The Metaverse: Transformational prospect or undeserved hype?
“Metaverse”, derived from "meta" and "universe", refers to
a vast new technological realm, which its proponents argue has the potential to
transform the way we live, work, learn, and interact. The Metaverse has been
described as a virtual world where users can live out an immersive virtual life
and engage with others digitally, enabling them “to go where they were never
able to go before, including outer space.”
In the Metaverse, digital materials and objects represent digital human beings,
and social networking, online gaming, virtual reality (VR) and augmented
reality (AR) are combined to enable users to interact, communicate, and
participate in various activities.
concept of the Metaverse was first introduced by author Neal Stephenson in his
1992 science fiction novel "Snow Crash."
In his book, Stephenson imagined individuals as avatars meeting in various
virtual reality interfaces – a massive virtual environment that exists
alongside the actual world in which people communicate through digital avatars.
Since its inception, the Metaverse has been described by a variety of concepts,
virtual communal space, embodied network, mirror world, and venue for
simulation and interaction.
the most significant impacts of the Metaverse is on the workplace. Although the
Metaverse has yet to revolutionize work, the physical and digital worlds are
Companies are seeking to build virtual offices and workspaces in the Metaverse
as it has the technological capacity to replicate in-person interactions. This
will provide a more immersive experience for office and remote workers,
potentially enhancing performance and leveling the playing field for on-site
employees and those working remotely.
By incorporating elements of VR and AR, the Metaverse can simulate in-person interactions
and provide a more natural and intuitive workspace. However, this shift to a
virtual work environment also raises concerns about data security and privacy.
To ensure that the transition is successful, companies must prioritize security
measures and readdress current security standards to adapt to the new
Only then can organizations fully embrace the potential of the Metaverse for
the future of work.
are increasingly exploring the potential of virtual worlds to enhance
collaboration with customers, rapidly prototype products, and control
real-world equipment in innovative ways. To achieve this, the prototypes
currently being developed integrate real-world hardware with controls in
virtual environments, as described by Duncan Graham-Rowe.
This allows for the testing and refining of prototypes in a virtual environment
before they are brought into the physical world. In addition, the tech industry
is considering converting models designed using their industrial design tools
into 3D models, which can be brought into virtual worlds to enable real-time
feedback from customers. This would allow customers to interact with the
product in a more immersive way, moving around it and communicating with it
directly. Such innovations can lead to significant cost savings and shorter
time-to-market for businesses while enhancing customer satisfaction and
experience. As such, virtual worlds have the potential to revolutionize the way
businesses design and prototype their products.
from a business-to-business (B2B) perspective, it seems only a matter of time
before technological advancements bring about major changes to how businesses
deal with their vendors. Due to advancements in supply chain management that
Metaverse technology is expected to provide, retail and manufacturing suppliers
will soon have the ability to provide the agility and flexibility that
tomorrow's B2B environment requires.
of virtual worlds also opens up new possibilities for the creation and
utilization of virtual real estate. The concept of real estate in the Metaverse
is an emerging area of interest, with many experts predicting that virtual real
estate will become a valuable asset in the future. Investors are already
flocking to the Metaverse, seemingly captivated by the opportunity to buy, sell,
and rent virtual properties that they believe are poised to become valuable
assets in the future. The New York Times has reported that virtual homes and
land in the Metaverse are already selling for thousands of dollars.
This shift to virtual real estate could have significant impacts on traditional
real estate markets, as people may choose to invest in virtual property instead
of physical property. Additionally, the Metaverse's ability to create new
environments and experiences for users means that real estate within it could
take on new dimensions and possibilities that are not feasible in the physical
of virtual real estate in the Metaverse claim that it is a versatile tool that
can be utilized for various applications, including virtual events, concerts,
and exhibitions. Indeed, the demand for virtual land has surged as businesses
and individuals seek to establish a presence in the Metaverse, with well-known
brands already purchasing virtual land for marketing and promotional purposes.
traditional real estate, virtual real estate is not subject to the same
physical constraints, which provides significant opportunities for businesses
and individuals to explore new markets, audiences, and revenue streams.
Investors are confident in continued market growth, with the BBC reporting that
almost US$2 billion has been spent on virtual land over the 12 months preceding
November 2022. This
new frontier of real estate is not limited by geography or spatial constraints,
offering endless possibilities for innovation and creativity in how businesses
and individuals use and benefit from it.
potential of virtual real estate in the Metaverse extends beyond marketing and
promotional purposes. It can also be utilized for education and training, with
institutions and organizations creating immersive learning environments that
allow students to learn and practice skills in a virtual setting. As the
education sector is impacted by the Metaverse, educators are able to transcend
space and time, creating learning experiences that expand students' autonomy to
an unprecedented degree. In this connection, Metaverse scholars from China have
observed that by bringing together the Metaverse and education, “a full-process
closed-loop structure can be developed. With no boundaries between online and
offline settings, a ‘multidimensional’ teaching approach can be delivered.”
the potential to overcome the shortcomings of current 2D-based online or remote
classes, providing an innovative solution for immersive and effective
education. In addition to broadening and enriching the education experience,
the Metaverse is seen as a means through which traditionally high educational
costs can be reduced.
of enriching the educational experience, Metaverse-based “educational tourism”
foresees the Metaverse as a means of offering novel and innovative ways of
experiencing education. The key concept is that, unlike traditional online
universities and colleges, students in the Metaverse can virtually immerse
themselves in the culture of the country they are studying. This type of
immersive experience goes beyond what traditional online education can offer
and provides a more enriching experience for students.
Students can freely engage and interact with a foreign country’s residents,
streets, libraries, and architecture, all while experiencing the language,
customs, and way of life in a way that was previously impossible.
the cost of participating in a program of this kind is significantly lower than
moving to another country for education. It is an ideal solution for students
who cannot afford to study abroad, or for those who want to explore new
cultures without the inconvenience of dealing with logistical costs such as
transportation and accommodation. As a result, the Metaverse is shaping up to
be an attractive and practical solution for students who want to broaden their
horizons and expand their cultural awareness.
of the Metaverse to implement training in practical vocational skills is
another nascent area best seen – so far – in the healthcare field where the
technology is showing great promise as a means of not only engaging students in
nursing skills training, but also enhancing their learning achievement,
decision-making performance, and problem-solving tendency.
Metaverse continues to evolve and expand, it is important to consider the
potential job prospects that will be available in this new digital realm. Disruptive
technologies introduce various new job descriptions that companies are looking
to fill with skilled workers. As more businesses start to explore and invest in
the Metaverse, there will be an increased demand for professionals who are
knowledgeable in VR, AR, and extended reality (XR).
and XR experts are already being employed by some of the most prestigious
businesses worldwide and make a handsome salary. With the growing use of
hardware in virtual reality, systems such as Oculus Quest and HTC have been generating
record sales since 2020.
The growth of these markets will support career opportunities with professions such
as software designer, design architect, 3D artist, system validation engineer,
maintenance for AR/VR and support, and design/graphics engineer becoming highly
sought-after in the coming years.
As businesses and brands increasingly embrace creativity and design that is
human-centered and capable of utilizing modern technologies to improve society,
it is clear that there will be a growing need for skilled professionals who can
help shape the Metaverse's development.
the metaverse is generating entirely new ethical and legal questions related to
participants’ identity and self-perception. While on the one hand, the new
digital realm has created a highly liberated space for individuals' lives and
activities, this liberated space also runs the risk of amplifying issues that
have yet to be controlled in the real world, let alone the virtual world.
Issues such as impersonation and intellectual property rights infringement are
already starting to appear. For example, in recent years, there have been cases
of individuals creating avatars of others without their consent, leading to
potential legal issues.
questions arise regarding how to regulate the behavior of users and establish a
safe and orderly virtual environment. As a priority, it is crucial to address
potential issues related to the regulation of user behavior and data privacy.
This means ensuring that user data is protected and that individuals' privacy
rights are not infringed upon. It also means preventing the spread of hate
speech, bullying, and other forms of harmful behavior that could be amplified
in the virtual world.
the pragmatic question of who or what would govern the Metaverse must be addressed.
Would it be a private company or a public entity? Would it be governed by an
international organization or a local government? These are important questions
that must be answered to ensure that the Metaverse develops in a way that
benefits society as a whole. At a minimum, it is likely that developers,
regulators, lawmakers, and other stakeholders must get ahead of the curve and
agree on the formation of an international regulatory body to handle the most
pressing risks and establish guidelines tailored to this new virtual
conclusion, the Metaverse has the potential to transform the way we live, work,
learn, and interact with each other. As the Metaverse continues to evolve, it
will create various job opportunities for skilled professionals in the fields
of VR, AR, and XR. The Metaverse will also revolutionize education by offering
students an immersive learning experience that transcends traditional online
classrooms. However, to ensure a safe and orderly virtual environment, regulatory
bodies must be established to address issues such as data privacy, intellectual
property rights, harmful behavior, and questions arising from potential changes
to self-perception and online identity. The question of who or what would
govern the Metaverse must also be considered. The potential of the Metaverse is
vast, but it also poses significant challenges that must be addressed to fully
realize its potential. By addressing these challenges, we can ensure that the
Metaverse develops in a way that benefits society as a whole.
 Linda Tucci and David Needle, “What Is the Metaverse? An Explanation and In-depth
Guide,” Tech Target, June 27, 2023, http://bitly.ws/KnGp.
 Anders Bruun and Martin Lynge Stentoft, “Lifelogging in the Wild:
Participant Experiences of Using Lifelogging as a Research Tool,” Proceedings
of the IFIP Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (2019), https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29387-1_24.
“Introduction to Metaverse: Multiverse of the Internet,” Code and Hack,
July 23, 2022, http://bitly.ws/KnIZ.
 Louella Fernandes, “What Does the Metaverse Mean for the Future
Workplace?” Quo Circa, November 15, 2021, http://bitly.ws/Cdcp.
 Hsin Huang, Gwo-Jen Hwang, and Shao-Chen Chang,
“Facilitating Decision Making in Authentic Contexts: An SVVR-based Experiential
Flipped Learning Approach for Professional Training,” Interactive Learning
Environments (2021), https://doi.org/10.1080/10494820.2021.2000435.