Updated: Aug 27, 2022
I was very skeptical when I first began hearing about the Metaverse, and I'm sure many, like me, felt like it was merely a rebranding gimmick for Facebook (which recently changed its name to Meta). As a PR professional, it seemed like the perfect strategy to "wipe the slate clean" so to speak.
The more I read about it, however, the more I realized that this universe extended way beyond social media, and began to see how central it had already become in several industries. Whether we like it or not, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technology is being adopted at a rapid pace across several sectors, and as with the internet, mobile phones, and social media, eventually, this will have a ripple effect on all of us, including writers.
SO WHAT IS THE METAVERSE?
The term Metaverse was first coined by American writer Neal Stephenson in the 1992 science-fiction novel Snow Crash.
In layman's terms, the Metaverse is a virtual world, created through the use of AR and VR technology, where you can have transactions and connections similar to what you would have had in the real world, minus the physical limitations.
The recent Metaverse wedding is a great example of this.
MY INITIAL FRUSTRATION
As a writer and a bit of a traditionalist, I immediately rolled my eyes at the thought of the Metaverse. I still struggle to use e-books and audiobooks, preferring the feel of real paperbacks, and now I have to deal with yet another virtual layer that will impact reading and how books are consumed.
If history has taught us anything though, it is the inevitable fact that new tech is going to be adopted and will eventually become our norm - and so the earlier I made peace with the idea and embraced the opportunities they offered, the better it would be.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR WRITERS IN THE METAVERSE
Essentially by "living" in a virtual world, you can organize global book tours, attend literary events around the world, and have meaningful interactions with your readers without the logistical obstacles that traditional alternatives offer.
Imagine having your first book reading in the metaverse - you can literally transport your readers into the world you created, to "experience" the places, scents, colors, and scenery you have written about. They can "live out" the events in your book.
Greater Autonomy and Control:
No longer bound by the restrictions pertaining to physical publishing, writers will have greater autonomy and control over their work, choosing to publish and promote their creations in a variety of innovative and engaging formats.
For instance, you can choose to release your novel gradually rather than all at once in a gamification format where readers experience the events from a first-person point of view. The possibilities are endless!
Fiction will become more real than ever:
So far, we have had to depend on our imaginations and on movie interpretations of our favorite books to bring the characters, places, and events to life. In the Metaverse, authors will have full creative control and will be able to convey exactly what those characters and worlds look like instantly for readers to experience.
You can create the world you want, and make it look exactly as you want it to be experienced.
As technology continues to evolve, a certain level of adaptability is always required. However, if we as writers decide to embrace the change, the Metaverse will certainly afford us a range of possibilities that are worth exploring.