The “metaverse” has blown up and taken on a life of its own, with the latest hype being all about virtual land sales in the space. Still, many people have no idea what a virtual land is and what’s the big deal about it. In this article, we take a brief look into metaverse space basics, so that you can begin your exploration of this bold new frontier.
What Are Virtual Lands In The Metaverse?
The “metaverse” is hardly new or very recent- The Second Life was released back in 2003, close to 18 years ago. So why is it suddenly so hyped up recently?
Let’s start with a working definition of the term “metaverse” first. The metaverse is a shared virtual universe with immersive experiences linking the virtual to reality, that different users can experience and enjoy together. To enjoy this space, the participants, who will be referred to as “players”, can enter the universe using an electronic device (e.g., computers, laptops, tablets) and/or virtual reality headsets. Having said that, VR is not a prerequsite to entering this metaverse.
People in the metaverse are represented by customized avatars who can interact with other avatars and move about the metaverse like they would the physical world. Some metaverses have their own economies, cryptocurrencies, digital assets, and monetization opportunities.
Against this context, virtual lands are considered assets and real estate in the metaverse beacuse more communities are spending time in these online spaces. If it is inevitable that metaverses of all shapes and kinds (open and closed) will become the next social network platform, then why not own a piece of the virtual land within?
Question: Isn’t a Virtual Land just a .jpeg File?!
Technically, no. The metaverse spaces are typically using a format called the Universal Scene Description (USD format). The USD format has been proposed as the 3D standard format for the metaverse. It lets metaverse developers share and reuse hundreds of thousands of 3D assets across virtual reality applications developed by multiple companies.
The rich common language of USD facilitates the use of multiple digital content creation applications. It enables multiple artists to collaborate on the same assets and scenes. Plus, it maximizes artistic iteration by minimizing latency. The reduction in latency makes it easier for artists to quickly and often iterate designs, assets, and animation.
On the other hand, JPG is a very limited format that does not allow multiple artists to work on it simultaneously. In addition, as the JPG is saved its quality and file size diminishes. Each time it is saved it becomes more compressed, has a smaller file size, and its picture quality decreases. Also, it only has a 2D format. Moreover, it cannot be easily saved and manipulated across different metaverses.
Virtual Lands: Speculation or Value-Driven?
Oka,y I was just kidding. I get what you are asking- it might seem really ridiculous for investors to pay even millions of dollars on virtual lands.
Indeed, the primary factor driving the price of virtual spaces is probably largely speculative. Companies, investors, and everyday people are buying virtual land in anticipation of being able to “flip” it sometime in the near future.
Logically however, most investors think that they will be able to earn increasing revenue and profits from their metaverse investments as more people enter the metaverse and interact with it.
Key Takeaway: The success of any metaverse depends on its mass adoption and onboarding of users. Both metrics are influenced by the growth strategies, community engagement and user experience in that particular virtual world.
ROI of Virtual Lands
There is actually great potential in the ROI of virtual lands, in spite of the current largely speculative nature. Virtual landowners can earn income by selling, renting, and developing property. They can also rent out their virtual land and digital assets (e.g., club, apartment building, house store) for a continuous revenue stream. They can also allow others to use their virtual land as a place for advertising.
Perspective: DeFi In Another Format
Traditional ways that are used to evaluate real estate can be largely be used to inspect virtual real estates as well. This is because what you do on the piece of land is way more important than the actual attributes of the land itself.
If we think about virtual lands from the Decentralised Finance (DeFi) perspective, that particular piece of land is actually “backed” by actual time and resources spent per user on it. Returning to first principles, people simply spend time wherever their friends/ communities go, and herein lies the intrinsic value.
Renting metaverse spaces
Renting spaces in a metaverse is the same as renting a place in the real world. You must contact the property owner or the property owner’s agent. Interestingly, the more popular metaverses now have property listings on their navigation bars and you can select the rental properties that meet your needs. It can be reasonably assumed that as the metaverse develops and people are looking for places to rent for events and stores, the rental market will become more organized and user-friendly.
Profiting from metaverse spaces
Content creators can profit from selling their digital services and assets in a metaverse marketplace. The purchase prices may seem absurd or ridiculous because the items purchased can only be used in the metaverse. However, the metaverse is an alternate form of reality that is being constructed as an independent form of existence and interaction. Thus the assets purchased are used to create impressions, facilitate interactions, and make the metaverse more real. For example, Gucci sold a digital bag at a virtual fashion stall in Roblox’s metaverse for US$4,000- even more than the physical version.
Projects in the Metaverse
There are a growing number of metaverse projects that are making the metaverse an accessible reality for everyday people. Let’s take a brief look at these cutting-edge metaverse projects.
Cryptovoxels (Token: $Eth)
Cryptovoxels is a great way for people to new to the metaverse to explore it for free. It is an Ethereum blockchain-based virtual world that uses Ether as its cryptocurrency. The center of the metaverse is Origin City. The streets of Origin City are owned by the company, but individual land parcels in other parts of the metaverse can be purchased by anyone.
To enter Cryptovoxels metaverse, players only need a computer with reliable Internet service. Players are not required to own land or have a crypto wallet in order to enter and interact with the metaverse. To gain access to it, you only need to go to Cryptovoxels.com/Play and then begin exploring Origin City.
In the metaverse, players can create, buy, own, and sell their digital assets. The assets are created using in-game voxel builders and can trade them on OpenSea, the NFT marketplace.
The metaverse is relaxing, pleasant, and user-friendly. Players can use a navigation bar to get a list of land parcels and events to which they can directly teleport at any time. Originally, Cryptovoxels had their own token $COLR. However, after colored blocks became free for everyone in early 2020, $COLR is no longer used. In place, $Eth is used as the official currency.
Decentraland (Token: $Mana)
Decentraland, a virtual world built on the Ethereum blockchain. It uses MANA, an ERC20 crypto token, for all payments in the metaverse. Players can purchase virtual real estate called LAND. The LAND is stored on the Ethereum blockchain as an NFT. MANA is used as a medium of payment for parcels of LAND. Players burn or spend MANA to buy parcels of LAND that are 16 x 16 square meters.
Players with no land or crypto wallets can enter Decentraland. While in Decentraland, they are able to explore it using their customized avatars. Unfortunately, such players will not be able to receive rewards or attend Decentraland’s virtual events.
The Decentraland metaverse has its own marketplace. In the marketplace, players are able to trade and manage their digital assets. The players buy and sell LAND parcels, digital wearables, and even unique avatar names.
The Sandbox (Token: $SAND)
The Sandbox was acquired by Animoca Brands in 2018 from Pixowl. After its acquisition, The Sandbox was reorganized as a metaverse for gaming, gamers, game creation. It’s a voxel-based virtual world with ERC-1155 as its dual-purpose crypto token. It functions as a fungible and non-fungible token. The crypto tokens are used for in-game assets. The in-game assets are user-generated content like avatars and digital assets (e.g., clothes, weapons, tools, accessories).
If you want to invest in real estate, there are more than 166,000 land parcels in the Sandbox. The parcels are divided into two categories, regular land (96 x 96 sq. meters) and estates (combined land pieces that can be used for creating online experiences). Land parcels can only be purchased as ERC-1155.
This metaverse lets players build their own games and assets. Even players with no coding skills can create content in The Sandbox. They can use the creation tool Vox Edit to create their own games and in-game assets. For 3D games, players can use the Game Maker. It costs them nothing to use the Game Maker and after creating the games players can monetize them. If players become verified artists via creation fund, they can export their creations to The Sandbox. Their reward for moving their content to the metaverse is that they can earn cryptocurrency from players who use their content.
Somnium Space (Token: $Cube)
One of the newer metaverses, Somnium Space has a bright future in virtual reality VR). It has partnered with Sony to create a unique 3D experience using Sony’s VR headsets. If you don’t want to use a Sony VR headset, you can use a VR headset manufactured by any other company to access Somnium Space. If you choose not to use a VR headset, you can access the space using your smartphone or computer and interact in the metaverse in 2D mode.
The player experience can be monetized. Users can sell, their land and digital assets. Players even have access to analytical tools. They can use gaze tracking technology to measure where people are looking, user engagement analytical tools, and analyze conversion rates. It also offers lots of social interactions via meet-ups, calendar events, and consistent communication across social media platforms.
Upland (Token: $UPX)
Upland is based on the EOS blockchain. It operates as a parallel universe to the real world. It has branded itself as a virtual real estate and social network. For the most part, its purpose is to provide virtual real estate for its players. There you can buy virtual real estate in places that currently exist in the real world and build your virtual home or business there. It also permits players to create in-game events, collectibles, challenges, and other digital income-earning assets.
Metaverses are the next generation of social networking portals. It is expected that people will be able to tour museums, art galleries, and even historical areas without leaving their country. All these are built on virtual lands! Players will enter the metaverse, pay their entry fee and interact with the metaverse like it’s the physical world. Moreover, there will be more metaverse cryptocurrencies launched, and, maybe, even a specific metaverse crypto token trading/ derivative exchange.
Another future development will be the creation of metaverse universities. Their existence will offer more educational opportunities, and, in instances of lockdowns, be a more viable way of maintaining the educational system and keeping students in environments conducive to learning and advancing their education.
If you ever buy a piece of virtual land, what will you be building on it? Let us know in the comments!
Disclaimer: NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE– The Information on IKIGUIDE is used for educational, informational, and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, investment, trading or any other advice. Please do your own research and consult your financial advisor before making any investment decisions.