Metaverse vs. Virtual Reality (VR): Understanding the Key Differences

Metaverse vs. Virtual-Reality (VR)

Words like metaverse, Virtual Reality (VR), AI, and blockchain have dominated discussions around the tech space over the past few years. With the next iteration of the internet, Web3, set to take the world by storm, cryptos, metaverse, and VR are poised to play a vital role. 

While metaverse and VR redefine how people interact in the digital space, they are not the same. This blog post will discuss the meaning and definition of these and also try to explain the differences and similarities. Let’s dig in. 

Defining the Metaverse

The metaverse is a virtual shared space for technologies like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain. It is where all these futuristic technologies interoperate by combining physical technology like computers and VR headsets with virtual space. 

Think of it like the blockbuster movie ‘Avatar’, where the protagonist enters the imaginary world of Pandora and transfers his consciousness to the blue-skinned Na’vi using VR headsets and pods. But unlike the movie, in the metaverse, you can only create a virtual avatar (nope there is no consciousness transfer). However, users can interact with it in real time.

Users can engage in several activities in the metaverse like attending virtual concerts, gaming, working, endorsements, etc. Big companies like JP Morgan, Adidas, and Nike have invested in the metaverse. The list also includes Meta (Formerly Facebook) founder Mark Zuckerberg. The name change signaled Zuckerberg’s intention to reposition the company around the metaverse

Understanding Virtual Reality (VR)

As the name suggests, VR is a virtual environment created by computers that can be accessed using tools like a VR headset. VR has no physical embodiment and is a simulated environment to provide a sensory experience. Users can interact and explore as if they are physically present within the virtual reality like interacting with people, playing games, socializing, watching movies, and many more. The full potential of the technology is yet to be realized. 

Those unversed in VR technology hold that VR is just a fancy and sophisticated tool for niche gamers. However, VR technology has evolved beyond just games and has found applications across various fields such as healthcare, education, training, sports, and coding. Let’s take, for instance, the Apple Vision Pro, a VR headset launched earlier this year. In fact, Vision Pro’s potential was on full display when a UK hospital used the mixed-reality headset for a surgical procedure in March 2024.

Key differences between metaverse and VR

Despite falling under the same genre of the digital space, the metaverse and VR have some key differences, such as:

Difference in definition

The metaverse is a virtual shared space where VR and AR technologies interoperate in real-time. VR is a virtual environment created using computers to simulate a sensory experience. 

Difference in accessibility

When the metaverse first gained mainstream recognition (around the time Facebook rebranded itself as Meta), the technology was still under development. However, so much has changed over the last few years. Users can now experience the metaverse using devices like VR or AR headsets, mobile phones, and computers. 

To access VR, users need a headset, console, and a good computer which can be quite expensive depending on the brand. 


Metaverse is positioned more like a social platform where users from all over the world can interact in the 3D world. It allows users to build and grow their avatar and the world they created while also giving them ownership rights over their virtual assets. They can also switch between different metaverse experiences. 

VR’s inclusivity, on the other hand, can be limited to a group of people or a single user. Companies that provide the tools to access VR like headsets and consoles have their virtual world specific to their users, something not as inclusive as the metaverse.

Technological limitation 

The metaverse is versatile as it gathers the best technologies of our time in a single space. These technologies include VR, AR, AI, blockchain, IoT, etc. However, the metaverse technology is still in its infancy and while it holds so much potential, it could take some years before it develops fully. 

VR technology is much more advanced despite extending its reach to limited virtual realities for its users to interact with. VR provides a focused and immersive experience with limited interaction, but there is no denying that its technology is much ahead of the metaverse despite higher costs. 

Metaverse and VR similarities 

Despite the differences, metaverse and VR have several overlaps and similarities between them such as: 

  • Both the metaverse and VR are part of the next evolution of the internet. They signify the innovation and evolution of the digital space in ways never seen before. 
  • The digital space created by the metaverse and VR amplifies digital experiences by transporting users to virtual worlds where their avatars can interact with different virtual environments.
  • The technology used to develop the metaverse and VR share similarities like third-dimension (3D), sensory devices, and virtual environments. 
  • VR paved the way for the metaverse, with VR serving as the ideal module in the metaverse concept.


To sum up, the metaverse and VR are among the technologies with the most potential to redefine the next iteration of the internet. They represent a broader concept of virtual worlds and digital experiences on a shared platform. Despite their differences, the metaverse and VR can provide out-of-this-world virtual experiences for users. It will be interesting to track their journey and how they will transform industries in the future.


What is the key difference between virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)?

The key difference between VR and AR is how they blend the real and virtual worlds. While both technologies enrich the virtual world experience, the application is somewhat different. Put simply, AR enhances both the virtual and real world by adding digital elements to the physical world while VR only enhances the virtual world by enabling the users in a simulated virtual environment. 

What is the main difference between the metaverse and the Internet?

The Internet is a global network of interconnected computers and devices that enables users to go online. It encompasses everything we do with our smartphones and computers such as browsing, getting information, sharing information, and much more. Metaverse comprises a more immersive experience where users can emerge into the virtual world by creating a virtual space sans limitations. 

Are Meta and metaverse the same?

Meta and metaverse are not the same thing. Meta Platforms, formerly known as Facebook Inc., is a tech firm that owns social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Threads, and many others. Metaverse, on the other hand, is a shared virtual arena where users worldwide can interact with one another in the digital universe. However, it is important to note that Meta is one of the leading companies creating the technology and infrastructure for the metaverse. 

Disclaimer: Crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions. The information provided in this post is not to be considered investment/financial advice from CoinSwitch. Any action taken upon the information shall be at the user’s risk.

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