The History of the Metaverse Told Through Tweets

When it comes to the Metaverse, there are some who think it’s right around the corner and others who can’t believe it’s only been two decades since VR was first introduced. How did we get here? What were some of the major milestones along the way? And what do they tell us about where the Metaverse will go next? For those interested in learning more about this important topic, here’s a rundown of the history of the Metaverse, told through tweets from some of its most prominent contributors and critics.

I: First 3D Virtual Worlds

History and Background (1990–1995) The first virtual worlds were created in order to study psychology and group behavior. These virtual environments became more mainstream when multiplayer capabilities were added, which allowed Gamers to interact in ways that they could not in their everyday lives. The term Metaverse was coined by Neal Stephenson in his book Snow Crash—a now-classic cyberpunk novel written in 1992—to describe an interconnected set of spaces populated by users from all over the world.

II: Second Wave – Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG)

[Virtual Reality Invented] (8 months) Time: 1996 – 1997 From Web to Virtual Reality [VR Conceptualized] One big problem with most early Internet applications was that, in order to enjoy them, you had to be connected to a specific server somewhere on Earth, located at some remote web address. In other words, your connection wasn’t truly global.

III: Web VR & Augmented Reality

HoloLens 2 | Microsoft HoloLens

The historical trend for augmented reality and virtual reality technology has been towards a more widespread consumer and commercial adoption. Within that space, we’ve seen a lot of notable events: Microsoft HoloLens demos at E3, Facebook buying Oculus Rift for 2 billion dollars, Google Cardboard causing one man to temporarily lose his mind. But what about before these companies? Before billions in investments? We let that run in your imagination!

IV: Social VR

Second Life Social Virtual Reality

Why Did We Stop Tweeting? There are many possible answers to that question, but some people think it boils down to two words: Second Life. Before SL, social VR was all about a system built around chat rooms and virtual worlds called MOOs (MUD Object Oriented). Though no one could have guessed it at the time, SLEUTH’s success would be its downfall. As more and more users joined, conversations became harder to follow—and since there were few tools for organizing conversations, conversations were difficult to follow in real-time. The result? A group of users created their own network with better tools for conversation organization—Second Life. And when they invited their friends over from SLEUTH, those friends brought their friends…and so on.


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V: Launching in 2019

Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey

It’s been 10 years since VR was born. It was announced in 1992 as virtual reality, and first shipped as Virtuality in arcade cabinets before making its way to home consoles by 1995. After failed experiments with 3D screens, in 2012 Palmer Luckey unveiled Oculus Rift on Kickstarter and launched a new era of VR history. That summer, Brendan Iribe took over as CEO and raised $16 million from venture capitalists Andreessen Horowitz.

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