I'm old enough to remember the first incarnation of virtual reality in the nineties and remember how thrilling it was to try out the VR games at the Trocadero in London's West End. TV series like "Wild Palms" and the Tad Williams book series "Otherland" envisaged a virtual world as big and open as the real one which we could all lose ourselves in. Then VR disappeared, almost without trace.
It's back now and so, it seems, is the the virtual sand box except now it's called the Metaverse. Everyone is talking about it and Facebook clearly intends to be ahead of the curve in creating it.
Perhaps, however, we should perhaps be cautious. It doesn't look like there will be one Metaverse but many and not necessarily linked or compatible. How affordable and accessible will they be? What liability and privacy issues could they give rise to? Will they be plagued by downtime?
So I'm watching with interest but don't want excessive optimism to jinx the virtual world as it did twenty five years ago.
Facebook is creating 10,000 jobs in the EU as part of its push to build a virtual world for its users.
The company has trumpeted the “metaverse” as the next big phase of growth for large tech companies and recently announced a $50m (£36m) investment programme to ensure that this metaworld is built “responsibly”.