A woman using a VR headset
Source: Getty Images

Who Created the Metaverse? Development Continues at Lightning Speed

Robin Hill-Gray - Author
By

Jan. 28 2022, Published 11:42 a.m. ET

Perhaps one of the most talked-about technological advancements is the metaverse. While there might be certain associations companies have with it, does a company or person own the metaverse? Who actually created the metaverse? When most people think about the metaverse, they think of virtual and augmented reality, avatars, and NFT real estate. Most people don’t know that the term “metaverse” has its origins in literature.

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The term was coined in 1992 by science fiction writer Neal Stephenson. Stephenson used the word to refer to a 3D virtual space in his novel Snow Crash. However, when people try to conceptualize the metaverse, they often think about the film Ready Player One, which features its virtual reality. Since then, metaverse has taken on a whole different life form—literally.

Meta sign
Source: Getty Images

Person walks in front of Facebooks new Meta sign in California

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Does Facebook (Meta) own the metaverse?

When some people think about metaverse influence, they associate it with Facebook (now called Meta). But Facebook isn’t necessarily the one trailblazing the path for the metaverse. Reportedly, prior to Facebook’s rebrand, companies had already created ways to invest in the metaverse world. While Meta Platforms (Facebook) doesn’t necessarily own the metaverse, it plans to have a pretty large role in how the metaverse is experienced.

Meta Platforms has been making strides to be seen as a metaverse type of company by reportedly investing in augmented and virtual reality which people can take part in through Meta’s VR social space Horizon Worlds. Mark Zuckerberg views the Metaverse as “the successor to the mobile internet.” He thinks that developing the metaverse won’t be the job of one single company and it will require a collaborative effort from every industry.

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Facebook executives Andrew Bosworth and Nick Clegg said, “Meta is not going to build, own, or run the metaverse on its own. We are starting conversations about our vision for the metaverse early before some of the technologies even exist.” Meta Platforms seems certain that the metaverse doesn't belong to them exclusively. However, it's clear that Meta will be leading the way in developing the metaverse.

Source: YouTube

How the metaverse will be developed

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No one company or person owns the metaverse.

Since the metaverse is a concept or idea of sharing virtual space, a single person or company doesn't own it. However, companies capitalize on the idea of the metaverse and make their own kind, which they usually patent. Other companies associated with the metaverse concept are Roblox (RBLX.N), Microsoft (MSFT), Nvidia (NVDA), Epic Games, and Amazon (AMZN).

Nvidia, a computer chip manufacturer, is trying to make a metaverse of its own called the Omniverse, which seeks to connect several 3D worlds into one shared space. Roblox is a popular metaverse game and claims to view the metaverse as a world where “people can come together within million of 3D experiences to learn, play, create, and socialize.” Even Disneyland has taken part in the metaverse hype by getting a patent for metaverse technology to be used at its theme parks.

While other companies are creating their own spin on the virtual reality space, it's clear that Meta (Facebook) holds the majority of the influence on the space and will continue to lead the charge on how it takes shape. Whether or not someone actually owns the idea, or has a patent on the metaverse concept, remains to be revealed. As of right now, the metaverse is free game.

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