“These days, the reality is a bummer. Everyone is looking for a way to escape,” said Wade Watts, the protagonist of the Ernest Cline novel Ready Player One, which was turned into a movie by Steven Spielberg in 2018. In the novel and film, which takes place in 2045, the world is on the verge of collapse, but a virtual reality universe, OASIS, has given people something to find hope in.
While Ready Player One is clearly a science fiction story about a contest taking place in a virtual community, it draws many parallels to the rise of the metaverse. In OASIS, hosted avatars could be customized according to individual preferences, people could purchase items and outfits to use in the game and those purchases had real value. Sound familiar?
The metaverse, a massively scaled, interactive virtual platform, is just on the horizon of bringing some of that sci-fi to life, as a place where people can play, socialize, work, shop, and then buy and pay using nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and other forms of cryptocurrency. It consists of decentralized, interconnected virtual reality worlds where people (or their avatars) can do just about anything they do in the physical world.