Matrix System: Revision History

The following is my own summarized version of the Matrix revision history, formatted in the true style of computer programming, with support for my ideas given below. Everything in the "date" column is based on my best educated guesses (it is pure speculation) - justification for these educated guesses will be given later on this page. The theories behind the dates are more important than the dates themselves. In the version number, "b" refers to beta, which in computer terms means a program is still in its testing phase.

For versions 1.0 and 7.0 below, there are notes that you may not yet understand. Don't worry about this - they will be explained later.

Ver. Date Matrix Model Prime Program Notes

Lasts 5 years.


Lasts 10 years.


Lasts 90 years. Oracle's model of choice introduced. Humans who reject the Matrix are forced to stay in the Matrix (human rejection is encapsulated into the One).


Lasts 92 years. Oracle's model of choice is proven to work.


Lasts 94 years.


Lasts 96 years.


Lasts 98 years.

20th Century

Lasts 100 years. M1 begins at the end of this cycle.

20th Century

M2 begins at the beginning of this upgrade.

20th Century

M3 ends at the beginning of this cycle. All humans who reject the Matrix are now given a conscious choice to exit the Matrix. Still operates under the Oracle's model of choice.

My Speculated Story Behind the Versions

Ver. 0.8b: Being the program of ultimate mathematical precision, the Architect modeled the first Matrix after what he believed would be human paradise. The Merovingian was assigned or created to be the Prime Program. At that time, humans had no choice about their acceptance of the Matrix. Therefore, the Prime Program did not encapsulate rejection into the One since there was no "One" at that time. The Prime Program merely did what any other operating system does: it makes sure inputs and outputs go into all the right places. In other words, the Prime Program traffics information within the Matrix. Version 0.8b fails because choice is not offered, but the Architect cites lack of human suffering as the primary reason for failure.

Version 0.9b: The Architect designed this version based on the theory that humans define their reality through suffering (in Agent Smith's words). The Architect therefore introduced "varying grotesqueries" of human nature, such as pain, disease and war. Also, remember in M2 when Persephone says about Cain and Abel (vampire exile programs), "They caused more problems than they solved." What "problem" could possibly exist such that creating a vampire would be a speculated solution? I think that the vampire, werewolf and ghost exiles seen in M2 and ETM were supposed to bring suffering to the human race as part of the "grotesquery" Matrix solution.

This solution generally improved human acceptence of the Matrix - it is true that humans cannot know the value of health unless they also know sickness, they cannot know the value of peace unless they know war, etc. But as Persephone states in M2, the most extreme grotesqueries (the supernatural ones) created more problems than they solved. In other words, additional people rejected the Matrix since they don't believe in vampires and other supernatural beings. However, lack of choice is still the primary cause of failure for this version of the Matrix.

Next time you're frustrated by your life, just be thankful that you are not a human beta tester for Matrix 0.9b.

Version 1.0: It is unknown what model/theme the Architect used for this version of the Matrix, but presumably it improved acceptance of the Matrix slightly. The major improvement in acceptance, however, was due to a key discovery the Oracle made about human choice. This new choice-based model achieved a human acceptance rate of nearly 99%.

Since the Oracle's key discovery about choice allowed her to see past choice better than any other program, the Oracle was assigned to take over the Merovingian's duties of acting as Prime Program, the operating system of the Matrix, because the Prime Program had to be updated to include the function of rejection encapsulation - a function the Merovingian would not be able to perform. Nobody was more suited to encapsulate rejection into the One than the Oracle, since she understands choice and therefore rejection. And, since the Oracle's Prime Program status gives her access to all information in the Matrix, she is able continue her original purpose of studying the human psyche in the ultimate way - billions of people inside the Matrix are now her test cases. The Merovingian, now useless, was scheduled for deletion.

Ironically, under the Oracle's model of choice, the Merovingian was allowed to escape deletion by hiding in the Matrix with the help of the Trainman, and so were all of the supernatural programs from version 0.9b. The Merovingian promises protection to all exiles if they work in his service, because the Merovingian is still able to see everything happening in the Matrix, including whether or not an Agent is coming to kill various exiles. The system cannot give information trafficking duties to the Oracle until the Merovingian is no longer there to perform them (that would create a severe system conflict). The fact that the Merovingian continues to traffic information for the Matrix system despite his exile status is one of many clues to come that suggest programs are unable to deny their purpose if their purpose is still able to be carried out.

Versions 2.0 through 5.0 - These versions represent second through fifth iterations of the Oracle's choice-based Matrix model. Through analysis of potentials and the One in each version, code for the One in the next version is modified and improved, and understanding of human irrationality is improved, making each version last a little bit longer than the previous version.

In The Matrix Online, players find various Pandora's Boxes, which are gateways to the Merovingian's prison constructs. The Merovingian has collected Exile programs and artifacts from previous versions of the Matrix. These boxes reveal angel agents, warrior monk agents and soldier agents, each presumably from a different version of the Matrix, all prototypes to the current "suit" agents we see in the Matrix movies. Presumably, the angels came from the paradise version, the warrior monk agents came from a feudal Japan version, and the soldier agents came from a version similar to the current version but slightly earlier. There are also rumors in The Matrix Online of a Middle Ages version.

Version 6.0 - The Architect designed this version based on the peak of human civilization, namely 1900-2000. Again, this slightly improved acceptance of the Matrix. M1 begins at the very end of this cycle.

Version 6.1 (upgrade) - The Matrix was upgraded and "reloaded" to account for the One. M2 begins six months after this upgrade.

Version 7.0 - The seventh iteration of the Oracle's choice-based Matrix model, shown at the end of M3. Zion will not be destroyed, agents will no longer go after hackers in the Matrix, and all who reject the Matrix will actually be freed instead of being trapped inside the Matrix (this will be discussed later in the Matrix System: Natural Redpills page). The Oracle was the first program to make a choice for itself that it does not understand (a choice based on belief), showing that machines are truly trying to become more human (which demonstrates that machines serve the role of simulcra in the Matrix story).


Notice above that I indicated an upgrade version of the Matrix, ver. 6.1. I can support this idea with three clues:

  1. At the end of M1, the computer screen shows "Anomaly Carrier Detected", and Neo crashes the trace program. An upgrade is needed to safeguard the system now that the One has developed many of his potential abilities inside of the Matrix.
  2. The title of M2 is Matrix Reloaded. After a program is updated or upgraded, the new program is then reloaded in order to be used.
  3. At the beginning of M2, Neo notices that the Agents are "upgrades".

There were probably similar upgrades in past Matrix versions (such as 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, etc.). In fact, for all we know, there could be thousands of upgrades during the span of each version.

Speculated Dates of Full Versions

My justification for the 90- to 100-year spans between full versions is fairly straight-forward. In the M2 temple scene, Morpheus tells people in the temple, "For 100 years we have fought these machines. For 100 years they have sent their armies to destroy us." Therefore, when Morpheus says in M1, "It was he who freed the first of us, showed us the truth", Morpheus is unknowingly referring to the One of Matrix ver. 5.0. Obviously, Morpheus was not around at the time when that happened, or Morpheus would be at least 100 years old, which he is not. He is referring to the 23 people that the previous One freed in order to start the sixth Zion. I show previous versions as lasting 90 years and gradually increasing to 100 years to show that the system seeks to diminish the rejection rate with each iteration of the Matrix.

Speculated Dates of Beta Versions

Why do I put the first three versions 5 or 10 years apart from each other? Why not 20 minutes? First, remember that Smith took over Bane (a human) against Bane's will. Bane is not given a choice to reject Smith's programming - he is forced to accept it. This might be an extreme example of what the first Matrix was like, because Bane can't make any choices at all when Smith is controlling him. Therefore, it seems reasonable to conclude that Bane's consciousness would reject the Smith virus and die quicker than people in the beta Matrix versions would reject the Matrix.

So, if the first Matrix had failed after 20 minutes, Bane-Smith would have probably died within even fewer minutes. But after waking up, Bane-Smith is able to function with no signs of any problems for a few days before Neo kills him (not including the damage to Bane's brain, which I believe was due to the EMP, not to the Smith virus alone - this will be discussed in the Smith section). So, I am assuming the timeframe for rejection of the first Matrix probably has to be a much longer period of time than a few hours or a day, which is how long Smith lasts inside of Bane. Also, if rejection occurred immediately or in just a couple hours, the machines surely would have known the first Matrix would fail from the human lab testing they did (shown in "The Second Renaissance: Part II" of The Animatrix).

Why not 100 years? This is easy. The Oracle's choice-based Matrix model is portrayed as a vast improvement over the previous choiceless Matrix models. Given that ver. 6.0 lasts 100 years, there is no way any of the beta versions lasted anywhere near this long.

Why not 20 or 50 years? Consider that even under the Oracle's improved Matrix model of choice, we still have a rejection rate of a little over one percent. The potentials Neo sees in M1 are all under the age of 10, so certainly rejection in the first two inferior Matrix versions would have occurred after no longer than 10 years. Without the Oracle's model of choice (and the encapsulation of rejection into the One by the Prime Program), rejection errors would have compounded upon each other, leading to a much quicker system-wide crash, resulting in "entire crops" of humans dying.

I was tempted to call the Architect's two failed versions 1.0 and 2.0 instead of 0.8b and 0.9b, because the machines "released" this fully-functioning Matrix with the expectation that it would work. Today (in real life), software companies only give software a "beta" suffix if they know it will fail in advance. However, in his conversation with Neo in M2, the Architect says that he "prefers" to think of the current Matrix at that time version 6. That is why I refer to those versions as beta rather than full releases.

The Ultimate Y2K

The date stamp on the phone trace program at the very beginning of M1 reads "2/18/98". The date stamp on the phone trace program at the very end of M1 reads "9/18/99". This means that the events in the first movie take place over exactly 19 months (coincidentally, this is the same amount of time it took to build this site to the point where it was ready to be published). In M2, Morpheus talks about how many minds they have freed "over the past 6 months", which suggests 6 months pass between the first and second movies (with possible overlapping back into the time period of M1).

This would mean that the Matrix is probably reset (after Smith is defeated) in the year 2000. Even if Smith had not taken over (if Neo had chosen the right door), it still would have been in the year 2000. I wonder if the Wachowskis were giggling at this scenario, which brings entirely new meaning to the Y2K paranoia that existed before M1 came out. "Forget computers resetting themselves to the year 1900 - the entire universe is going to reset itself to the year 1900!"

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