Once thought to be a far-fetched notion, rooted primarily in the realm of science fiction, the idea of a digital metaverse has garnered a lot of traction over the last couple of years. In fact, owing to the social, monetary, and technological potential possessed by this burgeoning digital paradigm, many analysts believe that the space could generate up to $5 trillion over the next 7 odd years.
One of the key selling points of the metaverse is that it provides a new frontier for the video game industry, one that is completely independent of traditional models where microtransactions and embedded advertisements have seemingly become the norm. Instead, the metaverse puts the needs of players first by employing user-driven economic models that incentivize their time and efforts.
To elaborate, most metaverse gaming projects allow users to interact with an expansive digital landscape, affording them the ability to devise various in-game articles that can not only accrue value over time but also be traded and sold on the open market at a later stage. Not only that, these games also offer a high degree of user participation, allowing players to vote on key governance issues pertaining to the project (such as future development, proposed upgrades, etc).
One of the most well-crafted metaverses in existence today is Upland, a virtual ecosystem that allows users to not only own luxury properties and participate in various location-centric experiences but also dabble in real-world trades and negotiations. As part of the Upland universe, it is possible for players to tokenize pretty much anything, be it a condominium, a tract of land, or even their digital vehicles.
Thanks to its plethora of features, Upland has been able to garner more than 3 million users and nearly 300,000 unique land owners — a number that is more than 5x of its closest rivals, such as the Sandbox, Decentraland, and the Otherside combined — who have purchased 5+ million land NFTs. Lastly, Upland’s NFT-to-USD program has allowed players to earn over $1.8M US Dollars simply by trading properties within the ecosystem.
Lastly, it bears mentioning that the project is accessible via a host of different avenues, such as Android, iOS, or various web browsers, something that many of its aforementioned contemporaries cannot boast about.
From the outside looking in, Decentraland provides users with a fascinating blend of virtual reality, blockchain technology, and a social media platform. It has been built atop the Ethereum network and allows participants to purchase digital parcels of land that are available in the form of nonfungible tokens (NFTs). As part of the ecosystem, players can devise, experience, and monetize a wide array of content and applications, which can later be exchanged via its native marketplace.
Using Decentraland’s native cryptocurrency, MANA, users can buy land, wearables, and other in-game virtual goods. As per a recent report, the project has been able to accrue over one million active users while having generated more than $50 million in total land sales. Lastly, it bears mentioning that Decentraland is governed using a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) centric framework, which has already seen over 500 proposals to date.
3. The Sandbox
The Sandbox is best described as an expansive virtual world that allows players to build, own, and monetize a wide range of personalized gaming experiences that can later be sold/traded among other ecosystem participants seamlessly. As part of this metaverse, users can interact with one another while partaking in various solo/multiplayer games, missions, and campaigns.
One of the key facets of the Sandbox is that it is compatible with all ERC-1155 standard NFTs, something that has helped the ecosystem draw around 3 million users to date. Moreover, since its inception, the project has seen the sale of 50,000+ plots of virtual real estate while generating over $500 million worth of total digital asset transactions (as of Q4 2022).
In conclusion, as the metaverse landscape continues to evolve, these platforms exemplify the exciting possibilities and potential economic impact of this transformative digital frontier.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.