The Metaverse is an alternative reality that blurs the line between the real world and digital life.
People are asking many questions: What is the Metaverse? How do you access it? How will it impact my life?
To many, the Metaverse concept seems too sci-fi to be true.
But we’ve all already experienced the Metaverse in one way or another through games.
Metaverse gaming is both the present and the future of the gaming industry. In this article, we’ll explain all you need to know to understand this world that is evolving by the day.
What Is The Metaverse?
The Metaverse is a digital space that bridges the gap between your imagination and real life.
Think of it as a social network, but instead of creating a profile to access it and looking at a screen to explore it, you get to step into it and experience it through a 3D avatar.
The Metaverse is a shared virtual space where you can play, dance, work, drive, build and engage in a number of other activities. It is packed with elements that co-exist simultaneously, catering to the needs of its users.
In the Metaverse, you can perform a lot of activities in one single place and interact with other users in real time. You can engage with the people you know from real life or meet users from across the globe.
Depending on your preferences, you can talk to others, play sports with them, or meet up in a virtual environment with your colleagues to discuss work matters. All of this, while staying in the comfort of your room.
What Does The Metaverse Look Like?
To allow you to live your fantasy, the Metaverse is built as a content-rich virtual environment that contains anything you can think of in real life, and then some.
Buildings, trees, vehicles, land for sale, world landmarks, concert arenas — you name it, it’s all there.
Now, the appearance of the Metaverse changes around the clock because it is your actions and what other users contribute to the platform that allows it to evolve.
You can change the environment you’re in, tweak its colors, add or remove objects, and the look of the Metaverse adapts to what you do.
The overall style of the Metaverse, however, is still quite simple.
3D avatars and the Metaverse content are often pictured with sharp edges and in bright, vivid colors. That’s why some people compare the Metaverse aesthetic to a kid’s game.
But as technology continues to progress, so does the look of the Metaverse. In fact, there are already some Metaverse games being praised for their realistic aesthetics. But more on that soon!
How Does The Metaverse Work?
The Metaverse is a shared virtual environment based on the use of two technologies:
- Virtual reality (VR)
- Augmented reality (AR)
Virtual reality, as its name suggests, is a digital environment that contains elements and environments that either look similar to or completely different from those found in the real world. It is entirely computer-generated.
Augmented reality, on the other hand, is the technology that inserts virtual elements into the real world.
Now, to explore the Metaverse and perform any kind of action in it, you need to use a 3D avatar. Avatars are like virtual manifestations of all of the people exploring the Metaverse.
Thanks to the AR and VR technologies, you feel like it’s actually you in person exploring the virtual territory and engaging in the Metaverse experience. In fact, when you put on a VR headset and haptic gloves, you can interact with virtual surroundings and even touch, feel and hear everything that’s placed in them.
The Metaverse is designed as a virtual world with its own economy.
You can purchase, sell and exchange items with other users through cryptocurrencies. What a dollar is to the United States, crypto coins are to the Metaverse.
Digital items in the Metaverse are called non-fungible tokens (NFTs). NFTs represent anything that’s digital and unique, including artwork, music and more.
To acquire an NFT, you have to spend real money via crypto.
In the Metaverse, there are shops with various items, allowing you to endlessly customize your avatar and purchase pretty much anything you imagine, including tickets for concerts or learning events, instruments and even cars.
How Did The Idea For The Metaverse Evolve?
The Metaverse concept isn’t something completely unheard of.
In fact, the name for the Metaverse comes from the 1990s sci-fi book called “Snow Crash,” by Neal Stephenson.
In the book, Stephenson describes the gloomy future of the 21st-century world. People use avatars to escape the bleak reality and run from it straight into the Metaverse — a digital world filled with exciting and immersive experiences. The Metaverse becomes the place where the characters in the book can lead happier lives.
Fast forward to the present day, and tech giants like Facebook and Microsoft are building Metaverses similar to the one Stephenson imagined.
The goal is to craft a Metaverse that immerses users in various experiences, be it fantastical like sci-fi games or realistic like virtual experiences and tours; think skydiving, visiting the Great Wall of China, or pursuing any hobby from the comfort of your room.
But the Metaverse is more than just a place where you can have fun and connect with people worldwide. Metaverses are slowly becoming workplaces.
Yes, you read that right!
And we don’t mean just catching up with colleagues in virtual business meetings; soon, you’ll be able to actually go to work in the Metaverse.
The virtual world is expected to become the extension of real life where, as we mentioned, you can build, buy, and sell things.
If you see a piece of land or a house someone else built in the Metaverse, you need someone, aka a realtor, to show you the place. Or, if you decide to visit some of the world’s wonders, you can find an expert to travel with you and tell you the story behind it.
That’s why some of the jobs that might soon be in demand in the Metaverse include tour guides and real estate agents.
No matter how unbelievable it may sound, you can actually own land in the Metaverse.
For example, Snoop Dogg — one of the most recognizable figures in gangsta rap in the 1990s — has not only purchased virtual land but has also started building his own Snoopverse. He wants to connect with his fans more and organize virtual parties and concerts for them. Of course, you need to pay for a ticket to access his events.
To understand how lucrative the Metaverse business can be, listen to this — someone wanted to become Snoop’s next-door neighbor so they bought a property next to his for almost $500,000.
One of the reasons why so many companies work on developing their own Metaverse is because you’re expected to spend loads of cash in it, just like Snoop’s Metaverse next-door neighbor did, and just like most gamers do.
Metaverse games encourage you to buy in-game accessories and use digital money to acquire enhanced weapons, unique artifacts, gadgets and anything that could make your avatar more powerful and help you progress in a game.
What Is Metaverse Gaming?
After learning more about the Metaverse, you may think that it’s similar to online games and the experiences they provide you with. And you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong.
In fact, the Metaverse already exists in games to some extent.
Think of Fortnite — an online survival game. In Fortnite, your goal is to survive either alone or as part of a team. In addition, the game allows you to interact with other players via voice chats and encourages you to personalize your avatar by acquiring different items.
To complete a purchase, you must use real money to acquire V-Bucks — Fortnite’s currency. And to ensure you stay engaged, Fortnite creators often collaborate with other companies to offer you unique experiences and items to acquire. In 2021, they teamed up with Ferrari and invited players to take the exotic Ferrari 296 GTB sports model for a spin.
In general, brands jump at the possibility of launching their products in the Metaverse because it can help them increase sales.
While Fortnite and many other online games allow you to immerse yourself in digital life and communicate with players from around the world, Metaverse gaming offers even more than that.
Your accomplishments and the things you do in the Metaverse can also be valid in real life. For instance, if you acquire something during a task and that item exists in real life, you can let your avatar keep the prize or have the item delivered to your doorstep.
Metaverse gaming also allows you to earn money as you play.
The thing is, most Metaverse games include the “creator mode” that lets you build your own world, avatars and various items. You can leave everything you create for your avatar to use or sell it to other players.
At the same time, you have the possibility to purchase things other players make and use the acquired items either in the Metaverse or in real life.
The more progress you make in a Metaverse game, the stronger your avatar gets and the more valuable your products become.
As with most online games, one of the pillars of Metaverse gaming is interactivity. But instead of just chatting to other players as you usually do, Metaverse gaming enables your avatar to phone other avatars, send voice chats or get on a video call in the Metaverse.
How The Metaverse Is Reshaping The Gaming Industry
While the Metaverse is blurring the line between the real world and virtual reality, the gaming industry is diving into it head-first.
Microsoft is one of the big tech companies that recognized the potential of the Metaverse. In January 2022, they acquired Activation Blizzard — one of the most popular video game companies in the U.S., for a whopping $68.7 billion dollars. When the deal was done, Microsoft announced:
“This acquisition will accelerate the growth in Microsoft’s gaming business across mobile, PC, console and cloud and will provide building blocks for the Metaverse.”
Epic Games — one of the largest video game developer companies, has also joined the Metaverse race, competing with Microsoft. They secured a $2 billion investment from Sony and Lego to create a Metaverse specifically for children.
With Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox already at the “console war,” we can only wait to see how their battle for the Metaverse gaming dominance will unravel. But one thing’s for certain — the competition between the world’s best and largest tech and gaming companies means some majestic Metaverse games are bound to be released in the near future.
And considering how appealing Metaverse games already are and how their development will allow you to identify yourself as a video game character more than ever before, Metaverse gaming is expected to grow in popularity, changing the way we play and experience games for good.
5 Best Metaverse Games To Play In 2022
Metaverse gaming is an industry that’s still in development, but there are already some Metaverse games you can play to get an idea of what the new generation of gaming is like and what it will bring.
Here are some of the best Metaverse games to play this year.
1. The Sandbox
The Sandbox is one of the best and most popular multiplayer Metaverse games.
The game enables you to create your own avatar, vehicles, animals and pretty much anything that comes to your mind. You can even create your own 3D game without knowing how to code.
When you build your own world, you can invite other players to visit it.
You also have the option to put everything you create up for sale via Sandbox’s market and make a profit. The main currency in the game is the so-called Sand. To get Sand tokens, you must complete certain tasks.
If you would like to play the Sandbox, all you need is a computer. For now, the game doesn’t offer VR, i.e. virtual reality support, but it should become available on VR devices in the future.
Illuvium is a highly anticipated role-playing (RPG) game that is expected to be released in 2022.
Your mission is to explore the imaginative 3D terrain and capture illuvials — deadly creatures you can then train and use to fight against other players.
The more unique and powerful your illuvial becomes, the more its value grows. You can trade creatures as NFTs and earn a lot of money while playing the game.
The Illuvium visuals look breathtaking, and it’s no wonder so many people can’t wait to play the game!
3. Horizon Worlds
Horizon Worlds is a game specifically built for Oculus VR devices.
The game invites you to connect with players from around the world and collaborate with them on building virtual worlds.
If you’re not feeling particularly creative, you can visit existing worlds and engage in exciting activities.
Horizon Worlds is a great game if you want to try something you haven’t done before. For instance, if you ever wanted to try your luck in a singing competition — here’s your chance. You can visit the American Idol VR world and perform a song in front of judges comprised of other Horizon Worlds users. There’s also an audience that can cheer on you in real-time.
4. Axie Infinity
Axie Infinity is a blockchain Metaverse game in which you acquire Axies — cute digital axolotl-like creatures that represent NFTs.
Axies are like pets you can take care of, train to battle other players’ Axies and use them to hunt for treasure. You can also buy land for your Axies and build them a home to live in.
The main currency of the Axie Infinity game is Axie Infinity Shards — AXS. You can also earn smooth love potions or SLP tokens after you defeat an opponent. You need both AXSs and SLPs to breed your Axies.
5. Rec Room
Rec Room is a free online game you can play on your PC, mobile phone or by using a VR headset.
Like other Metaverse games, Rec Room invites you to create your avatar and use it to socialize with other Rec Roomers.
Aside from hanging out with others, you can also engage in multi-player games within Rec Rooms, such as laser tag, paintball and 3D charades.
How To Play Metaverse Games
To play metaverse games, in most cases, you need:
- A PC
- A blockchain wallet
- A virtual reality (VR) headset
- An augmented reality (AR) device
The Metaverse gaming market is still in development, and even though most Metaverse games require you to use VR and AR devices, as you can see, there are still some you can play on your computer, although that probably won’t be the case for much longer.
Since metaverse games rely on digital money. i.e. cryptocurrencies, you should have a blockchain wallet to complete in-game purchases or earn money while playing.
Now, with the rise of VR gaming, VR headsets have become increasingly popular. They are your entry ticket into the Metaverse.
When you put a VR headset on, you can fully immerse yourself in digital life and experience artificial scenarios first-hand. The latest-generation VR devices include 4K HDR displays, ensuring the virtual world before your eyes appears as realistic as possible.
Even though you can control most VR headsets with bare hands, many of them also include hand controllers you can use to navigate virtual surroundings and play games.
Aside from putting on a VR headset to visually experience the VR, you can also put haptic gloves on to touch virtual objects and feel them under your fingers. That helps make the virtual world even more realistic.
Unfortunately, most haptic gloves are very expensive, with prices surpassing those of VR headsets. Given the cost and the fact that this technology is still in development, haptic gloves are far from becoming a standard gadget in every gamer’s VR set, even though that’s likely to change in the future.
Another way to get into the Metaverse is by using AR technology.
For example, Snapchat — the widely popular messaging app that lets you share photos, videos and texts with your friends — is a great example of AR technology in action. When you want to use filters to turn yourself into, say, a medieval knight, two technologies work in sync. First, artificial intelligence, a.k.a. AI, detects your face, then AR overlays the filter on your face. The result is a realistic-looking bearded knight staring at your camera.
Or better yet: remember Pokémon GO? This game took the world by storm in 2016, inviting players to use their phone’s GPS to locate Pokémons, i.e. fictional creatures in the real world, then capture them, train them, and use them in virtual battles.
Other popular AR games, such as DC Batman: Bat-Tech Edition and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, successfully mix the real with the virtual, and all you need to play them is your phone and fast-speed Internet.
(By the way, now seems like a good time to mention that we recently compiled the list of Batman comic books in a recommended reading order if you’re interested!)
Now, many people believe that the augmented Metaverse will become more popular than the virtual Metaverse because it blends virtual worlds with reality into one. The augmented Metaverse is also easier to access — all you need is your phone camera. Sure, you can use fancy glasses to enjoy AR experiences, but the point is, the AR technology is more accessible to the majority of users.
Metaverse Gaming Recap!
Some people argue that the Metaverse is the future of society, while others claim that not many people will enjoy spending hours on end with VR headsets on. But what seemingly everyone agrees on is that Metaverse gaming is here to stay.
With so many video games already based on VR technology, it appears that most gaming companies are busy developing Metaverse games as we speak. As a result, we’re bound to see more and more games adapted to the Metaverse with many new games released in years to come.
The appeal of Metaverse gaming lies not just in its engaging visuals and interaction with other players, but also in the fact that you can earn a lot of money for something you created.
But whether Metaverse gaming will become the new normal, or remain a niche technology — only time will tell.