Manifesting The Metaverse With Play-to-Earn Gamesby@l3
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Manifesting The Metaverse With Play-to-Earn Games

by L3 August 19th, 2021
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In Facebook’s recent earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly mentioned the word “metaverse” He announced his expectation for Facebook to transition into a metaverse company within the upcoming years. The metaverse is described as a virtual shared space for people to interact using avatars. It is a virtual reality experience that, nearly three decades later, becomes an entity that every major tech company wants to commercialize. The market for non-fungible tokens (NFT) - digital assets that can be exchanged for real-world cash, is rising in popularity.

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In Facebook’s recent earnings call with investors and analysts, CEO Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly mentioned the word “metaverse.” He announced his expectation for Facebook to transition into a metaverse company within the upcoming years.

This is not the first time the Facebook CEO has expressed his ambitious new venture. In June, Zuckerberg announced to his employees that Facebook would go further than just building interconnected social apps. Zuckerberg’s future of the internet would be a maximalist version of Facebook, converging the worlds of socializing, work, commerce, entertainment, and more.

Putting aside the number of times Zuckerberg has raised public concern, from Facebook’s data and privacy breaches to allegations that Facebook is contributing to vaccine misinformation, there is good reason for him to push Facebook towards becoming the biggest player in a new technological era - developing the metaverse.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on stage at an Oculus developers conference in 2016. Glenn Chapmann/AFP via Getty Images

What is the Metaverse?

First coined by science fiction author Neal Stephenson in his dystopian novel “Snow Crash,” the metaverse is described as a virtual shared space for people to interact using avatars. It is a virtual reality experience that, nearly three decades later, becomes an entity that every major tech company wants to commercialize.

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella described the metaverse “as the virtual and physical worlds converge” - a platform for simulated environments and mixed reality. Instead of attending a Zoom meeting, you can attend your meeting in your avatar form in a simulated office space, surrounded by colleagues from anywhere in the world. When the work meeting is over, you can choose to attend a virtual concert with your friends or shop for items that are only available digitally in virtual stores.

Everything is interconnected on the metaverse. There is no need to hop onto a different website or application. Matthew Ball, a venture capitalist and expert on the metaverse, said this of the metaverse, “More of our lives will be online, rather than just data relating to our lives.”

Of course, when so many aspects of our lives can be lived online, this naturally translates to huge economic opportunities amounting to billions. Digital advertising is expected to hit $455 billion. The market for non-fungible tokens (NFT) - digital assets that can be exchanged for real-world cash, is rising in popularity and amounts to $2.5 billion in the first quarter of 2021. Together with other fields such as gaming, the metaverse is easily worth more than a trillion.

The Metaverse Is Already Manifesting

While big tech companies like Facebook and Microsoft are trying to incorporate new technology to form this futuristic utopia, other companies are already ahead of the game in creating metaverse experiences, if not developing advanced software and hardware that can accommodate these experiences.

Discord has grown from a social media platform for gamers to a platform for its 150 million users to converge in topic-based spaces called servers. Users can use it for various ways of interaction - chat, send and receive files, watch live streams and listen to music together. Here, we can see an early version of the metaverse, especially in the socialization aspect.

In terms of software, companies like Epic Games and Nvidia Corp. are leading with technology that can run virtual world simulations allowing large multiplayer experiences. Video gamers on Fortnite, Roblox, or Animal Crossing are already experiencing metaverse experiences with the ability to create their virtual worlds.

Another essential building block for the metaverse is blockchain technology. It allows a seamless, secure process when transporting assets between platforms or from the real world to the digital world. Real-world assets can be transformed into NFTs, which can be easily purchased using cryptocurrency, increasing the liquidity of these assets. Hence companies incorporating blockchain are better positioned in ushering the metaverse than traditional big names in tech that have yet to embrace blockchain.

Play-to-Earn Games Are Accelerating The Revolution

While the metaverse in its full form will involve cutting-edge VR and AR technology, Internet users need to see the appeal in joining platforms that will eventually form the metaverse. The pandemic has accelerated the process of making people more comfortable in spending more aspects of their lives online, but the catalyst for mainstream adoption lies in play-to-earn games.

For starters, gaming has been touted as a great use case for encouraging mass adoption of blockchain technology. Blockchain is already disrupting the $176 billion industry, allowing players to enjoy more immersive experiences and establishing new norms for in-game currency and trading gaming assets.

Back then, people could spend a lot of money on in-game assets but never truly own them or make money out of them. With blockchain allowing true ownership of digital assets, play-to-earn games have seen a meteoric rise in popularity. Players can earn in-game assets such as native tokens or NFTs through game participation, which can be cashed out on open marketplaces.

With the pandemic causing financial difficulties for many, earning an income through play-to-earn games from the comfort of their own homes instead of working day jobs have become a reality for many players in developing countries. For example, people in the Phillippines and Vietnam have quit their jobs to focus on trading NFT pets and native tokens on the NFT pet breeding game Axie Infinity, which saw daily users reaching 800,000 in July.

More people become attracted to play-to-earn games and their open economies, bringing value to games while generating personal revenue. As a result, gaming companies receive investments from various institutions and investors, which drives the current bullish market. Gaming companies are also evolving in their competition to offer more social and immersive experiences apart from games.

Decentral Games' gamers gathered around the Poker table in Decentral Games in their avatar forms

Decentral Games - Rising Star In The Metaverse

Take blockchain entertainment company Decentral Games (DG), for example. The Ethereum-based brand started as the first community-owned metaverse gaming platform and has expanded its repertoire to involve hosting regular music and art events and a thriving NFT market demand. Within a few months from its official launch, DG has secured partnerships with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, such as video game pioneer Atari and iconic nightclub Amnesia Ibiza.

How did DG achieve this success? Unlike traditional gaming models where players and the house have what DG founder Miles Anthony called an “adversarial relationship,” DG users enjoy games through a provably fair, play-to-earn model where incentives are aligned between player and house. Notably, DG is the first DAO that owns, governs, and monetizes virtual land. DG players who own DG’s native token are essentially part of DG governance, allowing them to participate in DG’s development-related decisions.

Combined with the 3D environment to play in, DG provides a whole new, unparalleled gaming experience where users are empowered to “be the house” while enjoying immersive, social experiences. Users can also find employment in this virtual space starting early this year, marking DG as the first metaverse employer. Within this month alone, DG has announced the launch of three new B2B metaverse gaming venues in partnership with popular brands - BAYC, DexTools, and Aquarium, proving its appeal among brands in building metaverse venues. Notably, DG has also developed virtual headquarters for prominent crypto projects like Polygon, Coingecko, Rarible in the metaverse.

DG has started tapping into the wider entertainment scene, curating unique music and arts events for its users. Thousands of users turned up for electronic artist Dillon Francis’ live set during the grand opening of Atari Casino powered by DG. On the same day, DG also hosted the much-anticipated auction of Dillon Francis’ Gerald, the pinata-themed NFTs, designed by visual artist Merda. Following the success of this event, DG has gone on to host more successful events featuring prolific names in the dance music industry, such as German producer Boys Noize and Chicago-based trio Autograf.

DG utilizes sophisticated virtual infrastructure on the backend combining Ethereum, Polygon (Matic), and the Binance Smart Chain networks, ensuring scalability concerns are addressed to accommodate more users. Backed by a team of experts and strategic partnerships, DG has specialized technological expertise that allows users to benefit from faster transaction speeds and lower transaction costs.

Likely even before Facebook realizes its metaverse dream, DG’s innovative contributions across several verticals make it a promising player in this race to develop the metaverse.


Disclaimer: The author of this article owns $DG tokens.

This article is part of The Gaming Metaverse Writing Contest hosted by HackerNoon in partnership with The Sandbox.

Submit your #gaming-metaverse story today for your chance to win up to $2000 in SAND tokens.