"Metaverse" may become the word of the year in 2021. Everyone is talking about Metaverse and trying to figure out how to invest and make money from it. Metaverse is actually a set of technologies that can realize an immersive virtual world. The concept of Metaverse is not new. It has been circulating for many years, but now it is finally about to enter prime time. When Facebook tried to distract people from congressional hearings by quickly renaming itself "Meta," it seemed to really start to gain attention. But Metaverse really started in some early immersive virtual worlds, such as Second Life decades ago and recently Roblox and Minecraft.  

Metaverse is indeed the next Internet form factor, which combines new technologies to improve the experience. This is a way to connect with others in a 3D immersive virtual sandbox, where people can play, work, and socialize. It is similar to the StarTrek Holodeck concept. Metaverse existed as early as the AOL and Compuserve chat rooms in the 80s and 90s. It is text-based and primitive, but it allows people to interact digitally in a variety of games, productivity, and social ways.

Modern Internet browsers extended this early metaverse to millions of people through dial-up connections in the mid-1990s. Then, Web 2.0 extends the experience to mobile devices and builds on faster bandwidth, improved video, cloud, and e-commerce capabilities. Web 3.0 and Metaverse are now layered on new 3-D features, game engine graphics, and additional virtual economic elements (such as cryptocurrency, game earning, and augmented and virtual reality technologies) to elevate them to a new level. "Metaverse" now brings together many of these technologies, built on Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and added some new features in 2020, such as AR, VR, NFT, and 5G.

Metaverse is a new term for the next stage of network access. COVID 19 may have accelerated the transition to the Metaverse. The blockade related to the pandemic has initiated work on home technologies such as zoom video conferencing and online gaming. It also promotes social distancing and revises perceptions of remote work. We see our children being attracted to online gaming worlds such as Roblox and Minecraft, where they connect with friends for hours and spend money on virtual items such as clothing, pets, and real estate. 

Finally Metaverse has been brewing for 20 years. Maybe it's really here now.