Defining the Metaverse: A Systematic Literature Review
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The term Metaverse is emerging as a result of the late push by multinational technology conglomerates and a recent surge of interest in Web 3.0, Blockchain, NFT, and Cryptocurrencies. From a scientific point of view, there is no definite consensus on what the Metaverse will be like. This paper collects, analyzes, and synthesizes scientific definitions and the accompanying major characteristics of the Metaverse using the methodology of a Systematic Literature Review (SLR). Two revised definitions for the Metaverse are presented, both condensing the key attributes, where the first one is rather simplistic holistic describing ‘‘a three-dimensional online environment in which users represented by avatars interact with each other in virtual spaces decoupled from the real physical world’’. In contrast, the second definition is specified in a more detailed manner in the paper and further discussed. These comprehensive definitions offer specialized and general scholars an application within and beyond the scientific context of the system science, information system science, computer science, and business informatics, by also introducing open research challenges. Furthermore, an outlook on the social, economic, and technical implications is given, and the preconditions that are necessary for a successful implementation are discussed.