The concept of the metaverse has been around for decades, but it wasn’t until recently that it gained mainstream attention. With the rise of multiplayer games, social networks, and virtual worlds, the metaverse has become a real possibility. Epic Games, the developer behind Fortnite, is one of the companies leading the charge towards this vision.

In a recent interview with GamesBeat, Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, talked about the company’s vision of the metaverse and how they plan to make it a reality. “The metaverse is the multiplayer aspect, the meaningful social play, the meaningful choices and meaningful participation,” said Sweeney. “It’s not owned by these institutions that make you play what they want you to play.”

According to Sweeney, the metaverse has been growing steadily over the past few years, with an audience of over 600 million people. While many people associate the metaverse with games like Fortnite and Roblox, Sweeney believes that it will encompass much more than that. “We should appreciate that and separate it from the unfounded hype that was given to it, the claims around it, NFTs and things,” he said.

The key to making the metaverse a reality, according to Sweeney, is to create an open and interoperable ecosystem. “It’ll be another one of the big failures of our generation if we let another new ecosystem develop into a set of walled gardens,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact it’s probably better for all participants if it’s not that way.”

To achieve this, Epic Games is working on developing open standards for everything from content authoring interoperability to economic interoperability. Sweeney believes that if every console social service’s voice chat and every major publisher’s voice chat worked together, and if there was a single friends system that connected together, it would be achievable.

“You need that for metaverse cosmetics. You need quality standards and safety standards for interoperable metaverse ecosystem destinations,” said Sweeney. “We could have that by the end of this decade. These things could be connected. We could have the open metaverse.”

One of the key components of the open metaverse is a programming language that can be used to define how objects behave and interact. Epic Games has developed Verse, a new scripting language designed for the metaverse. According to Sweeney, the metaverse needs a language that can catch problems at development time rather than after release, and that is easy to learn. Verse is also designed to be good at dealing with things that occur over a period of time, which is crucial in a world where time passes during gameplay.

However, Sweeney acknowledges that getting people to adopt a new programming language can be a challenge. To overcome this, Epic Games is using Fortnite’s creator community to battle test Verse and adapt it as they go along.

The ultimate goal of the open metaverse is to create a massive scale open world programming environment that’s designed for software that’s continually evolving in a real-time environment. While there are still many challenges to overcome, Sweeney and his team at Epic Games are confident that the open metaverse is possible.

“The ultimate destination is open standards for everything,” said Sweeney. “The path to that involves a lot of chaos. There’s going to be a lot of de facto standards emerging as different companies propose different things. People will say, ‘That’s cool. Let’s use that.’ That will happen before a standards body steps in. That’s a healthy process.”

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