In 2021, Metaverse gained trend status. The popularity of virtual worlds was sparked by Facebook, which, after rebranding, changed its name to Meta. As a result of the new brand, the giant will be able to develop in the coming decades. Are ordinary companies or private entrepreneurs capable of succeeding on this path?
Media professionals learned from the creators of well-known metauniverses how to develop innovative projects. Sandbox co-founder Sebastian Borje, Upland co-founder Idan Zuckerman, top managers of Unique Network, Univers, Alien Worlds, Immersys, Zillliqa and Bloktop agreed to lift the veil of secrecy.
The Sandbox – “Sandbox” – quickly gained the status of one of the largest projects. According to some users, its creators literally managed to break into the number of leaders overnight. But the co-founder of The Sandbox, Sebastian Borge, will take pictures – not everything is so simple. His startup initially focused on the development of mobile games and did this for 8 years, and then plunged into the world of blockchain technologies for a long 4 years.
In a word, it would be incorrect to talk about instant success. Borge just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
“At times we were not lucky, and sometimes we were very lucky. I can’t claim that we invented something there. All the necessary components of success were in sight, we just managed to put them together with some meaning, value and benefit for others. Now our goal is to develop this direction of the entertainment industry. We started with games, but we are open to new ideas and want to bring more culture, more style, more communication into the lives of our users in ways never seen before,” says Sebastian.
Progressive decentralization is one of the key components of metaverse success according to The Sandbox co-founder. The decentralized economy is actively developed as part of a centralized project, for instance through NFT.
In The Sandbox, the owners of virtual real estate are celebrities and brands of first magnitude, such as Paris Hilton, Snoop Dogg, and Nike. Real estate market capitalization in the Sandbox (based on prices on the secondary market) is approaching $1.5 billion. And the domestic SAND token ranks 37th in the CoinMarketCap rating by capitalization ($3.3 billion).
According to a JPMorgan report released in March, metaverses will appear in almost every sector of the economy in the coming years. The potential capacity of a fundamentally new market is estimated at several trillion dollars. Immediately after the publication of this document, JPMorgan management opened a virtual branch in the Decentraland metaverse, and colleagues from HSBC soon followed the example of the ban.
A stable connection between Upland and the real world distinguishes it from other NFT metaverses. Virtual property can be bought, sold, and exchanged by project users, just as real property can.
“Upland is a space on the border between the real and digital worlds. Metaverses are generally viewed as fantasy worlds, whereas Upland focuses on real things, specific locations, and provides access through mobile devices,” says Idan Zuckerman, co-founder of Upland.
The project “mirrors” most of reality thanks to this approach. The businessman briefly replied: “wars” when asked what part of it he would not transfer to the metaverse.
After studying the ERC-721 standard for NFT tokens on the Ethereum blockchain in 2018, he was inspired to create the project.
“We already understood then what this could mean for the future of the digital economy and digital property,” Zuckerman sums up.
Irina Karagyaur, head of metaverses at Unique Network, a large project on the Polkadot NFT platform, considers Web3 to be a decentralized model of the Internet based on consensus and a token economy. This is the next evolution of the existing centralized Web2 platform model from Facebook, Spotify, YouTube or Google.
“If you stay within the Web2 model, then any new development, including metaverses, will inherit all the same problems with privacy, human rights, unfair distribution of wealth, etc. Web3 is endowed with immunity from these ailments. The main thing is to train people to work in the new reality,” says Karagyaur.
“The community is extremely important to Univers because we are a project created by people for people. We want our ecosystem to benefit everyone involved. Therefore, it is very important to develop in users an interest in the new. We need feedback from members of the community, we want them to explore their own creativity and help improve our metaverse. We want to combine all these amazing virtual experiences and give people the opportunity to realize their dreams,” says Peter Nguyen, Chief Marketing Officer of Univers, explaining the need to take into account the views of all project participants. This approach has become the norm of Web3, and within Web2 it is impossible.
With a new update, Alien Worlds announced a Minecraft build, a game with over 100 million players. By completing quests, gamers will earn internal cryptocurrency and have access to various quests.
A stir was created among the users of the two projects as a result of the advanced idea. There has never been a closer connection between the world of ordinary gamers and blockchain before.
Play-to-Year models require players to complete repetitive tasks or engage in card battles in order to earn money. A true gamer, however, prefers products with complex mechanics and storylines. To meet the needs of the maximum number of users, both of these approaches have been combined into one metaverse.
In addition, Univers is developing mechanisms for integrating many metaverses into one global network.
“We see the Metaverse as an extension of our reality. Its limitless possibilities inspire creativity, and elements of the real world make the metaverse truly innovative. By combining various virtual worlds with real ones, we can learn more about it and find many ways to make it better. The more we see the metaverse as an extension of our reality, the better we can use it to develop solutions for the real world and bring gaming experiences into our daily lives,” says Nguyen.
Sandra X. – head of the Metaverse at Zilliqa, highlights Metaverse as a Service. As an example, she cites Metapolis, “the first MaaS platform in history to operate on a first-level blockchain.” The purpose of the platform is the constant development of technology and the creation of cities for brands, partnerships and individuals.
Metapolis strives to integrate all types of earnings in the metaverses – in particular, Play-to-Yearn, Learn-to-Yearn or Move-to-Yearn.
Web 3 – the key to success?
When all the features of the Metaverse are considered, it becomes clear that it will be successful. It is only possible to triumph in a virtual world if the following conditions are met:
- decentralization – i.e. the project is controlled not by one person or company, but by its users;
- as close as possible to the real world;
- the possibility of deep integration with other virtual worlds;
- any user can build their own corner according to their personal vision and preferences;
- unlimited earning opportunities in the process of playing, learning and even performing banal actions.
What does the Metaverse look like technically?
In short, from a technical point of view, the metaverse is a virtual reality system consisting of the following elements:
- technical media (cloud, servers);
- access devices (VR and AR helmets and glasses);
- augmented/virtual reality (software);
- rules laid down in the architecture of the system.
The following description is sufficient for an ordinary user to understand the basic principles of virtual reality systems. The technologies underlying metaverses and projects associated with them are described in more detail here.
In the metaverses, this technology enables continuity of identities between avatars and objects. When moving from one metaverse to another, for example from Fortnite to Call of Duty, your avatars are guaranteed to retain their appearance (face, body, clothes), contacts, history, experience, and content due to NFTs.
Transferring reality to VR / AR
In order to operate additional (extended, mixed) reality, it is necessary to scan real space in real time, create its three-dimensional model, and transfer it to users’ VR / AR glasses. It is already possible to build such gadgets, such as VR BOX glasses, which are equipped with two digital cameras and corresponding software to scan the surrounding space and create a three-dimensional map of the objects and surfaces in the real world.
Mixed or augmented reality (MX, XR)
When in a virtual or augmented reality space, a user interacts with objects in the real world (operates a digital machine, performs a surgical operation, or types text on a laptop) or vice versa (architects create virtual models of buildings, viewers watch virtual films, athletes see virtual signs on sports fields). There is still a need for an appropriate software solution to address all of this. As an example, it has only been recently that developers have been able to “teach” a neural network such a simple task as determining the time with the help of a clock. In addition, the virtual object is still quite a long way from interacting with real-world surfaces and objects.
Distributed computing and storage
Creating large, bright, and rich metaverses requires a lot of computing power. The easiest way to “collect” them is to distribute the calculations among many nodes, as is the case in blockchain systems or systems like Folding. This is a non-profit project focused on research into serious diseases and drug development.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
Metaverses cannot exist without this key technology. To improve analytical systems (Big Data, science, marketing, etc.), create smart assistants to interact with people more “live,” accelerate software development, develop more reliable security systems, and, of course, enrich virtual video games’ biological worlds. Intelligence improvements for NPCs.
Mobile communication 5G
Mobile internet is crucial to the Metaverse’s full potential, so people can access the Metaverse at any time and from anywhere. A good example is the online game Second Life, which was popular before smartphones. As a result of not being able to get a mobile version – the mobile Internet at that time simply could not transfer the required data – the game was successful for a long time, but lost popularity.
5G networks will be the only ones capable of transferring data at the required speed – 10 GB / s for downloads and 100 MB / s for uploads. Furthermore, 5G technology can handle millions of simultaneous data streams for a limited period of time.
These are completely autonomous AIs that have the same “rights and opportunities” as ordinary humans. In order to study, improve, and describe the metaverses and their individual elements, they will move between virtual spaces and entire metaverses. In terms of nomadic programs, the Hello Games project stands out. Using procedural generation, four artists created a virtual universe containing 18 quintillion planets in No Man’s Sky. Since they couldn’t visit and evaluate each planet individually, they made a fleet of autonomous bots that roamed between planets and recorded short videos about the most interesting ones.
It is no longer a science fiction writer’s dream to create a metaverse. Sooner or later, just as smartphones made us more mobile, we will all become more virtual and find ourselves in one or more metaverses at the same time. If your business is intertwined with the Internet, content consumption, education, sales, or video games, then you will not be able to function without a metaverse, or at least a part of it, which can be integrated into another’s. Think about it now before it’s too late! The metaverse does not currently offer all these possibilities, alas. Who knows, maybe you’re destined to become the founder of the Web3 equivalent of Google or Microsoft?
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