Rethinking the Metaverse: Innovative Perspectives from Benedict Evans for a New Era

The Metaverse: Exploring the Hype

The tech industry is buzzing with talks about the metaverse, but what is it exactly? Unlike 5G which was easy to define and strategize for, the metaverse is broad and lacks a standardized definition. Neal Stephenson coined the term metaverse, but it has now absorbed many different concepts and taken on a life of its own. In this article, we will explore the different meanings of the metaverse and the challenges of defining it.

The Broad Definition of the Metaverse

The broader definition of the metaverse is a virtual universe that connects billions of people and offers a shared experience. It is a fully immersive digital world with its own economy, politics, and social structures. In this definition, the metaverse is a completely new environment that is separate from the internet. Discussions within this context often lead to absurd questions such as whether France needs its own metaverse and whether there will be more crime in the metaverse.

The Narrow Definition of the Metaverse

The narrow definition of the metaverse describes it as a combination of VR and AR that will become the next universal device after smartphones. The metaverse will then become billions of people’s main or only computer, and both our behavior and the services we use will change around AR & VR and converge on new models, just as they did for mobile.

Mobile Internet vs. the Metaverse

The term “metaverse” is similar to “mobile internet” in that it is merely the internet on a new screen. However, the metaverse can be seen as a new platform, and some new gatekeepers may emerge. Although Apple has used its gatekeeping power on mobile to painful effect, it does not fundamentally change the entire nature of the internet. Instead, it is many different companies creating their businesses and experiences in a mostly decentralized and mostly permissionless medium.

The Future of the Metaverse

There is no doubt that AR and VR will continue to improve, but will they reach the scale of mobile? It is important to not presume that because technology can get better, it necessarily follows that billions of people will use it. Mobile and metaverse share similarities in their early stages, where the technology was in its infancy, and people had to make a leap of imagination to realize what it would become with time.


The metaverse is a buzzword that has absorbed multiple concepts, making it challenging to define. Some describe it as a new, fully immersive digital universe while others see it as a combination of VR and AR that will become the next universal device after smartphones. The real question is whether AR and VR will break out and reach the scale of mobile, and there is no guarantee that it will. Nonetheless, we can expect continued advancements in AR and VR, and it will be interesting to see how the concept of the metaverse develops in the future.

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