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  • Writer's pictureDavid Manion

Father of the Metaverse Neal Stephenson Says Don’t Get Fixated on VR Headsets


The metaverse is one of the most popular technological concepts of our time. And while there are assumptions about how it will work and the requirements to enter it, the man who coined the term itself isn’t necessarily convinced.





The Metaverse is One

Neal Stephenson is an author and public speaker who became popular for coining the word “metaverse” in his 1992 sci-fi novel ‘Snow Crash.’ With the metaverse concept becoming incredibly popular over the past two years, he has been sharing some of his thoughts on the future of this concept and what it could be.


Stephenson – working on Lamina1, a layer-1 blockchain for the metaverse – recently appeared on Decrypt’s gm podcast. There, he spoke about the fact that companies are beginning to enter the metaverse and why he doesn’t believe users would need goggles to enter this virtual world.


Stephenson’s podcast appearance focused primarily on his belief in the “open metaverse.” As he explained, companies entering the metaverse are trying to create fragmented spaces for their users and developers.


The trend is already shaping up, of course – Meta (formerly Facebook) is working on its virtual reality iteration, as are companies like Microsoft and more.


In the crypto space, the same trend is visible. Decentraland and The Sandbox are just two of the most popular metaverse platforms, but there are much more.


Fight Out, a move-to-earn platform is looking to apply the metaverse toward changing how people exercise and get fit. Tamadoge is a blockchain gaming service that takes place in the metaverse. And for RobotEra, the platform’s users can redevelop a virtual world and earn in the process.


While all of this is great, Stephenson explained that he doesn’t necessarily see the metaverse as a series of products being built in isolation. The author recognizes that most platforms can be built to stand independently.


Still, he also sees a future with “mashups” and collaborations between platforms to give users a more coherent experience within the metaverse.


Stephenson’s view of the metaverse has been shared by many experts, who believe that the concept shouldn’t necessarily be split and broken down into competing products or platforms.

However, many of these people also recognize the freedom of a company to build what they believe to be the best metaverse iteration possible.





No Goggles in This World

In the podcast episode, Stephenson also addressed the common belief that access to the metaverse would require virtual reality goggles. The belief has been propagated via movies such as “Ready Player One,” where participants in the metaverse must wear specialized goggles to enter the virtual world.


The author explained that the misconception originates from his book and other works that have depicted fiction and virtual reality. However, this isn’t necessarily right. Instead, he believes people should be able to access these virtual worlds through two-dimensional flat rectangles on flat screens. He believes this is more realistic than VR headsets or goggles.


Of course, Stephenson was quick to point out that he isn’t against headsets – especially since they seem to be the norm and are improving. However, with VR goggles being especially expensive, there is a fear that metaverses, which are only accessible using them, might not be able to see the levels of adoption that justify spending so much money on their development.


Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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