As technology keeps advancing, the concept of a virtual world where people can escape the real one is becoming more intriguing to many. We have seen snippets of virtual worlds in science fiction literature, where anyone can assume any identity, but the latest development that is receiving a lot of buzz is the Metaverse. The term “metaverse” became popular when Facebook changed its name to Meta in October 2021, and it has since become a topic of discussion in technology circles.
Despite the close relationship between the Metaverse and virtual reality, many people have been asking if there is a difference between the two technologies. While it might seem that the Metaverse is a virtual setting that can be accessed using VR headsets, there are several differences between these two technologies. In this article, we provide an in-depth analysis of both technologies to help you understand the differences between virtual reality and the Metaverse.
What is the Metaverse?
The term “metaverse” was coined by science fiction author Neal Stephenson in his book “Snow Crash” in 1992. In the book, the Metaverse is a made-up reality that the protagonist uses to escape the real one. Today, the Metaverse is often referred to as the next phase of internet technology. It is an open and shared space where users can explore and interact with a variety of virtual worlds, content, and services in three-dimensional spaces. The Metaverse allows for a creative economy where people can develop virtual worlds and solutions.
Users can access the Metaverse through different technologies such as AR glasses, laptops, smartphones, and other devices. Unlike virtual reality, the Metaverse is not restricted to VR technology. It is a huge virtual space that allows users to access online resources and virtual surroundings as real individuals using digital avatars. Users can participate in a range of experiences in the Metaverse as a virtual avatar that lives in the virtual world. For instance, you can visit a virtual museum in the Metaverse without leaving a game.
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality (VR) is the development of digitally produced environments. It refers to a three-dimensional environment created by computers where a user can explore and interact with a virtual reality experience in a captivating and immersive environment. In virtual reality, users can interact with objects and carry out various tasks. Although VR can only give access to gated experiences or limited virtual worlds, users can access unique VR experiences by wearing specially designed VR-specific headgear and glasses connected to the computer running the apps. Specialized devices improve users’ immersive experiences with sensory elements.
Virtual reality has two primary sectors: entertainment and gaming. However, the use of virtual reality in the military, medical field, and education has increased recently.
Differences between the Metaverse and Virtual Reality
The fundamental differences between the Metaverse and virtual reality serve as the primary framework for comparison between the two technologies.
The open, shared, and persistent virtual world known as the Metaverse provides access to user-generated 3D virtual environments, solutions, and spaces. On the other side, virtual reality is a technology that makes it possible to create three-dimensional virtual environments with a range of function-driven characteristics. The Metaverse is not clearly defined, while VR has a more precise definition.
Another key difference between the Metaverse and virtual reality is ownership possibilities. When using a VR system, users are essentially using a company’s technology, and the content displayed in the system’s VR experiences belongs to the brand. When using VR technology, the hardware is the only possession. On the other hand, the Metaverse allows users to possess virtual things and experiences and grants complete ownership rights.
In virtual reality, the limitations revolve around technology. VR technology developments are the only way to improve virtual experiences, and they are mainly about mimicking experiences to enjoy them. In contrast, the Metaverse is devoid of such limitations. A wide range of additional technologies, such as augmented reality, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and connection technologies, power the Metaverse’s features.
When using VR, a limited amount of individuals can access VR experiences, just like the game’s participants, while only a device or headset is needed to enter a virtual world. The Metaverse, on the other hand, is not limited to a certain number of users, and users can participate in a wide range of experiences and activities as a virtual avatar that lives in the virtual world.
In summary, the Metaverse and virtual reality are two distinct technologies with different definitions, ownership possibilities, technological limitations, and experiences. While VR is limited to creating virtual environments with a range of function-driven characteristics, the Metaverse allows users to access diverse virtual worlds, services, and solutions as well as experience activities as a virtual avatar that lives in a virtual world.