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The Virtual Reality; Metaverse

In October 2021, the founder and CEO of Facebook announced a new strategy introduced by the company, a new technological tool known as Metaverse, which have been defined as a persistent online world, economically developed to enhance the Virtual Reality (VR) experience by an unlimited number of users. Some media coverage provided its understanding of Metaverse as simply Virtual Reality software, while others described it as a massively multiplayer online game. On the contrary, web3 advocates argued that Metaverse is not a closed ecosystem controlled by any tech state or company since its infrastructure is solely based on blockchain and crypto tokens. To them, Metaverse must be an ecosystem that is both politically and technically decentralized. That means, Blockchain-based massively multiplayer online games such as the Sandbox qualify for Metaverse and not Minecraft, owned by Microsoft or Second life, owned by Linde Plc.

While the name Metaverse has been linked to the SnowCrash novel in 1992, produced by Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson, it has never received public recognition until it was mentioned by Mark Zuckerberg (Gilbert, 2022, p.1.). According to Facebook CEO, the new generation of the internet is Metaverse, and any social media existing will be covered under the umbrella of the new wave (Laeeq, 2022). As the founder, he described Metaverse as a virtual environment where people are free to present themselves in digital spaces. This is to imply that Metaverse is an embodied internet that allows one to be inside rather than looking at it.


Metaverse’s outstanding features originate from its definition demonstrated in Snow Crash, a novel by Stephenson, who described it as a massive, immersive, open, persistent and economically- developed virtual world. It is regarded as massive because it can support or hold multiple participants with an unlimited number of users. It was believed to be immersive because it offers a three-dimensional and embodied VR experience compared to the two-dimensional provided by MMOs. It is said to be persistent because it never pauses and known to be open because it is accessible to anyone with VR hardware. Economically development is associated with its ability to allow trading of goods and services within it, alongside electronic currency transactions.

Subsequently, Multiverse is characterized as a multi-technology, sociality, and hyper-spatiotemporally. The multi-technological feature is seen in its ability to integrate various new technologies, such as blockchain technologies which protect and enhance activities within it. For instance, Metaverse is designed to allow users to become prosumers or both consumers and producers of their services. This concept was implied during the early work of Karl Marx and later other scholars such as McLuhan, who introduced the idea that a consumer can also become the producer of the same product (Ritzer, Dean and Jurgenson, 2012). The prosumer concept is closely related to the user-led phenomenon, which is increasingly spreading into offline worlds, where users with skills, abilities and interests can create their content (Bruns, 2007). In this context, creating is not simply producing but coming up with something new, innovative, fresh, or different from the rest (Hesmondhalgh & Baker, 2013). As such, Metaverse may become one of the digital platforms which may witness a booming growth in prosumers.

Sociality is linked to its closeness with reality through cultural, legal, and economic systems, which are uniquely characterized in their way. For instance, Metaverse has successfully transformed traditional social networks into more immersive and interactive 3D social worlds. In the virtual social worlds, users represent themselves as avatars that freely and socially interact with other users. Through this, people have established and strengthened social relationships with others through their participation in events, games or trading. Ideally, virtual social worlds are more like social environment which integrates real social space. This explains why the real virtual social world entails design requirements such as Realism (for users emotionally immersed), Ubiquity (ubiquitously accessible from different locations and devices), interoperability (standards for teleport) and Scalability (computational power management. Hyper spatiotemporality is associated with its parallelism to the real world, as it breaks the boundaries of time and space in an immersive experience. For instance, the Holographic image is a reproduction technology that represents the three-dimensional image of an object through optical means. It results from the combination of computer technology and electronic imagining. The Holographic uses coherent lighting to obtain object information, including size and shape. The feature allows users to view images with their eyes at different angles without necessarily wearing any portable devices. This implies that Metaverse, as a technological tool, blurs the boundary between the virtual and physical worlds (Ning et al., 2012).

Significantly, Metaverse is simply blockchain Technology with which it is built. It ensures that any new item built by a particular user cannot be stolen, interfered with or replicated by another user. Blockchain technology is one that ensure digital goods traded in this wave are of a kind. Cryptocurrency eases trading in this platform, allowing the purchase of everything tradable. The most common feature is Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) is a unique token protected by blockchain technology and hence cannot be duplicated. NFTs are mainly used to represent real-world items that hold value, like physical assets. The token CEO, Andrew Kiguel, invested over $2.5 million in Decentraland, one of the largest and most developed lands, to provide vast commercial opportunities to users. He planned to create Decentraland’s Crypto Valley, a rental office and a New York-based real estate company to facilitate virtual shopping.

Purpose, Effectiveness, and Context

Metaverse serves an important purpose to users. Jose van Dijck (2009) define users as active internet contributors who put in their creative effort outside their professional routines or platforms (p. 1). Like other media forums, Metaverse also conceptualizes audiences as consumers and users. Simply put, Metaverse represents over 80 million market opportunities to its users by enabling them to create vast wealth through trading. One, it allows people to work and play.For instance, as indicated in the Snow Crash novel, the Metaverse allowed its users to do business deals, attend rock concerts, conduct archival research, drink, ride racing, and take drugs. For instance, to buy a property in Metaverse, one must register with a platform such as Axie Infinity or Sandbox. Platforms such as Gemini allow people to purchase metaverse cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Cryptocurrency is the most popular mode of payment used in Metaverse because of its simplicity, convenience and less expensive. Others can also direct them directly. One may also buy or rent some piece of land in ways including Upland, decentralized or Sandbox, which offers different units of land. Undoubtedly virtual lands are increasingly becoming valuable assets, with numerous properties reaching millions of dollars and beyond.

Typically, Metaverse is regarded as an international and transnational platform that offers users worldwide opportunities. Metaverse integrates highly advanced technologies, including 5G, Computer vision, cloud computing, blockchain, video games, business and arts. However, due to differences in policies, different countries have different development plans (Ning et al., 2012). An example is the United States which is the leading pioneer of Metaverse and hence has an extensive Metaverse layout applied to fields such as games, arts and business (Ning et al., 2012). On the other hand, China has a wide internet application market, enabling Metaverse. Japan has also gained a cumulative advantage in IP resources and the ACG industry; hence is continuously focusing its applications on areas such as animation and video games. Germany and Italy have greatly focused on luxury branding to facilitate virtual trading through this new wave. Besides its main mode of payment, Cryptocurrency is accessible simple, less expensive and convenient to all users, thus embrace the global metaverse shopping trip. Users are allowed to use their Cryptocurrency at any given store, regardless of geographical location. Users are protected from wasting money on international transactions or communication because most stores in Metaverse accept cryptocurrency mode of payment.

Political Issues

For many years, the cultural and political leaders in the real world have created a virtual world where they signal their relevance, meaning and virtue (Washington Street Journal, 2022). From a political perspective, public policy prefers artificial reality to the actual one. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, policy measures such as mask-wearing were used by leaders to identify those who are or are not part of particular worlds or grouping. The same force to be or not be a part of our own world-making is important in politics. Implementing policies, governing or building the majority of ideas takes work. However, due to the power held by political figures, technological developments such as Metaverse are greatly influenced by politicians who seem to embrace this new wave. For years, and as affirmed by Washington Street Journal, “perhaps politicians could all go and live in Metaverse, leaving the rest of us in the world.”

Still, there is politics on the governance of Metaverse. The conflict of governance resulted from alternative governance in its structures which are popular among web3 advocates who argue that users and not executives should have decision-making authority within the companies. As such, Decentralized Autonomous organizations have been proposed to be appropriate because it issue users with blockchain-based tokens which allow them to control both governance and economic rights. Even though this theory is somewhat appealing, it raises concerns about what happens when governance gets out of hand. Therefore, Metaverse governance is a critical challenge that may continue to attract more conflicting ideas on Metaverse’s privacy, safety and security (World Economic Forum, May 25th, 2022).

Ethical Issues

However, due to its privacy shortcomings, Metaverse has continuously faced ethical issues. In particular, ethics in Metaverse can be linked to normative ethical theories whose focus is on what is right or wrong (BBC, 2014). Its digital footprints have provided a new identity to people and created a free space for activities where complicated social relationships are established. At the same time, the platform reveals the user’s real-world identity, including locations, preferences, shopping and financial details. This has hindered users’ privacy, neglecting the important role of privacy in shaping the social Metaverse (Sun et al., 2022). As such, it is important that Metaverse protects user privacy and only allow the user to disclose information to those they wish to share their information with. It’s unfortunate that this privacy control is not possible in Metaverse because users are unable to change the virtual properties of the platform. Therefore, creating social clone allow users to create multiple clones so as to confuse attackers or online invaders. Invisibility can also be used to make avatars temporarily available to others, ultimately preventing attackers from tracking the privacy of intruders or bots. The use of Lockout can also protect users’ privacy by temporarily locking out some parts of Metaverse to only allow private use of avatars.

Another important ethical issue is user behavior because of its unlimited users. Therefore, as a new network, Metaverse must ensure effective control of users’ behaviors by establishing a clear moral and ethical norm to maintain an orderly ecological environment. As such, ethical issues facing Metaverse is any problem caused by confusion or absence of moral norms that may conflict with societal norms. Metaverse must address several of these ethical issues to function effectively as intended by its producers. They include addressing unfavorable atmospheres, infringement of intellectual property rights, integrity issues, fraud, and dissemination of false information.


Metaverse is undeniably a great future in Information Technology, which will allow people to spend more time in the virtual world than in reality through the avatars representing users on the platform. According to most technology experts, the Metaverse may slowly eliminate geographical issues, especially in business affairs (Sparkes2021). Tech executives have also anticipated that Metaverse will allow individuals to create their Metaverse for virtual purposes. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates affirmed that” virtual meetings will be transformed to Metaverse in coming years, and many internet users will use VR avatars and headsets for work purposes ” (Laeeq, 2022). As such, people will continuously spend money to beatify and equip the avatars, ultimately expanding its use and creation.


Bruns, A. (2007). The future is user-led: The path towards widespread produsage. In Proceedings of perthDAC 2007: The 7th International Digital Arts and Culture Conference (pp. 68-77). Curtin University of Technology.

Hesmondhalgh, D., & Baker, S. (2013). Creative labour: Media work in three cultural industries. Routledge.

Gilbert, S. (2022). Crypto, web3, and the Metaverse.

Laeeq, K. (2022). Metaverse: why, how and what. How and What.

Ning, H., Wang, H., Lin, Y., Wang, W., Dhelim, S., Farha, F., … & Daneshmand, M. (2021). A Survey on Metaverse: the State-of-the-art, Technologies, Applications, and Challenges. arXiv preprint arXiv:2111.09673.

Ritzer, G., Dean, P., & Jurgenson, N. (2012). The coming of age of the prosumer. American behavioral scientist56(4), 379-398.

Sparkes, M. (2021). What is a metaverse.

Sun, J., Gan, W., Chao, H. C., & Yu, P. S. (2022). Metaverse: Survey, applications, security, and opportunities. arXiv preprint arXiv:2210.07990.

Van Dijck, J. (2009). Users like you? Theorizing agency in user-generated content. Media, culture & society31(1), 41-58.


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