Is Metaverse Gaming Poised to Become the Next Big Thing in Online Entertainment?
The metaverse looks set to become the next major step forward in the evolution of online immersive technology. We’ve crossed a line in terms of computing power, and as this capacity converges with emerging technologies such as blockchain, IoT and 3D visualization, we are at the dawn of a new age in which the mass adoption of truly immersive shared online environments is only a matter of time, and gaming in metaverse worlds will help to drive it.
When computers first made their way into ordinary people’s homes back in the 70s and 80s, a lot of the interest was driven by the potential for playing video games and the same is also true with the metaverse. There is already a mature market for video gaming, and players have been quick to want to explore the potential for gaming in metaverse environments.
So what does the metaverse bring to gaming and can it supplant traditional mobile, PC and console gaming experiences?
Metaverse – What It Is All About?
The Metaverse is a term that does not have a precise definition at the moment, but it is generally understood to mean online shared environments that allow users to socialize. Different companies run their own metaverse projects, so there isn’t one single group environment, but many. Some focus on reconstructing parts of the real world, including cities and well-known landmarks, while others create entirely fictitious environments.
Some use augmented reality to layer digital experiences over the real world which users access via smart devices. Many of these experiences are built using blockchain technology which allows for in-world purchases and delivers a much-needed element of security.
Metaverse worlds are running all the time which enables users to dip in and dip out as the mood takes them. As you can imagine, this can prove to be quite compelling as players do not want to miss out on anything.
As the technology has evolved to include wearable items like haptic gloves, players are taken one step closer to true immersiveness. These items can deliver the kind of feedback one might normally get from a PlayStation controller, so for instance, a player wearing gloves can experience the impression of going over bumps in a driving game much more vividly. With wraparound 3D goggles, surround sound, and physical feedback engaging most of their senses, it’s easy to see how players can quickly become enveloped by metaverse gaming.
Another factor that can prove to be quite addicting is the possibility of earning and spending money. When you can walk into a virtual 3D art gallery, view NFT artworks and then buy and sell them, the heightened sense of reality adds another layer to the experience.
How Online Gaming Has Evolved
3D multiplayer online games such as Grand Theft Auto have already established the popularity of in-game purchases. The game pulls in a staggering $800 million a year from the sale of ‘Shark Cards,’ which allow players to buy useful in-game items.
Blockchain has given players of metaverse games the same sort of options, but with the addition of trading tokenized versions of gaming items to earn crypto payments.
Different metaverse gaming platforms have different rules, so in some, players can make money by selling their assets or by collecting them, because the platform will pay them when they reach a certain level. This kind of reward is usually referred to as ‘yield.’ Many feature the play-to-earn concept which permits players to win virtual items and sell them for real-world cash.
The Evolution of Metaverse Gaming
Players are represented in metaverse environments using their virtual avatars. They can invite their social media contacts, converse with others, and work together to win games. Metaverse environments use AR and VR technology to make the experience more believable, so the players feel as if they are part of the artificial environment.
Many metaverse gaming environments offer interoperability, which means players can easily transfer their in-game assets between them.
The Technologies Behind Gaming in Metaverse Spaces
AR and VR
AR (augmented reality) layers 3D items or characters over the real world, while VR (virtual reality) immerses the player in entirely virtual worlds. Pokémon Go is a good example of a wildly successful game that uses AR to overlay game graphics over the real world via smartphones. Half-Life Alyx has been a very well-received VR game that players can only access by wearing VR headsets.
Cryptos and Blockchain
Blockchain technology has been a valuable basis for decentralized metaverse gaming projects. Digital proof of ownership, transfer of value, digital collectability, and interoperability have given the buyers and sellers of digital assets the kind of reassurance that they need. Since cryptocurrencies are tenable in the real world, they provide the perfect means to transfer value within 3D environments and out of them.
Internet of things (IoT)
The internet of things (IoT) refers to real-world devices that are all connected via the Internet. For environments that seek to replicate the real world in real-time, they offer the opportunity for modelling things such as real-world weather. So, if it suddenly starts snowing in a real-world location then that change can be mapped onto its virtual counterpart as soon as it happens.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many real estate agents were forced to adopt 3D modelling technology, as it was the only viable way to give prospective customers a property tour during lockdown. Necessity has accelerated the evolution of this technology and the metaverse is reaping the rewards as a result.
While metaverse gaming is still in its infancy, companies such as DecentWorld and Decentraland are forging ahead with next-generation projects that are sure to tip into mass adoption soon. It surely won’t be too long before almost everyone is experiencing the metaverse and exploring its possibilities.