With Facebook changing its name to Meta, there has been a lot of interest and speculation about the metaverse. They have depicted it as the successor of the internet. In the metaverse, the users will live in a digital realm that would be a blend of features such as virtual reality (VR), mixed reality and augmented reality (AR). Metaverse would be an intersection of the physical and digital world wherein the users, in their 3D Avatars, will be able to socialise, shop, conduct meetings and do most of the mundane activities which we do in the real world. The metaverse is a much wider concept and cannot be limited to a virtual world or a game. Live concerts happen on YouTube as well, what would distinguish metaverse from such applications would be that you could be virtually present in the form of your avatars along with friends from different cities and enjoy as though you were physically there. It would be an immersive experience wherein people could live vicariously through their digital selves.


The metaverse would be an indefinite, parallel world where users will be able to lead a life that could be connected to the real world. The metaverse would help in connecting with people from various nations, virtually travel across borders and gain new experiences while continuing your routine in the physical world. Another distinguishing feature of the metaverse would be interoperability. The users would be able to freely move among different platforms while safely carrying their virtual possessions and these possessions from one platform could be used in another. The metaverse would benefit greatly from this open flow of information and linked platforms. The metaverse is also expected to have an individual economy and this more than anything might be drawing interest and investment towards its development. The users would be able to create, buy and sell a wide variety of goods. Therefore, economic transactions would create value and lead to a strong digital economy.


The metaverse is envisaged as a platform that would be the main medium through which work, socialising and learning would occur in the distant reality. Thus, naturally, platforms such as Microsoft, Meta Platforms, Epic Games and Google are investing to be a significant part of it and dedicate resources towards its development. Microsoft and Meta Platforms have already brought VR platforms. This will also lead to the creation of jobs and content on the platform. According to Bloomberg, the metaverse could be an $800 billion market opportunity by 2024, thus, drawing companies to invest and make the most of it. The concept of digital assets is already getting popular as people are buying property in the virtual world as can be seen in Decentraland in the form of NFTs. Brands such as Gucci have already started selling virtual goods on platforms such as Roblox. Concerts of Travis Scott and Ariana Grande on Fortnite had millions in viewership. The popularity of the metaverse can already be seen from these and firms are working hard to monetize it. With respect to gaming platforms, which can be considered as a preview of the metaverse, the economic benefits are reflected in their worth. Recently, a game developed by Krishnan Sunderarajan, ‘LOKA- The Metaworld’ saw huge investments in Shark Tank India, as the online gaming industry is flourishing. This app is a ‘metaverse multiplayer, game that helps the users have a real-time experience.


Although the concept is gaining more popularity by the minute, the creation of the metaverse could take decades. There are several hindrances for the Metaverse, such as hosting millions of people together at a particular event. The technology isn’t that advanced yet. Yet another concern would be forming and adhering to standards and protocols, as for metaverse to be interoperable, various platforms would have to agree to a common set of guidelines. Further, it would be tough for them to reach a consensus on data security and censorship rules.  Developing metaverse would be a time and cost consuming process.  


Charles Percy Snow rightly said, “Technology is a queer thing; it brings you great gifts with one hand and it stabs you in the back with the other.” The Cambridge Analytica scandal brought to light Facebook’s deeply concerning privacy violations and now, with the increased investment in the metaverse, the threat to our privacy has only increased since the Metaverse will have a lot more data of us when compared to the internet such as access to voice and facial features. In an interview, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen said that the metaverse will need people to put “many, many more sensors in our homes and our workplaces” leading to the collection of more sensitive data regarding the psychological process and day-to-day behaviour of the users. Corporations will acquire personal information from consumers through user interactions for various reasons such as advertisements, leading to genuine concerns about loss of personal privacy.  The genuine privacy concerns must be addressed and the lawmakers must frame laws to protect the privacy of the users, however, this would be challenging as laws governing the internet today itself are inadequate. The metaverse would also see increased instances of cybercrime and IPR infringement. Since the development of the metaverse will take time, robust guidelines and laws must be carefully framed to make the metaverse a safe, innovative platform and avoid domination by one company. 

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We speak the language of Technology & Internet. We understand how the law interacts with Technology & Internet. Cyber Crime Chambers is a boutique firm specializing in internet laws and digital forensic evidence.


B.A., B.L., (Hons) IPDP., (London)
Pgd IPR., Pgd Cyber Law., Msc., (IT)
Advocate, Madras High Court

Karthikeyan, is a renowned cyber law expert, who is also the Managing Partner of Law Office of Karthikeyan, a reputed law firm based in Chennai.

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