First coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel, Snow Crash, the metaverse is a concept that fully blends digital and physical existence. Now, as the concept develops, that definition is gaining nuance. It has since been categorized as everything from the new internet, to a democratized virtual society, to the convergence of virtual and physical realities, to persistent virtual spaces, to a digital twin of our own world.

As part of an upcoming report on the metaverse, we asked 10 experts how they define the metaverse. Read on for their interpretations and predictions, and download our report, "Into the Metaverse" for more.

WEB Fun1
IMVU

A persistent and user-defined virtual space

"It is a computer-generated simulation of a 3D space where users can interact. The metaverse will have three key attributes: it needs to have presence (social presence), it needs to be persistent (when users come back there’s some sort of continuity and not a reboot) and lastly and most importantly it needs to be shared (multiple people will need to be able to interact in the metaverse)."

- Daren Tsui, CEO, Together Labs


“A platform agnostic digital space. The metaverse is a persistent hub which is user definable. Persistence and user-generated content will be a big part of it. The future is about reacting quickly to social situations in a metaverse world.”

- Keith Stuart, games editor, The Guardian

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The Fabricant

A digital layer of everyday life

“The metaverse is just a digital layer of our lives. The metaverse will exist once everything that we do digitally is completely, seamlessly connected. So, if I buy a yellow t-shirt in Fortnite, I get to wear it on Instagram, I get to wear it on Facebook, I get to have an AR wearing experience, and they’re all completely interconnected. The metaverse is just an extension of our physical lives into the digital realm.

— Kerry Murphy, founder and CEO, The Fabricant


"At Snapchat we think about a world where computing is seamlessly overlaid on the physical world around us. The metaverse is an area where you can take and see and interact with things that are both physically in front of you and with a digital content overlay.”

- Carolina Arguelles, group product marketing manager, Snap AR


“The way that we define the metaverse is that it’s like the virtual world; it's going to be our virtual existence. Right now, we have our real lives and our social media lives—the metaverse will be one step above that, like our virtual twin, doing all kinds of activities in the virtual world. You will have a whole existence that can happen in these virtual environments.”

— Neha Singh, founder and CEO, Obsess

A digital twin of the physical world

“It’s a digital twin of our world, but then you can have endless amounts of worlds. Real transactions can be made and you can buy real estate, kind of like Second Life.”

- Leon Ng, founder and CEO, LNG Studios


It's a digital representation of the physical world and a continuum of time and space. What does that mean? it's where you're socializing. I always point to the Travis Scott concert in Fortnite as one of the best examples of what the metaverse describes.”

— Kai Bond, partner, Courtside Ventures

WEB Helena Dong
Helena Dong for i-D Asia

An interconnected and limitless virtual world

“Essentially, it's the creation of a persistent virtual world, in which consumers are able to hop between different virtual experiences. It will be powered by a virtual economy in which there are jobs and the same sort of financial mechanics that we see in typical economies. The idea is that the metaverse would eventually be the sort of place where, as your virtual avatar, you would be able to go into a Disney store, for example, and buy an outfit for your avatar to wear, then go to a Nike store and buy a pair of shoes to be delivered to you in the physical world, and then pop into to a Spotify virtual concert or Roblox virtual concert after that, and then go for a run with all your friends while listening to that concert—a run in the real world, but you're connected through the metaverse.

— Grant Paterson, head of gaming and e-sports, Wunderman Thompson


The metaverse is an open-source, connected set of worlds that you can transition between in a seamless way. The vision of the metaverse--the Ready, Player One version--is different worlds that you can move seamlessly between; so let’s say you’re in Farmville, then you can open a door and move to Grand Theft Auto.”

— Philippe Brown, consultant and author of Revisit: The New Art of Luxury Travel


“When I look at the word metaverse, I tend to think about the multiverse. So for me, it almost feels like this digital multiverse; like we have a multitude of worlds that exist and evolve simultaneously across different realities. That pertains to your tangible reality and also realities that exist digitally. I think about the metaverse as this space that encompasses all kinds of realities.”

— Helena Dong, creative technologist

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