The Metaverse is a virtual world that combines aspects of digital technologies such as video conferencing, games like Minecraft or Roblox, cryptocurrencies, email, virtual reality, social media and live streaming. Open source projects with a non-corporate ethos will continue to play an important role and attract some of the most interesting creative talent in the Metaverse, but there are only a few likely leaders in the early Metaverse. Since many massively multiplayer online games share features with the Metaverse but provide access only to non-persistent instances, which are shared by up to several dozen players, the concept of multiverse virtual games has been used to distinguish them from the Metaverse. While the metaverse has the potential to succeed the Internet as a computing platform, its underlying development process is likely to have little in common with its predecessor.
Some believe that the definition (and success) of a Metaverse requires it to be a strongly decentralised platform built primarily on community-based standards and protocols (such as the open web) and an "open source Metaverse operating system or platform (this does not mean that there are no dominant closed platforms in the Metaverse). Roblox, a platform where independent developers create games popular with children, may be the closest and most expansive vision of the Metaverse. Heyning, 45, has joined with some volunteers to form the Open Metaverse Interoperability Group, which aims to establish technological standards for "linking virtual worlds, in the hope that players in the metaverse will adopt them". He also suggests that, for all the expertise developers have in creating virtual worlds, any metaverse that takes off may not come from the games industry.
Stephenson's metaverse is presented to its users as an urban environment, developed along a single hundred-metre-wide road, the street, which runs the entire 65536 km (216 km) circumference of a black, featureless, perfectly spherical planet. The similarly named Singularity6 is building a virtual world that, unlike Fortnite, aims to become a metaverse from day one.