The concept of the Metaverse has attracted a lot of attention in recent years. These are virtual worlds in which users can interact with each other, play games, do business and much more. There are already several metaverse platforms that allow users to immerse themselves in these digital worlds.
Meta, formerly Facebook, is one of the pioneers of the metaverse. The company is investing heavily in the development of technologies and applications for the metaverse.
The discussion about the metaverse was given a real boost by Marc Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, who is such a great advocate of the metaverse that he renamed Facebook for this very reason.
Technologies such as NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and blockchain are often associated with metaverse technology. But you have to ask yourself whether these technologies really make up the metaverse or rather serve to make the operators of these platforms quick money. But that discussion is for another time. In this article, we take a look at some of the best-known applications that are often referred to as metaverse platforms. We make no distinction here as to whether these are classic mobile and desktop apps or virtual reality applications that require VR glasses. In this respect, the term metaverse is used quite frequently for both multiplayer social VR applications and social online games. The transition from metaverse to massively multiplayer online games is also quite controversial.
Ok.... let's get to it:
Microsoft Mesh is a platform that enables immersive collaboration experiences and is integrated in Microsoft 365 and now also in Teams. It allows users to meet, work and play in 3D worlds, regardless of device or platform. Key features of Mesh include personalized avatars that reflect body language and facial expressions, customizable 3D environments for flexible collaboration, and a variety of collaboration tools such as audio/video communication, screen sharing and shared document editing. Mesh applications include corporate collaboration for remote work, education for interactive learning and game development for immersive gaming experiences.
The Sandbox: A world of creativity and possibilities
The Sandbox is one of the oldest Metaverse platforms and has been around since 2012. Originally launched as a 2D pixel world for smartphones, the game has evolved over the years into a 3D environment that is somewhat reminiscent of Minecraft in its aesthetic. With an avatar, users can explore the digital world, complete quests and interact with other players.
Sandbox is based on the Ethereum blockchain and uses the internal cryptocurrency "SAND". With SAND, users can purchase items and avatars, while the "LAND" token is used to purchase virtual plots of land. Some of the notable features of the Sandbox are the "VoxEdit" editor, which allows users to create their own avatars and objects and sell them as NFTs, and the "GameMaker", which allows users to develop their own 3D games without the need for programming skills. The platform has been featured by celebrities such as Snoop Dogg and Paris Hilton. Critics say that this is where fast cash comes in with the buzz around blockchain and NFTs(non fungible tokens) is made. The long-term value of the digital goods and properties that can be purchased on Sandbox remains controversial.
Decentraland is another Metaverse platform that offers similar features to The Sandbox. Users can explore a fairly simple 3D world with their avatar, play games and buy properties as NFTs. At the heart of Decentraland is the in-game cryptocurrency "MANA", with which users can Buying and selling land can. The platform also offers the opportunity to sell your own NFTs in the stores created on the properties. Decentraland has grown amidst the hype surrounding Metaverse and NFTs and many are wondering if the platform deserves this attention. When technically compared to similar platforms, Decentralland looks like a test version.
Somnium Space is a virtual reality world based on blockchain and entirely designed by players. The space offers its players the ability to create, purchase, and import NFTs for immediate use and monetization. The game is available on all major virtual reality PC VR headsets including Oculus, HTC, VIVE, HP and Valve. The game focuses on graphical quality and therefore does not yet run on Quest and Pico VR devices, but only on PC-based virtual reality systems
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has also developed its own metaverse platform called Horizon Worlds. This platform works with VR headsets such as Oculus Rift S or Meta Quest 2 and 3. Users can create their own worlds with the in-game tools and immerse themselves in the worlds of other players. Horizon Worlds offers various mini-games and even enables performances by famous musicians.
Horizon Worlds is strongly reminiscent of the competitor VR Chat in its design and functionality. Elements of the VR multiplayer gaming platform RecRoom are also undeniable. Through head and body movements, users can move around in virtual space and enjoy an immersive experience. The platform is not accessible in Germany Horizon Worlds is at the center of Mark Zuckerberg's Metaverse strategy. The platform already has a considerable number of users, but clearly falls short of Meta's expectations, and there have been some criticisms in the past, especially regarding sexual harassment of players and the simplistic graphics. Of course, we can't leave out the very intense discussion that took place on the Internet about the fact that the players had no legs. Here is good news for all friends of Horizon Worlds. Meta has announced a patch for avatars including legs in 2023.
Rec Room is another community-based VR Metaverse game and impresses with its diverse possibilities. It is inspired by VRChat, but adds new levels of play. The community has created many games that can be played alongside socializing. Players have already created millions of rooms in this game and there is a possibility to create infinite more. A special feature of Rec Room is its cross-platform playability. Rec Room runs with users from any platform, be it a mobile device, PC or VR headset.
Hubs gives you access to an online meeting place directly from your web browser. Create personalized virtual environments with Hubs. After you create an environment, you can simply share the link and invite others to join you. No need to download or go to the app store. Together, you and those you know can enter this virtual space. Watch videos or interact with 3D models to relax. Share your virtual space with friends, colleagues. Hubs runs on both PC and headsets. However, Hubs is graphically quite basic, as the 3D performance of the system is quite limited. So don't expect photorealism. The charm of Hubs is the low barrier to entry.
VRChat is a free, cross-platform massively multiplayer online (MMO) game for virtual reality (VR) that allows players to interact with other players in a virtual world. The game was developed and published by Graham Gaylor and Jesse Joudrey in 2017 and has become one of the most popular VR games since its release.
VRChat offers a variety of ways to interact with other players. Players can chat with each other, explore worlds, play games and even create their own content. The worlds in VRChat are created by the players themselves and can be anything from simple chat rooms to complex, immersive environments. Games in VRChat range from simple mini-games to complex role-playing games. Players can also create their own avatars to represent them in the virtual world.
VRChat is a versatile and entertaining platform that offers players the opportunity to connect with others in new and innovative ways. The game is suitable for both beginners and experienced VR players. However, the game is not moderated or curated so there are often issues with bullying.
Roblox is a social gaming platform where users can create and play their own games. The platform has over 200 million active users, making it one of the most popular gaming platforms in the world.
Roblox is often referred to as the pioneer of the metaverse. The platform offers an immersive and interactive experience that allows users to enter different worlds and interact with other users.
Roblox is now also playable in VR with Meta Quest 3.
Fortnite is a popular gaming platform with a large and active community. The game offers a number of features that make it an ideal platform for a future metaverse, including an open and flexible platform and a range of community events. However, there is currently no virtual reality support.
Fortnite is quite successful with virtual community events, including the organization of virtual concerts with music greats such as Ariana Grande, Travis Scott and Marshmello . Whether Fortnite will be the future of the metaverse remains to be seen. However, the game has the potential to play an important role in the development of the metaverse and is therefore often mentioned in this context. Whereby one MMO Massive Multiplayer Games should not be lumped together with the metaverse.
The metaverse offers a new way of social interaction and entertainment. The metaverse platforms presented offer users the opportunity to explore digital worlds and play games, Land for sale and to buy. It will be interesting to see how the metaverse develops in the future once the hype has died down and what new possibilities it offers users. It will be particularly interesting to see whether Meta's strategy, which relies heavily on the social metaverse aspect of VR, works. Even die-hard VR fans are not necessarily enthusiastic about virtual meetings in the metaverse as avatars. Almost all of the platforms mentioned have the problem of players and especially female players being harassed and this misconduct is difficult to punish and even more difficult to prevent.