Immersive Web vs Metaverses
Was reminded of this Twitter thread I posted in response someone's comment about the metaverse. I wanted to put it here so it doesn't get lost (lightly edited).
I've never heard a consensus definition among academics (certainly not in CS and digital media) of "metaverse". I'd say the Wikipedia definition has a glaring issue with the phrase "including the sum of all" at the start of the article.
Much of what the Wikipedia definition talks about I'd agree with. Lots of heterogeneity, etc., like the web. BUT, I see a metaverse as needing something more than just "oh, it's AR or VR, and it's on the web, so it's part of the metaverse."
The sum total of all AR/VR on the web, I'd call the immersive web. I'd limit the metaverse to things that "play together" in some ways; shared avatars/presence, and/or shared monetary ecosystem, and/or "etc."; I'd also modestly require things to be social.
I personally see many metaverses, each based on some common assumptions and shared infrastructure beyond "hosted on servers based on web architectures." And I see lots of stuff (e.g., many of today's and tomorrow's "simple demos", closed enterprise apps, etc.) as being separate.
If the metaverse doesn't mean "something", it means nothing. As far as I know, most of the academics I've interacted with use "metaverse" as a throw-away catch-all for "the future when stuff is connected and integrated."
As a concrete example, I can easily see an entire metaverse growing up around Microsoft Mesh. I can see some of the non-big-company efforts spawning them too. The keys are "shared base" and "heterogeneous". I don't think The OASIS in Ready Player One is a metaverse. It's an MMO.