Metaverse: The Gateway to an Alternate Realityby@falconite
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Metaverse: The Gateway to an Alternate Reality

by Rohit ChatterjeeOctober 28th, 2021
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The Metaverse is a virtual world environment accessible through the Internet, where people can interact with other players and various in-game objects through their digital avatars. This “virtual universe” allows participants to meet, interact, explore places, partake in activities and share experiences together. The Sandbox metaverse has been developed on the. Ethereum blockchain developed by Toca Gaming, a. developer of leading game developer Animoca Brands. Sandbox also enables players to create their own gaming experiences and. expand the features required to develop the. metaverse.

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Tired of staying cooped up at your home? Exhausted of the movies and shows available on Netflix and Amazon Prime? Missing the thrill of attending live-action events with friends? We have just the cure for you – the Metaverse!!

The word ‘Metaverse’ has been going around a lot over social circles; even Facebook announced that it’s planning to change its name to better align with its aim of “Building the Metaverse.”

This has led to a sudden surge in interest regarding metaverses, with people waiting eagerly to see what the Internet giant has in store for us.

So What is this ‘Metaverse’?

The Metaverse can be considered to be a virtual world environment accessible through the Internet, where people can interact with other players and various in-game objects through their digital avatars.

This “virtual universe” allows participants to meet, interact, explore places, partake in activities and share experiences together.

You can go on a tour of the art museum, chat up the pretty looking digital avatar who just waved back, shake a leg (or two) at the nearby disco. The possibilities are endless, limited only by the imagination of the creator and the interest of the user.

Metaverses provide a unique way of making new friends and going on adventures together.

For the movie buffs, the hit movie series Matrix depicted what living in a metaverse would feel like, albeit one we would probably want to avoid.

Now, this might seem to be a fancy way of describing online multi-player games, and yes, that’s how the first metaverses did start off. If you’ve played Second Life or Minecraft, you’re already familiar with the concept.

However, there is one prominent difference - the metaverses in vogue today are being developed using blockchain technology.

This seemingly small technological deviation has played a huge role in determining the way Metaverses are being developed and how we’re interacting with them today.

Blockchain, Adding a New Dimension to the Metaverse

The gaming metaverses in existence till even a few years ago were all centralized systems. Players could participate in the various activities on offer, but not in any of the governance activities.

Moreover, the players didn’t really have ownership of any of the in-game items that they purchased or won. All these existed only within the game environment itself and truly belonged only to the corporation running the Metaverse.

The decentralization brought about by blockchain technology has turned the tide to a great extent.

All transactions within a metaverse are recorded immutably on the blockchain, enabling players to have sole and provable ownership of their in-game objects and collectibles.

These digital assets exist beyond the realm of that particular Metaverse, and can be freely traded by their respective owners in secondary markets. This has led to the rise of digital economies centered around these metaverses.

Blockchain-based governance is allowing participants and community members to work in tandem to develop and moderate the metaverse network. Smaller players can now truly participate and belong in the Metaverse.

Facebook might have grand plans of creating “One Metaverse to Entertain Us All,” but there exist some incredible metaverse gaming platforms which are using blockchain technology to create thrilling virtual experiences.

The Sandbox

The Sandbox metaverse has been developed on the Ethereum blockchain developed by TSB Gaming, a former subsidiary of leading game developer Animoca Brands. Players can interact with other players (through their digital avatars) and enjoy shared virtual experiences inside the Sandbox metaverse.

The Sandbox also enables players to create their own gaming experiences and expand the Sandbox metaverse, by providing the tools required to develop these in-game features.

‘LAND and ‘ASSET’ are the two most important gameplay components of Sandbox. LAND is a unit of digital estate inside the Sandbox metaverse, which can be purchased by players. A total of 166,464 LANDs forms the complete Sandbox metaverse.

On the other hand, ASSETs are in-game items that can be designed using Sandbox’s 3D animation software VoxEdit. These voxel ASSETs can then be used to populate the LANDS and create various digital experiences through Game Maker, a visual scripting tool that allows users to build and deploy 3D gaming experiences without any coding knowledge.

A range of voxel ASSETs are available in The Sandbox's NFT Marketplace

Players can then charge other players (in cryptocurrencies) for participating in these games and digital experiences on the LANDs they own. Once a LAND becomes a popular tourist spot, it can generate constant income for the owner.

The ASSETs can also be converted into NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) and traded with other players in Sandbox’s in-game NFT Marketplace.

The ERC-20 token SAND is the utility token of The Sandbox ecosystem and is used to purchase LANDs and ASSETs, and access the in-game features. SAND is also the governance token, and entitles holders to participate in platform governance and liquidity mining schemes.

Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity is a play-to-earn (P2E) gaming metaverse developed by Vietnam-based startup Sky Mavis on the Ethereum blockchain. Players can collect digital fantasy creatures known as ‘Axie’s, which are based on real-life axolotls.

The game has been quite the rage in Philippines, providing a source of income to the country’s population, which had been hard hit by the pandemic.

Sky Mavis claims that 25% of Axie players have never had a bank account and have been using the game tokens for real-world financial transactions as well.

The Axie Infinity metaverse (known as ‘Lucania’) is inspired by the Pokémon universe. Similar to Pokémon, players here have to employ their Axies to battle against either virtual opponents or real-life players.

The Axies are actually NFTs issued on Ethereum, which can be purchased from the Axie Marketplace or bred by pairing existing Axies. Virtual land and gameplay items are also minted as NFTs in the Axie metaverse.

Axolot [left] and the Axies [right] they inspired

Axies belong to one of the 9 available classes, and each class enjoys certain advantages and disadvantages over other Axies. Since each Axie is issued as an NFT, the minting process ensures that each Axie is unique, possessing a unique set of features and skills.

One drawback of the Axie gameplay is that new players require at least 3 Axies to participate in battles. At current rates, this can prove to be a financial barrier for new players.

Players can earn Small Love Potion (SLP) and Axie Infinity Shard (AXS) during the course of gameplay. SLP is required for breeding Axies, while AXS is the governance token of the ecosystem. Both SLP and AXS are ERC-20 tokens, are listed on cryptocurrency exchanges.

Looking Ahead

The Metaverse provides exciting possibilities up ahead. With the steady development of virtual and augmented reality, metaverse gaming can go beyond the realm of our computers and provide a truly immersive gameplay experience.

The use of VR headsets can virtually put us right in the center of the metaverse gaming action, just like Steven Spielberg’s science fiction adventure movie ‘Ready Player One.’

With the integration of virtual and augmented reality, a Ready Player One-like experience might be just around the corner

There are other metaverses apart from The Sandbox and Axie Infinity available today, each expanding and attracting new visitors by the minute.

Decentraland is one such name that immediately comes to mind. Similar in philosophy to Sandbox, Decentraland has attracted the attention of not only the average user but also design studios and mainstream corporations, which are rushing to ‘build’ in Decentraland in the truest sense of the term.

In fact, a piece of virtual land on Decentraland sold for close to $1 million earlier this year!

Even when it comes to non-blockchain entities, Facebook isn’t the only corporation that is planning to get a taste of the Metaverse pie.

Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, has already announced its intention of building a metaverse, while graphic card manufacturer NVIDIA is developing Omniverse, a platform for connecting 3D virtual worlds by its own definition.

It won’t be an overstatement to claim that exciting times are up ahead. Keep your seatbelts fastened, and be ready for the wild ride.

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.