The metaverse will be formed by the convergence of many different technologies bringing together different aspects of online and real worlds, offering a seamless, cross-sector joining-up of business and social activity in a immersive digital environment. The metaverse doesn’t exist yet, and interoperability standards to interconnect online worlds are still a work-in-progress, but there are many platforms that demonstrate some of the characteristics of a metaverse – often referred to as 'proto-metaverses'. Some of these early worlds come from gaming/interactive entertainment; some are developing by adding metaverse-type interaction into existing applications; others are entirely new.
How the metaverse will be built, who will build it, how transactions will be governed and how it will be regulated are all open questions at the moment. Like all tech innovations, this is not unregulated territory, but applying existing legal frameworks to a new digital landscape brings diverse challenges.