The Metaverse – everyone talks about it, but no one knows exactly what it really is. This makes it a bit difficult if we want to compile a list of platforms or experiences that represent the best of what it could be.
But if by that we mean persistent, connected digital environments that focus on delivering immersive experiences to users, we can try our hand at highlighting some projects – both existing and on the horizon – that stand out. .
Not all of the projects highlighted here involve virtual reality, decentralization, or cryptocurrency. While these are all technologies that may have a place in the Metaverse, it is not strictly essential that they are part of every Metaverse.
So, rather than focusing on examples that tick all the boxes, today’s best examples tend to be those that do one or more of the core elements particularly well. Not all of them are fully functional yet (and one of them isn’t even real!), but they all give us a glimpse of what the digital worlds of the future might look like.
Loan player one
Ok, so that’s a bit of a cheat because it doesn’t exist and it’s entirely fictional, and if you’ve seen the movie or read the book, you’ll know that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, it does serve as a great example of what the Metaverse could eventually look like – though hopefully we won’t be using it primarily as a way to escape a terrible reality.
Ready Player One shows us what a fully immersive and interactive virtual reality world could look like in the near future. And while that’s pure science fiction, it’s not necessarily that far off – a 2020 Ericsson survey found that seven out of 10 people think we’ll have VR worlds that are indistinguishable from reality. ‘by 2030. And while yes, it’s often referred to as dystopian, it’s not as dire a potential fate for humanity as some other fictional digital realities we might mention.
Second Life was created by Linden Labs in 2003, before Facebook (let alone Meta) even existed. There is some debate as to whether this constitutes a metaverse as such. One of the reasons for this is that, as the name suggests, it is designed to allow users to engage in an alternate life as an alter-ego rather than taking their existing real life online. Other opinions, however, indicate that it was indeed the first popular online metaverse environment. While it doesn’t tick all the boxes on the checklist, it is a useful example of an online community populated by millions of users with an immersive and experiential user interface.
Meta Horizons (Facebook)
When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg renamed his company Meta, it was a sign of the importance he placed on the concept of the metaverse for the future of digital communications, socializing, and living. The result so far has been several projects, including Horizon Worlds (a virtual worlds platform), Horizon Venues (events platform) and Horizon Workrooms (virtual office). All of these platforms are interconnected and allow users to create avatars that represent them as they explore and interact with other users. An interesting aspect that arises from the existence of Horizon is that it forces us to ask ourselves if we want a metaverse where ownership is centralized under one business owner or a more distributed and decentralized model of ownership and governance.
Fortnite is, of course, primarily known as one of the most successful online games ever made. But the creators of Epic Games quickly realized that once they got millions of plugged-in, tech-savvy gamers on their platform, it potentially became something more groundbreaking. Two main components that are being followed in order to turn the world of Fortnite into a true metaverse are live music concerts from global superstars such as Travis Scott, Ariana Grande, and Billie Eilish. Brands such as Telco 02, broadcaster ITV and supermarket Carrefour have all used creative mode to take their first steps into the metaverse.
Halfway between a game, a marketing channel and an experience of creating a decentralized digital democracy, Decentraland is a true Web3 platform. It is governed by a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) and is home to some of the world’s biggest superstars and brands online, including Morgan Stanley, Coca-Cola, Adidas, Samsung and Snoop Dogg. It comes with its own cryptocurrency, known as MANA, and anyone interested in buying land there will currently have to shell out at least $10,000 – the most expensive costing well over a year. million bucks.
Omniverse is Nvidia’s attempt to create a creative metaverse platform for 3D design professionals. It is based on technology developed by the animation studio Pixar, which created the Universal Scene Description (USD) language that allows 3D objects and environments to become portable across different toolsets. This makes it possible, for example, to design characters collaboratively, with face animators, clothing designers, and other creatives all using tools they are familiar with. As 3D environments become more detailed and immersive and require more work to build, this type of creative framework will become an essential tool for studios creating metaverse content.
Roblox is a gaming platform used daily by more than 50 million users. It allows anyone to create and even monetize their own game worlds, which all exist in an interconnected metaverse and share aspects such as avatars and currency. Companies like Nike, Forever 21, Gucci, Nascar, Ralph Lauren, and Vans have all used the platform to create virtual worlds where users can interact with their brands. Although anyone can create their own game in Roblox, it’s designed so that they all look and feel similar, which means that once a player has logged in and experienced the one of them, he will feel comfortable in one of them.
It started as a mobile game, which in 2018 was ported by its creators to the Ethereum blockchain, becoming one of the first truly decentralized metaverse platforms. It includes its own object creation tools that allow anyone to create 3D objects, characters, vehicles, or anything they can think of, which are then created as NFTs and can be imported into other Sandbox worlds. These NFTs can also be traded and sold through the platform’s built-in marketplace. Assets and land are created as NFTs, and like Decentraland, transactions are conducted in the platform’s own currency, known as SAND. Sandbox is another platform that has proven popular with brands wanting to establish their presence in the metaverse – landowners include HSBC, Warner Music, PwC and Paris Hilton.
This one was just announced, and few details are known, but it’s a metaverse project set up by Yuga Labs – the creators of the hit NFT series Bored Ape Yacht Club ( BAYC). In April, the company raised $285 million with the sale of the first batch of “deeds” to land on the platform. While details of what Otherside will look like when it opens to the public are scarce, the developers say, “Think of it as a metaRPG (role-playing game) where players own the world, your NFTs can become characters playable, and thousands can play together in real time.”
Pokemon Go launched before the hype built around the metaverse concept. However, it is the go-to “killer app” for augmented reality (AR), which should be one of the core technologies around which the metaverse will be built. As such, it’s one of the best examples of how the Metaverse will involve merging the real and digital worlds. Its creator, Nintendo, has further blurred the lines by allowing real-world companies to establish a digital presence in the poke-verse by launching advertising and promotional campaigns.
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