mark zuckerberg meta facebook

A beginner’s guide to the Metaverse and steps to join

Words By Guest Contributor10 mins

Human beings are inherently social, and the development of digital spaces like social media evolve with our desire for connection. To put that in perspective, the average person spends two hours and 27 minutes online daily

 

Rapidly developing is the metaverse, the next wave of virtual lands where people can spend time working and socializing. 

 

The concept of a metaverse is not new. People have imagined daily immersive experiences since the 19th century. Author Neil Stevenson coined the word “metaverse” in his 1982 novel to describe a digital escape from a dystopian reality. Since then, big companies like Microsoft, Meta, and Epic have been lining up to invest in the metaverse. They believe in its potential to transform the world.

mark zuckerberg meta facebook

Elms Art / Shutterstock.com

What is the metaverse? 

When people talk about the metaverse, they’re referring to an overarching metaverse that doesn’t exist. Today, we have many different metaverses, and speculation suggests that we might someday have one metaverse, the same way we have one internet.

But the metaverse is a shift in the way people engage with technology, a digital world where people interact as avatars. Users engage in this virtual landscape using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology, game consoles, personal computers, and smartphones. 

Futurists like Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella are proponents of the idea that the metaverse could be a 3D virtual place that blends digital and physical worlds. People soon might exist in digital neighborhoods, workspaces, and social spaces that mimic real ones. 

Metaverse skeptics like Take-Two’s Strauss Zelnick say gaming companies are already in the business of building these digital locations. Zelnick disagrees with futurists who think people want to live more of their daily lives in virtual spaces; he seems to believe the public doesn’t want a metaverse, as Zuckerberg describes. 

Let’s explore some of the features that define a metaverse. 

Boundless

Unlike physical spaces, the metaverse is big enough to support many people who want to have an experience together. The metaverse is more accessible, in theory, than real-life spaces because anyone with an Internet connection can create an avatar and enter it. 

However, the current rush to market among tech giants signals accessibility might not be top of mind. Individuals with blindness, deafness, or motor impairment will need accommodations because their conditions are incompatible with some metaverse technologies. People with sensory process disorders or anxiety might also have trouble spending time in these digital spaces. 

The hope is companies competing to create the metaverse consider accessibility, benefiting all potential users. In the physical world, this is like the universality of creating an inclined ramp for wheelchair users, which helps people with strollers or rolling luggage. 

Immersive

Developments in VR headsets, AR glasses, and smartphone technology will stimulate all five senses and immerse people in a highly realistic, virtual experience, interacting with the environment and manipulating objects inside the metaverse. 

For now, most metaverse experiences resemble a typical video game, which we look more closely at below. 

Decentralized

We’re also seeing an emergence of decentralized, blockchain-based metaverses. As is characteristic of cryptocurrencies, the metaverse is designed to be community run, with elements like voting on future developments as part of a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). 

How does the metaverse work?

There have been metaverse-like experiences since the early 2000s in games like Second Life and The Sims. In these games, users create avatars, build homes, participate in a digital economy, and socialize. Users accessed these digital worlds via their PCs; these experiences were self-contained and had little impact offline. The current idea of a metaverse would be a continuous experience where online and offline lives become integrated.

Cryptocurrencies are important because they’re easily and securely exchangeable between users and across metaverses because they’re decentralized. People with virtual money in metaverses can influence what’s possible in the digital world. Users who own crypto tokens in the metaverse can participate in its DAO and are empowered to vote on local governance, ensuring that a metaverse’s rules serve the community’s interests.

In the metaverse Sensorium Galaxy, for example, users can exchange real world money for SENSO tokens. SENSO is worth $10 per unit. Users can also trade SENSO via crypto exchanges. Users who own SENSO tokens have perks like participating in the local DAO. voting on future developments as part of a DAO inside the Sensorium Galaxy. 

While a singular metaverse doesn’t exist yet, the ones that do feature similar qualities:

  • Accessed via technology 
  • Digital worlds where users exist as customized avatars 
  • Varying degrees of decentralized marketplaces 
  • Users can socialize, collaborate, buy and sell from each other 
  • Ability to interact with elements in these virtual spaces 

How can creators use the metaverse?

The term creator usually refers to “influencers” or content creators on social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok. The metaverse offers more opportunities for creative professionals to earn a living. Creators can produce digital assets like virtual art, avatar clothing, or even digital homes and then earn a profit selling them to other people within the metaverse. Novice and experienced users alike can learn how to create objects and other materials to build this virtual world and find ways to make a profit.

woman with vr glasses

How to join the metaverse

There isn’t just one metaverse; users can join several emerging digital worlds for a metaverse-like experience. 

Here are our favorite operating metaverses and how to join them: 

1. Axie Infinity 

Axie Infinity is a turn-based monster battling game similar to Pokémon. It runs on the Ethereum blockchain and works with Ronin to speed up financial transactions. The monsters in the game, called Axies, are non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and users can purchase land plots in the game, which are also NFTs. You need to buy three Axie NFTs to join this metaverse. Players can access the game across PC, Mac, Android, and for beta release on iOS.

Axie Infinity combines social interactions and ownership of virtual assets and will soon shift to a decentralized DAO for a player-owned economy.

This metaverse falls into the “play-to-earn” genre, whose games incentivize players with NFTs that players can sell outside the game for profit. These profits may not be sustainable over time, but people in the Philippines and Indonesia have been able to support their families with profits earned in the metaverse.

2. The Sandbox

The Sandbox is an open-world game resembling Minecraft. It runs on the Ethereum blockchain and its creators plan to transition it to Polygon to lower transaction fees and energy consumption. Players purchase LAND parcels that they can customize to create unique games, experiences, and monetizable opportunities. It also mimics reality in how players socialize with virtual neighbors and attend digital events or concerts

Each of the 166,464 LAND parcels is worth one Ethereum NFT. The Sandbox hasn’t officially launched yet, but the game will be available on PC, Mac, and mobile devices in 2022, and LAND NFTs are available for purchase ahead of launch. 

In 2021, the development team hosted testing opportunities for users to join and freely explore. During these testing windows, users could purchase a special NFT to get play-to-earn tokens. The Sandbox aims to be completely decentralized and governed by its community at launch. They’ll also have an ecosystem with job opportunities and salaries.

3. Illuvium

Illuvium is a role-playing game for players to explore and capture monsters called Illuvials, which are also NFTs. It runs on the Ethereum blockchain and Immutable X, a scaling solution that improves financial transaction efficiency. 

Illuvium offers avatar customization, virtual asset ownership, provides a fully decentralized protocol and will be the first AAA blockchain game. It launches later in 2022 and will be available to join by a downloadable desktop app on Mac and PC. This metaverse operates by a play-to-earn model like Axie Infinity. 

4. Decentraland

Decentraland is an Ethereum-based social game. Launched in 2015, players explore an open world and can purchase customizable LAND plots. It is fully decentralized and governed by a DAO.

Decentraland is a play-to-earn game where players buy and sell land and create and sell clothing for avatars. Users can also design and play mini-games to earn digital assets. There are creative freelance opportunities, and you can work in Decentraland’s VR casino. Players can even market their creations outside of the game on platforms like Discord and Reddit.

Users can join the Decentraland metaverse for free on any desktop, but you need to link a crypto-wallet to participate in its economy. 

5. Horizon Worlds

Horizon Worlds is a free, VR world-building game published by Meta. Launched in 2021, Horizon Worlds doesn’t use blockchain technology or NFTs. Meta stated that select individuals would be able to sell virtual assets, but currently, only residents in the United States and Canada over 18 can buy digital assets. 

Players exist in the game as customizable avatars who can then socialize, collaborate, and build worlds just like in Minecraft. Meta is testing features to enable Horizon Worlds users to have the ability to trade virtual assets for real money.

You have to own an Oculus VR headset to join Horizon Worlds, and Meta is working on web and mobile versions so users can participate via Microsoft desktop or mobile devices. Zuckerberg said the metaverse would expand over the next 5-10 years. While Meta is making the tools for creating the metaverse, it’s up to the users to create it. 

Key takeaways about how to join the metaverse

Choose a metaverse

  • Consider a blockchain-based game if you’re reading this because you want to know how to make money in the metaverse 

Get the necessary equipment 

  • You’ll need different equipment depending on the metaverse you want to experience. Some require VR headsets, and users can access others via desktop or mobile apps 
  • The cost of equipment could be a barrier to entry. For example, you need to buy an Oculus headset which costs about $300 to join Horizon Worlds

Create an avatar

  • The first step for players joining the metaverse is creating an avatar. Avatars are fully customizable and represent the user

Explore the world

  • Most metaverses offer world exploration, with different metaverses appealing to players’ unique sensibilities. Check out what each metaverse offers, from looking at art, battling monsters, and playing games that others have created 

Socialize 

  • One of the central components of the metaverse is the ability to engage with others. You can chat with them, enjoy their art, or even visit their worlds

What’s next for the metaverse?

Metaverses are still very new, but ithey offer exciting potential. Education, fitness, entertainment, work, mental health, and quality time with friends are all potential uses of the metaverse. 

The unlimited possibilities of content creation make it critical for influencers to store all their projects in one place on Linktree. One day, perhaps, an influencer’s followers will be able to shop for virtual avatar clothing directly on their Linktree thanks to Spring, or explore their favorite virtual spaces through direct links. The metaverse is what you make of it.

Credits

10 mins

You might also like these

Jumpstart your corner of the internet today

Aboriginal Flag
Torres Strait Islander Flag
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which our office stands, The Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. Linktree Pty Ltd, 223 Liverpool St, Gadigal (Darlinghurst) NSW 2010