaverse is that elaborated by Matthew Ball, former strategist of Amazon Studios and author of the book “The Metaverse”.
“The metaverse is an interoperable and large-scale network of three-dimensional virtual worlds represented in real time, which can be experienced in a synchronous and persistent manner by an unlimited number of users with an individual sensation of presence and with continuity of data”.
Let’s explore the individual features. The metaverse will be a set of virtual worlds, ie environments generated by a computer that can simulate the real world (“digital twin”) or represent imaginary ones. The three-dimensionality of the environments is a fundamental aspect of the metaverse, but not exclusive, because the two-dimensionality of the use of some contents will not disappear. These 3D worlds will be represented and generated (in jargon “rendered”) in real time based on the user’s actions, they cannot be preloaded as happens with games.
The metaverse will have to be an interoperable network in order to make the experience fluid (for example, easily pass from one world to another or bring with you your own identity and purchased objects). First, operators will need to agree on the standards to be respected. This network will have to operate on a large scale, that is to say, be a network of networks, as happens in the current web. So there may be worlds that will host other worlds, as in the case of those that users can create in Roblox, but all of them will be interconnected.
Persistence is the property that allows the metaverse to operate endlessly and without the possibility of being paused or turned off. Consequently, the effects of the actions performed by a user persist over time and remain visible indefinitely by others as well. For example, if in a virtual world of the metaverse I destroy a road sign I will not see it reappear the next time I access it (as it happens today in video games). Synchronicity refers to an experience that simulates that of real life, so interactions between people should be smooth and without delays. Finally, there is the absence of limits of concurrent users, that is, of people who can participate in the same event at the same time and experience a feeling of actual presence in that place, at that moment. These elements make the metaverse an unprecedented technological challenge that will take at least ten years to completely overcome. In the meantime, it is good to familiarize yourself with the over 40 existing virtual worlds (surveyed by the Metaverse Observatory) and understand how to face the future without being overwhelmed.
* Marketing consultant and founder of OsservatorioMetaverso.it