The metaverse is coming. And the internet as we know it will never be the same. The global economy might be forever changed, too.

Companies both large and small are racing to develop a new virtual universe where individuals can play, socialize, and work together. It's going to take several years before the metaverse is in a position to really take off. But if it delivers on its potential, the impact will almost certainly be enormous.

As you'd expect, the metaverse should present significant opportunities for investors. Here are three metaverse stocks that could make you a fortune.

A person wearing a virtual reality headset surrounded by connected nodes of light.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Nvidia

Nvidia (NVDA 2.57%) ranks as one of the best ways to invest in several key technological trends. It's a top artificial intelligence (AI) stock. It's a great gaming play. Add self-driving car technology to the list as well. But one of Nvidia's biggest opportunities lies with the metaverse.

The company's graphics processing units (GPUs) are the gold standard in powering virtual reality games. It makes sense that Nvidia would move into the metaverse. And the tech giant has already taken the first step in that direction.

Nvidia introduced its Omniverse platform in 2019 and launched the beta version last year. Omniverse enables 3D simulation and design collaboration. Designers and engineers can create digital twins of anything in the physical world, including buildings and products. They can also build simulated environments for testing or training AI systems for robots or self-driving cars before deploying them. 

The company thinks that Omniverse provides a foundation for the metaverse. Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang believes that the metaverse "is going to be a new economy that is larger than our current economy." Nvidia's GPUs and technology platform are likely to be a critical part of the backbone of this new economy. 

2. Meta Platforms 

No other company is investing as heavily in building the metaverse as Meta Platforms (META 2.67%). The company even recently changed its name from Facebook to better reflect its focus on the metaverse.

Meta is already a leader in virtual reality (VR) with its Oculus devices. It also recently took an initial step into augmented reality (AR) with the launch of smart glasses. That's only the tip of the iceberg.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in the company's third-quarter conference call that Meta's investments in AR and VR to build the metaverse will reduce its operating profit by around $10 billion this year. He added, "I expect this investment to grow even further for each of the next several years."

Will Meta's big bet on the metaverse pay off? Perhaps not. But the company has a clear vision of what it plans to create and is putting the resources into play to make it happen. My prediction is that Meta will be successful in pioneering the metaverse and will make investors a lot of money over the next decade and beyond. 

3. Unity Software

Unity Software (U -1.02%) already offers the leading platform for developing interactive 3D content. More than 70% of the top 1,000 mobile games in the world were built using that platform.

The key thing to recognize is that Unity didn't create those games. Instead, the company empowered lots of individual developers to do so. That's important in the context of the metaverse. The metaverse won't be built by a big company like Meta Platforms alone. It's going to take thousands and even millions of content creators. Unity's goal is to give those creators the tools to be successful.

Perhaps the main downside with Unity's current platform is that it's not really geared toward artists. However, the company is addressing that weakness with its acquisition of Weta Digital, the visual effects studio that worked on movies including Avatar and The Lord of the Rings. Unity plans to make Weta's tools available to artists and creators for use in developing games and building out the metaverse. 

Unity's current revenue might not seem to justify its market cap of over $50 billion. But if the metaverse becomes as big as many expect it to, this stock could be a massive winner over the long term.