What is the metaverse and what can we do there?

What is the metaverse and what can we do there?

You’ve likely heard recently how the metaverse will usher in a new era of digital connectivity, virtual reality (VR) experiences and e-commerce. Tech companies are betting big on it: Microsoft’s massive US$68.7 billion acquisition of game developing giant Activision Blizzard reflected the company’s desire to bolster its position in the interactive entertainment space.

Prior to this, Facebook’s parent company rebranded itself as Meta — a key pillar of founder Mark Zuckerberg’s grand ambitions to reimagine the social media platform as “a metaverse company, building the future of social connection.”

But other non-tech corporations are clamouring to get in on the ground floor as well, from Nike filing new trademarks to sell virtual Air Jordans and Walmart preparing to offer virtual merchandise in online stores using its own cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

As a journalism professor who has been researching the future of immersive media, I agree the metaverse opens up transformative opportunities. But I also see inherent challenges in its road to mainstream adoption. So what exactly is the metaverse and why is it being hyped up as a game-changing innovation?

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