What Does Metaverse Mean?
The metaverse doesn’t necessarily refer to one particular platform. It’s more like a way of thinking about how we will interact with the next generation of the Internet.
As technology evolves and changes, the way that we interact with cyberspace more broadly will also shift. At one point, technologies such as computer monitors, keyboards and mice were considered cutting edge, and as a society, it wasn’t clear how they would eventually develop into the way we use platforms like email and word processors. Then, along came touchscreens and mobile devices, which brought platforms like Instagram and Snapchat with them.
Now, we’re witnessing the rise of virtual and augmented reality systems that allow for more impressive experiences in cyberspace, as well as the advent of the blockchain which allows for traceable ownership and value transfer. The metaverse is essentially a catch-all term for the digital environments these new technologies will provide.
For now, what is metaverse and what isn’t is slightly muddled, with each of these digital environments existing in relative isolation. Many experts envisage a future where how we access the metaverse is through a single digital persona, similar to the way you can log in across many platforms with just your Google or Facebook account today.
So, keep reading if you’re keen to learn how to join the metaverse in its current form.
The Implications – What Does Metaverse Do?
The practical applications of the metaverse end with your imagination. The creators of these platforms are looking to build an alternative reality that runs alongside our real world and create digital variants of pretty much all real-life activities.
But at the moment, what does metaverse do? Essentially, it’s a virtual reality version of the activities you can currently enjoy online. For example, you can play cards with your family on the other side of the planet, wander around a virtual art gallery with friends, or take an online class from world-leading experts.
When is the Metaverse Coming Out?
Well, that’s a bit like asking when the Internet came out. The truth is, it happened gradually.
In the ’90s, there weren’t many websites, and not much going on when you got to them. Traffic and content increased over time, and the same will happen here as more people learn how to join the metaverse.
Some metaverse concepts already exist in online games and communities today. At the moment they exist in pockets of separate communities without any overlap. The metaverse refers to a more all-encompassing future that spans the entirety of cyberspace.
So when is the metaverse coming out? It’s sort of already here!
What are some Metaverse-style projects that you might already be familiar with?
Meta (formerly Facebook)
This is probably the name that springs to mind when you think of the metaverse – they’re the group who have done the best job of raising the question of “what is the metaverse” in the public consciousness, for sure.
In their announcement of their company rebrand last year, CEO Mark Zuckerberg presented his vision for the future of the internet, with people connecting through virtual reality headsets to engage in work and entertainment activities while represented by custom digital avatars.
“The next platform and medium will be an even more immersive and embodied internet where you’re in the experience, not just looking at it, and we call this the metaverse,”
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
Facebook certainly has the financial clout to get the jump on the existing competition, who are by their admission generally more open source and DIY organisations.
They also have the advantage of owning Oculus, the world’s largest virtual reality headset brand, which should see them able to produce virtual experiences that will integrate seamlessly with their hardware. They’ll likely be the biggest player in defining what the metaverse is moving through the next decade.
Microsoft is mostly interested in generating hyper-realistic virtual environments that imitate real life as closely as possible.
They’re heavily engaged in productivity solutions that generate virtual workspaces, showing remote teams how to access the metaverse for a truly immersive office experience.
They’re also working with the US Army on how to use metaverse concepts to allow soldiers to train and rehearse combat situations with virtual and augmented reality headsets.
Fortnite – Epic Games
Epic Games is the producer of Fortnite, the craze that has swept the nation. It follows in the tradition of games like DOTA and World of Warcraft, where players explore an open world and can barter across a thriving digital economy.
It’s also branched out into the world of virtual experiences, where users can use their Oculus headset to watch Ariana Granda concerts, reflect on Martin Luther King Jr. speeches and enjoy avant-garde exhibits. Relative to their graphically rudimentary competitors, Epic Games are pushing the boundaries in terms of how to use metaverse principles in their games.
At the moment, Fornite players control a cartoonish avatar that represents a fictional character, but Epic Games are currently working on their MetaHuman creator to generate photorealistic digital humans.
Minecraft is an example of an open-world virtual universe where users struggle to survive the wilderness. It’s staggeringly popular, with over 140 million active monthly users.
What started as a single-player game has now evolved into a myriad of open servers where players can collaborate on increasingly complex projects. While there is no in-game economy, plenty of users engage in transactions off-platform to accrue resources and land plots on popular servers.
So the Metaverse is already here?
Not exactly. The key difference between these platforms and what is metaverse is the way you’re going to interact with content.
Rather than consuming information by looking at a screen passively, you’re going to feel more like you’re actively inside the world itself.
Providers are increasingly emphasising the VR/AR element of their platforms, and are championing these immersive technologies in terms of how to access the metaverse moving forward.
The most popular headsets are produced by Oculus, owned by Meta (formerly Facebook), and cost around $300.
So What are Some Examples of the actual Metaverse?
Here are some of the most exciting projects pushing the boundaries of what’s possible for the metaverse moving forward.
For them to qualify, I’ve selected platforms that can be used in a fully VR environment, are truly open world, and are rooted in fully functioning in-game economies.
Decentraland – Best for Investment
Decentraland is a 3D virtual world, and the most established metaverse platform available at the moment. At the start of 2022, the site reported over half a million active monthly users!
Users can buy virtual plots of land as an NFT and develop them into essentially whatever they can imagine. You can also trade avatar items like clothing and accessories.
It uses a currency called MANA which is run on the Ethereum blockchain. MANA is a relatively well-traded cryptocurrency compared to what’s used by other platforms, which might be a reason behind the traction it’s getting.
For example, JP Morgan opened a lounge in Decentraland (making them the first bank to officially enter the metaverse) and was closely followed by the government of Barbados announcing plans to open an official embassy in the game!
Somnium Space – Best for True Immersion
Somnium is trying to take the immersive aspect of the metaverse to the next level, focusing on graphical capability and realism. The majority of metaverse platforms appear quite blocky and rudimentary, focusing on the principles of trade and commerce instead of design.
Somnium Space is offering a hyper-realistic experience that is seeking to replicate the quality of top-tier video games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. At the moment, it’s best-in-class in terms of graphics, for sure.
Like Decentraland, users can buy digital land and buildings, attend events, and even start businesses.
“For the first time ever, people can actually own things in a decentralized way. They can sell the world. They can monetize it. They can rent it. And that’s the revolution.”
Artur Sychov – Somnium Space Founder
Stageverse – Best for Concerts
The Stageverse universe is a collection of 3D venues where users can gather to watch concerts, view exhibitions, or even host parties. It’s currently still in its beta phase, so there are still a few kinks, but you can certainly see the potential.
It’s designed for virtual reality, but is also available through mobile devices, with a desktop release in the works for mid-2022. The user interface is simple, geared towards the average consumer – you don’t need to be a VR expert to enjoy the platform.
You can select your avatar, chat with other guests on the mic, or produce cool 3D text that appears above your avatar to communicate with other fans.
They just launched with a free concert from the band Muse shot in 360-degree video. Users can select what part of the stadium to view the action from, as well as engage with other viewers in real-time.
The event has set start times throughout the day, which is effective in mimicking the sense of attending a live performance.
Spatial – Best for Art
Spatial started as a digital workplace platform, where users could hold meetings and presentations through AR and VR. In the past couple of years, they’ve shifted their attention towards becoming an immersive gallery space for NFT artworks.
They’ve already produced immersive spaces in partnership with both the NBA and The Hermitage Gallery
Users can browse digital exhibits and events or purchase or lease digital environments to hold their own. For now, most of their users are engaging through web browsers on computers and phones, as VR technology becomes increasingly pocket-friendly
The Sandbox – Best for Fun
The Sandbox is an open-world game available across mobile platforms and PC which allows users to create games and social experiences for other users that they can monetise.
They’ve already partnered with huge brands like Atari, The Smurfs and The Walking Dead, so it’s said that the creators are set on building something big.
The Sandbox is still only in its Alpha version, but their in-game currency (SAND) has already broken into the top 100 cryptocurrencies on Coin Market Cap. At the moment, The Sandbox is mainly oriented around mini-games and adventures, but there’s also a marketplace where players can trade their SAND for resources, avatars, and purchase plots of digital land.
How much does metaverse land cost in The Sandbox? In the last 6 months, the average price of a plot has exploded from $20 to over $1000, and the popularity shows no signs of slowing
How to Invest in Metaverse
The economies of metaverse communities exist in real-time, meaning that the world still turns even when you’re not logged on.
Important note; There are several competing metaverse projects, so in the same way that we saw MySpace and Bebo fail while Facebook increased its dominance, likely, most of these projects will gradually die while one metaverse becomes the leading provider.
How to Buy Land in the Metaverse
Most metaverse universes are divided up into digital plots of land that you can purchase as an NFT. An NFT is like a digital certificate that proves your ownership of a particular online asset and is traceable on the blockchain with a public record.
As people buy up this digital space, prime real estate becomes increasingly scarce. This means there’s a great opportunity to buy low and sell high at the moment. Similarly, you can also rent out your buildings or land for some truly passive income.
How much does metaverse land cost? While some prime plots can go for tens of thousands of dollars, you can get started on some of the newer platforms for just a few hundred dollars.
If you’re inexperienced, I’d strongly suggest working with someone who knows how to buy land in the Metaverse. Fortunately, there are metaverse real estate agencies you can approach for help picking the perfect plot!
As metaverse platforms increase in popularity, the value of their in-world currencies also increases per the principle of supply and demand.
Plenty of these currencies are available to purchase off-platform on cryptocurrency exchanges, so if you believe in the platform you can simply buy and HODL (hold on for dear life)!
There are plenty of resources on YouTube and Reddit that will show you how to invest in metaverse currencies, but be warned – even though the trend is broadly positive, these unstable currencies are still prone to large drops from time to time.
Get a Job!
If you don’t have the means to simply buy the currency, there’s another way – play-to-earn. Many metaverse platforms have in-game jobs where you can accrue the digital currency of your chosen platform in exchange for carrying out tasks or participating in mini-games. It’s a little like having a job in the real world, where you exchange your time and effort for digital rewards.
For example, in the same way that you buy clothes in real life, you can customise your avatar in the digital world. It’s possible to make a living designing these t-shirts or custom emotes for other users.
Decentraland is even currently hiring for private casino hosts, where you greet players and manage games in exchange for a salary.
Where Can I Buy Metaverse Stock?
If you’re wondering “where can I buy metaverse stock”, you have two main options.
Firstly, you can support a particular project you use or have faith in. Here are a few things to look out for when determining the health of a metaverse platform:
- Is the user base increasing?
- Is the platform partnered with large brands that can draw more users to the project?
- Has the platform received recent and substantial investment that may contribute to its continued growth?
A safer route might be to invest in a fund that aggregates the share price of several metaverse projects. This allows you to hedge against the potential of a particular project collapsing, and capitalise on the growth of the metaverse more broadly.
P.S if you’re still wondering “where can I buy metaverse stock”, an answer might be simply to invest in Facebook themselves. They’re a solid, blue-chip company that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and will still allow you to participate in the growth of this exciting new industry.
While it’s still unclear how it will take shape, one thing’s for certain; the Metaverse is going to be a major part of how we engage with technology and the Internet over the next 20 years.
In such a rapidly evolving industry, it can be tricky to stay on top of the newest trends and technology.
If you’re keen to find out more and improve your understanding, why not chat to one of the experts at First Page today?