The term metaverse has become increasingly popular in recent years as a growing number of businesses embrace its status as the technology of the future economy. While the word is getting more commonly used as "internet" and "online," its definition can still be quite vague. Since the metaverse is being described as the next "big thing," it's worth understanding what this term is all about.
Top 10 Games In the Metaverse:
Metaverse: Live, Immersive Extended Reality
Metaverse refers to technologies that provide people with experiences to become part of connected digital worlds. A combination of the Greek word meta—which means beyond—and the word universe, it's pretty much an extension of the real world.
Real people use online games and apps to enter and interact with others in these 3D "worlds," where they represent themselves as avatars. The activities in these virtual communities reflect those in the physical world. Players can create items, sell or buy them, and invest and reward others. The Metaverse seamlessly blends games, virtual reality, live-streaming, cryptocurrencies, and social media as players move across an ecosystem of competing products. For instance, a player who acquires a digital art piece from one game, which is developed by a certain company, can use the same item in another game made by a different company.
Unlike more common digital games today, things happen in real-time in the metaverse—no pauses, game overs, or resets. Moreover, fast internet connections and powerful virtual reality headsets provide immersive experiences, including 360-degree views of the digital environment. Haptic gloves and jackets offer a physical sense of touch.
Some tech giants and investors consider the metaverse the next wave in computing technology, which began with mainframes before moving on to personal and mobile computing.
Key Pioneers and Movers in the Metaverse
Even before Mark Zuckerberg renamed Facebook to Meta in 2021, other companies have been at the forefront of metaverse development. Here are some of the leading pioneers and early movers:
Epic Games is the creator of Fortnite, a multi-player shooting game released in 2017. It has evolved into a digital events place where users can attend dance parties and virtual music concerts.
Epic Games continues to provide end-to-end solutions for both developers and non-creatives to make, distribute, and operate games and other content. Its developers can move across brands and platforms, including Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, PC, iOS, and Android.
The leader in work-related software, Microsoft saw the bright prospects of metaverse early on with its 2014 acquisition of Minecraft, created by Stockholm-based Mojang in 2009. Players move in a Lego-like environment, where they "mine and craft" materials into tools they can use to build their own world and defend themselves against monsters. CEO Satya Nadella was vocal about the company's intention to stay ahead of the pack in the metaverse when he announced the 2022 takeover of Activision Blizzard, which is the creator of Call of Duty, Diablo, and Overwatch.
Roblox, which initially released its game with the same name on PC in 2006 before becoming available on mobile and Xbox, hosts around 50 million user-created games. The cute and colorful appearance of the mini-games it offers has made Roblox a big hit among kids. "Adopt Me," which simulates caring for pet animals, and "Brookhaven," a role-playing game where players can style their homes and vehicles, are some popular examples.
Developers can sell items (usually accessories for an avatar) while players can buy and resell them. Premium subscribers can convert the digital currency from this game (called Robux) into real money as long as they meet the age criteria (13 years old and up) and have earnings of at least 100,000 Robux in their account.
Players can join forums to meet new friends. They can also invite friends to play a game using Roblox's messaging system.
Nvidia, one of the industry leaders in graphics processing units that power gaming PCs, is also deep into the metaverse. It has been working for years toward the launch of Omniverse™. With its beta version introduced in 2020, this simulation and collaboration platform can create tools with practical uses in the real world, such as 3D avatars with virtual assistant capabilities. Founder and CEO Jensen Huang said Omniverse will be available as an open-source tool to individual creators.
Niantic is the software development company best known for making the 2016 augmented reality (AR) mobile game Pokemon Go. Unlike most metaverse advocates, however, founder and CEO John Hanke believes in bringing people closer to the real world than the other way around. The company conveyed this in its 2021 "Meet You Out There" campaign, emphasizing AR's capability to enhance real-world experiences. Weeks before the campaign, it released the Lightship AR developer kit.
Meanwhile, it expects to fully roll out its bitcoin-collection AR game called Fold, which will be available via app in 2020.
What Do You Need to Play Metaverse Games?
To play the most basic games, you'll need the following:
A reliable internet connection
The faster the speed of your internet package is, the better.
A virtual reality headset
VR gadgets can run into thousands of dollars but you have options—from Google Cardboard (which makes use of your smartphone and a cardboard viewer) to headsets connected to a PC (Valve, Sony, HTC, and HP) or console and wireless units (Oculus Quest).
PC or mobile device
If you won't be using a stand-alone headset, you'll need a PC or smartphone on which to connect your headset.
You'll need a blockchain wallet if you'd like to play metaverse games that involve the use of cryptocurrencies or digital money.
10 Best Metaverse Games
Here are 10 metaverse games to try now:
Vietnamese start-up Sky Mavis released Axie Infinity in 2018. Inspired by Pokemon, this game features fantasy creatures called Axies, which players can breed, raise, collect, and trade. Every creature has over 500 body parts you can customize. The offspring of Axies acquire new powers and characteristics, depending on their gene combination.
Axies can hunt for treasure or battle against other Axies so you can earn rewards. You can buy land and homes for your Axies to live in, creating them according to the resources on the platform.
The virtual pets and other items in this game have value in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or digital certificates of ownership governed by blockchain technology. Players can also find scholars or people with whom they can lend three of their Axies so they can earn tokens. The game's main currency is called Axie Infinity Shards or AXS. Meanwhile, players earn smooth love potion or SLP tokens for beating opponents and completing in-game quests. AXS and SLP tokens are necessary for breeding Axies.
Argentinian duo Ari Meilich and Esteban Ordano opened Decentraland to the public in 2020. Using the MANA cryptocurrency, you can create avatars, buy wearables, and acquire real estate in this virtual space consisting of over 90,000 land parcels. As a landowner, you can rent out lots—each measuring 16 virtual square meters—or whatever is on it: houses, hotels, parks, cinemas, casinos, and what have you. You can also earn income by organizing a concert and selling tickets, setting up an exhibit to auction off digital art, and so on. MetaMask is among the popular digital wallets that players use for this platform.
Sandbox was first launched in 2012 as a mobile game by Pixelowl co-founders Arthur Madrid and Sébastien Borget of France. It's another user-generated platform where users, represented as block-like customizable avatars, become owners of what they create through blockchain and smart contracts.
Sandbox has three main products. VoxEdit is a 3D modeling tool where you can create avatars, vehicles, plants, animals, tools, and other objects. You can export your creations into Sandbox's second product, the Marketplace, where you can sell your items. The final product is the Game Maker, where users can develop 3D games without using code.
The main currency in the Sandbox is called Sand. You can acquire and trade land and estates (a collection of lands), which you can select from the Sandbox map. There's also an option for you to offer these properties in the Open Sea NFT marketplace.
The soon-to-be-released Illuvium is causing a lot of buzz in the gaming world, which describes it as a "true triple-A, 3D blockchain" game. In this game, you hunt for deity-like creatures called illuvials on this alien landscape, capture them using shards, or nurse them back to health. These creatures can then help you fight other players and monsters, which number over a hundred. Illuvials are also tradable NFTs—the stronger and rarer they are, the higher their value becomes. Once you have three of the same illuvial, you can fuse or merge them into one new creature—and raise their value—if each of them has reached its highest level through combat.
Players unearth their armor and weapons from the Illuvium environment. You earn rewards in the form of Illuvium crypto or ILV after tournaments and quests and exchange your ILV on the IlluviDEX.
Games by Chromia
Chromia is a blockchain gaming studio, which was established in 2014 by Chromaway in its bid to turn gamers into owners of their in-game assets via Ethereum. The official currency of its games is also called chromia (CHR). The following are its top games created by Antler Interactive, a company that Chromia acquired in 2019.
Chain of Alliance, first released in 2020, is another role-playing fantasy game involving customizable monsters with NFT value. You have to field up to eight characters in your team per round. To raise your winning opportunity, you should determine the best players and arm them with the best weapons.
In the multi-player builder game My Neighbor Alice, you can own and cultivate virtual farming plots or even islands stewarded by Alice. The game flow is similar to Farmville, where you can choose the crops to grow and the livestock to breed and interact with others. You also have other livelihood options like running an apiary or bee farm and later selling honey. My Neighbor Alice NFTs (which include plants, animals, houses, clothes, decor, and so on) are tradable on the Alice marketplace and other blockchains.
Puzzle and maze lovers will enjoy Krystopia, an adventure game where you step into the shoes of Captain Nova Dune, a space explorer who heads to planet Krystopia after spotting a mysterious distress signal from it. Nova and her alien pet Skrii would encounter its inhabitants and get into escape room-type challenges in the process.
Games by WAX (Worldwide Asset eXchange™)
At least three-quarters of all game-related NFT transactions reportedly happen on WAX games, with over 15 million transactions happening on the platform daily (more than Ethereum). Here are three of WAX’s most popular games:
8. Alien Worlds
Launched in 2020, Alien Worlds tasks you to mine Trilium—the official in-game currency—from six planets as a space explorer. Each planet has its own elected government and your "voting rights'' depend on how much TLM you stake on a planet.
You get a shovel to start playing but to get more TLM and powerful mining tools, it’s best to buy your own land, or you can pay a landowner to start excavating. Battling other explorers and going on mining missions can also earn you tokens.
In Farmers World, released in 2021, you can buy land to mine gold, grow crops, breed livestock, catch fish, and build homes for your farm animals. You can buy tools on the AtomicHub market.
Everything on your virtual property and the goods that come out of it, including milk and eggs, are NFTs. The produce you harvest can be sold or traded to other players.
You'll have to protect your farm against other intruders (red and white tribes) as well as other players who can steal your resources, or fight off jungle monsters from your farm premises.
The creators of the Prospectors describe it as a multi-player economic strategy game that takes you to the 19th-century Wild West. The object of the game is to acquire gold that you can convert into the official game currency, Prospectors Gold.
At the start of the game, you get three workers whom you can deploy to work for you or others. For starters, your workers can build a mine for you and start mining. You can mine on free land, but you'll have to rent land to build structures on it. Unpaid rent will result in land being blocked and your belongings on it being put up for auction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who first coined the term metaverse and what is it like?
The term metaverse first appeared in the 1992 sci-fi novel "Snow Crash" by Neal Stephenson. Like in today's virtual reality games, the characters in the novel also use avatars of themselves to interact with others in that dystopian virtual space, which they can access using personal equipment or public ports. A snow crash happens when a hacking attack, computer virus, or digital drug corrupts a person's connection in Metaverse. It won't only harm the online avatar but cause the real-world user to suffer brain damage. Stephenson said in an interview that his idea for snow crash was inspired by the black and white static that displays on the screen of a broken TV set. However, the author clarified that he isn't involved with the rebranding of Facebook in any way.
How fast can we expect the metaverse to take over the real-world economy?
While metaverse supporters are pushing for its wider accessibility, accomplishing the dream could take decades due to current challenges. Besides requiring higher bandwidth in more geographic locations, there are standards and regulations governing the internet. Moreover, integrating the systems that run the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon remains to be seen. In the meantime, fanatics can enjoy the best of what metaverse can offer through gaming.