Metaverse of Madness

8 Jun 2022

Every other day, we hear of another brand looking to enter the Metaverse, from Nike, to Walmart, Gucci and even financial services like JP Morgan, Standard Chartered and HSBC. Land in the Metaverse is selling like hotcakes and different metaverses are launching almost everyday with each one having its own selling point. (Dr. Strange will be driven crazy by this Metaverse of madness!)

Metaverse seems like a complex, mind blowing concept, but stepping into it is pretty simple.
Let’s take Roblox, which I used to visit Nikeland, as an example.

  • Join from any smartphone or laptop (I wanted to say PC but then you’ll think I’m old :P) — you’re not limited to having a VR set to access the metaverse.
  • Download Roblox.
  • Sign-up for an account.
  • Create your avatar.
  • Decide which world you want to explore…and you’re all set!

As a user, you can:
😎 Style your avatar with Nike gear
💥 Unlock sports superpowers
🔨 Create your own mini-games to play in your yard
🧢 Collect 2 free launch items immediately, with more coming soon!
My Nikeland Avatar hovering on a cloud as life should be :)

ALERT: These worlds are still new and being developed in tandem with the latest technology and chips needed to power unique experiences… so it’s not at the stage where it can be compared to “Ready Player One” type of graphics, gameplay or experience. Graphics are still below average and the gameplay a bit laggy at times. These experience lags are accepted by early adopters that want to discover the space and help co-create new worlds. So don’t worry if you haven’t been to the Metaverse yet, there isn’t any FOMO moment so far.

Now, let’s talk about the different players in the Metaverse.

A. The Sandbox
The Sandbox is a big favourite for the different corporate investors looking to make an entrance in the Metaverse. It has ~166K plots of land that are grouped into estates (owned by 1 person) or districts (owned by 2 or more people). The crypto token used in this world is called “SAND”.

While roaming the lands, you can check the different projects that early investors are planning. Sandbox has partnered with over 160 brands including big names like Adidas, Gucci, Opera, Binance, Snoop Dogg, AMC TV series and Atari to name a few.
View of parcel of land in the Sandbox — Snoopdog takes the spotlight, as usual

Check out the Snoopverse here.

B. Decentraland

Decentraland was the first Ethereum-based virtual environment. Decentraland has ~90K plots of land, grouped into individual parcels, estates (multiple parcels), districts (parcels with similar themes like malls or fashion), and plazas (un-tradable parcels owned by the community). People can develop, explore, and profit from their content and apps.
Most notably, Samsung is tying up with Decentraland for their upcoming Metaverse project . As long as Samsung doesn’t build a VR set that blows up while exploring the Metaverse, the experience should be something to look forward to.
Jokes aside, Samsung will be looking at delivering new experiences, limited edition wearables, and NFTs to their community via Decentraland.
Check it out:

C. The Otherside

Bored Ape Yacht Club’s (BAYC) announced that they’re launching with The Otherside with a pretty crazy video to hype up anticipation. Watch it here.
The Yuga Labs team looks to craft a Web3 universe — “a Metaverse that makes all other metaverses obsolete” — built around gaming and stretching beyond Bored Apes to support a range of avatars including Doodles, Cool Cats, and World of Women NFTs. The official token to be used in this Metaverse will obviously be the APE Coin.

This announcement got fans of NFTs excited, especially when you consider that the ground floor price to join the BAYC is currently around $300,000. The partnership between Bored Ape and Animoca Brands will possibly provide integration with The Sandbox.
Recent land sale was priced at 305 APE coins (~6K USD) per land. This made headlines for causing ethereum gas prices used for validating transactions for the limited drop of 55K lands to go through the roof (the gas fees to confirm the transactions alone is USD 5K). Another 45K lands were claimed by founders, partners and of course BAYC NFT holders (one of the many benefits of holding a BAYC NFT).

Each land is called ”Otherdeed” — a deed of ownership for a piece of land on the “Otherside” and has certain characteristics which drive its value in the Metaverse. These include resources (virtual of course; you’re not going to be an oil millionaire! Or could you?), artefacts, or even a NFT in the form of a character called Koda.

Yuga Labs hasn’t announced too many details yet of how owners of Otherdeeds will be able to leverage their resources but it’s going to be a greatly anticipated event. Everyone in that community is anxiously waiting for another Tweet from Yuga Labs that will shake up the price of these lands and its associated cryptocurrency.
An example of an Otherdeed — each land is unique, has its resources, artefact and each has an assigned rarity factor

Example of an Otherdeed: Resources / Artefacts that the land has. This land is currently up for sale for 673 ETH or ~USD 1.3M on OpenSea.
The Otherside has partnered up with “Improbable” which makes prospects of an upcoming gameplay epic and something to look forward to!

Want to explore more about The Otherside? Check out more here:
Want to buy an Otherdeed:

D. Shibverse

Developers also recently announced Shiba Lands, which will allow users to buy virtual real estate within the Shiba Metaverse. With Shibverse, Shiba Inu is aiming to compete with Metaverse projects such as The Sandbox and Decentraland. The team of Shiba Inu stated that purchasing the land will be an opportunity to generate passive income, rewards, and other privileges that landowners will be able to unlock in the future (a very non-dodgy description to a very lucrative business opportunity indeed!) People are currently buying up these properties based on a promise…a bit scary in a way!
Check it out:

E. Roblox:
Part of Roblox’ appeal is that it features many games within its platform, several of which offer virtual worlds (in the Metaverse) where users can interact with one another. Millions of children are socializing in Roblox without ever leaving their homes!

Few examples of companies using Roblox:

  • Nikeland is experimenting with certain concepts like enabling people to buy virtual goods for their avatars, participate in virtual sports challenges and unleash their creative minds by creating their own public playgrounds.
  • Spotify island on Roblox states that “through this dynamic universe, we’re creating a venue for fans to connect and collaborate on new sounds, socialize in digital locations, and have access to special virtual merchandise.” It promises to offer a “one-of-a-kind audio sanctuary”. This move will also provide artists with a new way to connect with fans without needing to travel around the globe, sell virtual merchandise and provide an alternative experience level.

Roblox is currently the arguably most popular Metaverse platform for gaming and has established itself as the go-to place for both developers and gamers interested in the space.

Check out more on Roblox here.

F. Meta Horizon Worlds

While this is not a Metaverse, it is Meta’s (formerly Facebook) social virtual reality space which is being used to experiment the future of work, interaction, events and socialization. Currently the only way to get into Horizon Worlds is via Meta’s Oculus VR headset. This feature will also be launched on mobile soon (though it will be less immersive).

People can join meetings while on Oculus, collaborate, co-design and even attend certain concerts or live events. Many people are visiting the space, but it would be interesting to see the stickiness of users, in terms of return users, time being spent, etc.

As much as we all have embraced working remotely and working from home, being “present” in a meeting and having the ability to co-create anything from designs to processes while being physically there with colleagues cannot be replaced with Zoom. Meta is trying to tackle that gap, head(set) on.

There are no ads on Horizon Space just yet, but just like Facebook, it will start as an ad-free version in which people enjoy the free and decluttered space. Meta is definitely experimenting on how to get your full eyeball attention which will eventually allow charging some premium ads space to easily generate more money than TV ads.

This is Meta’s way of striking back against Apple and Google’s recent terms changes that have impacted the social media giant’s tracking ability which, in turn, has affected its marketing revenue. With Meta controlling both the hardware and software of its metaverse, it will create an “Apple” like ecosystem.

So what can you do in these spaces?
Currently, you can roam around a few Metaverse lands, but nothing really fancy. Roblox has interesting gaming options to offer, but don’t expect to be blown away with exceptional graphics or experiences. The lands are cool to visit, but don’t expect to be tracking or valuing these projects based on DAU (daily active Users) / MAU (Monthly active users) just yet.

This doesn’t mean that the Metaverse is a failure. As an individual investor, instead of splashing money on virtual land at this stage, you can get involved in some projects as an early user, adopter and developer to push the envelope and develop the space you want to interact with in a decentralized way while getting rewarded in the process.

In the next article, we will explore activities that users will be able to do in the Metaverse lands. Stay tuned!

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