In ‘The Metaverse,’ a leading evangelist shies away from prediction

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metaverse 1

When Matthew Ball first published an explainer in 2021 about the “metaverse,” the nebulous term had yet to appear in the dozens of investor relations calls of companies aiming to build the next internet. It hadn’t yet become associated with blockchain technology, nor fueled countless headlines in technology and financial publications. It would be half a year before Facebook would rename itself “Meta.”

Ball, a former Amazon Studios executive and strategist, is regarded by industry peers as one of the leading voices on the metaverse. With his new book, “The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything,” landing on shelves on July 19, he attempts to keep pace as the world charges after the term he helped explain. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

The metaverse is widely discussed, if poorly understood by most. (In the book, Ball entertains several different definitions of the metaverse, writing that executives and companies alike have not yet settled on one vision.) Still, Ball is bullish, writing that the industries creating the metaverse will be collectively generating trillions of dollars. Across 309 pages, he covers the visions described by various companies like Epic and Nvidia when pitching the metaverse, how the term was coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel “Snow Crash” and what it would take to build a connected digital world in which people can participate. He also writes that the video game industry is leading efforts to build the next version of the internet, working on real-time rendering of three-dimensional worlds.

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