Metaverse For Dummies
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The term metaverse refers to a general category of 3D worlds, mostly accessible with virtual reality (VR) headsets, that you visit and interact with in real time. Metaverse providers, such as Decentraland, Horizon Worlds, The Sandbox, and many others, have already created 3D worlds offering communities, entertainment, and a host of activities you can participate in with other users.

Screenshot of the Somnium Space metaverse platform ©Somnium
The Somnium Space metaverse platform opening page

In recent years, the metaverse has seen a high level of interest as cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are being used for added experience delivery on most platforms.

How the metaverse started

Much of how the metaverse works and what it feels like to use it is built on knowledge first gained by the gaming industry. Graphics technology, for example, affects how quickly images appear and move onscreen. The better your graphics card, the more colorful, detailed, and interactive the display can be without compromising a computer’s performance.

Computer game creators knew that what worked to power a Windows dialog box could also be used to power more picturesque and interactive gameplay. So, they used the same hardware advancements that helped the Windows operating system run smoothly and in color to enrich the visual experience of the games they developed without overheating their players’ computers.

Similarly, VR went mainstream in the 2010s. As VR headsets became more affordable and consumer-grade hardware began to make entry into the marketplace, gaming providers started designing games that would work with VR headsets and provide gamers with new experiences.

Metaverse-based VR worlds have taken a new direction. New metaverse worlds and providers are emerging, however, focused not only on gaming but also on other activities.

The metaverse has its roots in gaming, but its potential applications reach far beyond gaming, including in health care, entertainment, professional services, and a number of other industries and professions.

What’s ahead for the metaverse?

In terms of development, the metaverse today is where the Internet was in the early 1990s. The early Internet was shaped by new ideas, technologies, and ways of doing things. With the right investments, adoption, and usage, the Internet grew into the Internet we know today (for better or for worse, depending on who you ask!).

Similarly, the metaverse today provides an interesting place for many activities, but many of them are still in the early days of development, such as gaming, art exhibitions, group activities, hobby clubs, and others that have just started to develop and gain traction.

The investment and attention put into building the metaverse over the next five to ten years will determine what the metaverse ultimately becomes and the value it creates.

The metaverse can help the real world by:

  • Serving as an opportunity to create economic value
  • Creating jobs and new professional opportunities
  • Creating new experiences
  • Connecting people and building communities

Different uses of the metaverse

What is the role of the metaverse in your personal life? Imagine you’re spending time with your friends and family, your loved ones, and you aren’t at work. Your role is different from when you’re at work. What role can the metaverse play in this case?

In order to answer this question, you need to understand what you do in your personal life that’s different from what you do at work. Today, with the emergence of technologies, smartphones, tablets, and ubiquitous Internet connectivity, the gap between the workplace and personal lives has slightly diminished. Today, with remote work and work from home, boundaries between being at work and being at home are sometimes blurry.

That said, you can use the metaverse as an avenue for learning, entertainment, and other aspects of life that have nothing or little to do with being at work. Here are some examples of how you may use the metaverse at home and in your personal life.


The metaverse is a conduit to a whole new world of entertainment. You can play online games, some of which are based on a network play and some in which you join a specific metaverse world and start engaging with others.

You can also watch some of your favorite musicians and artists perform in the metaverse, attend concerts and performances, and attend major sports events. These avenues for entertainment are just the start.

Screenshot of the gaming environment on the Horizon Worlds metaverse platform ©Horizon Worlds
Gaming on the Horizon Worlds metaverse platform


The metaverse is making learning more engaging. Maybe you have younger children who need to learn about a specific topic, or maybe you’d like to learn something new yourself.

If so, get your VR glasses and join a learning experience curated by a museum in the metaverse, or visit a far-off land such as New Zealand, which is promoting itself in the metaverse. You can find many options for learning about new things in the metaverse, and as organizations, providers, and other entities enter the metaverse, learning will catch up quickly.

From enabling remote learning to helping students experience learning in a 3D format, the future of education is likely going to be very experiential through the metaverse. Imagine being able to walk with virtual dinosaurs or fly with bees as they pollinate different flowers — everything is possible in VR!


Fifty years ago, people met in social gatherings. In the 2000s, people met online in chat rooms. Now you can meet people in the metaverse when you engage in group activities, such as developing personal interests, hobbies, and professional networking.

As with social media, you may find that some of your friends are exclusively metaverse friends, and others may become friends you communicate with through other means — text, email, phone, social media, and so on. You may even choose to meet in real life.

Take precautions when taking your conversations in the metaverse into actual, physical life on planet Earth. Meet in a public places with other people around, in order to create a personal safety net.


From small businesses and entrepreneurs to large enterprises, the metaverse can find its place in every nook and cranny of the work world and be a useful tool to perform a specific task. The metaverse can serve as a channel of engagement, to build a customer base, sell products, and even provide customer service.

In the public sector, governments can use the metaverse to change government experience and reduce friction between citizens’ services and how governments deliver those services. This is already happening, and some private and public sector entities are jumping on board to create better governance and value for citizens.

At a business level, a number of activities are emerging in the metaverse. Some examples include NFTs, the retail industry, emerging metaverse real estate, and perhaps the application of the metaverse for specific professionals.

If you were around when the Internet started growing exponentially, around the year 2000, many new things were happening, including “Internet banking,” where you could actually log in to your bank and check your balances (amazing!).

Today, accessing a bank online or with an app is a feature most consumers expect. There was also a time when early Internet users were introduced to the ability to order something online and get it delivered by mail.

Believe it or not, most people hesitated to buy anything online, but some experimented with it. Today ecommerce is a multi-trillion-dollar industry, and most people order things with an app without giving it a second thought.

It’s way too early for most people to even fathom how the metaverse will affect the workplace, but there are people who specialize in foresight and forecasting who can shed light on what the future may look like for work. Here are some ways the metaverse may be used for work:

  • Customer service reps: New careers will emerge that will need people to do specific jobs in the metaverse. Most of these could be customer service, customer relations, and meeting people.
  • Metaverse designers: Complex environments in the metaverse require a lot of brain work and creativity. Your skills will be needed if you can program, design, or imagine new worlds and ideas.
  • Virtual offices: We’ve heard about virtual offices in the real world, but virtual offices in the metaverse will host specialists who are experts in things such as NFTs and metaverse design.
  • Teachers and instructors: Are you a teacher or an instructor and do you want to build a following in the metaverse? The other avatars you see in the metaverse are people, too, and many of them may fall into your target audience. Future teachers will hold classes and teach new skills in the metaverse — everything from Spanish to how to create new 3D art.
  • Meetings: Many companies have started using the metaverse on an experimental basis to see its suitability for collaboration. This means hosting some meetings and creating employee collaboration opportunities in the metaverse.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Ian Khan is an emerging technology futurist and author, as well as a technology filmmaker whose work has been featured on Amazon Prime. Creator of the Future Readiness Score, he works with organizations worldwide to help them become future ready. Khan has been featured on CNN and the BBC and in Forbes and Fast Company. He is also a LinkedIn Learning Instructor.

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