Which Metaverse should brands join ?

With the rise of digitization and social media, newer entrepreneurs may wonder: “Why the need for an IRL shop when e-commerce and digital marketing do the trick?”

But of course, the more seasoned brand builder can see what the newbie entrepreneur can’t. The obvious answer, is brand presence. Customers and future potential customers find out about your brand when they see your shop in real life... as opposed to finding it on the internet. There is a certain sense of “physicality” and authenticity when a brand has a physical location.

In essence, seeing is believing.

But a new concept is currently in development. An idea that can transcend both the virtual and physical spaces... the new place to establish your brand. And yes, hinged on crypto. The metaverse!

With loads of activity, hype, and controversy surrounding the metaverse, we figured it would be a great time to clarify some doubts. In this article, we will be going through Metaverses worth hopping into, and how a brand should enter the metaverse.

What Is The Metaverse?

Due to the attention of mainstream media, the metaverse has been getting heaps of publicity... and this comes with loads of misinterpretations.

While there is no official definition for the metaverse, here’s our take.

💡 The Metaverse is a virtual world that uses blockchain technology, VR, and AR, allowing people to socialize and interact on their platform.

Wow, that was a mouthful! Let’s break down the terms.

Metaverse(s)

Many foreigners to the idea assume that there is one singular, official, metaverse. No, the metaverse is not like the Earth. Instead, when crypto-goers refer to the metaverse, they’re talking about the host of virtual worlds under the category “Metaverse”. Perhaps you should treat the metaverse as a category of virtual spheres rather than a singular universe.

Blockchain Technology

Metaverse skeptics often challenge us with this argument, “Isn’t the metaverse just a variant of existing video games? Such as Second Life, Roblox, or Fortnite... are the same thing...” That’s why blockchain technology is one of the defining aspects of the metaverse.

In simple terms, the blockchain is the code underpinning a cryptocurrency, tracking and processing all the transactions on it. Think of the blockchain as a crypto network (do note that this is a gross simplification of the blockchain).

💡 Unlike the metaverse, video games do not run on the blockchain.

Other than that, there’s not much of a difference.

VR/AR

Finally, we have the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality effect on the metaverse. VR and AR are the icing on the cake, but a wildly underrated aspect of the metaverse.

Virtual Reality is as its name implies, a virtual visualization of the metaverse. Augmented Reality goes a step further, combining the metaverse with physical aspects of the real world.

💡 Together, VR and AR have a singular combined effect on the metaverse: Realism.

So we believe that these 3 aspects are the defining features of what it means to be a metaverse. Now, on to some metaverses worth taking a look at.

The Sandbox - Gamification of the Metaverse

The Sandbox, also known as the Minecraft of the Metaverse. And that, truly speaks volumes about the reputation of the Sandbox. But did you know that the Sandbox, wasn’t originally a metaverse?

Origins

💡 Launched in 2012, The Sandbox was a pixelated world-building game for mobile devices, accruing more than 40 million downloads globally.

As such, the Sandbox had already seen success in its early years, despite being a world building game on mobile.

But in 2018, Animoca Brands acquired the Sandbox from original developers Pixowl, and pushed the game into the crypto sphere. Essentially, this was a pivot of the game from web2 mobile phones, to the world of web3.

Features

The Sandbox still carries the original pixel-graphics vibe as which how it started, but now characters and in-game items are 3-D, adding a touch of realism.

Do note that all activities in the Sandbox are carried out in one huge web3 plot of land, virtual land, in other words. Unlike video games where you can create your own “private worlds”, everyone in the Sandbox lives in this metaverse.

The entire plot is broken up into ESTATES and LANDS, which can be bought, sold, and traded on their secondary marketplace. There are quite a few brands already owning huge plots of virtual real estate in the Sandbox, and we’ll get to that in a bit.

What Can You Do in The Sandbox?

As we have mentioned earlier, the Sandbox is all about gamifying the metaverse experience! There is a huge emphasis on gaming in the metaverse, and the Sandbox is leading the charge in every aspect. Here is are some things users can do in the Sandbox:

  • Create
  • Host
  • Trade
  • Play

1) Create

First and foremost, creation is key. Without creation, the Sandbox is not worth playing.

💡 Most metaverses, the Sandbox included, bank on one thing to keep their digital universe alive: User-generated content. Everything else follows.

It follows that since users are actively creating content in the Sandbox, more people will hop on and engage in the metaverse, drawing capital and investors to it! The team behind the Sandbox knows this, and thus has made it easy for players to create.

In fact, the Sandbox has a dedicated page titled “Create”, providing tools such as their no-code Game Maker, as well as NFT creation tool VoxEdit, along with an Avatar customization widget, all to help users build.

2) Host

Another big part of the Sandbox is their LAND. As we have explained earlier, plots of land in the Sandbox metaverse are owned by virtual estate investors, and there are tons of things to do on your plot of land. Aside from building a house or virtual shop, you can host events in your plot of the Sandbox.

Artists like Snoop Dogg have hosted virtual concerts and events in his plot of Sandbox land, selling tickets (as NFTs obviously), to those wishing to step foot in his land.

3) Trade

This brings us to our next point, trade. As with everything crypto, the money factor will come in. People can trade plots of Sandbox LAND on the secondary marketplace, avatar skins and wearables, in-game items, and more.

💡 How ? All of these tradeables are NFTs.

Effectively, you could call the Sandbox a P2E creation.

4) Play!

Playing includes interacting, socializing, engaging, and more. Remember that the metaverse is just like social media or chat groups, plus the added element of visualisation with the help of 3-D and buildings in-game.

So, have fun there!

Why Brands Should Dive Into The Sandbox

After everything we’ve said, why should your brand enter the Sandbox?

By market capitalization, the Sandbox’s native coin $SAND is the 2nd largest of all metaverse tokens, a close 2nd to current leader Decentraland.

Various brands and institutions have also invested in the Sandbox. Notable ones include the Walking Dead Franchise, Adidas, Atari Inc., Hell’s Kitchen, and a ton of other multi-million dollar companies.

If anything, the Sandbox provides a rare and perfect opportunity for brands to delve into gaming, crypto, NFTs, and the metaverse: all with one investment! Whether it be a publicity campaign for your brand, or another stream of revenue, investing in virtual real estate could be rewarding.

Decentraland & CryptoVoxels

If you’re looking to diversify holdings in various metaverses, Decentraland and CryptoVoxels could be two other virtual worlds to consider. Let’s cover each in brief.

Decentraland

Decentraland is the biggest metaverse by market cap, with its native token $MANA at a capitalization of over $2.1 billion at the time of writing.

So, what makes Decentraland appealing to users and investors alike?

Realistic

Decentraland is rather similar to the Sandbox, in terms of the concept and features. But the graphic style and vibe of Decentraland are much more realistic than that of the Sandbox. After all, it comes down to the intention of the metaverse developers.

💡 We think that the Sandbox appeals to Gamers, thus adopting a pixel-Minecraft style. On the other hand, Decentraland graphics is more human-like, comparable to The Sims.

Decentraland also has excellent building tools, allowing users to craft their own avatars and let the creative juices flow when building architectures.

The DAO

Something that Decentraland advocates for is their DAO. A DAO, short for Decentralized Autonomous Organization, is a group of users that govern and manage the developments in Decentraland. Holding $MANA, LAND, or others in Decentraland gains you immediate entry to the DAO. From there, you can make proposals, vote for/against other proposals, and participate in the governance of the metaverse.

Fashion Street

Decentraland is also famed for a strip of land in their metaverse: Fashion Street.

Fashion Street in Decentraland is akin to NYC in real life, because that’s where all the fashion lives. Some 70 top-tier fashion brands, including Gucci, Estée Lauder, and Ralph Lauren, took part in the Metaverse Fashion Week in Decentraland 2 months ago. Having a plot of land in Fashion Street becomes a publicity and status boost to your brand.

CryptoVoxels

CryptoVoxels is a metaverse less widely known compared to the Sandbox and Decentraland, but it is still great for building and exploration. Upon entering the CryptoVoxels site, it seems that the project is in its Beta. Maps are scantily developed, the marketplace is unfinished, and the graphics seem yet to be fleshed out. But CryptoVoxels is promising in one area: Their user-generated content.

User-generated Content:

While metaverses like the Sandbox and Decentraland promise a user-generated world, it seems that most of it have already been built by early adopters. Well at CryptoVoxels, new “Womps” and Worlds are being created every now and then.

Entering one of the user-generated worlds, I can see the immense building potential that this metaverse can offer. Went anonymous into a random user-generated world, here’s a Womp!

This platform really gives me the Roblox vibes, where builds meet players and games made by the creators dominate the metaverse. It’s interesting to see how CryptoVoxels will turn out in time to come.

WorldWide Webb & Wilder World

Looking for metaverses with an added emphasis on Gaming? WorldWide Webb and Wilder World are two great gaming metaverses, possibly taking it to the next level (beyond the Sandbox). Let’s break down their game style.

WorldWide Webb

WorldWide Webb is an MMORPG metaverse game, truly combining the elements of multiplayer, role-playing, and the metaverse together.

This is a strategic move to draw gamers to the metaverse space - after all, it is understandable that the Sandbox could be too far a stretch for non-crypto goers. Here are some key features of WorldWide Webb.

P2E MMORPG

WorldWide Webb has claimed in their Litepaper that the concept of their metaverse draws heavy inspiration from “Ready Player One”. While the graphics aren’t exactly at that level, we think that the idea behind them is similar.

Users can earn in-game tokens for playing, accomplishing missions, and more.

While there are mechanisms for builders to create their own “Apartment”, the earning element while battling it out is surely one of the more appealing aspects of WorldWide Webb.

NFT Avatar Integration

Another cool add-on to this metaverse is their Avatar NFT integration. This allows you to play as your favorite NFT character. By partnering with “blue-chip” NFT collections such as MoonCats, users are able to play as a 2-D Pixel version of their NFT. I guess, JPEGs on the blockchain come to life in this way!

Wilder World

Wilder World takes a different stance on gaming, boasting a hyper-realistic and futuristic vibe to their metaverse.

Being built on Unreal Engine 5 and ZERO, Wilder World looks like a promising 3-D metaverse to explore and game. Here are some features which make it stand out.

Marketplace and Staking

Unlike other games which hide their marketplace at a corner of the website, Wilder World flaunts it from the get-go. They have a clean page where one can find land, wearables, and in-game collectibles all in one place. We feel that Wilder World may be heading in the direction of the Sandbox and Decentraland, but for now, developments of a game is still in their vision.

An additional feature is the presence of a Liquidity pool in Wilder World. This provides users and builders the chance to “cash-out” or “invest” into this metaverse, all under the same smart contract. It is also a good indicator of the health of the Wilder World metaverse.

A Game of Adventure

So far, Wilder World has introduced sneak peeks of their metaverse; including Beast companions, luxury kicks, futuristic cars and automobiles, among other NFT-art.

These features can be mixed into the context of a hyper-realistic game, in line with their target of creating a “5D” metaverse. We’ll have to see what that entails.

Wrap Up

To summarize, there is a countless number of metaverses out there for your brand to enter. So, what’s your game plan? Should you enter the Sandbox to gain exposure to crypto and build on a larger scale, or is it worth the gamble going into smaller metaverses which could have more runway in the future?

The choice is yours - and it heavily depends on the end goal of your brand entering the metaverse. Wishing you all the best!

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