In 1992, science fiction writer Neal Stephenson created the idea of The Metaverse. Introduced in his dystopian novel Snow Crash, Stephenson’s Metaverse was a cautionary tale of corporations running a virtual world that humans are tied to for everyday life. Now, 30 years after, the writer is creating his own Metaverse.
Why is Neal Stephenson making a Metaverse?
Teaming up with long-time crypto expert Peter Vessenes, Neal Stephenson has founded a brand-new Metaverse blockchain. Dubbed Lamina1, the vague virtual world has next-to-no details attached to it.
What is known is that Lamina1 will be more of a traditional Metaverse instead of the likes of Meta’s closed system. Labelled as an “open Metaverse”, the virtual world aims to recreate the world of Snow Crash. Yep, the dystopian cyberpunk novel Snow Crash.
Plans to create a Snow Crash-inspired world came around last year as Facebook parent company Meta jumped on the topic. With Meta going hard on the term Metaverse, Stephenson and others decided to reclaim the term.
The Facebook name change was a big milestone for the metaverse, although the idea had been building for some time before that,” Stephenson told pro-crypto outlet CoinDesk.
“While big companies like Microsoft [MSFT] became interested, what also happened was lots of smaller players became interested, too. There are a lot of people who want to get in on the metaverse and build their dreams, build their ideas, realize their creative notions or their commercial ambitions.”
It will be built for Augmented and Virtual Reality
In a series of tweets released after the announcement, Stephenson explained that the new Metaverse is different to what he imagined back in the 90s. Before the rise of fully 3D games, the nature of the Metaverse was scary, but now it’s more comfortable.
“I didn't see video games coming when I wrote Snow Crash,” the author said. “I thought that the killer app for computer graphics would be something more akin to TV. But then along came DOOM and generations of games in its wake. That's what made 3D graphics cheap enough to reach a mass audience.”
Stephenson explained that modern game engines change everything. While Metaverses can be designed for AR and VR, they can also be multi-screen, allowing non-VR people to interact with VR people. Essentially, he described VR Chat.
However, the idea of Metaverses is still niche, and tying the virtual world to blockchain technology is an act that will certainly turn some off. After all; the general public is anti-crypto, especially with the large number of scams that happen daily.
So, will Stephenson’s Metaverse be successful? Or will it be a huge flop? Only time will tell.
For more articles like this, take a look at our Metaverse page.