How to Join the Metaverse.
The metaverse is currently gaining momentum thanks to companies like Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg. The idea is attractive, but it is completely incomprehensible how you should join the metaverse!
The problem is that all this metaverse talk seems like the only place you access or subscribe to, but the truth is that there is a whole bunch of metaverses out there and there will be more.
The Metaverse in a Nutshell
This article assumes that you already know more or less what the metaverse is. If you don’t and you have time to spare, go to our explainer What is the Metaverse for a detailed discussion. If you’re in a hurry, here’s the gist.
The Metaverse takes its name from Neil Stevenson’s book Snow Disaster. It is a permanent virtual world where people can move around in 3D, look like digital avatars, buy real estate, and generally live in a virtual space. Ready Player One is arguably the most powerful depiction of the metaverse on screen, and if you watch the movie, everything should fall into place.
Now that VR headsets are good and affordable, companies like Facebook and Microsoft are lighting fires around the idea of a future Internet of metaverses.
Metaverse Hardware Requirements
While the metaverse concept is usually focused on virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR), this does not mean that the only way to enter the metaverse is by strapping a headset to your face. . Many metaverses are either not based on VR or give users the ability to use VR or other devices such as smartphones, consoles, and flat screen laptops.
It’s hard to give universal advice on what equipment to invest in when it comes to joining the metaverse. What’s more important is to determine which metaverses you’re most interested in visiting and then select hardware based on their specific requirements.
That being said, at the time of writing, Oculus Quest 2 was the best all-around choice for those looking to join the metaverse. While it’s a great general VR headset, it was created as a platform for Facebook‘s metaverse plans. If you go out and buy Quest 2, you will have the key to most of the upcoming games in the metaverse and the best VR games available today.
Paying for (and Owning) Things in the Metaverse
One of the main features of the metaverse is that you can buy and own things in it. This includes virtual property, objects, and anything else that might be useful in the metaverse. You will also likely have access to real products. Don’t be surprised if online retailers like Amazon eventually open their stores in the Metaverse too!
In general, there are two ways to pay for something in the metaverse. First, it’s easy to use real currencies with a credit card, PayPal, or any other common digital payment platform we already use. The second is to use cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency and the Metaverse
Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are especially interesting when it comes to the metaverse. This is because the blockchain has a level of persistence that digital goods purchased from a central server cannot match. If it is on the blockchain, then the evidence that you own a certain digital asset disappears only after the destruction of the last copy of the blockchain.
NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) make much more sense in a metaverse context than in the real world because they can act as a document of ownership of your virtual property. Of course, if content placement and computing power for a given metaverse is also not decentralized, then NFTs mean little.
There are already several video games that use cryptography and NFTs, such as Cryptokitties and Axie Infinity (AXS). AXS is a trading and fighting game that also allows you to buy virtual property and allows users to cash out their cryptocurrency every 14 days for use in the real world. This means that it will itself become a kind of metaverse.
Looking ahead, this is likely to change. Especially since companies like Nike are gearing up to sell you virtual goods! So maybe it’s time to open a crypto wallet on the Bitcoin or Ethereum blockchain and load some digital money into it.
The Best Metaverse Platforms You Can Join Today
The Metaverse is not one place, although one day all the Metaverses may be connected to each other through common standards and practices. At this point, you’ll have to pick one or two metaverse platforms that offer the kind of experience you want. Each digital world featured here has its own unique charm, and most are designed to allow third-party creators (including users) to add their own content.
Horizon Worlds (Rift S and Quest 2)
Horizon Worlds is the biggest name in the metaverse world right now. It’s the culmination of Meta’s experimentation with low-cost VR headsets like the Oculus Go and predecessor apps like Facebook Spaces, Oculus Rooms, and Oculus Venues.
Horizon Worlds can be accessed using Quest 2 or Rift S (connected to PC). It supports full 3D motion tracking and has a built-in game creation system. From the central square, users can enter portals to visit the worlds they have created. There’s no limit to the possibilities with Horizon Worlds, and since it was only released to the public in early December 2021, you can bet there’s a lot more to come.
At the technical level, Decentraland has a lot of work to do. It’s a bit of a mess to be honest, but it’s also a fascinating collection of ideas. More than half a million people have already registered to become part of this virtual world.
Decentraland is a browser game, which means you don’t need a VR headset to play it. Decentraland, as the name suggests, is based on cryptocurrency. In this case, the currency in question is MANA, which uses the Ethereum blockchain. Users can buy plots of land and then turn them into anything using the built-in editing system. They can also import 3D models from other sources, so you have a lot of creative options.
Having a cryptocurrency wallet is optional, but obviously if you want to be a creator and have a place to store your NFTs, you will need one. At the peak of the NFT craze, plots of land were selling for $100,000!
Roblox (Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Xbox One)
Roblox started out as an innovative game that went unnoticed for a long time. After the explosion in popularity, today it is a hit similar to Minecraft, as well as the metaverse.
Roblox is free to play, so it has always been ready to take on a dynamic economy. What really elevates it to metaverse status is Roblox Studio. Users can use Studio to create entire games that Roblox players can then play.
Individual digital items are also bought and sold on the platform, and Roblox hosts virtual events from time to time. At least for now, Roblox is free of any cryptocurrency, token, or blockchain technology, sticking to its own traditional non-cryptocurrency “Robux” currency.
Sandbox Metaverse (iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS)
At the time of writing, The Sandbox Metaverse is in alpha testing, but there is a lot of hype around it as companies like Square Enix and Softbank invest millions of dollars in the company. While technically still a work in progress, the concepts are sound and getting started early would probably be a good idea!
VR Chat (Oculus VR, Oculus Quest, SteamVR, Windows Desktop Mode)
VRChat is a VR-focused virtual world that has a desktop mode for use with flat screens, but really needs VR hardware to get the most out of it.
In VRChat, users can create their own instanced worlds. This means that this is not an open persistent virtual world, but one that exists for the player and their friends.
VRChat has been popular for most of its existence, but the pandemic has dramatically increased the number of users looking for a way to spend time with people without being physically in their presence. As a new user, you don’t have a high enough trust score to start creating your own content, but this is temporary. Stick to the rules and you’ll soon have the keys to your own kingdom.
Second Life (Windows and macOS)
Even before the word “metaverse” became common, Second Life was already doing everything a metaverse should be, except for offering virtual reality as an option. In recent years, developers have considered adding VR support to Second Life, but the idea was ultimately abandoned due to low VR headset penetration.
As the name suggests, Second Life is a place for people to live, hang out, gain experience, buy property, customize their space, and more. Second Life even has official office spaces that you can visit for customer service or shopping.
Second Life, one of the oldest metaverses in existence, is in need of some updates, and the people behind its creation are working on the evolution of this virtual world, although it still doesn’t include virtual reality at the moment.
Fortnite (Windows , Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series)
Fortnite started as a video game and has become one of the most popular free-to-play games in history. It has since evolved into something more than just a game where people interact with each other rather than just shooting each other 24/7.
Fortnite has been successful in hosting non-gaming events like concerts and has become more and more like a social platform over time. Now Fortnite has launched Party Worlds, an add-on to the game that officially gives people a place to hang out, create their own party worlds, and generally qualifies the game as a complete metaverse.
Is This the Real Life?
Our digital screens have been a way to escape the boredom or stresses of real life for decades. People are already spending thousands of hours in game worlds and social platforms. There they make friends, they have fun, and sometimes bad.
The emergence of metaverses seems to be a natural development of our technologies and society. Just like social media, you will never be forced to enter the metaverse, but we have a feeling that life outside of the metaverse will be a bit boring and lonely by comparison.
How to Join the Metaverse
How to Join the Metaverse