Who Is the Metaverse?
Hi Everyone! Welcome to the very first of hopefully many ImmTalks! Today’s talk is titled-
Who IS The Metaverse?
First some information about me!
My name is Steve LaVigne.
I have been involved in the Metaverse business, or what we call virtual worlds for over 18 years. I am Secretary-Treasurer of A Dimension Beyond, Inc, a small virtual world hosting and development company. ADB and Metaverse School GmbH in Germany have joined forces to bring you Immworlds. Immworlds is the brand name for a new type of Immersive virtual world built on Metaverse School’s cybaLOUNGE platform. Immworlds is totally web-based and works on anything with a modern web browser.
Our talk will be about 10 Minutes long with a discussion for 20 minutes and a short party later in the Welcome region.
So—Who IS the Metaverse?
Lets first take a short look at what got us here. Way back all we had was 2 dimensional web pages that were supposed to be gathering places. One such place was MySpace. MySpace is still around but nobody really uses it anymore. They had places to put up your pictures and post things for your friends to see and judge you on. Maria’s page here is a good example of what was available at the time. MySpace did not have live chat messages.
It also did not have real time voice chatting and no video chat. At that time the internet could not handle that because we were using 56K telephone modems!
A little later as internet service got a little faster, we got a quasi-3D world called Habbo Hotel. Habbo is a world where you have an avatar that looks like a Lego person. You could dress up your avatar and do a form of instant messaging to communicate. This was an early kind of 3D world. It was low resolution graphically. You could not build in it except to use what things they provided. It was primarily a social place for people to gather together. Believe it or not Habbo Hotel is still around today!
In the early 2000’s we got a step up with a fully 3 Dimensional virtual world called Second Life. In Second Life you could build whatever you desired with the in-world tools. Things like houses, trees, and clothes for your avatar became relatively easy to create. Millions of people signed up for Second Life. Thousands are still active there today.
Second Life has a true in-world economy using Lindens as the coin that is traded. You could also convert Lindens into real money if you wanted to. Early Second Life people had an interesting time there as the viewer that you had to download and setup tended to crash a lot! You could only type out your instant messages to communicate. Voice came several years later and was not all that great in the beginning!
The big thing about Second Life was that you could build anything you wanted to out of what they called prims and you could sell or trade them in the world using the Linden currency.
Second Life gathered a lot of people together that were building all sorts of things that they sold to other people as avatars.
Creators and builders could make real money after trading their Lindens for cash. Another first in Second Life was a scripting language and animations that you could make your avatar, or a vehicle or just about anything come to life! This made Second Life a place where you could have many things to do which kept people coming back. Second Life was so addictive that I was glued in there for almost 5 years!
Second Life is still going strong today! They have improved the graphics, and the avatars are really lifelike!
Shortly later, Second Life was reverse engineered into an open source world called Open Simulator. OpenSim as it is generally called works a lot like Second Life and is in some ways better. OpenSim has a function called HyperGrid where you can teleport to any of thousands of different grids hosted all over the world owned by many different people.
HyperGrid is actually the beginning of a true Metaverse. You can go to all these different grids and keep the avatar you have. You also have access to your inventory so you can shop in other grids and bring things back to your home grid.
So what do you get when you own or rent a region in your typical virtual world? Look at this slide. This is an undeveloped region in Immworlds. It is a lot of empty space. A lot of nothing really. A 64 acre blank canvas! Now we get down to the nitty gritty of who IS the metaverse!
The metaverse starts out as nothing but empty space. What do we need to fill that emptiness and turn it into something? Think carefully… We need people! We need people who can create a new world and make that emptiness into a beautiful place to be in. We need people like you who are creative and talented in many things. People to build structures that you can go to and gather-like inns, and stores, and houses, and places to dance. We need people to create animations so those people can dance, have animals to play with, and beautiful avatars and clothes for them to wear.
We also need people to set up and run servers in their homes and in data centers to host those virtual worlds and do the technical work to keep them running. That is a lot of what I do for A Dimension Beyond and Immworlds as we are a hosting company that hosts several types of virtual worlds. We need people who can dream up different new and exciting virtual spaces for people to gather and work in. We also need people to do the coding that makes it all work. We need people to keep it up to date, like Dieter and everyone at Metaverse School that we work together with, to create platforms that run virtual worlds like cybaLOUNGE, the platform Immworlds runs on.
The Metaverse is going to take thousands, maybe even millions of people to create places and things and to keep it going. It will also need millions of people to want to try out the wonderful places and virtual things that creators make to be a success.
One of the fun things about virtual worlds is that they are like the real world in many, many ways. You can do all sorts of things in a virtual world from having meetings and conversations with friends and co-workers, to playing games, or even falling in Love!
Virtual worlds when connected together in a way that you can go to many different worlds and keep your avatar and what you own will be the Metaverse. The Metaverse will be a well designed interconnected place for people to create and live in.
The key to this will the virtual world companies, large and small working together to make a metaverse of many grids owned by many different companies and individuals. We will need a set of standards and a group like IEEE to enforce those standards so everything works together and is a true Metaverse.
In the future there will be a multi-trillion dollar economy that will happen in the Metaverse. Thousands of jobs will be created around this Metaverse economy. Here are just a few examples:
First we need YOU in the world to enjoy it and make new friends. You will have conversations that will inspire you. You will go dancing at a fancy dance hall and have the time of your life! You might even decide to buy a premium membership or even rent your own region to hang out in.
We will also need…
3D builders and designers, to build buildings, and parks, and trees, and everything that is in the real world.
Avatar creators, are needed to build avatars, not only of people that are realistic looking, but also of animals, and fantasy creatures like Orcs, and Dragons, and Fairies.
We will need clothing designers to give all these avatars clothing to wear to enhance their appearance and take on different roles in the world like a businessman, or a priest, or a person in the Army, or on the starship Enterprise! The list here is endless!
Also needed will be instructional designers, and teachers, and curriculum creators, to make education work in a virtual world where students can thrive. Virtual worlds can become the place of choice where people will learn new skills.
Animators will create walks, and sits, and dances, to make everything move like it should.
Marketing people will also be needed to sell the products that everyone creates.
This is only the beginning of a much longer list. What most people don’t realize is that this so called Metaverse is in many ways a lot like the real world. There will need to be people who govern their virtual worlds and an over-seeing group to make sure everything works well together. In essence a consortium of worlds to make it all run smoothly and not fall apart.
We have a really big chance here to gather people together in peace, and with hopefully harmony, to have a really good place to communicate, and share with each other, and create a more tolerant real world. The Metaverse needs to be open worlds, where people can share, and meet freely, and exchange their thoughts, and dreams.
The metaverse needs to run on many devices and operating systems. The metaverse should not need to have special hardware like headsets to be enjoyed by it’s inhabitants. The Metaverse should be universal- there for everyone including those with special needs!
When you are in a virtual world you will meet a diverse group of people as avatars that live all over the world. They all have different dreams, and cultures, and needs. You will grow to better understand that everyone is valuable to all of us, and worthy of being here. Your view of the world will evolve!
YOU are the Metaverse. By your participation, and creations, and sharing your love and talents, you will make the Metaverse and our real world a better, more tolerant place to live in!
Thank you for coming to ImmTalks!
Now tell, Who are YOU in the Metaverse? Let’s share!