Digital Prince: Introductions and the Metaverse

This thing on?” Great! Good day sentient beings, I would like to introduce myself as this is a new column. I strive to be an independent voice for free thought, art and the overall direction of new ideas and technology for the better of the good. I will be writing from my travels, professional work life and personal musings. 

Games good for brains
As a child, I remember sitting crossed-legged on the floor growing up in the shadow of a large wooden cabinet at eye level and a blue glowing face where I would watch and dream of the Space Shuttle Columbia blasting into the heavens. 

However, unlike the previous kids before me with Tang-stained smiles and astronaut ambitions, the obsessive screen time of my youth was dominated by a strange, nondescript 16-bit human shooting spiders, bats and robots, oh my! 

Trapped for hours in a hedgerow maze, my heart rate would race to the electronic horror sound of the pulsating background beat of human-hunting robots. Yes, Nightstalker for Intellivision was a video game to play while the parents were out on a late Saturday night.

Play games, any games! And let your kids play games with their friends. Some of my best memories were playing video games and, in between games, cranking the parents’ stereo system to 11 and jumping off the family room furniture together with a world-famous neighbourhood airband. 

Welcome to the Metaverse!
Forty or so revolutions around the sun later and what not so long ago read as science fiction, is now becoming a household term. 

Yes, I am speaking of the Metaverse. For those of you still wondering what the Metaverse is, you’re not alone. First, let’s begin by saying the Metaverse is still in its embryonic stage and actually being redefined and redeveloped as every new hour passes. 

However, for those that would like a starting point, let me say that the term ‘Metaverse’ was coined by author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel ‘Snow Crash’. A clear definition comes from Matthew Ball in his 2022 work ‘The Metaverse’: “A massively scaled and interoperable network of real time-rendered 3D virtual worlds that 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.”

Served up, the Metaverse is the next evolution of the internet, which can be experienced in a 3D real time interface.

Not the ideal messenger
For some of you reading, the first time you may have heard the term ‘Metaverse’ was when it was brought to you by everybody’s favorite tech billionaire to hate, Mark Zuckerberg, in October 2021 during a cringeworthy late night infomercial video presentation. 

Looking back, the presentation was a true foreshadowing of the monumentally difficult technical  task of bringing even a small portion of the Metaverse design and ideas to fruition. To boot, an ubernerd publicly drilled in front of US Congress – for alleged user privacy breaches, fake news and the alleged manipulation of the Facebook platform by a foreign adversary to spread disinformation during the 2016 US presidential campaign – may not have been the best messenger to introduce a whole new multifaceted platform. 

But hey, billionaire hubris may be blinding, give the guy a break. 

Isn’t gonna fly, Marky
Unfortunately, to no-one’s surprise already working in the fields of Virtual and Augmented Reality, we can feel a bit let down by the promises by Mr Zuckerberg and Co.

Allow me to give a very brief review of the first iteration teaser of Zuck’s Metaverse ‘Horizons-Venues’. I have said it before and I will say it again: please no more downloadable app installs. I think everyone reading will agree it is much easier to simply click through on a URL hyperlink to access the ‘Next Internet’ AKA the Metaverse. 

As for the ‘plastic people’ design and the large projected poor quality videos staged as virtual performances … not gonna fly. There are plenty more details I could go into here, but in this age of instant gratification and an endless abundance of other great entertaining content, who honestly returns to venues after a few aborted take-offs? 

Just the beginning 
Still, let’s remember this tech is very early and needs time and investment to bring it to the consumer market. On a more positive note, I thank Zuckerberg and Co for popularising the ideas and being a true believer in the next evolution of the internet. 

Meta (Facebook) has poured 10s of billions into the development of both software and hardware projects this past year alone. Even with the recent troubles at Meta, I don’t count Meta out at all and look forward to future releases. 

But ultimately, let’s all agree that the next big thing is the Metaverse, and no, Mark Zuckerberg will not own it. The Metaverse will potentially be owned by anyone who participates and uses it. 

In this current Information Age this next evolutionary step in technology has awesome potential to better the good in every imaginable industry and human relations. Looking forward to taking the journey with you and discussing much more details to come.

Top Tip: Quest 2

If you are interested in dipping your toes into what’s available in immersible content with hints of Metaverse to come, I would highly recommend the Quest 2 virtual reality headset by Meta. 

The Quest 2 is a great mobile VR headset with truly state-of-the-art experiences, games and entertainment that you will be able to fully immerse yourself into and enjoy anywhere.