When Facebook rebranded to meta, many people started taking notice of the Metaverse and its potential impact. Despite working hard behind the scenes, the company has generated little buzz regarding these ventures. That doesn’t mean the concept is dead, and many players are emerging in the broader metaverse field.
Facebook Became Meta All of A Sudden
Flashback to October 2011 when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his company would rebrand. Zuck explained how the company would transition from social media into the Metaverse, establishing an accessible virtual world for everyone to do anything they want. Zuckerberg even rebranded Facebook toMeta, further solidifying the company vision and pushing into Web3.
Transitioning from a Web3 approach to Web3 isn’t straightforward. The difference between the two couldn’t be bigger, as Web3 is about empowering companies – like Facebook/Meta – whereas Sweb3 returns control and power to the user. It will, on paper, remove the need for centralized companies and service providers, disrupting revenue streams for social media platforms and other entities.
However, Zuckerberg stated the change is inevitable:
“We believe the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet; we’ll be able to feel present – like we’re right there with people no matter how far apart we actually are.”
The comment was well-received by enthusiasts and onlookers. Facebook has exerted tremendous control over social media and user content. A change is more than welcome, and when the CEO of the biggest social media platform acknowledges that change is necessary, everyone seems to agree. However, it has been nearly eight months since this announcement, and Meta’s plans have seemingly hit a bit of a standstill.
Initial Preparation Needs A Continuation
The transition from Facebook to meta introduced some interesting changes internally. Through the Horizon Workrooms project, Facebook VP of global affairs Nick Clegg started hosting Monday team meetings in the office metaverse. It is a “private” version of the virtual world of the future but still paints an interesting picture of what the future may hold. Moreover, Meta would spend billions of dollars on Metaverse research, with a strong focus on VR and AR technology through Facebook Reality Labs.
While research and development will take a while, it has grown quiet on the Meta front recently. That is, until early June, when the stock ticker – formerly FB for Facebook – changed to META for Meta. It is not the most significant change people were hoping for, yet it signifies the Meta-oriented business plan is still in place today.
In the accompanying statement, Meta confirmed it will “move beyond 2D screens toward immersive experiences like augmented and virtual reality to help build the next evolution in social technology.”
Moreover, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg went on record with Protocol to add:
“I want to live in a world where big companies use their resources to take big shots. Obviously, if people invest in our company, we want to be profitable for them. If employees join our company, I want to make sure that ends up being a good financial decision for them, too. But I also feel a responsibility to go for it. Use the position that we’re in to make some bets, and try to push forward in a way that other people might not.”
One thing to consider is how it may take years for Meta to achieve its vision. Additionally, the company has more than sufficient funding, technology, and brilliant employees to take the Web3 industry to the next level. Taking these “big shots”, as Zuck stated, requires tremendous manpower and money, but Meta remains in a good position to cover those bases and pull off something that will change the world.
Behind-the-scenes Push By Meta
It is worth noting Zuck recently shared a post on Facebook confirming the company will roll out new ways for creators to make money. That primarily affects Facebook and Instagram, although there is also something in the works to bring new tools to metaverse-focused creators.
More money straight to creators – no revenue sharing on FB and Instagram until 2024 – is a bold first step. In the Web3 environment, creators will be the primary recipients of revenue as well, so it seems Meta will experiment with how that model may impact their bottom line.
Moreover, the Metaverse push by Meta is slowly taking shape in other forms. Facebook CTO Andrew “Boz” Bosworth recently tweeted how they will make avatars and fashion come together.
— Boz (@boztank) June 22, 2022
The Avatars Store will come to Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram, featuring virtual outfits from several brands exploring Metaverse opportunities, including Balenciaga and Prada.
A Growing Field Of Virtual Worlds
While many people will look toward Meta for future Metaverse-related developments, the industry keeps growing by leaps and bounds. Crypto and blockchain projects established their presence in this industry vertical well before Zuckerberg and co decided to get involved. More importantly, there are a few crucial growing trends, including play-to-earn gaming, move-to-earn, NFT utility, etc.
Several projects mark a strong push into Web3 and the Metaverse, Splinterlands, the most popular play-to-earn blockchain game, does its part to give more control to its community. Its recent Validator Node presale – which sold out in 11 minutes – gives license holders a new way of earning SPS tokens and VOUCHER tokens. Node operators validate all SPS transactions and control the SPS foundation funds, making them a key cog in the Splinterlands machine.
Another project to keep tabs on is Infinity Skies. It combines play-to-earn elements with NFT technology to provide top-tier customization options in this sandbox game. Moreover, players can Build, Adventure, Socialize, and Trade with rogue-lite concepts of difficulty and rewards. There’s also the prestige system with more lucrative NFT rewards, issued once a month before resetting the playing field. The project secured roughly $3.6 million from AU21 Capital, Jump Capital, MEXC, ChainGuardians, and over a dozen other investors.
Decentral Games tackles the Metaverse opportunities related to online gaming and entertainment. Its ICE Poker solution serves as a free metaverse poker game with daily challenges and a daily leaderboard for competitive gameplay. They host virtual events such as concerts, meet-ups, & parties in their metaverse lounge. Additionally, Decentral Games received a $1 million grant from the Decentraland DAO, strengthening ties between both projects.
One cannot overlook the position of Axie Infinity in the metaverse and Web3 either. It is still a very popular game, even if overall revenue and in-game item prices have dwindled. Axie Infinity is widely considered to be the mainstream catalyst of play-to-earn gaming and is one of the older titles featuring modern P2E mechanics. Moreover, the game made scholarships very popular, enabling more people to play the game without making an upfront investment.
Going Beyond Gaming
Although play-to-earn blockchain gaming is an exciting Metaverse vertical, there are many other opportunities to explore. Fashion brands will bring their merchandise to virtual avatars, enabling users to preview outfits and potentially buy them in the virtual world. Those purchases would entitle users to a physical and virtual outfit, allowing their avatar to become more their real-world selves and blurring the lines between virtual and reality.
Additionally, there is a growing demand for land in the Metaverse. Projects like Decentraland and The Sandbox see land plot values skyrocket in recent months. A virtual land plot would give users the option to build on that plot and monetize their creations. It will also be a place to host events, parties, and other social activities. Anything is possible in the Metaverse, and everyone is taking notice.
MetaSpace REIT Chief Executive Eric Klein told The Globa And Mail:
“It’s crazy, man. Our company accumulates virtual land and works with companies on branded experiences. We have four times the demand from brands simply e-mailing us. We’re not even doing outbound marketing.”
Although the future of Web3 and the Metaverse is not set in stone yet, the opportunities are there for the taking. Self-respecting companies and service providers will do everything they can to help empower their customers and users. Those who delay this transition can find themselves replaced by new incumbents over the coming years. Moreover, the role of Meta in all of this may help unlock experiences and utility previously considered out of reach.
Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay