Open vs Closed Metaverse: Complete Guide

UTC by Beatrice Mastropietro · 7 min read
Open vs Closed Metaverse: Complete Guide
Photo: Shutterstock

When deciding how to enter virtual reality, the choice is narrowed to open and closed metaverse. The following guide covers everything you might need to know about both the types, as well as addresses their benefits and downsides.

If you’re considering diving into virtual reality, you may wonder what the difference is between an open metaverse and a closed metaverse. An open metaverse is a virtual world that anyone can access and build upon, while a closed metaverse is a virtual world that is only accessible to those who have been given permission.

Metaverse Defined

The metaverse is a shared, virtual space that users can access via the internet. It is a persistent, online environment where users can interact with each other and share digital content. The metaverse is often described as a “virtual world,” but it is more accurately thought of as a platform for digital experiences.

The term “metaverse” was first coined by Neal Stephenson in his science fiction novel Snow Crash. In the book, the metaverse is a three-dimensional virtual world that is parallel to the physical world. Users can enter the metaverse using avatars, digital representations of themselves.

The metaverse has been likened to a mix of aspects of both the physical and virtual worlds. It is a persistent environment that users can access anytime, from anywhere. And like the physical world, it is three-dimensional and contains digital objects that users can interact with.

In contrast to the physical world, the metaverse is not constrained by the laws of physics. In the metaverse, users can fly, teleport, and otherwise move in ways that would be impossible in the physical world.

The Metaverse is also a shared space. Unlike the physical world, where each person experiences their version of reality, everyone who enters the metaverse experiences the same reality. This shared experience is made possible because the metaverse is generated by computer code.

The metaverse has often been compared to the matrix. A fictional virtual world is depicted in the movie “The Matrix”. But while the matrix is a closed system controlled by a single entity, the metaverse is an open platform to which anyone can access and contribute.

The Concept of Open Metaverse

The open metaverse is a term used to describe the virtual world beyond any company’s walled garden. It is a single, connected universe where users can interact with each other regardless of which platform they are using.

The open metaverse is not a physical place but rather a set of protocols and standards that allow different virtual world platforms to interoperate. Users can visit, communicate with, and even transact on another platform.

The goal of the open metaverse is to create a more inclusive virtual world where everyone is welcome, regardless of which platform they choose.

The Open Metaverse Foundation was founded in 2006 by a group of entrepreneurs and technologists with a vision to create an open, connected virtual world.

The Foundation’s mission is to promote interoperability between virtual world platforms and advance the development of open standards for the metaverse.

The Foundation sponsors the Open Metaverse Conference, which brings together developers, entrepreneurs, and investors to discuss the latest trends in the metaverse.

Pros and Cons of Open Metaverse

The open metaverse aims to create an open-source virtual world platform.

There are several advantages to using open metaverse:

  1. The code is available for anyone to examine, use, and improve upon. This makes it possible for anyone to create their virtual world or add features to an existing one.
  2. Because the code is open-source, there is no need for a central authority to control the platform. This makes it possible for users to create their own rules and regulations or even create their virtual world entirely independent of any other.
  3. Open source platforms are usually more modular, making adding or removing features as desired easier.
  4. The lack of a central authority makes it more difficult for someone to shut down an open-source platform.

Meanwhile, there are also several disadvantages to using an open-source platform:

  1. The lack of a central authority can make coordinating development challenging or ensuring that all users are using the same version of the software.
  2. Open source platforms may be less stable than closed ones since anyone can change the code.
  3. The lack of a central authority can complicate getting help using an open-source platform.
  4. Open source platforms may be less secure than closed ones since anyone can examine the code for security vulnerabilities.

Closed Metaverse

The Closed Metaverse is a metaverse that is not open to the public. It is usually only accessible to employees of the company or organization that owns it. For example, Coca-Cola has its closed metaverse called “Coca-Cola World” that is only accessible to Coca-Cola employees. Other closed metaverses include IBM’s “Second Life” and Cisco’s “Virtual U.”

There are several advantages and disadvantages of having a closed metaverse. Some of the advantages include:

  1. A closed metaverse can provide a more controlled and safe user environment. This is because the company or creator of the metaverse can regulate what happens inside it and take measures to prevent unwanted or dangerous activity.
  2. A closed metaverse can also be used to create a more immersive and believable experience for users. The company or creator can design the world within the metaverse to be as realistic or fantastic as they wish without worrying about players causing disruptions.
  3. Finally, a closed metaverse can generate revenue for its creators. The company or creator can charge users for access to the metaverse or certain features or items.

Some of the disadvantages of having a closed metaverse include:

  1. Users may feel trapped or constricted by the lack of freedom in a closed metaverse. This is because they may not be able to do everything they want or go wherever they want within the world.
  2. A closed metaverse can also restrict new users or players. This is because the company or creator may only allow people who meet certain criteria (such as age, skill level, etc.) to access the world.
  3. Finally, a closed metaverse can be expensive for its creators. The company or creator may have to pay for server space and other resources needed to keep the world running.

Open or Closed?

Some believe that the metaverse should be open to everyone, while others think it should be more closed and exclusive. There are pros and cons to both sides of the argument, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Here are some of the key points to consider:

  • If the metaverse is open, anyone can join and participate. This could lead to a diverse and inclusive community and a larger pool of talent and ideas. On the downside, an open metaverse might be less secure, as anyone can access it. It might also be chaotic, as there are no gatekeepers to curate content or regulate behavior.
  • If the metaverse is closed, only those who are invited or approved can join. This could lead to a more tight-knit community and greater security and privacy. On the downside, a closed metaverse might be less inclusive, making it more difficult to find talented people or new ideas.

Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to decide whether they want an open or closed metaverse. Both sides have pros and cons, and it’s important to weigh them carefully before deciding.

Conclusion

The open metaverse is the dream of many science fiction authors that came true. A place where people can connect and explore a virtual world that is constantly expanding and evolving. On the other hand, the closed metaverse is more like a walled garden. It’s a place where people can go to escape the real world, but the confines of the space limit them. Both types of metaverses have pros and cons, but ultimately it’s up to each individual to decide which one they prefer.

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FAQ

What is metaverse?

Metaverse is a decentralized virtual world built on blockchain technology. In the metaverse, users can own digital assets (such as avatars, properties, and tokens) and manage their identities and reputations. Metaverse also allows users to create and trade digital assets securely and transparently.

What is open metaverse?

Open metaverse is an open-source virtual world platform that supports creating, hosting, and exploring virtual worlds and spaces. It provides a flexible and extensible framework for developers to create, customize, and deploy their virtual worlds and spaces. 

What is closed metaverse?

A closed metaverse is a digital world that is only accessible to a specific group of people. It is usually created by a company or organization for internal use and is not open to the general public. Closed metaverses are often used for training, simulations, and other business purposes.

Is an open metaverse better than a closed one?

Some people believe that an open metaverse, where anyone can create and contribute content, is better than a closed one controlled by a single company or organization. Others believe a closed metaverse can offer a more immersive and user-friendly experience. There is no right or wrong answer, it ultimately depends on what you are looking for in a virtual world.

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