Ready Player One is a SciFi movie set in a dystopian future universe. The majority of the story takes place in a virtual world called OASIS. Now, many people are beginning to wonder if the OASIS is becoming a reality with the development of the metaverse?
Ready Player One is a metaverse. At its core, it is a shared digital space that combines virtual reality with augmented reality technology. It complements physical reality while accentuating its physical limitations.
At one point in time, most thought Ready Player One was something completely fictional, but now, the development of the metaverse has us all curious to know if this dystopian future is closer than we think.
What is a metaverse?
The metaverse is a post-reality universe, containing a multiuser environment that merges physical reality with virtuality, and users through avatars. The metaverse is an interconnected web of social immersive environments that live on multiuser platforms that utilize technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and extended reality (XR) to enable multisensory interactions within the metaverse.
One way to understand it is to replace the phrase the metaverse with cyberspace in a sentence. Most of the time, the meaning will not substantially change because the term refers to a broad shift in how we interact with technology, not to any specific type of technology.
It can also translate to a digital economy where users can buy, sell, and create goods. In ideological versions of the metaverse, you can take digital items from one platform to another. Most platforms have inventories, virtual identities, and avatars associated with a single platform, but a metaverse might allow these things to be transferred everywhere.
Ready Player One is a metaverse because it is an open and shared virtual world where users can be whoever they want and do whatever they want, via their avatars. That is the definition of the metaverse.
How is Ready Player One a metaverse?
The story is set in a dystopian future where the characters spend most of their time in OASIS’s virtual world. OASIS is where people escape from their realities.
The story bears the power and potential of a self-sustained virtual world similar to what a metaverse can provide. The metaverse can be many different things. It can be an entire universe on its own; however, at its center, it is a shared virtual space that combines virtual reality with augmented reality technology, and other technologies currently in development.
Users within OASIS get to own virtual resources that they pay for with credits they earn by working, winning battles, and undertaking quests. Credits earned within OASIS can also be used to purchase real-life items. This exemplifies how a fully working metaverse can complement physical reality while accentuating its limitations, and this stands true in today’s metaverse, in the real world.
Another aspect of the metaverse that was portrayed very well in the movie was the ability to be whoever you want to be. You are free to create an entirely different virtual persona and establish a digital identity that conveys who you are on a deeper level.
People head to OASIS to experience real-world moments that they feel are better perceived in virtual reality. OASIS provides immersive experiences that translate to real moments and memories. The metaverse is identical to this because it is a virtual space where people can do things that may not be possible in the real world, such as teleportation and flying among other things.
Is Ready Player One possible?
Ready Player One is possible in the sense that a large number of people will eventually interact with each other in an open and shared virtual economy. We already do this using social media on a daily basis, the metaverse is simply much more immersive.
Mark Zuckerberg and others in the gaming world believe that a metaverse is the next major internet innovation that will push people forward into a new standard. Zuckerberg has even formed a Metaverse Product Group inside his social media company to support his vision.
Zuckerberg is developing his metaverse platform, Meta, to be accessible across all of the different computing platforms including:
- Mobile devices
- Game consoles
The metaverse is much more than just gaming — it will also affect business, communication, education, entertainment, and even travel. It is an environment where people can be together virtually, even if they are far apart physically. With that, an entire virtual world of opportunities opens up that we have never experienced before. Similar to when businesses began utilizing the internet to grow their brands.
Most metaverse platforms will likely run on blockchain technology. In fact, a majority of the popular metaverse platforms already operate using blockchain technology. Thanks to blockchain tech, metaverse users can build, own, and trade digital assets using non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies, essentially building out an entire virtual economy.
Without blockchain, NFT, and cryptocurrency technology, building a sustainable virtual economy would be nearly impossible.
Although the development of the metaverse is already underway, how all the different metaverse platforms will work together, or if they will, is still largely unknown. Zuckerberg has indicated that it will not be one company that creates a single metaverse, but rather a conglomeration of businesses.
Is the OASIS the metaverse?
OASIS is the metaverse in the Ready Player One story. It is a virtual universe where the characters spend most of their time escaping from the harsh reality of their time. OASIS has a digital currency of credits that transfer to reality, these credits basically act as their cryptocurrency.
Players have the freedom to create avatars to be whoever they want to be. They also can experience events that are perceived better in virtual reality than in real life, and everyone exists in a completely immersive and virtual world.
How Realistic is the VR Technology in Ready Player One?
The VR technology in Ready Player One is more advanced than the best VR technology currently available in today’s market. Wade’s headset in the movie is light, the graphics are extremely realistic, and the full-body suit’s haptic touch is far better optimized than anything available today.
Let’s take a look at the VR tech found in Ready Player One compared to what is offered in today’s market.
- VR Goggles
Current VR headsets on the market are still relatively bulky and the graphics aren’t quite up to par with what is seen in Ready Player One. Additionally, to enter the metaverse with a VR headset, you also need to use a computer. Whereas in the movie the headset is a stand-alone device.
That’s not to say that you can’t use VR goggles without a computer to play games, you just don’t have access to the metaverse platforms unless you are connected to a computer.
- Haptic Suit and Gloves
The full-body haptic suit and gloves seen in the movie allow users to experience a sense of touch and control their movement, as well as interact with virtual objects. Currently, there is nothing readily available on the market today that compares to these suits and other bodily accessories.
Although there are a couple of companies like BHaptics and Haptx who are developing full-body suits and stand-alone accessories that might be similar to what is seen in Ready Player One, they are not common, nor will they be affordable for the average consumer once released.
There is also work in progress to introduce inside-out tracking, which will realistically transmit body movements in VR without any external hardware. This is similar to the VR in the movie, but again, most of this technology is not readily available for mass adoption in today’s world.
Ultimately, Ready Player One is a movie crafted around a virtual world in the future called OASIS. It combines virtual reality with augmented reality technology, and there are ways in which the virtual world crosses over into reality.
The movie may be set in 2045, but we are already a lot closer than we think to experiencing what is seen in the virtual world of OASIS. As well, innovators like Mark Zuckerberg are working tirelessly to make a world like Ready Player One.
That is exactly why he is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into the development of the Meta Metaverse platform, and training people to help develop the metaverse. The future is here, are you ready for it?