Even though I very much want to play around in whatever weird huge sandbox thing Raph Koster and Playable Worlds are building, I now cringe whenever I see the word “metaverse.” It’s not Koster’s fault, exactly; it’s just down to months of seeing megacorp PR and third-rate crypto grifters use and abuse the word, usually in a way that makes no sense but gets a headline or twenty, all cluttering up my inbox on the daily.
However, listening to the word from someone who is dead serious about it and knows what he’s talking about makes my brain twitch a wee bit less, and that’s what’s on offer this morning. Koster appeared on the Building the Metaverse vidcast with Jon Radoff to talk about everything from economics and identity in the virtual world to the metaverse itself.
“The way I tend to think of ‘metaverse’ is the point at which enough connections have been made between these worlds that started as fantasy lands – they started as very segmented, separated things,” Koster says at the top of the show. “But as we increment the [number] of connections to the real world, increment the amount of replicated information (more mirroring, more stuff flowing in and out, whether that be money, information, whatever it is), there comes some threshold there – and we’re already edging over this line today – there comes some threshold there where the data that exists in those mirrors matters to the real world as much as anything in the real world does.”
It’s an 80-minute episode and conveniently divided so you can skip around through the stuff a core MMORPG player has probably already heard Koster talk about before to get to the modern metaverse.