Entering the Digital Frontier: 3 Gaming and Social Trends Defining the Metaverseby@humanandmachine
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Entering the Digital Frontier: 3 Gaming and Social Trends Defining the Metaverse

by The Human & MachineNovember 8th, 2022
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The Metaverse is undoubtably the next digital frontier. With dozens of developing categories within the Metaverse space, three hot trends are rising. This includes the shifting notion of digital ownership and how the Metaverse will be more focused on the creator economy. Gaming ecosystems utilizing NFTs are another key factor that enhances player interactivity. On the social front, DAOs are completely rethinking how voting and governance is carried out.

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Tech-driven brands across all industries are exploring the Metaverse’s concept for innovation and growth opportunities. Gaming and social interactions are vital areas to watch out for. A recent study by Market Statsville Group shows that the global Metaverse gaming market will grow by 37.8% annually, and reach $478.5 billion by 2030.

This growth will influence people from all walks of life and ultimately dominate the cyberspace of gaming and social interactions. Here are three key trends to keep an eye on.

Digital Ownership and Content Creation

Digital connection is undoubtedly mainstream, whether it’s through social media, video calls, or messaging platforms. Taking ownership of that digital space, as well as the underlying experience, will most likely be the biggest leap for the worldwide web.

The Metaverse’s concept borders on blockchain technology, a key pillar that’s enabling true content ownership for the average person. It’s bringing a new breed of digital property ownership rights wherein every Metaverse user is a content creator and even co-owns the underlying platform. Users control how they want to monetize content and get paid transparently in the creator economy.

For instance, talented users can create and sell virtual avatars, which are used for digital identities in the Metaverse. Even better, Web3 now allows content creators to monetize experiences through virtual goods. Take The Sandbox for example, where artists use the platform’s native VoxEdit tool to create assets that are playable in the Metaverse. These assets can be sold on secondary marketplaces too, giving artists more direct freedom in how they choose to monetize creativity.

VoxEdit all-in-one tool to create, rig, and animate assets in The Sandbox (Source: The Sandbox)

The kind of value that Metaverse users look for in digital products from content creators includes access rights, social capital, utility, investment, or even royalties. Besides earning through content creation, users can get paid in the Metaverse by developing content creation tools.

Gaming and NFTs

A recent study shows that at least 9.4% of internet users have played a game utilizing NFTs. The Metaverse’s concept, therefore, presents opportunities to bolster this rising trend in many ways. For instance, players all over the world will be able to build relationships with new elements around them, such as NFT ecosystems.

Non-fungible tokens are already popular, with Reddit now reportedly onboards more people into NFTs than OpenSea. The NFT factor in gaming also brings a novel experience known as play-to-earn (P2E), where users are incentivized with digital assets to play games. Unlike the game-as-product or game-as-service models, P2E has demonstrated that value derived from games can be multidimensional, which flows to both the player and the publisher.

Asset ownership in play-to-earn games is backed by NFTs that are commonly created as ERC-721 or ERC1155 standards. This protocol helps players to tokenize almost any experience in the game, from killer moves to cosmetic wearables such as weapon skins. Users can then explore other side activities that extend to selling or renting their unlocked NFTs on secondary marketplaces.

Gaming NFTs trading on OpenSea (Source: Defiprime)

On the other hand, publishers or projects can earn when players buy into games through NFTs. Moreover, revenue opportunities for the publisher are likely to expand as the gaming ecosystem grows, given that NFTs use smart contracts under the hood to make purchasing data more transparent.

NFT owners for instance can set a fixed royalty reward for sales related to a particular NFT, while game publishers earn their fair share. All of this can be verified transparently using smart contracts and blockchain technology.

Here are typical ways NFTs are being used in the Metaverse:

  • Flexible gaming experience: NFTs can represent just about anything in games including characters, weapons, badges, power-ups or entire virtual lands. It can even be a gaming experience itself such as hosted tournaments or historical PvP matches.
  • Portable game assets: the same NFT can be traded in the game’s official marketplace, or on third-party platforms. They can be used within multiple game ecosystems, instead of being siloed among select platforms.
  • Free-to-play-and-earn: With the possibility of portable and flexible NFT assets, new gaming models that combine free-to-play elements along with play-to-earn are attracting fresh waves of gamers. The best part is that players can have genuine fun, while earning rewards that carry real-world value.

Social Synergies and Hybrid Interactions

The idea of socialization in the Metaverse goes beyond the archetypal Web 2.0. Rather, online interactions through liking or sharing are no longer confined to social media in Web3. These features and functionalities are integrated into any activity that users perform in the Metaverse. The main focus of the Metaverse is enabling a hybrid social experience that seamlessly connects the real and the virtual worlds.

Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are rising to bring back our hard-wired social and communal aspects, something that traditional social media isn’t fit to do.

A DAO is a community-led entity where authority is decentralized from top to bottom. Unlike existing online voting systems, the DAO structure is designed to be fully autonomous and independent. Core rules for DAO proposals are encoded in smart contracts—a transparent computer program that self-executes proposals and agreed-upon decisions within a democratic voting process. Smart contracts are verifiable and publicly auditable since every DAO member has access to them.

Members of a DAO collectively decide on critical matters, given that everyone oversees the decision-making process.

The fundamental differences between DAOs and traditional organizations (Source: Shardeum)

Stronger communities offer multifaceted support at individual levels, culminating in endless opportunities for personal and professional development. DAOs are different and come together for varying collective initiatives, not just governance. Some of these organizations exist to facilitate crowdfunding, acquire exclusive digital assets or contribute to a charitable cause.

With the absence of Web 2.0 decision-making structures that are marred by endless legal contracts and centralized hierarchies, DAOs offer alternative solutions to make social initiatives transparent and accountable to the core.

A Whole New (Digital) World

The building blocks of the Metaverse combine both the existing Web 2.0 elements and emerging Web3 technologies. In many ways, the future of the internet experience is intrinsically connected to the growth of the Metaverse. Everything users love about online gaming, content creation, and socialization will be iterated to bring a new world of general well-being, and offer immersive online experiences.