Origins of the Metaverse
On Google Trends searches for “metaverse” soared by 900% in October 2021, after Facebook changed its name to Meta. The creation of Meta brought the term to the mainstream but it is far from a new idea. The term metaverse was coined by Neal Stephenson in his book “Snow Crash” in 1992 to describe a virtual universe but the history of the metaverse goes back even further.
The foundations begin, over a 100 Metaverse platforms launch broadening the diversity of virtual worlds
Mark Zuckerberg unexpectedly changes Facebook’s parent company name to Meta, to focus on the Metaverse and sends the term viral, creating worldwide interest in the technology. Microsoft launches Mesh a mixed reality platform.
Fortnite by Epic Games, an online multiplayer game launches and introduces virtual concerts and social hubs.
Google released the Google Cardboard, which became the most popular VR device globally. The cardboard gadget and app for viewing VR on a smartphone was a worldwide hit receiving over 25 million downloads.
A new craze hits the world. Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game launches to worldwide success.
The first iteration of Decentraland, a 3D digital world with decentralised ownership and its own metanomics launches.
Ready Player One book by Ernest Cline introduces the concept of a virtual reality based Metaverse to the world.
Bitcoin and the Blockchain platform is created by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin becomes the world’s first successful cryptocurrency.
The birth of Roblox, an online platform game where users could create their own worlds and earn through sharing their creations with other users.
The first graphical virtual world appeared in the form of Phil Rosedale’s and Linden Lab’s developed Second Life. Second Life featured customisable avatars, a virtual world and even has its own currency. A forerunner to the metaverses we see today.
Michael Grieves develops the concept of Digital Twin to refer to the digital counterpart of a physical object.
Wei Dei (a computer scientist) introduces the concept of b-money, an anonymous, distributed electronic cash system that was later to evolve into cryptocurrencies.
The term “metaverse” is invented by author Neal Stephenson in his book “Snow Crash”.
Tim Berners-Lee submits his vision for what evolves into the world wide web in a document called “Information Management: A Proposal”.
Jaron Lanier and Thomas G. Zimmerman are credited as founders of the field of virtual reality, having left Atari in 1985 to form VPL Research, Inc. which was the first company to sell VR goggles and wired gloves.
ARPAnet adopt TCP/IP and from there, researchers created the “network of networks” that became the modern Internet.
The first virtual world Multi-User Dungeon or MUD (called MUD1 to distinguish it from its successor) was developed in 1978 by Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle at the University of Essex. Initially, MUD was a text-based game played using a TELNET program and the first game to feature talking avatars and a digital world with multiple players.
ARPAnet delivered its first “node to node” communication from one computer to another. ARPAnet or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network was originally funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.
The first CIA use of illusion and virtual reality to confuse and create non-credible disclosure—the ability to manipulate digital images, sounds, or videos to trick people into believing something untrue.