The VirtNet is also home to computer programs known as Tangents.
The VirtNet's history before the series isn't mentioned much during the books, but it is known to have been up for decades, and has evolved exponentially to the countless worlds it has today.
In its earlier days, the VirtNet hadn't reached the Deep, and the quality of gaming showed it to be a lot more primal as it presently is. An estimated time for its creation was maybe 2040's-2060's, but it isn't mentioned so that isn't reliable. A short time after its formation, hackers became a worry, so the VirtNet Security arose.