The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything (Hardcover)
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Tim Sweeney (CEO of Fortnite-maker Epic Games): “Matthew Ball’s essays have defined, analyzed, and inspired the Metaverse for years. His book is an approachable and essential guide to the strategic, technical, and philosophical foundations of this new medium.”
Derek Thompson (Atlantic staff writer and national best-selling author of Hit Makers): “This book feels like a rare achievement: a definitive statement about an emerging phenomenon that could shape the digital world, the global economy, and the very experience of human consciousness.”
From the leading theorist of the Metaverse comes the definitive account of the next internet: what the Metaverse is, what it will take to build it, and what it means for all of us.
The term “Metaverse” is suddenly everywhere, from the front pages of national newspapers and the latest fashion trends to the plans of the most powerful companies in history. It is already shaping the policy platforms of the US government, the European Union, and the Chinese Communist Party.
But what, exactly, is the Metaverse? As pioneering theorist and venture capitalist Matthew Ball explains, it is a persistent and interconnected network of 3D virtual worlds that will eventually serve as the gateway to most online experiences, and also underpin much of the physical world. For decades, these ideas have been limited to science fiction and video games, but they are now poised to revolutionize every industry and function, from finance and healthcare to education, consumer products, city planning, dating, and well beyond.
Taking us on an expansive tour of the “next internet,” Ball demonstrates that many proto-Metaverses are already here, such as Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox. Yet these offer only a glimpse of what is to come. Ball presents a comprehensive definition of the Metaverse before explaining the technologies that will power it—and the breakthroughs that will be necessary to fully realize it. He addresses the governance challenges the Metaverse entails; investigates the role of Web3, blockchains, and NFTs; and predicts Metaverse winners and losers. Most importantly, he examines many of the Metaverse’s almost unlimited applications.
The internet will no longer be at arm’s length; instead, it will surround us, with much of our lives, labor, and leisure taking place inside the Metaverse. Bringing clarity and authority to a frequently misunderstood concept, Ball foresees trillions of dollars in new value—and the radical reshaping of society.
About the Author
Matthew Ball is the CEO of Epyllion and the former global head of strategy for Amazon Studios. He has written for the New York Times, the Economist, and Bloomberg. His self-published essays on the Metaverse have been read millions of times and cited by leaders at Epic Games, Facebook, Tencent, and Coinbase. Ball divides his time between Toronto, New York City, and Miami.
Just as the present internet can be described as a network of networks, so the metaverse will be the virtual world of all virtual worlds. This is the vision offered in The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything by Matthew Ball . . . Ultimately, the fundamental question [Ball addresses] has to do with the social value of the metaverse: Can a human life spent in a virtual world still flourish? [Ball believes] that it can. The structures of our personal and social lives . . . are just as meaningful whether the substrate is our physical reality or a digital world . . . What, by the way, will happen to the real world that so many of us are supposedly eager to leave behind? Mr. Ball is excellent on the enormous infrastructure investments required to build a metaverse.
— Steven Poole - Wall Street Journal
Mr. Ball’s summary of the history of virtual worlds, in both fiction and computer science, provides helpful context. But his book’s most valuable contribution may prove to be his definition of the metaverse . . . For anyone who wants to understand the process [of building the metaverse] and what is at stake, Mr. Ball’s lucid and timely book offers a portal into a new realm.
— The Economist
This is the big reason why Matthew Ball is so influential in shaping our understanding of a conceptual metaverse: he is a skilled communicator and writer with clarity of thought. His book is a showcase of this talent as he traces the contours of our theoretical, collective future. Matthew goes beyond jargon and marketing smoke and mirrors to shine a light on the challenges of evolving the internet. His book is essential reading to anyone interested not just in what digital life may evolve into, but how we’ve already evolved with it throughout time.
— Gene Park, reporter, Washington Post
[In] The Metaverse, Matthew Ball explains how it could operate in practice and explores how it might turn out to be a lot more exciting and beneficial invention than the miserabilists imagine, so long as we help shape its evolution . . . [written] in an informed and provocative style . . . it serves as a comprehensive guide to every aspect of the metaverse, from its technical underpinnings to its societal responsibilities.
— John Thornhill - Financial Times
The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything, offers a better understanding of the metaverse than the novel that coined the term ? 1992’s Snow Crash . . . it tactfully toes the line between enthusiasm and skepticism while weighing possible futures against infrastructural realities . . . A tour of metaverse concepts from heady theory to gritty technicalities
— Cecilia D'Anastasio - Bloomberg
Ball [is] clear and transparent on his assumptions and ground[s] his discussion in real data and facts. His analysis then manages to integrate logic, humor, and an appropriate degree of skepticism of the most extreme claims, often made by those with vested interests. The result is an entertaining and thought-provoking guide to the coming alternative virtual world that should prove indispensable to not just users and developers but investors, competitors, and regulators.
— Jonathan A. Knee - Business Insider
Matthew is the leading thinker on the metaverse and gaming, one of the leading thinkers on media… The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything, in my opinion, [is] the very best book on its topic… [I] recommend highly.
— Tyler Cowen - Conversations with Tyler
[Ball’s] book puts some meat behind the buzzword . . . his arguments are rooted in reality, and his optimism is tempered with the murkiness of real life . . . a good read that handles the hard work of describing the technology and defining the metaverse in elegant ways that don’t sacrifice all of the complexity. And so it’s worth your time, particularly if you want to know what the future is going to be about and whether the metaverse will truly generate trillions of dollars in new wealth.
— Dean Takahashi - VentureBeat
[A]n instant classic . . . detailed, meticulously researched, and dense with observations and insight. I read it twice, just to make sure I scooped up every gem within it . . . a must-read for those in digital media . . . I loved this book and can’t recommend it highly enough.
— Charlie Fink, Forbes.com
Written by luminary Metaverse theorist, essayist, and VC, Matthew Ball, this book explores the ‘next internet.’ Ball demonstrates that many proto-Metaverses are already here. Yet, these offer only a glimpse of what is to come . . . The Metaverse is a timely, authoritative overview of the subject. Don’t miss it!
— Cathy Hackl - Forbes
[Ball] has long been one of the most interesting writers analyzing the technological and cultural shifts behind the emergence of the Metaverse, and his new book, The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything, provides an informative account on where our online existence is heading…. [Ball] knows what he is talking about, and perhaps more importantly, when the enthusiastic prophets of the new digital age are blowing smoke… If Ball’s illuminating guide is anything to go by, there is a bright future ahead for those building the Metaverse — and time perhaps for the rest of us to dust off those mirror-shades.
— Paul Dicken - Los Angeles Review of Books
[P]rovides more than just a definitive definition of the metaverse, which despite mounting interest, many people still fail to fully understand . . . Much of the book is a breezy read . . . [it details] what systems will be necessary for the metaverse to thrive.
— Dov Greenbaum - Science
A great historical perspective on technology and how it brought us to this point . . . an excellent book if people want to learn where we are and where we are going.
— Raju Mudhar - Toronto Star
Excellent . . . Chapters on bringing the various iterations of the developing metaverse together, making them interact, and the hardware required, are lucid and logical. The third section is even better. Ball prophesies about where and how the metaverse might arrive, and what it could do to our lives. Its strength is testament to years of thinking deeply about the area.
— Chris Stokel-Walker, New Scientist (UK)
For this emerging generation the metaverse will be a perfectly natural psychological extension of everything they have ever known. For the rest of us, who will soon need to catch up, Ball’s book is the best crash course we have.
— Kit Wilson, The Times (UK)
The Metaverse is a timely, authoritative, and accessible overview of the subject . . . well-pitched for the interested non-expert.
— Hilary Lamb, Engineering and Technology Magazine (UK)
Where big tech waffles about the metaverse while spending billions on making it a reality, Ball has exacting standards for what the metaverse must be and what would be needed to achieve it.
— James Ball - The Spectator
A robust explanation of a ‘persistent, 3D, virtual world—a network of interconnected experiences and devices, tools and infrastructure, far beyond mere virtual reality’…. A foremost expert on the metaverse, the author defines and demystifies what has yet to materialize, encouraging readers to suspend disbelief and instead consider the concept as they did their early interactions with tech innovations such as touchscreens, app stores, and Zoom… Readers will gain unprecedented insight into an otherwise insular aspect of the tech world.
— Kirkus Reviews
There is no better guide to where the Internet may—or may not—be heading... Ball has an intimate understanding of the work necessary to bring the metaverse to fruition, and what might derail it.
— Sue Halpern - New York Review of Books