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Metaverse: Its impact on Games.

Category Article
Date 12 Jan 2024
Read Time 8 mins
Author Eleven Eleven

Photo by Julien Tromeur on Unsplash

What is the Metaverse?

The concept of the metaverse crashed into the public consciousness in a big way in 2021, heralded by the rebrand of Facebook to Meta. Suddenly everyone was talking about the metaverse, but it seems that not many truly understood what it meant. We're here to break down what, exactly, the metaverse is, what it can look like, how it's gone so far, and how it could impact the future of gaming.

Starting off, let's define metaverse. Oxford Dictionary defines it as,

"a virtual reality space in which users can interact with an environment generated by computer and with other users"

And, dealing with the elephant in the room, here's what Meta (Facebook) has to say about it,

"The metaverse will feel like a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, sometimes expanded into three dimensions or projected into the physical world."

There's overlap between those two understandings and any long-time gamers will recognise that they have had metaverse experiences. Old School Runescape, WoW, Guild Wars and other MMPORGs have brought and continue to bring a level of metaverse experience to gaming. The crucial difference between a metaverse experience compared to THE metaverse is how we enter that space. The way we use the internet is changing and, with the continued growth of web3, it's showing no signs of slowing down.

Old school RuneScape

Before we break down the metaverse, it's worth understanding what web3 means and how entwined the concepts of web3 and the metaverse are. Web3 is a decentralised concept for the internet. This version of the internet would incorporate blockchain technology to store information on a decentralised computer network.

Instead of experiencing the internet as siloed areas, and your login credentials being held by the different companies (or, Google or Meta), web3 would be different. Each individual user would own the rights to their login details, and use those same details for each and every segment of the internet. Social media, banking, gaming, entertainment, all of that through one access point, which is controlled by the individual in question.

Currently, if you use your Google account to access Pinterest or similar, and Google were to decide that they will no longer support that, you could lose your access to Pinterest. Or, worse, Google could decide to delete your account altogether, denying you access to ALL the sites you may use Google for. The vision for web3 removes those quandaries by firmly placing the responsibility into the hands of the individual, NOT the corporations.

A web3 metaverse builds on that experience. Instead of jumping from web page to phone app to web page, a metaverse experience would be an immersive way to interact with the internet. Similar to strolling down the street and entering a shop, or running around in the park, users will be able to pilot their avatars around the internet. Think, Ready Player One, or the arcade characters in Wreck-It Ralph, or the connectivity of The Matrix. And with the ability to customise avatars, each avatar will be able to display in-game achievements or rare items that users are proud of.

What’s the current state of the Metaverse?

Admittedly, the idealistic vision of a single online utopia is still some way from being realised. Corporations and organisations are competing to dictate the direction of the internet as the blockchain technology behind web3 becomes more mainstream. From the companies you know and recognise like Meta, Microsoft, and Epic Games, to smaller, startups building off existing web3 successes and trying to shake the system like Sky Mavis (Axie Infinity), YugaLabs (Bored Ape Yacht Club), TSB Gaming (The Sandbox), and many others. Each of these have their own, ongoing, projects to create a metaverse virtual reality for users to explore.

With so many different options to explore, it's hard to say who has the leading edge, what each project is like, and why they might be the one to set the course for the future. Currently, most metaverse projects have been used for social platforms, places to hold meetings and interact with others virtually. However, Fortnite has also been used to hold concerts, with Arianna Grande, Travis Scott, and Marshmello among those performing virtual concerts within the game over the past few years.

Concerts in Fortnite

Other metaverse projects see active gameplay and a big following, despite not necessarily delivering on the immersive social or browsing experience. Games like Axie and The Sandbox have huge investment and boast a significant user basein the web3 space. In particular, Axie saw MAU peak at 2.7 million players in January of 2022 although numbers have since dropped off significantly since then.

Some projects have prioritised the immersive, open-world experience and left other aspects to those who use the space. Take Bloktopia. Bloktopia is a 21-layered virtual skyscraper that contains social and gaming areas, a shopping mall, and learning spaces. Brands that have formed partnerships and can be found within the virtual space include, Animoca Brands, Anti Fund, Kucoin, Polkastarter, Travala, Polygon, and Avalanche. Users and brands are able to purchase virtual real estate within the skyscraper and use that space to build whatever they wish. For example, Floor 21, the top floor of Bloktopia, will be a luxury penthouse area used exclusively for gaming. The penthouse space will invite users to compete for BLOK, the native currency, with multiplayer games, family-friendly games, and 18+ games, such as poker and other gambling.

It remains to be seen exactly how the project will grow, but with that much user input, it's sure to be unlike any other. And, as far as sticking as true to the immersive metaverse vision as possible, Bloktopia would be one of the projects to keep a close eye on.

All that to say, the current state of the metaverse is very much still under construction. No one project has cracked it yet, and even when they do, rolling it out en masse will prove it's own significant challenge. It also remains to be seen exactly how gaming will fit into these projects. While users are able to build within them, what about porting in existing titles? Or bringing old favourites back to life in a new format?

What will gaming look like in a Web3 Metaverse?

As has already been touched on, gaming already offers many different metaverse experiences. The crucial difference that this article is looking at is web3 metaverses, metaverse experiences that will reshape the way humanity uses the internet. Within that usage of the internet will, inevitably, come gaming. So, what could gaming look like in that context?

Actually gameplay is unlikely to change drastically. As has been said, gaming isn't broken as an experience, so why try to fix it? The major differences between today's gaming experience and that of the future are likely to be threefold. One, how we login and access the games that we play. Two, how game features crossover into other areas of internet experience. And three, how gaming items become tradable assets in a more accessible way.

Firstly, access to the games will change in web3 through the way that we as users hold and maintain accounts. Instead of having to login to multiple accounts to play various games, accessing a web3 metaverse will only take one unique login. Solely controlled by the user, this login would be encoded to the blockchain, giving the ability to connect to shopping, entertainment, and gaming without having to sign in each time.

For those familiar with Discord, it will be a similar experience. Using your Discord account, you log in to Discord. That account then has access to whichever servers you choose to join. You will then have the same account interacting with different areas of Discord. You will have a standard appearance (your profile) which can be tailored to each server you join. Unlike Discord, where there is a limit on the number of servers you can join, you won't be limited in how many areas you choose to access in the metaverse.

Secondly, game features will be able to cross over into other internet usage. By using the same avatar, in different locations, users can use earned assets on their avatar in any location. Imagine, strolling into your bank mounted on a Swift Zulian Tiger from WoW, or dressed in a Black Widow skin from Fortnite. Sure to cause quite a stir!

This will also mean that users will be able to recognise other users with shared interests by the items they choose to equip their avatars with. By being able to do so, further social growth can be expected as users have an easier way of telling who has shared interests. Games that take advantage of this by creating easily recognisable collectables that players would want to wear would have potentially huge benefits as player bases would grow.

Thirdly, games that embrace the tradeable aspects of items will see the natural boom of an active marketplace. Currently, few games offer a governable marketplace, so players have taken to creating trades over the counter or through third-party options. This comes with risks, as there is no way to enforce trades and players are vulnerable to scams where other parties fail to deliver their end of the deal.

If games are to be embedded within web3, then all game items, through the technology, would be traceable and be able to be transparently traded, with all transactions recorded. This would ensure that no scams could take place through trading, as the transaction could be managed directly within the metaverse. And, as long as players guard their login details carefully, there would be no risk for any of their assets.

Gaming wouldn’t have to change significantly with the advent of a web3 metaverse,

Here's a TL;DR for you. Metaverses exist already in gaming, the crucial change to anticipate is the advent of a web3 metaverse. That is not so much a what, but a how. How we will interact and navigate the internet in the future.

It will be an immersive experience with a singular login and avatar to interact with shopping, finance, entertainment, and socially online. The web3 metaverse dream is underway, but there are no clear leaders in the field just yet.

The opportunity is there for gaming to have a strong impact on people's experience by getting on board early. The positives are too strong to ignore with traceable item trading, social benefits (leading to player growth), and easy accessibility with one login point.

How can Eleven Eleven help you adjust to this changing landscape?

Eleven Eleven began with a focus on the gaming and tech industries, looking to connect individuals with impactful opportunities around the world. As the landscape of tech is shifting towards a more web3-centric direction, we are expanding our network and reach to place people in innovative and forward-thinking openings as the future gets ever closer.

We don't just place individuals in roles. We also strive to eliminate uncertainty from future endeavours by offering coaching and connecting you with training courses that will be beneficial throughout your career.

If you're interested in expanding your skillset or helping to define the future of gaming and the internet, Eleven Eleven can help. Get in touch HERE.