In 2018, the Steven Spielberg movie Ready Player One was released. Set in the year 2045, the movie depicts a virtual world, Oasis, where players can escape their everyday lives to be whoever they want and do whatever they want through an avatar. Fantasy? Perhaps, but big tech players like Facebook are betting on the idea becoming a reality. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the rebranding of the company to Meta, a move that appears to be a strategic positioning tactic for the next digital frontier.
What exactly is the metaverse? What are the challenges in building an interactive virtual world? Which technologies will get us there? How will players — particularly younger ones — be protected while engaging with others?