ComScore
nft

What is the Metaverse? A Beginners Guide

MOBILE 54
Michael Caloca / ONE37pm

Since Mark Zuckerberg changed the name of Facebook to Meta, many people were caught off guard and are now left in the dark as to what Meta is and what the future of the metaverse means. 

Additionally, big-name brands that we love such as Addidas have taken the plunge into the metaverse. Offering their NFTs holders the ability to unlock exclusive access to virtual land experiences and free collaborative merchandise. So, what is the metaverse exactly?

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is a combination of numerous technologies including virtual reality, augmented reality, and eye-tracking. All of these elements are used to create the ultimate virtual experience within a virtual universe. Examples of a metaverse include Fortnite, Roblox, and The Sandbox.

The term metaverse was first mentioned in Neal Stephenson’s science fiction novel, Snow Crash, published in 1992. Although the term isn’t new, the thought of living in a virtual world might feel a bit futuristic, but in reality, we are already living in a very digitized world.

“Even though it was initially marketed as a new kind of massively multiplayer online game, the OASIS quickly evolved into a new way of life.”

- Ready Player One

If you have ever watched the movie Ready Player One, which is set in the year 2045 where much of humanity uses virtual reality to escape the real world, then you understand the concept of operating in the metaverse.

Currently, some metaverses like Somnium Space support several popular VR goggles including Oculus, Vive, and Stream. However, all you really need to enter most metaverses is just a desktop computer and a solid internet connection, meaning the barrier to entry is minimum.

If you’re curious to know how you can enter the metaverse, make sure to check out our article Explaining the Top 4 Metaverses, where you will learn what each popular metaverse offers, as well as how to enter each space.

What’s in the metaverse?

The metaverse and its contents remain a mystery to many. After exploring the metaverse myself, I noticed several elements you will find within the virtual space.

The metaverse contains a number of different elements such as 3D avatars, digital assets, games, businesses, and various events that support an entire virtual economy. As a user, you can monetize your creations, meet with friends, participate in virtual events, and even host business meetings.

While exploring the metaverse you may quickly realize that it offers many of the same features that you might find in the real world. 

The one major difference with the metaverse is that you can travel the world all from the comfort of your own home, using just your computer and VR goggles if you have a pair. As well, you can literally teleport to different locations. Whether you want to teleport to the next city or even the next room, you can do it all in the metaverse.

Why is the metaverse important?

Understandably, many people might fail to gauge the importance that the metaverse has in our society. So, why is the metaverse so important?

The metaverse is important because it offers humans an in-person way to connect and communicate from anywhere in the world virtually. Furthermore, the metaverse supports a whole virtual economy where users can enjoy numerous activities like building a business, networking with others, and even hosting family gatherings.

Just imagine for a second that you and your family aren’t able to get together for the holidays, so instead, you put on your VR headset and join each other in the same room virtually. You can still enjoy each other’s company, play games together, and even explore other metaverse worlds all from your own home.

The same can be said for business meetings and even training sessions. You and your colleagues can all sit around the same table, view the same presentation, and then discuss matters further in a completely immersive environment. Then once the meeting is over, you can simply take off your headset and be back at home with your family.

More so, the metaverse allows you to actually create a real business within the confinements of any virtual land you own.

For example, you can build and monetize a recreational arena where others can come to play games and host events, open a VR clothing store, and even monetize your skills as a builder in the metaverse where you can charge users a fee in exchange for an architectural structure or other digital creation.

This will, in turn, create more job opportunities, as there will be a demand for developers, virtual architectures, and much more. Really, your imagination is your limit, and this is especially true in the metaverse.

Ultimately, the metaverse allows you to be anywhere, anytime, and with anyone in a realistic setting. This convenience may further improve your relationships and your ability to receive hands-on training and guidance from home.

What currency is used in the metaverse?

Of course with new economies comes new types of currencies, and not all metaverses use the same currency.

In the metaverse, the only type of currency accepted is cryptocurrency. There are different types of cryptocurrency used depending on which metaverse you're in. An example is Decentraland, where their native currency is MANA.

Other metaverses like Cryptoxles make it easy for users and allow you to transact with more common crypto such as ETH.

Examples of the metaverse

As of today, there are several metaverses that are currently available for anyone to explore, and some even support a thriving community with thousands of users.

Popular examples of the metaverse include Cryptovoxels, Decentraland, Roblox, Somnium Space, and The Sandbox. Metaverses like CryptoVoxels, Decentraland, and Somnium space are advertised more so as VR platforms, whereas Roblox and The Sandbox are better known as online gaming platforms.

If you aren’t familiar with any of these platforms, no worries. Other games like Fortnite and Minecraft are considered to be modern-day metaverse as well. In fact, Fortnite CEO Tim Sweeney has described Fortnite's user experience as a metaverse because it is a virtual 3D space that combines gaming with non-gaming elements.

Overall, the metaverse is still in its infancy, but that’s not to say that the potential for innovation isn’t huge. The number of brands building within the metaverse is increasing at a rapid pace. Atari, Addidas, Google, Microsoft, Nike, and Sony are just a few of the companies that are currently building their brand in the metaverse.

How do you enter into the metaverse?

Visiting the metaverse is simple. First, choose one of the several metaverses available that you wish to participate in. Next, you may be required to get your own crypto wallet along with some cryptocurrency for in-game use depending on the metaverse. Finally, create your avatar name and account before venturing into the metaverse.

In general, entering the metaverse is very easy, requires minimal effort, and is user friendly. Now, you’re likely wondering what some of the top metaverses are and what each one offers compared to the next. After hours of research, here are some of the top metaverses explained.

1. Cryptovoxels

Cryptovoxels is a user-owned virtual world built on the Etherum blockchain that consists of a city known as Origin City. The streets of Origin City are owned by the corporation, whereas the individual parcels are owned by people like you and me. 

In order to get started exploring the Cryptovoxels metaverse, all that you really need is a computer and a steady internet connection. Cryptovoxels does not require you to install an Ethereum wallet or even own a parcel to be able to interact with the world. Rather, simply head to Cryptovoxels.com/Play to start exploring this virtual city.

Along with exploring Origin City, users are capable of creating, buying, and selling their own assets by using the in-game voxel builders, and then trading them on the NFT marketplace OpenSea.

For currency, Cryptovoxels previously had its own in-world currency called $COLR. As of June 2020, however, the token has been announced dead after Cryptovoxels decided to transition into using ETH as their preferred currency for all transactions.

When navigating through Origin City, you will notice that the overall function is smooth and user friendly. You can easily view the explorer while navigating to bring up a list of parcels and events, which you are able to teleport directly to. 

If you are curious about the metaverse and you desire a little taste for yourself, I believe that Cryptovoxels is a great place for you to start in order to get a hang of things in the virtual world.

2. Decentraland

Decentraland is another popular space in the metaverse which is also built on the Ethereum blockchain. In Decentraland, you can purchase virtual real estate known as LAND, which is stored on the Ethereum blockchain in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT).

In order to obtain your own lot of LAND in Decentraland, you need to get a hold of Decentraland’s fungible ERC-20 cryptocurrency, MANA. With MANA, you are able to burn or spend it, in exchange for your own parcel of LAND. A parcel in Decentraland measures 16 meters by 16 meters, or 52ft by 52ft.

If you want to try Decentraland without getting a wallet, that’s fine. You can still roam around the virtual world, customize your avatar, and communicate with others, but you won’t be eligible to receive rewards or attend the various virtual events.

Additionally, it gets even more exciting with Decentraland’s very own marketplace, where you are able to trade and manage all of your digital assets. The Decentraland marketplace allows you to buy and sell parcels, as well as estates of LAND, digital wearables, and even unique avatar names.

3. The Sandbox

The Sandbox was originally developed as a game for mobile devices and Microsoft Windows by Pixowl, and was released in 2012. However, in August 2018, Animoca Brands acquired The Sandbox in order to develop a whole new kind of game—a voxel based blockchain game—where users have the ability to earn from their in-game creations.

There’s more than 166K land pieces available in The Sandbox, which are split in two separate categories: regular land (96 meters by 96 meters), and estates (a combination of several land pieces used for building online experiences).

As for the assets, they are minted in the form of ERC-1155 tokens, which essentially act as a dual purpose fungible and non-fungible token, and are often used for in-game assets. These assets represent user-generated content like game characters and accessories. 

If you couldn’t tell, games represent the core of The Sandbox’s virtual world. You are able to build your own game and assets with no coding skills, thanks to The Sandbox’s easy to use interface. The creation tool VoxEdit, allows you to create your own in-game assets, while the Game Maker lets you build 3D games for free which you can then monetize.

There are numerous means to earn rewards and cryptocurrency playing The Sandbox. All you have to do is play games, make games, and create assets.

The Sandbox ensured that building games and creating assets is easy for anyone to do. After becoming a verified artist through the creator fund, you can export your creations to The Sandbox marketplace and start earning cryptocurrency as a reward for your creative talents.

4. Somnium Space

Perhaps one of the lesser known metaverse worlds right now is Somnium Space, which is advertised as a new virtual reality world that is open, social, and present.

Somnium Space has created a virtual reality world with its own economy and currency, all tied together seamlessly. The platform is available from any device in 2D mode, or you can take advantage of VR technology and really submerge yourself in the metaverse from both your desktop and mobile device.

As far the VR technology goes, Somnium Space allows you to enjoy their virtual world using all of the major VR headsets. In fact, Somnium has partnered with Sony to take advantage of their 3D model creation technology, which permits users to build their own avatar characters effortlessly.

Moreover, Sony’s VR space inside of this special metaverse is the first of its kind! From what I can tell, Somnium Space appears to be extremely focused on scaling their community and offering users the ability to monetize their virtual land and assets.

Something I find exceptionally beneficial in this metaverse is the potential to analyze gaze tracking (measuring where people look), user engagement, and conversion rates.

If this doesn’t excite you and scare you at the same time, I don’t know what will. I believe that the opportunity to build something very user-centric in a virtual environment—and have the option to monetize your creations—is huge!

Somnium Space keeps the community at their forefront with daily meetups, an events calendar, and consistent communication across all their social media platforms. Although Somnium Space may not be the go-to metaverse right now, I’m confident that this community-focused virtual reality world will be one of the top in due time.

The future of the metaverse

The metaverse is new, exciting, and full of so much opportunity. You are able to meet new people, create your own assets, and monetize your creations like never before. Welcome to the future. Welcome to the metaverse.

Metaverse Trend 2019 2021
Google Trends

VR Search trend
Google Trends

A quick search on Google Trends shows a huge spike in the search volume of the metaverse right around October 2021. Meanwhile, VR has seen a healthy fluctuation in search volume dating all the way back to December 2015.

I think this is a clear sign that the potential of the metaverse is about to be unleashed in the coming years, along with an abundance of opportunity, especially for those who are curious enough to explore the space early.

So, are you ready to explore the world from home? If so, jump into the metaverse and check it out, an entire world full of opportunity awaits.

Did you like this article?
Thumbs Up
Liked
Thumbs Down
Disliked