Chipotle is selling virtual burritos in Roblox. Ariana Grande holds a concert attended only by avatars on Fortnite. Someone spent $4.3million on virtual land to be Snoop Dogg’s “neighbor.” And Facebook changed its name to Meta.
Ready or not, your work, your play, and the future of the global economy is on a disruption course with the metaverse. More a convergence of trends than a product, the metaverse is not The Matrix, it’s not a protocol or a platform, and it’s not simply virtual reality. The nearest comparison, in terms of scope, is probably The Internet and all it encompasses — the connectivity, the hardware, the experiences, the social networks, the virtual workspaces. Yet unlike the walled gardens of big tech collecting and profiting from your data, the metaverse, in theory, will be decentralized, open, and widely user generated.
The metaverse of today is still in its ‘AOL disc you got in the mail’ stage of infancy. Yet whether or not the idea of spending crypto-bucks on a virtual beanie for your avatar to wear inside an NFT museum built by a 12 year old appeals to you? The biggest companies and creators are pouring billions of real dollars into this new marketplace — and that means you need to pay attention.
If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around all this, you’re not alone — and FIFTEEN is here to help. We’re sharing this handy glossary of key terms so that next time you hear a news story about a JPEG of a chimp somehow getting you into a Dolce & Gabbana yacht party? You’ll kinda sorta know what they’re talking about.