Video game creators are creating new levels of immersion into the player experience. As we progress into the metaverse, a new phase of our digital experience begins. This is evident by the fact that games are starting to call themselves a ‘metaverse’. This trend and buzz around the metaverse game and billions of investments from video game companies indicate that it’s time we looked at the impact games will have on the metaverse.
It’s not impossible to imagine an era where we’re all putting on a virtual reality headset and jumping into the same, persistent virtual world as portrayed in the film Ready Player One by Steven Spielberg. We may not be far away from VR headsets acquiring mass adoption. In fact, we already have sensory technology emerging similar to that illustrated in the movie.
Nevertheless, we can’t predict the future precisely. We can examine the facts and the facts alone are astonishing. If you look at the assets that are being created in the digital world, the teams working on these projects, and the money being spent, it’s not an overstatement to say that a technological boom is upon us.
Although, the closest thing we have to a metaverse, right now, are games. Clearly, games are creating their own metaverse platforms, which integrate the ‘sandbox’ genre, open-world RPG games, and the new play-to-earn (P2E) phenomenon.
A metaverse game consists of large elements such as social interaction, freedom to explore, creativity, and earning potential. Just like ‘The Sims’, ‘Minecraft’, ‘Second Life’, and all those pioneering, player-centric games, the user is authorized to build something sustainable in the virtual domain.
With the increasing trends of games like Roblox and The Sandbox, the P2E element has altered the landscape of video games. Nowadays, there are possibilities to invest your time and gain real, financial rewards, and even create your own, succeeding in-game economies. An excellent example is Moon, a new metaverse game. This metaverse game is built on the Binance Smart Chain. It surrounds real-life simulation on a massive scale.
Here, on The Moon, you can become a landowner and make create your own society within a society. In turn, this can all be monetized through NFTs, which are underwritten by smart contracts, and confirms your ownership of the land or asset in the game.
Considering the success of Axie Infinity, whose P2E mechanism has changed lives in developing countries like the Philippines, we will be noticing a lot more earning opportunities in games. The success of Axie Infinity shows us something vital about the metaverse i.e.the ability to live your life in a virtual space. Being able to do whatever you prefer, and be whoever you choose to be on that day, are crucial elements of the metaverse.
With player-driven games appearing thick and fast and so much on the horizon with emerging tech, let’s take a peek at which projects could be making a significant impact on the metaverse.
Mainstream epic games
A conversation about metaverse games must involve Tim Sweeney and his company, Epic Games. Sweeney, the founder of Epic Games, has been developing the infrastructure for a metaverse for many years now. Just last month in April, supported by a $2 billion investment from Sony and KIRKBI (The Lego Group), Tim has been making moves towards his purpose of building the defining metaverse project. After the $2 billion funding round, Epic Games had a post-money equity valuation of $31.5 billion.
This is what Sweeney said about the investment: “This investment will accelerate our work to build the metaverse and create spaces where players can have fun with friends, brands can build creative and immersive experiences and creators can build a community and thrive.”
How the Epic Games metaverse will look, we can only speculate. But we do know that it will be powered by Sweeney’s legendary Unreal Engine, which is the driving force of so many high-caliber games and of course, his own classic, ‘Fortnite’
Tim Sweeney’s metaverse dream
Certainly, Sweeney is a significant player in the metaverse game. He’s so persistent about his dream, that he’s recently challenged Apple in the courtrooms after trying to bypass the 30% revenue-sharing cut they take in their iOS App Store. Talking regarding the circumstances, Sweeney explained that,
“Apple has outlawed the metaverse. The principle they say, taken literally, would rule out all cross-platform ecosystems and games with user-created modes: not just xCloud, Stadia, and GeForce NOW, but also Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox.”
Critical to Tim’s vision of the metaverse is being able to take items you’ve acquired in one gaming experience, like Fortnite into another realm, like Minecraft. Tim takes point with the 30% cut taken by Apple and indeed Google in their respective app stores.
Apple’s supremacy in the market is a constraint for Epic Games, but will not prevent Sweeney from his mission. Previous year in March, Epic Games revealed a couple of key acquisitions. The first one was, the Tonic Games Group, then, Capturing Reality. With the latter, Epic plans to combine the powerful photogrammetry software into the Unreal Engine eco-system, making it simple for developers to create photo-realistic, 3D models.
In addition, with The Lego Group on board, Sweeney has the capacity to create ultra-realistic, immersive metaverse games, which are family-friendly as well.
Sweeney stated: “The LEGO Group has captivated the imagination of children and adults through creative play for nearly a century, and we are excited to come together to build a space in the metaverse that’s fun, entertaining, and made for kids and families.”
Activision/Microsoft Blizzard’s Metaverse
Tech Giant Microsoft realized the importance of games in the metaverse when they purchased the gaming giants Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Another man really playing the game is Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who said after the purchase:
“In gaming, we see the metaverse as a group of communities and individual identities anchored in strong content franchises accessible on every device.”
“To me, just being great at game building gives us the consent to build this next platform, which is essentially the next internet: the embodied presence. Today, I play a game, but I’m not in the game. Now, we can start dreaming through these metaverses: I can literally be in the game, just like I can be in a conference room with you in a meeting. That the analogy and the technology will manifest itself in different contexts.”
Activision Blizzard is behind the classic games like World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Call of Duty. This gives a taste of what’s to come in Microsoft’s vision. In fact, Activision is one of the leading developers in the gaming world and soon, according to Nadella’s idea, they will be creating Microsoft’s best metaverse games across all platforms.
Metaverse games on the blockchain
Blockchain games have entered the metaverse market in the last year, thanks to the options provided by NFTs and the decentralized blockchain. Although crypto remains an obstacle to entry for many. The growth in crypto is astronomical and only likely to continue, as it evolves into a more user-friendly experience. Let’s recall, that over 100 million people in the world use cryptocurrencies now. So, there’s no reason that figure can’t advance towards the billions in decades to come.
Thus, different games are emerging which give players possibilities that they’ve never had before. I.e. to own digital assets, create their own economies, and monetize their worlds – all in a video metaverse game. This aspect of ownership is illustrated by Decentraland and The Sandbox game. In these metaverse games, you can roam around the land and enjoy various experiences. The experience is much like you get in an open-world RPG game. Yet, the blockchain and specifically NFTs allow you to buy real estate in these worlds and build your own experience, which can be monetized. This adds a new dimension of freedom and ownership.
With this power, stimulating digital worlds are emerging on the blockchain, taking metaverse games to new levels of immersion. To understand this better, consider Arcade’s metaverse, built on the Ethereum blockchain, which claims to be the first interoperable, decentralized metaverse.
In this metaverse game, built by the same development team as Apes vs Mutants, you can grab your favorite NFT avatar and travel between different experiences in the metaverse.
Illuvium – New Metaverse Game
This is a blockchain metaverse game in its early stages of development. Illuvium is getting a lot of publicity at the moment. The metaverse game will available be on the Immutable X layer 2 Ethereum side-chain. Hence, will not have the on-boarding gas fees interchangeable with Ethereum.
In this science fiction metaverse gaming platform, you can travel between different alien lands exploring, collecting, and building to help your crash-landed crew flourish. While doing so you can earn rewards.
The play-to-earn mechanism in Illuvium works in various modes. As mentioned, in the previous blockchain games, you can earn by trading digital assets in the game. These assets could be land, avatars, cool items for your avatar, or skins. Because you’re playing on a decentralized blockchain, the assets are actually yours to own and monetize. This way you make 100% of the profits.
You can also gain prizes by playing the game, completing tasks, winning tournaments and even wagering on special battles that take place in their battle arena. The immersive element of Illuvium represents a massive step forward in the blockchain metaverse, which has been lacking in terms of its gripping gameplay.
The next metaverse game in line is…
Big Time RPG
Big Time is an upcoming RPG adventure metaverse game. This s another metaverse game that is currently in the development stages. Although Big Time is not strictly calling themselves a metaverse, the in-game mechanics point to some facts that we’re going to get something highly fascinating. This experience will merge cutting-edge gameplay, social networking, visually stunning graphics, and real asset ownership. These are some basic traits for making this a ground-breaking blockchain game.
The team behind Big Time is guided by CEO Ari Meilich, co-founder of the pioneering metaverse Decentraland. The development team is an all-star cast, who are gaming veterans from the likes of EA, Activision Blizzard, Epic Games, and Riot Games.
Incorporating these facts with in-game features such as historical NFTs, and having your own time machine – a spot that you create and customize for social interaction – and it’s easy to get keen about this game.
Blockchain vs Mainstream Games: who wins?
The big winner to appear from this epic battle between two worlds, the mainstream, and the blockchain, will be us, the gamers. We are going to see prosperous communities emerge from each immersive experience and every platform will offer something distinctive.
Whether you’re an NFT/blockchain person or not, the choices presented between both spaces are going to continue to pump up the technological innovation and one day, maybe, should the stars align, there will be a booming metropolis that confines all platforms, which is fully interoperable and connected.
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