Today metaverse is used to describe an immersive internet which you use to access through VR/AR headset. But the metaverse is not a new idea and the history of the metaverse dates long back to 1838.
In this blog post, I will look back in history at some key historical milestones that have shaped the metaverse of today. You will come to know the history of the metaverse right from 1838 till now.
- PRIMARY EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE METAVERSE
- 1838 – BINOCULAR VISION
- 1935- PYGMALION’S SPECTACLES
- 1956 – VR MACHINE
- 1960s -AR
- 1978 -ASPEN MOVIE MAP
- 1984- VPL RESEARCH
- 1991 -BIRTH OF INTERNET
- 1992 -SNOW CRASH
- 2002 -DIGITAL TWINS
- 2003 -SECOND LIFE
- 2006 -ROBOLOX
- 2009 -BITCOIN AND BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY
- 2010 -BIRTH OF VR HEADSET
- 2011 -READ PLAYER ONE
- 2012 -NFT
- 2014 -VR HEADSET ERA
- 2015 -ETHEREUM AND DECENTRALAND
- 2016 -HOLENS AND POKEMON GO
- 2017 -FORTNITE
- 2018 -AXIE INFINITY
- 2021 -FACEBOOK TO META
- 2022-MICROSFT INTO METAVERSE
PRIMARY EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE METAVERSE
The metaverse is not a new idea because it has circulated along with the development of the Internet and other technologies for decades. The history of the metaverse compromises the history of all the major technologies related to the metaverse. It includes the history of AR/VR, Blockchain, Game, etc that has enabled the concept of Metaverse as we see today.
In the sections below, I will highlight some of the major history of the metaverse involving primary events from 1838.
1838 – BINOCULAR VISION
The paving stone of the metaverse was laid way back in 1838. Sir Charles Wheatsone, a scientist at that time, outlined the concept of binocular vision. In binocular vision you can combine two images each from an eye to make a single 3D image.
This led to the development of stereoscopes. Stereoscopes use two images to create the illusion of depth. The same concept is used today in modern VR headsets.
1935- PYGMALION’S SPECTACLES
Now, to see the history of the metaverse, we jump to the year 1935. In this year, American science fiction writer Stanley G.Weinbaum, in his novel Pygmalion’s Spectacles gave the fictional concept of virtual reality.
In the novel, a google called Pygmalion’s Spectacles was described which enabled you to see, hear sound, taste, smell and touch. The main character of the novel explores the fictional world using these goggles in the fiction.
1956 – VR MACHINE
In 1956, the history of the metaverse took a crucial turning. Morton Leonard Heiling created the first VR Machine. These machines combined 3D video with audio, smells and vibrating chairs to immerse the view in a movie.
The machine was named sensorama and it was patented in 1962. But the machine was bulky like a video arcade game. With the machine, you could experience riding a motorcycle and you could feel the wind guessing on your face, vibration of the motorcycle seat, a 3D view of the surroundings and even smell the surroundings.
In the history of metaverse, it was the first time the military was using Augmented reality in their field. Between 1060s and 1970s, we saw the AR used in the army and military. The pilots for example used some type of goggles to change their view,
1978 -ASPEN MOVIE MAP
In 1970, MIT contributed a high milestone in the history of the metaverse. Aspen Movie Map was developed by MIT in 1978 with funding from ARPA. Aspen Movie Map was a virtual tour map of the city Aspen. It was the first time you could use VR to transport users to another place.
Aspen movie map led to creation of interactive computing. Its military application was to solve the problem of quickly familiarizing soldiers with new territory.
1984- VPL RESEARCH
In the history of the metaverse, VPL Research was the first company to sell its VR products. It was founded by a computer scientist, Jaron Lanier in 1984. It was later acquired by Sun Microsystems.
VPL Research developed and sold Virtual Reality products. They developed 3 types of products
- The Data Suit
- The Eye Phone
- The Data Glove
1991 -BIRTH OF INTERNET
The Birth of the Internet is a crucial point in the history of the metaverse. The first web page was created in 1991 that led to the birth of the Internet. The Internet is one of the essential technologies of the metaverse.
1992 -SNOW CRASH
In 1992, Neal Stephenson published a science fiction novel where the word metaverse was used. In the novel, Stephenson defines the metaverse as a massive virtual environment parallel to the physical world. They use their avatars to interact in this virtual world.
In the history of metaverse, this is how the metaverse term came to being.
2002 -DIGITAL TWINS
Digital Twins are large scale high resolution objects in virtual environments that mimic its physical counterparts. Creating digital twins is one of the 3 development stages of the metaverse.
The digital twins is one of the most important concepts in the history of the metaverse. It was introduced by Michael Grieves in 2002. Digital twin was 1st implemented by NASA to create simulations of spacecraft for testing.
2003 -SECOND LIFE
Second Life is an online platform that allows the users to create an avatar and have a second life in an online virtual world. Second life has 3D-based user-generated content. Second Life also has its own virtual currency, the Linden Dollar, which is exchangeable with real world currency.
The concept of Second Life laid said to the other metaverse projects. So, it is an important event in the history of the metaverse.
Roblox is an online game platform that allows users to program games and play games created by other users. Roblox is one of the pioneering platforms in the history of the metaverse for giving the ability to the user to create their own world and game.
Roblox is a free-to-play game within in-game purchase through virtual currency called Robux.
2009 -BITCOIN AND BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY
On 3rd January, 2009, the Bitcoin network came into existence where the genesis block of bitcoin was 1st mined by Satoshi Nakamato. The first bitcoin transaction was done on 12th January, 2009.
Blockchain Technology came into existence with the bitcoin network. With this the possibility of web3, decentralization, crypto and metaverse would not be possible. So, bitcoin and blockchain technology are important aspects in the history of the metaverse.
2010 -BIRTH OF VR HEADSET
2010 was the one of the golden years in history of the metaverse that laid the foundation of modern VR/AR Headset. Palmer Lucky designed the prototype of the Oculus headset .
The headset was a prototype of Oculus Rift VR headset that had a 90 degree field of vision. It used computer processing power that revolutionized and reignited the VR headset market.
2011 -READ PLAYER ONE
In 2011, a book by Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One was released. The book gave a vivid description of world how the world is going to be in virtual reality. The book was made into a movie by the same name by Steven Spielberg.
The movie gave people the real sense of how the metaverse is going to be. It has the concept of avatar, cities, play-to-earn games, VR headset and other things related. The movie became more popular after the world metaverse became popular at the end of 2021.
NFT or Non-Fungible Token is a popular term now. If you want to know more, click here.
The concept of NFT was coined in December 2012 with the inception of Colored Coins. The first NFT Quantum was created in May 2015.
NFT denoted unique things in the metaverse. It may be avatar, objects, etc in the metaverse. So, the concept of NFT is important in the history of the metaverse.
2014 -VR HEADSET ERA
In 2014, Facebook acquired Oculus VR Hardware and technology for around 2 billion dollars.
Sony and Samsung also announced they were creating their own VR headset.
Google released its first cardboard device. It was a low cost VR viewer where you could stick your phone in and give you the VR experience.
Google glass was also released this year. It was an AR glass. But google glass was discontinued in 2015. But in 2017 Google glass enterprise is being continued. After the metaverse concept became popular, it came as a leak that google is secretly developing VR headset.
2015 -ETHEREUM AND DECENTRALAND
Ethereum Network is the next blockchain technology after Bitcoin network. It is decentralized, open source blockchain technology with smart contracts built in it. Etherum network went live in 2015. Since then ethereum networks have been in the forefront of technology for building DApp.
Decentraland is the first truly decentralized metaverse platform owned by its users. Here you can buy and own virtual land or digital land. Developed in 2005 and launched in 2017.
2016 -HOLENS AND POKEMON GO
In 2016, Microsoft released its Hololens headset. Hololens gave us mixed reality so you could create a holographic image in front of you. Holo lenses have many real life use cases in the metaverse of today.
Pokemon Go, the most popular AR game, was released in 2016. It was developed and published by Niantic with collaboration with Nintendo and The Pokemon Company. The game used GPs to locate, capture, train and battle virtual creatures called Pokemon that appeared in the real world location.
Ikea released its VR app called the place app. In the app you could place its furniture into your room to see how it looks. It was the 1st innovative way of using AR.
DAO or Decentralized Autonomous Organization concept was launched in 2016 with THE DAO project. This laid the foundation of decentralization in the world of metaverse.
Fortnite is an online video game developed by Epic Games. But Fortnite became famous for its hosting of virtual concerts with millions of users. Many well known singers performed in virtual concerts attended by millions.
I will list some of the concerts that have already taken place in the fortnite metaverse.
- In October of 2021 Ariana Grande performed in Fortnite. It was attended by 78 million users of Fortnite.
- Travis Scott also performed in Fortnite in 2020. Ut attracted 12 million players of Fortnite.
Fortnite will always be the golden boy in the history of the metaverse.
2018 -AXIE INFINITY
Axie Infinity is a NFT play-to-earn game developed by Sky Mavis studio. It is based on ethereum network. Players collect and mint NFT which represent creatures called axis.
The development of Axie infinity began in 2017 and its 1st version was released in 2018.
Axie Infinity laid the base to the concept of play-2-earn (P2E) game in the metaverse. So, Axie Infinity will always be written in a golden world in the history of the metaverse.
2021 -FACEBOOK TO META
Since Facebook rebranded itself as Meta in October 2021, the word metaverse became a buzzword. It signaled the world its vision and focus in the metaverse.
HTC launched its Vive Flow. It is a portable version of VR headset like sunglasses. Ray Ban also created their stories using smart glasses in collaboration with Meta.
2022-MICROSFT INTO METAVERSE
On January 18th, 2022 Microsoft shocked the tech industry its plan to acquire Activison Blizzard for $67.7 billion. Activison Blizzard is a video game company.
Metaverse is not a new idea.The history of the metaverse dates way back to 1838 with the concept of binocular vision to Facebook rebranding itself as Meta in 2021. There are many major events as already discussed above that led to the development of the metaverse as we are today.