The term ‘metaverse’ was first coined in 1993 by American author Neal Stephenson in his science fiction novel ‘Snow Crash.’ The metaverse was described to be a set of virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people who aren’t in the same physical space as you. Instead, users are in a virtual space where they can do everything they can do in reality, such as going for a walk, listening to music, playing video games, visiting NFT museums, and much more.
Now, terms like metaverse and multiverse are emerging again, only this time as a new virtual reality, with companies such as Meta, Google, and Valve starting to create their own virtual realms for their users. But, many of us are left wondering how the metaverse differentiates itself from the multiverse, and what these digital spaces hold for the future.
So, what is the difference between the metaverse and the multiverse?
In short, the metaverse is a single digital world that allows you to play, shop, learn and work, whereas the multiverse is a collection of different and separate digital spaces with unique traits and characteristics. With that being said, there’s so much more to these concepts than these simple definitions. Next, we’ll dive deeper into the definition of the metaverse and the multiverse, and how they differ from one another. This way we can fully encompass their essence and value in the digital world for users and brands
What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a digital space where you can hang out with your friends as well as play, shop, learn and work. It brings the “real” world into a digital space, which is why it is often described as a virtual parallel universe to our own reality. This virtual world is a blend of social media, VR, AR, online gaming, cryptocurrencies, and more.
Major technology companies including Apple, Google, Meta Platforms (previously known as Facebook), Microsoft, Niantic, and Valve are developing the tech that will shape the future of the metaverse. With that in mind, the metaverse is a concept that is still in its early stages of development. Learn more in our blog post all about the metaverse: What is the Metaverse?
What is the Multiverse?
The multiverse is a collection of digital spaces with unique traits and characteristics. These digital spaces are different and completely separate. Therefore, you can also play, interact, learn, and more on the multiverse, but it will be done on isolated ecosystems, instead of only one platform. Social media platforms, multiplayer video games, and online games are examples of digital spaces that are already part of the multiverse.
Key Differences between the Metaverse and Multiverse
Although these two concepts are often associated with one another, they are very different digital spaces. Now that we’ve gotten a basic idea as to what the metaverse and multiverse are, let’s take a look at what differentiates them from one another.
The number of ecosystems
One of the biggest differences between the metaverse and the multiverse is the number of ecosystems they contain. Although many people believe they both contain multiple digital spaces, this is not the case. The metaverse is merely one digital world where users can spend time with their friends and family, play, shop, learn and work, all within the same universe. Whereas the multiverse is a collection of separate digital spaces, all with their unique traits and characteristics. Any multi-player game or social media platform can be considered part of the multiverse.
Another difference between the metaverse and the multiverse is how they order and connect their components. Due to their differences in the number of ecosystems they contain, these two terms also differ in connection order and flow. Since the metaverse is one virtual world, it’s highly connected with a specific order and flow of information it processes. The multiverse, on the other hand, is connected randomly, with no particular order of information flow. This is because the virtual worlds in the multiverse are all unique and do not connect with one another.
When comparing the metaverse and the multiverse, virtual properties and ownership are definitely part of the equation. The multiverse includes a collection of virtual worlds which are separate, and different from each other. These worlds are generally owned by single entities. Therefore, your data, assets, and experiences are in the ownership of the said entity, or company. While you can create or acquire new assets in different worlds in the multiverse, you cannot extract desired value from them.
For example, you could not use the in-game collectibles in one game for buying supplies in another game. On the other hand, with the Metaverse, users can get complete ownership and control over their assets. A good example of this would be NFTs. Participants of the metaverse get complete ownership of the NFTs or other assets they create in the metaverse. They could also trade their assets on other platforms in the metaverse. In short, the multiverse allows its users to own their digital assets, whereas the multiverse doesn’t. In the multiverse, digital assets will always be owned by the single entity that owns said digital world.
Lastly, the metaverse and the multiverse differ in the entities included in their technology. It’s difficult to draw a clear conclusion as to what entities are part of the multiverse, due to the fact that it’s a collection of virtual worlds, all different and separate from one another. In other words, the entities included in the multiverse will depend on each individual virtual world and its unique characteristics.
The metaverse showcases different entities with unique abilities. This includes humans, robots, AI, VR, digital avatars, and much more. All of these entities have distinct roles in the metaverse, making the experience as smooth and entertaining as possible so users can interact, play, work, and live in the digital world as they would in “reality”.
|Definition||A virtual world where you can hang out with friends, play, shop, learn and work.||A collection of virtual worlds with unique traits and characteristics.|
|Ecosystems||Only one shared platform that allows endless movements of users to interact and connect.||Multiple virtual worlds create different ecosystems that exist in a hypothetical pool.|
|Flow||Highly connected with a specific order for the flow of information.||Contains different virtual worlds without any particular order for information flow.|
|Properties||Users have ownership of their digital assets.||The owner of the digital world is the only entity with ownership over assets.|
|Entities||The Metaverse includes different entities such as AI, VR, robots, digital avatars, and more.||The Multiverse only includes the distinct virtual worlds as its entities.|
Metaverse vs Multiverse: What Does the Future Look Like?
On one hand, the metaverse is a conceptual idea paving the path for a future where we can have a completely connected virtual world. On the other hand, the multiverse presents the existence of multiple digital ecosystems, all separate and unique from one another. These two virtual spaces are different in various aspects, but both provide us with valuable digital experiences. The multiverse already has many functional virtual worlds which address real-world tasks, while the metaverse is still in development.
So, what does the future look like for the metaverse and the multiverse? Some experts say that in the future, the metaverse may grow big enough to dissolve the multiverse, whereas others believe they will continue to co-exist as the metaverse grows into a parallel virtual reality. What’s clear for now is that many companies are experimenting with creating a metaverse for their users by combining virtual reality, augmented reality, brain-computer interfaces, and more. It’s exciting to think that the future of the metaverse is just around the corner!