The Metaverse: Is It a Boy's Fantasy or The Future?by@tanyog
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The Metaverse: Is It a Boy's Fantasy or The Future?

by The GNovember 1st, 2022
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The Metaverse is a digital world where you spend your digital life in parallel with the real world. It has to work 24/7, 365 days a year, so no resets, outages and pauses. It would have to take on an unlimited number of users with a sense of presence. It also has its own digital economy where individuals and businesses can provide and exchange value.

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Eleven months after we thought that we would all be living in the Metaverse, the hype has died down.

Meta's stock price is down bad.

Really bad.

Like so bad, it reached its 2016 price levels.

And the web3 Metaverse alternatives aren't doing any better.

Decentraland has less than 700 active users.

The Sandbox's token price is 10x lower than its all-time high.

So in this article, we are going to do dive deep inside the Metaverse and answer the real question:

Is the Metaverse a real thing or just a techno grift?

Let's find out.

So What is The Metaverse?

First off, we have to define the Metaverse.

That's a big challenge since literally every "Metaverse" company has its own definition.

But I'll try my best.

The word Metaverse stems from

  • Meta (meaning beyond.)
  • Universe (meaning the cosmos.)

So the literal meaning of the Metaverse is beyond the universe.

While that's cool and all, the term has been floating around in tech circles since the 90s.

And we have one person to blame - Neal Stephenson.

Neal brought a new definition to the Metaverse - a digital world existing in parallel with the real world.

And tech giants and crypto enthusiasts are talking about the Metaverse as the 3D model of the Internet.

Whatever that means.

So, we can loosely define the Metaverse as a digital world where you spend your digital life.

Most of us already work, play, and interact with people online.

So the next step would be doing all that while using a 3D avatar of yourself, dressed in Spongebob square pants beach shorts.

Maybe not, but the Metaverse, as the 3D version of the Internet, doesn't exist yet.

A few things need to happen for it to work:

  • The Metaverse has to work 24/7, 365 days a year, so no resets, outages and pauses.
  • It has to take on an unlimited number of users.
  • Provide each user with a sense of presence.
  • Has its own digital economy where individuals and businesses can provide and exchange value.
  • Allow for user-generated content and experiences.

While many people would also mention some degree of interoperability, that part is hard to imagine.

For example, a person with an iPhone needs an iOS account, but a Facebook user needs Gmail to log in.

It's hard to see all these ecosystems working together, given that they're all owned by rival companies.

So with that "clarification" out of the way, let's discuss the case for the Metaverse.

The Case for the Metaverse

The case for the Metaverse is simple.

An Ogilvy report showed that more than half of Gen Z are friends or close with people they only know online and have never met in person.

People spend more of their waking hours online, so doing that in immersive digital spaces seems like a no-brainer.

And it comes with a ton of use cases like:


Source: Photo by Tanguy R on Unsplash

This is the most obvious one.

3D virtual worlds already exist inside various games, so making them even more immersive, so people can be in the game sounds awesome.

And virtual world-based games like Roblox and Minecraft have already shown what users do when they're inside a virtual world.

They create a ton of user-generated content.

And gaming is becoming more and more social.

There are forums, groups, and chat rooms, where people connect without identifying themselves as gamers.


Metaverse companies got more than $120 billion in funding in 2022.

This is double the amount compared to the $57 billion invested in 2021, according to McKinsey.

And big corporations have started working on the Metaverse early on: 

  • Disney hired Mark Bozon to help the company transition into the Metaverse (they call it "the next generation of storytelling.")
  • Lego invested in Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite.
  • Luxury brands have also been quick to join the Metaverse craze. Nike, Balenciaga, Gucci, Hugo Boss, and Tiffany & Co. have all dabbled into the Metaverse in various collaborations.

All of this shows that there would be plenty of business and money to be made in the virtual economy of the Metaverse.


Source: Fortnite

The best example is the Travis Scott Fortnite concert.

It showed that there's a huge hunger for online entertainment.

And don't think that other entertainers haven't noticed.

Travis Scott made $20 million from that concert.

There isn't a stadium in the world he could fill to make that much money.

So you can imagine how much these entertainers will make from the Metaverse.

The Case Against the Metaverse 

While the overall trends look positive, we can't pretend the Metaverse doesn't have its naysayers.

Wired's editor-in-chief Gideon Lichfield said that we are seeing "a terminological land grab." 

Mitch Lasky, a legendary investor in Riot Games and Discord, said that the Metaverse is "a boy's fantasy." 

So why the hate?

While more and more time is spent online, some would argue if that time is valuably spent.

More people feel isolated, purposeless, and depressed than ever before, so the question is if spending more time online is the solution.

During COVID, spending more time at home made sense because of restrictions. 

But now, when the bars, gyms, and clubs are open, do people really feel the need to spend more time online?

And let's not forget that up to a year ago, we were living in a perfect environment.

0% rates, global economy, no wars, solid supply chains.

People could easily access new tech on a global level.

With the current tension in the world, there will be a lot more challenges to overcome before we go full Meta (pun intended.)

For the Metaverse to work, we need the following:

  • Better and faster Internet - and I mean home and mobile Internet.
  • Smaller chips.

These things depend on complicated supply chains and a peaceful world, and we don't know if we have these things anymore.

Another reason for the skepticism is Facebook (known now as Meta.)

Of all the tech companies, Meta has the worst reputation, and rightfully so.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal, disinformation, misinformation.

And because Meta has gone all in on the Metaverse, people have an inverse reaction to it.

Meta has no choice.

They were prisoners of bigger companies like Google and Apple, which controlled the hardware.

And now, Meta is building their own hardware product.

People feel creeped out by Zuck's vision.

I mean, do you really want one of the most distrusted people in the world to know where your eyes move, do you watch the ad they showed you, who you talk to online all the time?

While I understand that, we can all agree that one company controlling the Metaverse is BAD WITH A CAPITAL B.

Fortunately, there are a few decentralized Metaverse alternatives that we will discuss now.

Promising Web3 Metaverse Projects

Let's discuss the three most interesting Metaverse projects:

The Sandbox

Source: The Sandbox

We've to start with the Sandbox, the web3 equivalent of Roblox.

Users can build and trade digital assets inside this Metaverse.

They can customize their characters, land, and other items to build interesting experiences.

Every asset inside the Sandbox is an NFT, so the users can have full ownership.

Players can collect these NFTs and trade them inside the Sandbox marketplace.

The Sandbox offers users 3 main benefits:

1) VoXEdit 

The Sandbox's pre-built 3D modeling software allows users to create their own digital assets. They can create anything they want - humans, animals, and characters around their virtual space.

2) The Game Maker

Sandbox users can contribute to its Metaverse with this tool and build their own 3D game in minutes without any coding experience.

3) The Marketplace

After a user has built their own digital assets and games, they can put them for sale inside the Sandbox marketplace. And they can also buy assets to enhance their own game. 

And Sandbox has attracted a ton of real-life IP to its platform, like Adidas, The Walking Dead, and even Snoop Dogg.


Source: Decentraland

Decentraland is an Ethereum-based Metaverse platform.

It's a virtual world where people can buy and sell land plots.

Using that land, users can create games and apps inside Decentraland.

There are art galleries, virtual hangout sports, real estate, and conferences.

One of the most popular web3 games, Decentral Games, is built inside Decentraland.

It's a virtual poker game where users compete against other players for different rewards.

Yuga Labs's Metaverse

Source: Yuga Labs

We can't talk about the Metaverse without discussing Yuga Labs, creators of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC.)

BAYC is an NFT collection that broke the Internet in 2021.

It minted for around $150-$250, and some of the NFTs were sold for 7-figure sums.

The collection attracted celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Logan Paul, and Steph Curry.

And while Bored Apes had a few spin-off NFT collections, the main Metaverse/gaming play is the "Otherside" mint.

It's a virtual world launched as an NFT project with 200k total land plots.

Earlier this year, Yuga released a short trailer for the game where you could see various NFT projects:

  • Mutant Ape Yacht Club
  • Cool Cats
  • CryptoPunks
  • CrypToadz
  • Meebits
  • Nouns
  • World of Women

The digital land plots act as a ticket and access token for the Otherside Metaverse.

Yuga released half of the land plots to BAYC NFT holders, and soon after, they showed a game demo with 4500 participants.

Promising Non-Web3 Metaverse Projects

The Web3 projects look cool, but we also need to talk about these non-web Metaverse projects:


Source: Roblox

Roblox is a public company with more than 40 million daily active users.

It also has more than 9.5 million developers working on it.

Roblox is a gaming platform focused on creating an immersive virtual world.

And it's not focused on virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality.

Around +70% of Roblox users come from mobile devices.

Roblox also hosts various events.

They've partnered with Sony Music, allowing artists like Lil Nas X to perform inside the Roblox metaverse.

What's great about Roblox is that it allows users to create brand-new experiences like fighting games or casual work meetings.

Epic Games

We can't talk about the non-web3 Metaverse projects without talking about the creators of Fortnite, Epic Games.

They have shown what interoperability looks like in the web2 world.

You can play Fortnite on Macs, PC, Playstation, Nintendo, and Xbox.

Also, the game always hosts existing IP.

Whenever there's a new Marvel, DC, or Star Wars movie, the main characters are playable inside Fortnite.

I remember playing as Thanos a few years back when "Infinity War" came out.

Epic Games also owns the second-largest independent game engine, Unreal.

Many games already use this developer stack of tools and software to share assets and create experiences.

The engine is so good that Disney used it for their tv show The Mandalorian.

But that's not all.

Epic also offers an "Online Services Suite."

Developers can use it to get an immediate support cross-play across many ecosystems:

  • Sony
  • Microsoft
  • Nintendo
  • PC
  • iOS
  • Android

With that suite, developers can leverage the entire Epic Games system, which has over 1.6 billion players connected.

And this suite is completely free for any engine, platform, and game.

But it also works within Fortnite's player network, so any title can take advantage of Epic's pre-built user base.

Epic offers this for free because it wants more games to talk to one another.

This would allow players to jump from experience and experience.

So in a sense, Epic is building its own gaming Metaverse.

And they've already added a few crypto games like Superior, Star Atlas, and Blankos Block Party to their Epic Games Store.

So while expanding its Metaverse, Epic Games has decreased its dependence on its flagship game, Fortnite.


Source: Photo by Christine Sandu on Unsplash

Now, it's time to talk about the big boys - Meta.

And they're all in on the Metaverse.

They're building the VR headset called Oculus and losing money on the hardware.

They're pouring billions of dollars a year into the technology.

Yes, that's a billion with a capital B.

They already have some things going for them.

Like a ton of users from all their platforms (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp.)

Palmer Lucky, the creator of the Oculus Rift, bought by Meta in 2014 for $2 billion, has said two important quotes:

1) "Mark Zuckerberg is VR's biggest fan."

That's because he can build the hardware and control the entire ecosystem inside the virtual world.

2) "VR is the final computing platform."

Once you have a perfect virtual world where you can do business meetings, gaming, and socialize, that's the end game.

You don't need extra hardware, according to Palmer.

So that's what Zuck is going for.

Build Meta as the go-to spot for immersive experiences.

Who's Going to Win the Metaverse?

As you can see from all the examples, the race for the Metaverse is wide open.

With that much money and talent pouring into it, it's only a matter of time before some of these technology companies build it.

One thing is clear - it will take them time.

But who would win?

Well, that's unclear.

The non-web3 projects focused on gaming, like Epic Games and Roblox, look amazing.

Especially Epic with its interoperability approach.

As for web3 projects, my money is on The Sandbox and Yuga Labs.

On the Sandbox, because of all the custom-built solutions, and on Yuga, because it's Yuga.

Their track record in the space is unmatched.

But what do you think?

Do you think the Metaverse is happening?


Tell me below.

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