The frenzy surrounding the metaverse may make the term seem like the latest trendy tech buzzword. But the term actually goes far back into theories of how reality will be affected by the internet.
Ever since science fiction writer Neal Stephenson coined the term ‘metaverse’ in 1992, experts have predicted the game-changing shifts virtual reality will bring to the world, especially how we work.
As Facebook rebrands to Meta, various other companies are rushing into the sphere, where music, art, and clothing take on a second–profitable–life.
Various high fashion brands, music artists, and cryptocurrencies have used the metaverse as a dynamic new platform for exchange, new markets and business models have emerged in response to the metaverse’s synthesis of intellectual property, digital currency, and virtual worlds.
Companies and celebrities flock to the metaverse
Hotel heiress and reality television star Paris Hilton is one of many celebrities forging their own path in the metaverse. The star launched her own metaverse business on Roblox in December 2021.
Hilton is parlaying her success as a celebrity DJ and party host, a role that regularly fetches her $1 million dollars a night at clubs in China, Dubai, and Ibiza.
Now the 40-year-old star is channeling all of those locales — especially Ibiza — into her own virtual island on the online game platform Roblox.
Hilton, who calls her island “Paris World,” has filled the space with a digital replica of her Beverly Hills, Los Angeles home, as well as a special area based on the carnival-themed wedding she had with her husband, Carter Reum in 2021.
“For me, the metaverse is somewhere that you can do everything you can do in real life in the digital world,” said Hilton, who worked to recreate aspects of her glittering, globe-trotting life for fans. “Not everybody gets to experience that, so that’s what we’ve been working together on over the past year — giving them all my inspirations of what I want in that world.”
Following the model of most virtual environments in the metaverse, Paris World will charge users for items like clothing or virtual experiences.
But when you enter and participate in the metaverse, you bring your personal data with you. Experts predict that more data than ever before will be available through users’ activity in the metaverse, and if they are gaging with Meta’s Horizon project, they will be in a ‘walled garden’: all of the data they generate in the metaverse will be owned by Meta, who will have the right to profit off of it as well.
Other forms of the metaverse will be decentralized, giving users the option to protect their data and privacy. This revolution in data harvesting will likely upend all aspects of contemporary work, even for companies who have not yet dived into the metaverse.