Visions Of Metaverse From Science Fiction – Real Estate

Exploring the immersive world Metaverse

The Metaverse is a bold new frontier at the heart of recent technology trends. It is a vast, collective, virtual shared space. While this is a novel concept for many, the threads of this idea have been woven through the fabric of science fiction for decades. 

With its knack for envisaging future tech landscapes, science fiction has laid the groundwork for our current understanding of the Metaverse.

In this genre, we’ve been offered tantalising glimpses into what a fully realised Metaverse might look like and how it could revolutionise industries such as real estate.

“Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson

Stephenson’s 1992 novel introduces the Metaverse as an urbanised, avatar-populated virtual reality (VR). The real world has decayed, but the Metaverse thrives, creating its own unique real estate market. 

Buildings in this VR space signify status, and only the wealthiest can afford to construct and maintain them. Translated into the real world, it suggests a virtual real estate market with limitless land, but the location remains prime. 

As virtual reality and cryptocurrencies evolve, we see a parallel in emerging platforms like Decentraland, where users buy, sell, and build on virtual land.

“The Matrix” franchise

In “The Matrix”, humanity exists within a fully simulated world designed to pacify and subdue. It’s a darker vision of the Metaverse, where the physical and virtual boundaries are so blurred they’re indistinguishable. 

The narrative implies a world where real estate could move beyond the physical, where ‘location’ has a different meaning. Such a concept isn’t far off, with AR/VR technologies enabling virtual property tours and ‘living’ in architectural designs before they are built.

“Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline

“Ready Player One” presents the Metaverse (‘The Oasis’) as humanity’s refuge from a dystopian world. Real estate has various forms – from free public education spaces to expensive private planets. 

This depiction mirrors current trends in Metaverse-like platforms where not just land but also experiences are bought and sold. Selling intangible experiences could reshape the real estate market, making it more inclusive and varied.

“Neuromancer” by William Gibson

Gibson’s concept of ‘Cyberspace’ in “Neuromancer” pre-dates the term Metaverse. It’s a global network of data navigated by users in 3D avatars, which suggests an interconnected metaverse boundless by geography. 

This novel’s influence resonates with how blockchain technology is used today to verify and secure digital land ownership in the virtual real estate market.

“The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect” by Roger Williams

Williams explores a post-scarcity world where a superintelligent AI satisfies every human need, making the traditional economy and real estate obsolete. Yet people create virtual realms, indicating that possession and space remain essential to human identity. 

The takeaway for the real estate market is profound – no matter how technology advances, the desire for personal, defined space will persist, whether physical or digital.

“Permutation City” by Greg Egan

Deeply philosophical, “Permutation City” dives headlong into the idea of consciousness, exploring its existence within the vast expanses of a computer-generated universe. 

The book gives us a glimpse of a society where human minds can be scanned and replicated in the digital realm, enabling digital immortality.

Mirroring real-life developments, companies and organisations are experimenting with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies to craft digital spaces where people can interact with each other and their environment. 

A future where people can own, trade, and manage digital assets in these spaces is conceivable, and this is where real estate stands to gain immensely. Digital real estate, modelled on Egan’s limitless Metaverse, could be a burgeoning market.

“TRON” franchise

In the “TRON” franchise, the Metaverse is seen as a parallel digital universe where software entities exist as autonomous individuals. The distinct separation between the real and digital worlds, coupled with the intriguing interaction between them, forms the core concept of this franchise.

As for real estate, such a Metaverse could revolutionise the sector, making it possible for physical properties to have digital counterparts, enhancing their value and utility.

“The Thirteenth Floor”

“The Thirteenth Floor” puts forth a nested virtual reality scenario. The story revolves around a virtual reality simulation of 1937 Los Angeles, created in 2024. However, the characters within this VR are unaware of their existence in a simulation.

Creating parallel worlds that simulate reality is an intriguing aspect of the Metaverse. This approach could disrupt the real estate industry by creating virtual real estate that mirrors its physical counterpart. Users could explore properties virtually, giving them a deeper understanding and better decision-making capabilities.

“Rainbows End” by Vernor Vinge

“Rainbows End” is a compelling portrayal of a world transformed by AR, wearable tech, and global networks. The Metaverse in this novel is an augmented overlay of the physical world, easily accessible with wearable technology.

The vision in “Rainbows End” is increasingly becoming a reality with the rise of AR and VR technologies. This can drastically enhance the property-buying experience in real estate, with virtual walkthroughs and property enhancements easily visualised through augmented reality.

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“Altered Carbon” by Richard K. Morgan

“Altered Carbon” introduces us to a dystopian future where human consciousness can be transferred between bodies. The Metaverse encompasses virtual spaces where consciousness can exist independently of the body.

Current tech trends hint towards such possibilities, where our digital personas could outlive our physical forms. As for real estate, the implications are vast. It could open up the possibility of creating spaces that cater to these digital personas, expanding the industry into the realm of virtual real estate, thus broadening the definition of ‘property’

Comparative Discussion




Boundary Pushing

Snow Crash

All visions illustrate a Metaverse where digital real estate exists.

Unlike others, Snow Crash envisions the Metaverse as a physical space navigated with avatars.

Sets the stage for avatar-based property viewing and management in the Metaverse.

The Matrix

Matrix-like simulations are echoed in “The Thirteenth Floor” and “Permutation City”.

The Matrix leans more on simulated reality rather than a separate digital entity.

The real estate sector could benefit from fully-immersive simulated property tours akin to the Matrix experience.

Ready Player One

Shared a vision with TRON of creating an entirely digital universe.

It stands out with the idea of a digital utopia where most of the life aspects are moved online.

Proposes the possibility of entire societies residing in digital real estate, drastically expanding the market.


Echoes the Metaverse in Snow Crash and Altered Carbon with a separate digital entity.

Introduces the concept of AI-controlled realms within the Metaverse.

Suggests AI’s role in managing and organising digital real estate, aiding in property management and transactions.

Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect

Resonates with Altered Carbon and Permutation City with digitised consciousness.

Prime Intellect uniquely introduces a god-like AI overseeing the Metaverse.

Illustrates a controlled real estate market managed by AI entities, ensuring fairness and removing human error.

Permutation City

Like in Altered Carbon and Prime Intellect, consciousness is moved to a digital realm.

Only vision where inhabitants can alter the physics of the Metaverse.

Pioneers the idea of fully-customizable digital properties, catering to the owner’s every whim.


Is similar to Ready Player One in the idea of a separate digital universe.

Only vision where software entities in the Metaverse possess their autonomy.

Questions the need for human intervention in managing digital real estate.

The Thirteenth Floor

Shares the Matrix’s concept of simulated reality, unaware inhabitants.

Introduces the concept of nested virtual realities.

Suggests opportunities for multiple real estate ownership and management within nested Metaverses.

Rainbows End

Like Altered Carbon, it looks at the implications of digitising human consciousness.

It sets itself apart with the use of AR to enhance the real world.

Demonstrates the potential of AR in enhancing real estate utility and viewing experience.

Altered Carbon

Shares the idea of digitised consciousness with Prime Intellect and Permutation City.

Unique dystopian setting with consciousness outliving the physical form.

It opens up the idea of properties owned and used by digital personas, expanding the concept of property.


With Metaverse technologies gradually becoming a reality, we’re set to witness a shift in how we perceive property and real estate. Remember, as we move towards a digitally interconnected future, your digital footprint may extend to owning a piece of the Metaverse. 

So, let’s explore these realms together and keep this conversation ongoing. What’s your vision of the Metaverse?

Vimal Vijayan Vimal Vijayan is a major in Philosophy with a background in Music, Artistry, Research, and Teaching. More often than not, he is as confused as a cow on an astroturf but oddly that's just his strategy for staying lazy. Also, he likes to play Chess. Fin.
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