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[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/futurama_metaverse_477.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"[[TheInternetIsForPorn Didn't we have to pay a $9.99 subscription to get in this part of town?]]" \\
"Nah, Zoidberg's got a lifetime pass. He's in Claw Fetish right now."]]

What is the Metaverse?

The short answer: "It's the Internet, except you can walk around in it."

The long answer: "An Internet-like system, except using a three-dimensional world metaphor with which you interact using a three-dimensional virtual representation of yourself (see DigitalAvatar) instead of a two-dimensional hyperlinked-document metaphor with which you interact by clicking links and buttons."

The trope answer: The Internet becoming {{Cyberspace}} ''for real'' and everyone knowing about it and interacting with it that way.

The advent of VideoGame/SecondLife and its open-source equivalent, OpenSim, may make this future arrive sooner than you think. Some might argue that it already has, what with real-world governments and businesses setting up shop in Second Life, people making real-world money entirely within Second Life, and successful experiments at teleporting avatars between the Second Life grid and various [=OpenSim=] grids. However, with the drastic dulling of the use of these services, [[TechnologyMarchesOn the concept fell by the wayside for years]]... until projects like UsefulNotes/OculusRift and [[https://janusvr.com Janus VR]] started [[CyclicalTrope bringing it back]].

This is a subtrope of {{Cyberspace}} where it's widely known and used as a replacement for today's Internet by the public at large, not just by a few lucky hackers, discoverers, or inventors' friends.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'' - See the episode where Major Kusanagi visits a chat room, for example.
* ''Anime/{{Mnemosyne}}'' has "2.0". We see it grow in importance over the course of the series.
* ''Anime/SerialExperimentsLain'' mixes this with an incredible amount of MindScrew.
* ''Anime/DennouCoil'', to a degree. AugmentedReality is more like it.
* ''Anime/RealDrive'': from the same creator as ''Ghost in the Shell''.
* ''Anime/SummerWars'' has Oz, and its [[SpiritualSuccessor big brother]], the Franchise/{{Digimon}} movie ''[[Anime/DigimonAdventure Our War Game]]'' takes the same approach to the Internet. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhsxMqL7PQc Superflat Monogram]] also has a similar Internet representation.
* The manga for ''[[Franchise/TrainMan Densha Otoko]]'' has a ''very'' primitive version of this, with round, dumpling-like users floating in a gray cyberspace and talking in text, as a representation for a chatroom.

* In ''Film/TheMatrix'' and [[Film/TheMatrixReloaded its]] [[Film/TheMatrixRevolutions sequels]], the Matrix is a "neuro-active simulation" which human minds are jacked into to keep them under the machines' control. It's a very convincing simulation of late 20th century civilization, except to those few that don't take to it and are sought out by the rebels to become redpills.

* Cyberspace/The Matrix in Creator/WilliamGibson's ''Literature/SprawlTrilogy''.
* ''Literature/SnowCrash'': TropeNamer.
* ''Literature/{{Otherland}}'', by Creator/TadWilliams.
* The Sidebar Universes in Justina Robson's ''Living Next Door to the God of Love'' are a lot like this. Robson makes it difficult to tell where (or if) reality ends and virtual reality begins.
* The Infosphere in Dan Simmon's ''Hyperion''. [[spoiler: Also the Megasphere, the true home of the AI Core, and the Metasphere, aka the Void Which Binds.]]
* Nero Manson's ''Literature/SexDrugsAndViolenceInTheFuture'' depicts "The Grid" as a metaphysical overlay of ASCII characters on the real world.
* Inscape in several of Karl Schroeder's book, especially ''Ventus'', ''Lady of Mazes'', and ''Permanence''.
* Used in a few of Charles Stross's books, particularly ''Accelerando''.
* ''This Alien Shore'', by C.S. Friedman.
* Used on a massive scale in the ''Golden Age'' trilogy by John C. Wright.
* Used in the works of Kawahara Reki. The idea is just starting to pick up steam in ''LightNovel/SwordArtOnline'', but by the time of ''LightNovel/AccelWorld'' it's become commonplace. It helps that between the two series "diving" technology is miniaturised from bulky [=NerveGear=] headsets to the slim [=NeuroLinker=] collar, the latter also having an AugmentedReality function that essentially replaces mobile phones.
* ''Literature/ReadyPlayerOne'' has the OASIS - the Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation - which specifically evolved out of an MassivelyMultiplayerOnlineRolePlayingGame to ''encompass '''all''' the others.'' Yes. '''''ALL OF THEM'''''. Its implied (or at least one could easily get the impression) that every fictional character and universe one could imagine (and everything from said universes) actually exists, though of course only a fraction of it is actually shown. Its source of revenue isn't even a subscription, but ''transit between'' them.
* In ''Unison Spark'' by Andy Marino, Unison is a social network that operates like this. Users access the virtual world by clapping their hands together. The protagonists, Ambrose Truax and Mistletoe, are trying to stop the new upgrade to Unison 3.0, which is more nefarious than it seems.
* The oneirochronon (literally, "dreamtime") in ''{{Literature/Aristoi}}''.
* The titular ''{{Literature/REEL}}'' (the [[FunWithAcronyms acronym]] is French for "real"), where every person on Earth has an individual account since birth. It allows an equal access to education, communication and entertainment.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Caprica}}'''s holobands.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In Creator/{{Whitewolf}}'s ''TabletopGame/MageTheAscension'' game, there's the Digital Web, and one faction is working on Reality 2.0 to boot.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'''s Matrix. Not related to the movie.
* The ''[[TabletopGame/D20Modern d20 Modern]]'' book ''d20 Cyberscape'' addresses this.
* The Mesh in ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase'' typically employs AugmentedReality instead of virtual but it's practically the same thing.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/MegamanBattleNetwork'' - The Internet has evolved into just this, except the avatars are independent, sentient entities instead of just virtual images of the users. Also, it's been extended into everything from water coolers to vases.
** In ''Star Force'', the internet has grown out into a massive wireless world that ''overlaps'' the real one.
*** And yet manages to be both far, ''far'' less impressive or useful than the internet from something like a hundred years before.
* ''VideoGame/TheNamelessMod'': a meta example. The game (mod) is set in forum city-a fictional {{metaverse}} based on VideoGame/DeusEx where player avatars are based on VideoGame/DeusEx characters.

* ''Webcomic/KidRadd'' has the digital protagonists living in the internet, which to them looks much like this trope.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', after clearing the Valley of Pop-Up Ads, you reach a huge metropolis where Google and Yahoo are in the big buildings. The porn sites are in the red light district.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Active Worlds
* Croquet
* OpenSimulator
* VideoGame/SecondLife
* High Fidelity
* VRChat