The Metaverse is without a doubt the next evolution of the Internet. And despite some thinking that it is the future, the Metaverse is already here. In the next years, the Metaverse has a real potential to change the way businesses operate and even how humans interact. This new generation of technology comes with lots of new terms that perhaps aren’t entirely clear. Knowing and, more importantly, understanding Metaverse terminology will be essential for businesses as they evaluate how to implement a Metaverse strategy. This quick Metaverse glossary will help you better understand what it all entails.
1. Metaverse ExperiencesYour experience in the metaverse is based on what you ENGAGE with there, immersive social experiences, games, workshops, parties, or concerts. Because the metaverse is 3D, you’ll be moving through it with a virtual avatar rather than scrolling over it on a screen.
2. Immersive Avatars vs Traditional AvatarsImmersive Avatars are 3D representations of users and is your persona in the virtual world. The users themselves create personalized avatars that can interact with others and with the metaverse platform. Traditional avatars in web 2.0 were commonly mere icons that represented a user, in a forum for example. They didn’t interact or even move in most cases. Immersive Avatars, on the other hand, are interactive, meaning they can talk, move, dance, etc. in the virtual world.
3. Digital Twins
A virtual object in the metaverse which represents a real-life object, being, or structure.
4. Mirror worlds
A digital version of the real world with virtually rendered equivalents of people, places, and things.
5. Persistent Virtual Worlds
The idea that a digital platform continues to exist and constantly develop even when there is no one interacting with it.
Access points that connect different virtual environments that are distributed in the same platform or metaverse.
7. Digital Holograms
The reproduction of a hologram, which is a realistic projection of a person, place or object, within virtual space. This object is usually 3D and can be viewed from all sides, meaning that within the metaverse an avatar can walk around it and in many cases interact with it.
The ability to be instantly transported across space to a remote virtual (or physical) location. In the metaverse, this usually happens via AR or VR technologies.
The sensation of being in a different place where they physically are not. This allows a user to appear or feel present.
10. Social Immersion
Metaverse experiences that provoke and create social interaction. Full social immersion is one of the main evolutions of the web to 3.0.
11. Ready Player One
A dystopian sci-fi novel by American author Ernest Cline set in 2045 when the world is being exposed to severe global warming and an energy crisis which creates a snowball of social and economic problems.
In the novel, people “escape” the real world by going into the VR “Metaverse” called the OASIS.
The general public may imagine what the Metaverse is supposed to look like based on this popular book and film.
12. Snow Crash
The original source of the term ‘metaverse’ originated in this 1992 sci-fi novel by Neal Stephenson. He described it as a VR-based evolution of the internet. Snow Crash outlines a metaverse where humans interact as avatars in a 3D virtual space.
13. Virtual Reality (VR)
Also commonly written as VR, virtual reality is an immersive experience usually operated with a digital headset. VR headsets give the users a 360º view in a virtual world that they can move in and interact with.
14. Augmented Reality (AR)
A digital overlay that is projected on the real world. A good example of AR is Niantic’s popular game, Pokemon Go.
15. Mixed Reality (MR)
MR is an immersive experience that incorporates elements of virtual reality and augmented reality and allows users to interact with virtual and real-world objects in real-time.
16. Extended Reality (XR)
XR is a combination of all the ‘reality’ terms: VR, AR and MR. Over time, the individual terms will begin to mix together, especially as technology evolves the metaverse starts to take form.
17. 3D Engines
This is the software that creates and enables 3D graphics that users can interact within a virtual world. Leading 3D Engines include tech companies like Unity and Epic Games.
Virtway has created its own 3D Engine with proprietary technology.
18. Graphics Processing Units (GPUs)
A GPU is a computing technology that is specialized for the creative production of graphics and video rendering. It allows programmers to create attractive visual effects and realistic scenes to accelerate the rendering of 3D graphics making it a key player in making the Metaverse a possibility.
19. Spatial Audio
Spatial audio is a surround sound effect that gives users the impression that sound is 3D.
Within a virtual world, this allows a user to detect where sound is coming from in their 360º environment. This sound is also distance-based, meaning the closer a user gets to the sound the louder it will become, and visa-versa, the farther they move from the source of the sound, the less they will hear it.
This is anything that is moving ecosystems to permissionless structures and shifting control and power to a more distributed and democratized structure.
A blockchain is a structure that allows for the creation of digital ledgers of data. This distributed ledger uses cryptography to confirm and carry out transactions.
Bitcoin and Ethereum were some of the first blockchains.
22. Low Code Platform
Instead of having to hand-code computer programs, Low Code Platforms allow developers to create application software through a visual user interface.
WordPress is a great example of a low code platform.
23. Open Platforms vs Closed Platforms
Open Platforms allow users to customize, edit and modify some functionalities of the software to suit unique needs. Open software is permissionless and allows creators to develop content freely. This also allows third parties to integrate with the platform to add functionality.
The opposite would be a Closed Platform or Walled Garden, which is software that doesn’t allow you to integrate with other products. Benefits of Closed Platforms include advanced security, high functionality, and extended support on behalf of the platform provider.
24. Walled Garden
A Walled Garden is similar to a Closed Platform. It is a closed ecosystem that controls all the operations happening within said system. In the metaverse, it will be seen as separate virtual worlds or domains that allow users to create content under specific rules and with provided tools.
Most of the biggest web 2.0 platforms are Walled Gardens. For example, Facebook, Google and Amazon.
25. Public vs Private Cloud
A public cloud is a service in the cloud offered to multiple customers and runs on remote servers which are managed by a provider. It is common for Gaming and Entertainment services to be offered in a public cloud where ‘control’ is a bit loser.
A private cloud is a service that is NOT shared with any other company or organization. The benefits are tighter security which meet strict regulatory compliance standards and companies or organization have more control within these clouds.
Non-Fungible Tokens are unique, blockchain-based assets that are a way to attribute ownership and are more and more commonly being used in the metaverse. NFTs represent items like digital art, virtual real estate, or music.
27. Digital Goods
This is a term to refer to anything sold or transferred in a digital, intangible form. For example, media and music files, video files, e-books, mobile apps, online courses, digital art, etc.
Digital goods can also be virtual goods which are used in online games and communities within their economies.
28. Web3 / Web 3.0
Web 3.0 is the next generation of the internet. The goal of Web3 is to connect and engage users on a greater level. This is where the immersive metaverse comes in.
Web 2.0 is how we know the internet today, 2D websites or e-commerces that we scroll through and click to interact.
Web 3.0 will bring the users into these websites and stores where users will interact with digital content as avatars.
29. Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)
MMORPG are interactive games where millions of people play and interact in shared spaces. For example, Minecraft and Fortnite.
30. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as understanding natural language, making decisions, recognizing patterns, and learning from experience. AI plays a significant role in enhancing user experiences within the metaverse by enabling intelligent NPCs (non-player characters), personalized recommendations, and dynamic environments that respond to user behavior.
31. AI-Powered NPCs
AI-powered non-player characters (NPCs) are virtual entities within the metaverse that are controlled by artificial intelligence algorithms. These NPCs can interact with users, provide information, offer quests or challenges, and enhance the overall sense of a dynamic and living virtual world.
32. Virtual Economies
Virtual economies are digital ecosystems where users can buy, sell, and trade digital goods, services, and assets within the metaverse. These economies often rely on blockchain technology and NFTs to establish ownership and scarcity of virtual items, enabling users to have true ownership and control over their digital possessions.
33. Virtual Collaboration Spaces
Virtual collaboration spaces are environments within the metaverse where users can work together on projects, presentations, workshops, or meetings. These spaces integrate virtual reality, augmented reality, and AI technologies to facilitate real-time communication, shared content, and collaborative problem-solving.
Hyperconnectivity in the metaverse refers to the seamless integration of various devices, platforms, and technologies that allow users to interact with each other and the virtual environment.
35. Real-Time Data Streaming
Real-time data streaming refers to the continuous flow of data from various sources within the metaverse, such as user interactions, environmental changes, and economic transactions. This data is processed and used to update the virtual world in real-time, ensuring that users experience a responsive and immersive environment.
36. Virtual Marketplaces
Virtual marketplaces are online platforms within the metaverse where users can buy, sell, and trade virtual items, assets, and services. These marketplaces often utilize blockchain technology and NFTs to establish ownership and provenance.
37. Spatial Computing
Spatial computing refers to the integration of virtual and augmented reality technologies with the physical environment. It enables the metaverse to understand and interact with the user’s surroundings, creating a seamless blend of digital and real-world experiences. This technology allows users to interact with virtual objects as if they were physically present, enhancing immersion and interactivity within the metaverse.