Metaverse Roadmap
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Roadmap 2016
A Project of: Accelerating Studies Foundation
Start Here!

Browse the 23 page Metaverse Roadmap Overview (Web or PDF). Key info you should know about the 3D and virtual future, now to 2025.

Want more? Skim the 75 page Roadmap Inputs

Anything missing? Add it to the Wiki. Help us survey the space!

Get Involved

How the Television Will Be Revolutionized: The Future of the iPad and Web 3.0 (The Metaverse), John Smart, ASF, 2010. A 45-page overview of trends and issues related to the emergence of internet television, open video, and Web 3.0, and political and economic challenges and opportunities ahead. The next decades are a very exciting opportunity for open source and open standards web video. With luck, trust, good design, and good business models, we will see continuing creative destruction of toxic big media. See also Smart's talk, The Television Will Be Revolutionized, TEDx Del Mar, 2010.

Other good early articles:
Second Earth: How Second Life and Google Earth are Merging into the Metaverse, Wade Roush, Tech Review, 2007.
Meet the metaverse, your new digital home, Daniel Terdiman, CNET, 2007.
Mapping a path for the 3D Web,
Daniel Terdiman, CNET, 2006.

MVR Summit transcripts and podcasts archived at Pew/Elon U's Imagining the Internet.

Get Involved

This is the archive site for the Metaverse Roadmap, a $100,000, public foresight project (looking out from 2006 to 2025) exploring the Future of Virtual Worlds, Mirror Worlds, Augmented Reality, and Lifelogs. We think it captures many of the opportunities and challenges of today's (2023) emerging metaverse industry. After a false-start (low trust, poor hardware, poor collaborative capacity, alienating design) from Meta, we expect the AR/VR portion of the metaverse will finally achieve sustainable early adoption with Apple's forthcoming (July 2023) pass-through mixed reality headset and robust development ecosystem. Thanks for visiting!

Connect with Metaverse Roadmap primary author John Smart (Speaker Site, Twitter).


Visit our Friends
Read Tony Deifell's 110 page study, The Big Thaw: Charting a New Future for Journalism, 2009, on Web 2.0 media and implications for the future of journalism, at the Media Consortium. Read the industry study, RealVR: The Next Big Thing, 2009, by Research 2.0, for an overview of metaverse companies and technologies (3D web, mirror worlds, virtual worlds, augmented reality, etc.) key to the next level of the global web. Read Byron Reeve's and J. Leighton Read's Total Engagement: Using Games and Virtual Worlds to Change the Way People Work and Businesses Compete, 2009, for ideas on the long-term future of business virtual worlds and games.

Conferences We Recommend

The premier international conference and exhibition on virtual reality Co-located with symposia on 3D user interfaces, haptic interfaces, and augmented reality.
March 20-24, 2010. Boston.

The Virtual Worlds - Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) Conference provides opportunities for virtual world communities to showcase projects, courses, events and research that lead to best practices in education. 170 conference presenters.
March 12-13, 2010. Second Life.

Metaverse Online and Physical Groups
On Meetup: Second Life and Metaverse Meetup Groups: Boston, Boulder Serious Second Life, Chicago, DFW, Hollywood, London, Orlando, New Jersey, New York
On Facebook: Austin Metaverse Meetup, Chicago Metaverse Meetup, Metaverse Meetup, Second Life, Second Life for Educators, Second Life Residents, The Metaverse.


Roadmap Wiki Contribute your metaverse insights at our Metaverse Roadmap Inputs Wiki, in nineteen foresight categories. Those whose submissions are used are publicly acknowledged on the Contributors and Reviewers section of this website. (Note: The last "cleaning out" and incorporation of public Wiki contributions, to MVR 1.0, occurred 5/2007).

Public Foresight Survey
Visit our 22 question, 10 minute public survey [Now closed, but questions are still browsable]. It asks you to consider potential future events identified at the Summit and assess their probability and ETA. Topics range from social and political to market and technology. Results will be compared those collected from Summit attendees.

The Metaverse Roadmap

What happens when video games meet Web 2.0? When virtual worlds meet geospatial maps of the planet meet pervasive web video? When simulations get real and life and business go virtual? When you use a virtual Earth to navigate the physical Earth, the internet swallows the television, and your avatar becomes your online agent?

What happens is the metaverse.

Taking its name from the immersive virtual world imagined by Neal Stephenson in his visionary novel, Snow Crash, the Metaverse Roadmap (MVR) is the first public ten-year forecast and visioning survey of 3D Web technologies, applications, markets, and potential social impacts. Areas of exploration include networked computer games and virtual worlds, web video, the use of 3D creation and animation tools in virtual environments, digital mapping, artificial life, and the underlying trends in hardware, software, connectivity, business innovation and social adoption that will drive the transformation of the World Wide Web in coming decades.

The MVR explores multiple pathways to the 3D enhanced web, not a single path to a "3D-only" web. An array of 3D web enhancements are emerging, visual extensions to the participatory web technologies now sweeping the online world.

Social search, the archiving and sharing of our favorite online and real world activities, ideas and experiences, is coming of age and going visual. Via the Open Video Alliance and others, mashable, sharable, royalty-free web video standards and technology are emerging. Wikipedia, with over 4.6 million articles in 200 languages, is now the 20th most-visited website. Social photosharing communities like Flickr bring us into each other's visual lives as never before. Democratic social bookmarking, blogging, and syndicating sites like Digg have grown from 17,000 to 400,000 users in 12 months. Video-enhanced social networking sites like MySpace and Bebo now have over 200 million unique collective users. YouTube, currently the most popular of internet video sites, has 100 million downloads and 65,000 uploads per day. New browsers like Flock make blogging, RSS syndication, ranking, sharing, and commenting easier than ever before.

Among social virtual worlds, the 2.5D world Habbo Hotel now has 7 million youth users in 18 countries. The leading open-ended 3D virtual world platform, Second Life, doubled from 160,000 to 330,000 accounts in four months (March to July 2006) and has recently been doubling every two months, to 2.5 million by Jan 2007, when they announced they would take their viewer open source. The global market for asset trading, object creation, and services rendered in virtual worlds is estimated at anywhere from $700 million to $2 billion per year (mostly undocumented and untaxed at present). In Japan, social networking sites like GaiaX entice their users into online games and virtual worlds as just one of many social options. Early location-based games are emerging in Asia.

In the simulation space, virtual humans are being explored for their online educational ability. Virtual prototyping software is making great strides in industry, bringing us closer to an era of Fab Lab prototyping and product hacking/customization. 3D navigation systems are emerging in the automotive market in Japan and Europe. Local-positioning systems, like 3M's RFID Tracking Solution, and modeling advances like ArcGIS, Google Earth, and SketchUp are allowing us to create "mirror world" versions of physical space like never before.

How You Can Help

A brave new virtual world is emerging, and we've only just begun to take stock of its implications. We hope you'll take time to browse this website, starting with the Metaverse Roadmap Overview (23 pages) and the full set of Roadmap Inputs (75 pages). Please recommend this site to your friends, and join our MVR Mailing List [mailing list no longer active] if you'd like to be informed of major Roadmap updates. Feel free to contribute your own insights and feedback at our Public Wiki. Visit, an affiliate blog of the Metaverse Roadmap, for another perpective on the emerging 3D Web. If you have the financial resources, become a sponsor of the next version of this public foresight document. Help us think about the opportunities and challenges ahead. It's going to take a lot of committed folks to make the kind of metaverse we deserve.

The MVR is organized by the Acceleration Studies Foundation, a nonprofit research group, and supported by a growing team of industry and institutional partners, all innovators in the 3D web. Thanks for your interest in building collective foresight in this important space. For a three page Roadmap Intro, click 'read more' below.

Looking Back and Looking Forward
Imagining the Internet
Metaverse Roadmap Summit

Drafting of the Roadmap 1.0 document began with our invitational Metaverse Roadmap (MVR) Summit May 5-6 2006 at SRI International.

There a diverse group of industry leaders, technologists, analysts, policy makers, academics and creatives outlined key 3D web visions, scenarios, forecasts, plans, opportunities, uncertainties, and challenges, for both a ten year planing horizon (2006-2016) and twenty year speculation horizon (2006-2025).

From June 2006 to June 2007 we worked to capture, research, and summarize their inputs. We started with 200 pages of raw Summit transcript (plus supporting documents) distilled this into 75 pages of Metaverse Roadmap Inputs (in 19 foresight categories) and condensed it further still into a 23 page Metaverse Roadmap Overview. We hope you find this information valuable as you survey this fascinating and rapidly moving new global social and technology space.

Below are a few distinguished participants who donated their time and insights to the MVR Summit. Click 'view all participants' for the full list.


View All Participants

Leading Sponsor
The Electric Sheep Co.
Founding Partners
American Cancer Society
Multiverse Network
X8 Software
Online Game Services
Supporting Partners
The Arden Institute
Sony Computer Entertainment
Millions of Us
Strategic Partners
Themis Group
State of Play Conference
Institute for the Future
Metaverse Sessions
Rivers Run Red
Sponsorship Opportunities
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