The meta-universe boomed at the turn of 2021 and 2022, but few can recall that the history of the industry began long before that. In this article you will find important dates and events from the last 50 years on the process of becoming a meta-universe.
According to McKinsey & Co., the history of the industry began in 1978 with the game MUD1, the first real-time multiplayer virtual world, followed in 1982 by “Tron,” one of the first films to showcase digital reality.
In it, the protagonist, a programmer and video game developer, is transported into a mainframe software world and forced to interact with software to get out of there.
“Tron” is one of the first films in cinema to use computer graphics.
Until then, the concept of a meta-universe had never been used anywhere else. The term was coined in 1992 by writer Neal Stephenson, who first used it in his science fiction novel “Avalanche.” That’s why many people consider this date to be the beginning of the history of the meta-universe.
In any case, the so-called “cyberspace” was talked about as early as 1984, when William Gibson wrote a novel called Neuromancer.
Of course, when reviewing the historical milestones of the meta-universe, one cannot ignore the famous film “The Matrix” from 1999, representing humanity in a virtual reality. This list also includes Second Life in 2003, the first platform that allowed players to live in a virtual world whose population exceeded 1 million monthly active users in 2007.
Approaching current events, one cannot fail to mention the multiplayer gaming platform Roblox, founded in 2006, whose popularity exceeded 55 million active users per day in February 2022.
Immediately after that, in 2018, the movie “First Player Standby” is released, presenting a virtual world called “Oasis”, which is based on the novel of the same name, written by Ernest Cline in 2011.
Finally, the last major step in the history of the meta-universe is marked by Facebook’s rebranding to Meta in October 2021, with which the company has shown that it wants to focus on building a meta-universe ecosystem.
Just two months after the launch, 300,000 new users from the U.S. and Canada had joined Meta.
After Roblox, it is appropriate to mention such platforms as Fortnite or Minecraft, which can be considered part of the meta universe in the broadest sense of the word, that is, platforms where avatars meet and interact with each other.
Of course, we should remember the numerous meta universe projects with cryptocurrency integration: The Sandbox, Decentraland, CryptoVoxel, The Nemesis, and OVER.
Decentraland launched in 2017, though at the time, portions of its gaming lands had not yet taken the form of NFT.
The Sandbox was founded in May 2012, at first it was a video game for Android and iOS in a kind of “sandbox mode.” That’s when The Sandbox was acquired by developer Animoca Brands in 2018 and turned into a full-fledged meta-universe.
As for The Nemesis, the project launched in 2021, although the company itself was founded much earlier, and Alessandro de Grandi did it. In this case, it is a meta-universe with a gaming focus, where the various actions are based on the concept of gamification and, therefore, aimed at an audience accustomed to video games and cryptocurrencies.
OVER is a meta-universe created by an Italian company in 2017 and focused on augmented reality. OVER allows users to create, host and display AR/VR experiences tailored to specific geographic locations.
OVER decided to divide the digital world into 300 square meter hexagons called OVRLands, which represent physical geographic locations. Each OVRLand is tokenized using Ethereum-based NFT.
McKinsey & Co. estimates that by 2030, the capitalization of the meta universe could reach $5 trillion. Meta Platform CEO Mark Zuckerberg imagines a billion people making hundreds of dollars in the new dimension.