All One Needs to Know about Metaverse: A Complete Survey on Technological Singularity, Virtual Ecosystem, and Research Agenda

Lik-Hang Lee, Tristan Braud, Pengyuan Zhou, Lin Wang, Dianlei Xu, Zijun Lin, Abhishek Kumar, Carlos Bermejo, Pan Hui

Research output: Working paperScientific


Since the popularisation of the Internet in the 1990s, the cyberspace has kept evolving. We have created various computer-mediated virtual environments including social networks, video conferencing, virtual 3D worlds (e.g., VR Chat), augmented reality applications (e.g., Pokemon Go), and NonFungible Token Games (e.g., Upland). Such virtual environments, albeit non-perpetual and unconnected, have bought us various degrees of digital transformation. The term ‘metaverse’ has been coined to further facilitate the digital transformation in every aspect of our physical lives. At the core of the metaverse stands the vision of an immersive Internet as a gigantic, unified, persistent, and shared realm. While the metaverse may seem futuristic, catalysed by emerging technologies such as Extended Reality, 5G, and Artificial Intelligence, the digital ‘big bang’ of our cyberspace is not far away.

This survey paper presents the first effort to offer a comprehensive framework that examines the latest metaverse development under the dimensions of state-of-the-art technologies and metaverse ecosystems, and illustrates the possibility of the digital ‘big bang’. First, technologies are the enablers that drive the transition from the current Internet to the metaverse. We thus examine eight enabling technologies rigorously - Extended Reality, User Interactivity (Human-Computer Interaction), Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Computer Vision, Edge and Cloud computing, and Future Mobile Networks. In terms of applications, the metaverse ecosystem allows human users to live and play within a self-sustaining, persistent, and shared realm. Therefore, we discuss six user-centric factors – Avatar, Content Creation, Virtual Economy, Social Acceptability, Security and Privacy, and Trust and Accountability. Finally, we propose a concrete research agenda for the development of the metaverse.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages66
Publication statusSubmitted - 11 Oct 2021
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Fields of Science

  • 113 Computer and information sciences
  • Virtual reality
  • Augmented Reality
  • Extended Reality
  • Immersive Internet
  • Metaverse
  • Avatars
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Digital Twins
  • Edge Computing
  • Networking
  • Virtual Economy
  • Privacy
  • Mixed Reality

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