Introducing the Virtual Worlds Type Indicator (VWTI), an attempt to categorise the universe of metaverses into sensible boxes.
Now everything is Metaverse… But virtual worlds are significantly different from each other, so how can we categorize these? We can’t just have “open” and “closed” because everyone will wave their hands and say they are open…
Inspired by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator for personality types (ENTJ, IFSP, etc), I thought it might be helpful to have something similar for metaverses or virtual worlds, to help quickly figure out where they sit in relation to each other.
I know: it’s not an exact science, and there is a lot of nuance, just as when MBTI tries to pigeonhole all of humanity into one of 16 four-letter categories. There are nuances and overlaps, and further differentiations should be made. Further, these virtual worlds will evolve over time, so the questions we ask will also need to adapt. So while this can never be perfect, it could at least be helpful as a start.
So, how can we sort the, ahem, universe of metaverses into boxes? I needed to find some questions which would help to characterise the different virtual worlds, where the answers to each question lie on a spectrum (eg open, closed) despite the nuances involved, and where the questions are sufficiently differentiated such that the answers don’t overlap (ie we won’t want the case that if you’re an X, you’re always also an A), and where ideally the answers would all start with different letters, er, mainly for aesthetic and stylistic reasons (eg I don’t want an OOOO type).
Note: I’m typically pretty pedantic with definitions and I try to select words carefully. But in this post I deliberately throw the word metaverse around interchangeably with virtual worlds because I’m not trying to define what a metaverse is, I’m trying to figure out how to sort it into a category.
So here’s my attempt at version 1 of the Virtual Worlds Type Indicator.