• Home
  • Blog
  • The metaverse: What it is, where it is, and why you should care

The metaverse: What it is, where it is, and why you should care

Sophia Cosby

By Sophia Cosby


Love it or hate it, the metaverse is a thing now. And it might even be the web’s next big thing. Over the next few weeks we’re going to take a closer look at the metaverse and how it’s changing how we socialise, how we shop and how we work. But first: the basics.

Ever since Facebook announced that it would be renaming itself to Meta, it feels like the word “metaverse” has been splashed across the headlines of nearly every tech news article, startup blog and fashion brand press release. The hype is real – and so is the confusion. Nearly a third of UK adults still don’t know what the metaverse is and of those who do know, 36% have stated that they have no use for it. 

Which brings us to the leading questions of this article: What is the metaverse and why should you care?

The most immersive metaverse experience is through a virtual reality headset.

What is the metaverse?

First and foremost, though everyone is referring to it as the metaverse, it’s actually not one single space. There are lots and lots of different metaverses. And what are they? Basically, metaverses are virtual worlds. They are spaces where individuals can meet and socialise with each other, with brands, to play games or just to hang out and build their own little world within a world. Think computer games, but way more immersive and experiential. 

Speaking of computer games, there’s been some confusion surrounding the term metaverse because a few popular games like Fortnite have started referring to some of their game spaces as metaverses. They very well may be metaverses, but in its purest form, the metaverse has to do with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology and extended reality (XR) experiences. Which brings us to our next point.

Where is the metaverse?

Though many metaverses require a virtual reality headset to be accessed and played in, some function just like any old online space: login through your browser and voilà. It really depends on which metaverse you want to get to. The future of the metaverse, however, is betting heavily on the mass adoption of VR and AR technology. Which, at the moment, is progressing slower than tech people had hoped it would.

Gaming, shopping, crypto: there's something for everyone in the metaverse.

What happens in the metaverse?

The metaverse is very similar to the social media that we know and use today – it’s a space where you can connect with others and show off your stuff. The metaverse just adds an extra layer of immersion. Instead of looking at a screen, you might feel like you’re inside the screen à la Ready Player One, but a lot less sophisticated.

At the moment, the main activity in the metaverse is still gaming, but as more and more brands are jumping on the metaverse bandwagon, what you can do - and buy - in the metaverse is expanding rapidly. You can, for instance, create your own overly flattering virtual avatar and buy custom outfits from brands like Balenciaga. You can showcase your NFT collection in a special gallery or in your own metaverse house. You can compete in giveaways to win virtual and physical prizes. You can also collaborate with creators to expand and develop the metaverse.

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is entering into partnerships with luxury brands like Balenciaga.

In a way, the pandemic helped bring about the mass acceptance of virtual socialising and the subsequent popularity of the metaverse. As most of us were in lockdown and sheltering at home, our social lives moved exclusively online and connecting with others through new means and technologies became a way to break the mundanity. Not to mention that for Generations Z and Alpha, who are basically growing up online, having a virtual life, one that is lived almost exclusively through technology, is not only socially acceptable but expected.

Web3 is the next phase of the internet and promises to make the web decentralised.

Who owns the metaverse?

The metaverse is part of the push for Web3, a movement that is considered to be the next phase of the internet. Web1 is the kind of stone age of the internet - you know, text-heavy websites and Internet Explorer. Web2 is the era of social media, influencers and all the different variations of “content”. Web3 seeks to democratise the web, to take the dominance away from major players like Google and Facebook, to make destinations including games, applications and services fully open and collaborative through decentralisation. So, just like there isn’t just one metaverse, there is not one single owner of the metaverse.

American rapper Snoop Dogg is a huge proponent of web3 and the metaverse.

Sounds cool…so why is the metaverse getting so much hate?

For all the hype around the metaverse, there’s also plenty of hate. The main criticism is that many spaces are still kind of janky, full of bugs and with limited usability. Some are saying this is because it’s still in its infancy, comparing it to the internet, which was invented in the 1970s but didn’t really become usable until the 1990s. 

You can blame our short attention spans and need for instant gratification (ironically, both side effects of the internet), but part of the blame goes to the outsized anticipation around the metaverse. Brands and companies want to beat each other to the punch so they release hastily developed metaverses that are glitchy at best. Luckily there are developers who are creating metaverses and creating them well, in the original spirit of the metaverse as a place to connect, be open, collaborate and have fun.

Further reading: more on the metaverse 

There’s even more to discover in the metaverse: If you want to learn more about how gaming is taking over the metaverse space or the fashion industry’s unlikely enthusiasm for everything VR, then check out in these posts:


This article does not constitute investment advice, nor is it an offer or invitation to purchase any digital assets.

This article is for general purposes of information only and no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made as to, and no reliance should be placed on, the fairness, accuracy, completeness or correctness of this article or opinions contained herein.

Investing carries risks. Make sure to conduct your own research before making any investment.

Sophia Cosby

Sophia Cosby

Cranky, caffeinated content specialist bringing you finance news you can use.