If there’s one word we’ve seen more than any other in the last two years – it’s undoubtedly metaverse. Contrary to popular belief, though, the concept isn’t new. People have created virtual worlds you can interact with before, such as Second Life, World of Warcraft and other massively multiplayer online games. So, what’s the big deal, then?
This time, things are a bit different. The rise of blockchain technology and its derivates, such as DeFi, crypto and NFTs, has answered many previously unanswered questions. Whether it’s security, entertainment or even the ability to earn funds – the metaverse has it all.
But there’s one issue. Publications and experts like to ramble on about the latest trends without explaining the concept itself. That’s why the GamblingVerse team decided to tackle this issue once and for all.
We’ll be taking a swing at this topic. Join us on a journey to digital reality in our guide to metaverse worlds. Travelling is free in the metaverse, so let’s see where you might end up.
The Metaverse Explained
Right off the bat, it’s difficult to give a one-size-fits-all definition. The term was first coined in Neil Stevenson’s 1982 sci-fi novel Snow Crash. There, it describes a virtual dream world where the book’s characters go to escape reality under a totalitarian regime. But even in 2022, metaverse, in this sense, is relatively new.
So, how do we define it? For the most part, experts agree on a mix of the following two explanations:
The metaverse is an entirely virtual world governed by its own laws of physics. Denizens wear a special VR headset to receive visual input and interact with the virtual environment.
The metaverse is an ‘add-on’ that integrates with the real world. Pokemon GO is a perfect example. A similar example is IKEA’s app feature that allows you to see how a piece of furniture fits your home. These metaverses don’t require augmented reality. Machine learning (ML) algorithms latch onto real-life elements and create objects users can interact with.
What Do I Need to Enter the Metaverse?
Referring to the two definitions laid out above, we can see that there are two ways to approach a metaverse. Unlike a singular approach, this allows us to enter digital realities with a variety of hardware. Here are all the options you have to enter the best metaverse worlds in 2022:
VR headset. Various brands have their own take on this piece of tech. It allows you to see people and objects in 3D without visual or audio input from the real world.
AR gear. Augmented reality is the bridge between actual reality and virtual reality. This type of gear lets you see what’s happening but adds to the experience to create something new.
Gaming consoles. You can enjoy metaverse worlds by interacting with them in a game. PCs and XBoxes will soon have the ability to support VR elements and port you into a new reality.
PC. Perhaps the oldest method of entering the metaverse, you just need a headset and powerful enough hardware. After that, sit down, relax and enjoy this virtual world in its full glory.
Mobile. Remember when we mentioned Pokemon GO and IKEA? Well, both of them come in the form of mobile apps. Apple, for instance, specializes in mobile metaverse worlds, as evident by their Neural Engine component of the Bionic CPU series.
Okay, now we know what metaverse worlds are and how you can access them. But that’s just the technical part of the story. To fully understand this innovation, it’s essential to understand what makes it unique. Which begs the question – what are the characteristics of an average metaverse? Essentially, it boils down to five traits:
Decentralization. No single person, organization or government is in control. Users’ rights are written in the protocol and proofs of ownership, while tokens and NFTs ensure validity on the blockchain. Viveport is an excellent example of this, as the company merges apps, games and videos into a single world.
Social Connections are a thing. VRChat, Somnium Space, and Horizon Worlds tackled the socialization part in different ways but with the same level of success. Whether it’s trading, making friends or attending events, metaverse worlds bring people together, no matter where they are.
Real-world-like economy. Supply and demand are a thing in the metaverse, too. Altspace, for instance, lets artists and businesses get in touch with their followers more directly. So, metaverse worlds aren’t just for advertising – they also provide new experiences.
Can’t be shut down. Due to its decentralized nature, the metaverse can’t really be shut down. Sure, it can go offline, but all the data is online and stored in the blockchain, allowing both users and administrators to kickstart things when needed.
It’s immersive. Unlike video games with virtual elements that mimic real life, the metaverse aims for all your sense. VR headsets let you see and hear things; there are even smell-related sensory devices in development. The opportunities are truly endless.
What Types of Metaverse Worlds Are There?
The five key metaverse traits you saw above are just the tip of the iceberg. Every metaverse needs its branding, a one-of-a-kind approach to blockchain-enabled virtual reality. Therefore, developers make sure that their metaverse falls into one of the following categories:
Virtual Worlds. This type of metaverse is known for being exploratory and immersive. Instead of aiming for a single niche, virtual worlds strive to achieve a high level of immersion.
Gaming. eSports and casual gaming have always depended on realism. The Atari Metaverse has been quite successful in this niche. With blockchain tech making cheating harder, metaverses seem the perfect playing field for any competitive game. Gambling is a part of this equation, too. Regulators are still on the fence about how to approach this subject.
B2B. Companies are using metaverse worlds to attract other businesses. This type of digital display can showcase any product and create that ‘wow’ factor, even from afar.
Events. For musicians and other artists, live shows are a key source of funds. The global pandemic put a dent into this revenue stream, and the metaverse seemed like the perfect surrogate. In virtual environments, artists aren’t limited by financial constraints or logistics – anything is possible
Real Estate. And last but not least – the most profitable metaverse category. Despite virtual spaces being virtually unlimited, there must be limits for an economy to thrive. Thus, investors buy virtual land to resell or modify later.
It’s also worth noting that many of these niches are still relatively new. As such, some metaverses might seem clunky or undeveloped. However, they’re growing fast, and we might soon get to see hybrid realms.
Before you start engaging in any play-to-earn (P2E) schemes, think about your metaverse goals. If it’s an investment you’re looking for, budget accordingly and analyze the markets. Even gaming-centred metaverse worlds can be detrimental if you don’t visit them in moderation.
Benefits of the Metaverse
What can these virtual realities do for you? A lot of things, believe it or not. Despite the field still being new, experts have concluded that metaverses can have the following applications:
Improved accessibility. People with difficulties moving around would love nothing more than to shop normally. With a VR headset, they can enter metaverse stores and facilities, allowing them to browse goods conveniently.
Internationalization. Some companies and retailers thrive off of in-person experiences. For instance, you have to enter the Louvre to really grasp its magnificence. Metaverse worlds effectively ‘destroy’ borders and distances. If you have the right hardware, walking around your living room can turn into standing in front of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa.
Security. Whether it’s providing cryptocurrencies to earn funds while you’re in a metaverse or just competitive gaming, safety is important. Since these worlds are built on blockchain protocols, all transactions are public and trackable. Additionally, tokens such as NFTs cannot be forged or duplicated. This ensures a pristine experience for both casual and P2E users.
Socialization. In the late 2000s, adding someone on Facebook was a sign of the times. Today, the best metaverse worlds let you customize your own avatar and mingle with other people. Although it’s not the same as hanging out in real life, this way of contact is easy and convenient. Some mental health experts have even started exploring VR therapy in the form of relaxing metaverses.
Ease of purchasing. From a consumer’s standpoint, convenience is crucial. Metaverses provide just that – a place with multiple products and services congregated into one. This cuts back on browsing time and, alternatively, reduces the chances of predatory advertising. Yes, metaverse worlds will primarily be used for advertising, but their decentralized nature will iron out any irregularities.
Examples of Successful Metaverse Worlds
The best way to understand this concept is to look at the best metaverse worlds. Truth be told, it’s a Wild West-type situation on the current market. However, this makes any accomplishments even more impressive. So, what are the most popular metaverses today? The following can throw their hat into the ring:
Shiberse. Shiba Inu (SHIB) has been a dominant altcoin these last few years, which allowed its creators to expand on the idea. Unlike most meme tokens, SHIB is now being spun off into its very own metaverse. Together with Shibarium, their very own blockchain, it will allow users to earn cryptos, and NFTs, invest and interact.
Axie Infinity. Built on Ronin, an Ethereum sidechain (a derivate of the main blockchain), Axie Infinity is a pet-based metaverse game. In it, players trade lovable digital pets called Axies, which are inspired by axolotl, a species of water salamander. They can be bred, traded and upgraded. As they’re NFTs, other users can bid cryptos and acquire the NFTs. The value is quite high now, too.
Decentraland. Unlike Shiberse and Axie Infinity, this metaverse world is all-encompassing. You can buy and sell real estate, upgrade your avatar, go to events and trade NFTs. As the project develops, there will be more features akin to real life. Decentraland (MANA) is the currency in this world, which can be earned in various ways.
The Sandbox. A metaverse multiplayer game, the Sandbox gives players the freedom to do whatever they want. Resources are scattered around the map, and it’s your job to gather them. After that, you can acquire more complex materials, mint NFTs, and earn other cool rewards. Sandbox is more for gaming purists, but it’s also simple enough to be appealing to beginners.
Disney. Recent news suggests that Mark Bozon, former head of Apple’s Arcade division, will be the man in charge of Disney’s new metaverse project. With ambitious theme parks, movies, and so many other creations, there’s no doubt that Disney has enough firepower to deliver something remarkable. The project is still in its early phases.
Bloktopia. A VR metaverse game, Bloktopia lets you buy property on one of the 21 floors of a big skyscraper. Joint ownership, staking pools and a land sale portal are just the tip of the iceberg for this great game. Try it out.
Star Atlas. If you’re a fan of space exploration and science fiction, Star Atlas will provide you with all the action, adrenaline and conquests you can imagine. It’s a bit more complex but worth the time investment.
BYOverse. Users mint vehicles of all shapes and sizes called BYOCrafts. With them, users enter competitions, or they serve as investment vessels. If a BYOCraft is coveted, a player can hold it for a significant amount of time and sell high. There are also BYOPills, resource-rich properties, and Apostles – special avatars that assume not only different looks but also different stats and specializations. It’s like a blockchain sci-fi action metaverse MMO. We like the sound of that! How about you?