How The Metaverse Boosts The Creator Economy
Metaverse is composed of the prefix meta, which means “beyond,” and the word verse, meaning “universal.” The term first appeared in Neal Stephenson’s science fiction novel Snow Crash, published in 1992. In his portrayal, people use virtual reality (VR) headsets to engage in the world of game-like technology. The term “metaverse” means a non-physical place where people can communicate through a variety of visual technologies.
In essence, this can allow individuals from all over the world to connect virtually and go on vacations, play sports, or collaborate on projects. The key technology driving such a society will be virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR.) Other, yet-to-be-developed technologies can undoubtedly be utilized to improve the current metaverse infrastructure.
While the VR and AR landscape is already beginning to take shape through mass adoption thanks to the accessibility and affordability of products like the Oculus Quest 2, there are also other technologies that are just as important in shaping the future of the metaverse. One such component is blockchain. This component will provide a much-needed sense of security and ownership within these digital realms (NFTs for items, fungible tokens for digital economies), all while maintaining the level of anonymity afforded by the internet.
The history of the Metaverse
In 1995, PF Magic released Dogs, which was quickly followed by Catz in the spring of 1996, finally resulting in the Pets brand. Digital pets became even more popular when Tamagotchi and Digimon were introduced in 1996 and 1997, respectively.
In the late 1990s, digital pets were common in Japan, and to a lesser extent in the United States alongside the United Kingdom. Interaction with these pets may be goal-oriented or not, meaning they can keep it as is, or perform certain actions to simulate progress for the digital pet. This was one of the first known technologies that paved the way for future platforms to modernize the concept of interaction between humans and digital objects.
Neopets is a website dedicated to virtual pets. Users could buy various items for their virtual pets using one of two virtual currencies. A currency called Neopoints may be earned on the site, while the other, Neocash, can be purchased with real money or won in-game by chance.
Adam Powell and Donna Williams started the website in late 1999. Two years later, a group of investors led by Doug Dohring purchased a majority interest in the firm, and Viacom purchased Neopets Inc for US$160 million in June 2005. Viacom and Nickelodeon sold Neopets to JumpStart Games for an undisclosed sum on March 17, 2014. JumpStart was bought by NetDragon, a Chinese firm, on July 3, 2017.
Neopets was essentially the first social network before the concept was a reality. It had all the elements baked into its features, such as the ability to interact with other players, various ‘worlds’ and mini-games that segregated its user base according to interest groups, operated one of the world’s first digital economies, and in turn inspired many developers.
Club Penguin was an MMO (massively multiplayer online game) that introduced a virtual environment with a variety of online games and activities. It was built by New Horizon Interactive and was purchased by Disney for $700 million in mid-2007. Players controlled avatars of cartoon penguins in a virtual setting with various maps and mini games.
Following a beta test, Club Penguin was made available to the general public on October 24, 2005, and it soon evolved into a major online community, with over 30 million players by the end of 2007. By July of 2013, Club Penguin had amassed over 200 million registered user accounts. Unfortunately, it was shut down in 2020 due to rising concerns with child safety on the platform.
Club Penguin’s business model was an interesting one — it ensured that its content was good enough as a free-to-play platform, but at the same time gave users a compelling reason to avail of premium memberships through in-game pets and customization.
Blockchain will enable the Metaverse
Initially, NFTs will play a key part in the metaverse, allowing players to fully own their characters, in-game items, and even virtual land. The highest transaction to date was an NFT of a virtual estate in Decentraland, which sold for more than $900,000.
On interoperable markets, it will eventually be possible to purchase and sell virtual products across many games and worlds. So, for example, someone might sell their virtual piece of property in the Decentraland universe and use the proceeds to buy Fortnite skins. All virtual objects and intangible items may be represented as NFTs, making cryptocurrencies the exclusive legal money in the metaverse.
Games like Axie Infinity have also incorporated virtual land features on their platform. Now imagine a few years from now when games come out with more content, interesting features, and perhaps even a brand new interest group on Virtual Reality. Imagine being able to decorate your virtual home with items that you’re sure are unique because they’re NFT-based. Imagine being able to purchase special weapons that you could use across a developer ecosystem, meaning that they’re not just contained to one game. All these potential features open up a level of online personalisation that will make modern day systems seem archaic.
One of the metaverse’s main goals is to make a significant contribution to the creator economy. Many tech behemoths have already put money into the game and are assisting more creators in socializing in the metaverse and monetizing their platforms.
In the next few years, paid online experiences, subscription services, and virtual retail sales will be commonplace. The creator economy is not a trend, but rather a cultural movement. It’s no surprise that platforms like Roblox have over 10,000 developers generating heaps of revenue by enabling users to generate content for them.
By tearing down borders, limits, and conventions across various material realms, the metaverse might even pave the way for labor equality. The avatar economy, in which virtual items are extensively sold and traded on a secondary market, is already posing a significant threat to the traditional online gaming business models we see today. In time, more customers will translate their spending to virtual goods, services, and experiences. People in low-income nations will spend their days and nights gathering digital items to sell either within or outside of the game. However, as the metaverse grows, the value of digital labor will rise, presenting unprecedented opportunities.
Content creators of the future will leverage the Metaverse
Companies such as Decentraland and The Sandbox have created virtual worlds that incorporate tokens, allowing gamers to construct and monetize structures such as virtual casinos and theme parks. These are just examples of ways that content creators can monetize in the multiverse.
When the adoption of metaverse platforms becomes widespread, content creators will be able to unlock new value across various genres with new audiences flocking to see their content. Because of the power that blockchain-powered digital economies hold, combined with interactive experiences on VR, we can expect to see a massive influx of individuals leveraging the technology. There will be tutorials on how to best use digital resources, how to earn efficiently, how to acquire certain elusive items, and even how to create content for a metaverse audience. The gaming industry is already huge as is, but when the Metaverse kicks into full gear, we can expect to see even the biggest content creators today hop on this niche.
When this does eventually happen, content creators will gain access to an entirely new crop of audiences. BitFans can enable the continuous growth of a creator’s brand as a platform that enables them to create digital token based fan clubs. Community Tokens can be leveraged to provide exclusive perks and benefits to a creator’s community while ensuring that there is alignment in various aspects of their work. Community Tokens will eventually make their way into the metaverse, but for now the ability to unite your community through a token based fan club is equally as beneficial to both parties.
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