The term "metaverse" has recently gained significant attention due to its potential role in shaping the future of technology and digital experiences.

But where does this concept originate?

Let’s delve into the history of the metaverse and unearth its earliest roots.

1. The Dawn of Virtual Worlds:

Neal Stephenson’s "Snow Crash" (1992)

One of the earliest mentions of the term "metaverse" can be traced back to Neal Stephenson’s groundbreaking 1992 novel, "Snow Crash." In this cyberpunk adventure, the metaverse is a virtual reality shared by millions of users, a place where they can interact with one another in an immersive digital environment. While not the first fictional depiction of a virtual world, "Snow Crash" popularized the term "metaverse," which has since been used to describe similar concepts.

2. The Precursor: Jaron Lanier’s "Virtual Reality" (1992)

Jaron Lanier, a pioneer in virtual reality technology, published his influential book "Virtual Reality" the same year as Stephenson’s novel. In it, he explores the potential of immersive digital environments and describes what he calls the "virtual metaverse," a global network where users can interact with one another and create shared experiences. Lanier’s vision laid the groundwork for many of today’s metaverse concepts.

3. The Early Pioneers: The Virtual Reality Community

Long before Facebook, Microsoft, and other tech giants began investing in metaverse technology, a dedicated community of virtual reality pioneers was exploring its potential. These visionaries, including Sense8, VPL Research, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, worked tirelessly to develop the hardware and software necessary for immersive digital environments, paving the way for the modern metaverse.

4. Summary: The Evolving Metaverse

From Neal Stephenson’s fictional depiction in "Snow Crash" to Jaron Lanier’s vision of a global virtual network, the concept of the metaverse has evolved significantly over the years. Today, as tech companies invest billions in creating immersive digital experiences and virtual worlds, we can look back on these early roots for inspiration and insight into what lies ahead.

So, to answer your question: The first examples of the metaverse can be found in Neal Stephenson’s "Snow Crash" novel (1992) and Jaron Lanier’s "Virtual Reality" book (1992), which provided early descriptions and visions of this immersive digital space where users can interact with one another.