All of us know that the Metaverse is coming, but we don’t know what it will be like.
At the moment, people say it’s clunky and hard to use, and they’re waiting for it to get better.
There are a lot of brands jumping on the PR bandwagon in a hurry.
Are we going to live in a place like this?
Time or place: Is it coming?
You see, I took a trip to find out.
Most of you have probably been to or seen images of the Metaverse, like in places like The Sandbox or Decentraland, but you may not know where.
But if you’re not a gamer or a fan, you might not find it very exciting, at least for now. This is especially true for gamers.
Metaverse graphics haven’t progressed much since Second Life was released in 2006, and even Golden Eye 007, which was released in the late 1990s, looks a lot like the Metaverse now.
Because now there are VR headsets that make it so you can see those pixelated images up close.
Shared virtual worlds that were made in part by users have already been made somewhere else.
It has 43 million users who use it every day and 202 million people who use it every month, half of whom are under 12.
This is how you make friends these days if you’re 12.
It’s clear now that the investment thesis is right: These kids won’t feel so out of place in the Metaverse.
They still want to go to different worlds, too.
People have always tried to get away.
Globally, Pokemon Go became a huge hit because of people’s nostalgia, which made sense to everyone.
In the last few weeks, I’ve been to the Metaverse a lot. I learned two things:
As a first step, virtual events can be done well with the Metaverse.
Second, the Metaverse only works well for events that happen in a virtual world, like games.
Ready Player One
I’m not into games. I like to do things in the sea and outside. Decentralized technology is something I believe in. I’m not sure I want to spend time in the Metaverse as it is now.
I enter Decentraland, and soon I have a choice: should I choose a cartoonish or real-life avatar?
A: This first part makes sense. B: I agree.
I should go to Decentraland to meet people and do things.
There is no way for people’s images of themselves to match up with other people’s images of them.
I choose a woman.
When I think of Comic-Con, I think of the Sailor Moon Japanese schoolgirl outfit. That’s the picture I have in my head of the event.
The avatar grunts at the outfit choices, but it grunts more enthusiastically for some of the choices.
The gift shop has banana „skins“ and bald women.
To keep the story moving, I click „randomize“ to get a man dressed in something I could wear.
In the next part, I jump off a diving board into what I thought was a stripper pole.
I start out in „Genesis Plaza,“ which is a bar in a shopping mall plaza for avatars. It’s a bar that doesn’t serve alcohol, though.
There are a lot of avatars all over the place.
A dogeman named Shiba Inu (not Chewbacca) and a purple octopus woman are the only people who don’t look like they belong in this world.
We can talk in real time, so I try to start a few talks.
„Yo,“ I say, and he says „Hi.“ „Yo“
Nice to meet you.
(I thought „Do you come here often?“ might be bad.)
Perhaps most people choose avatars that look like real people?
There is only one person who doesn’t like doge:
I think things get a little interesting.
It looks like the Shiba Inu dogeman avatar is running around like he owns the chat about crypto market prices and altcoins.
Is this a sign?
Or a paid ad, too?
More people are talking about the crypto market.
Then, in the chat, „Visit [insert name].com“ comes up.
I think this is clever guerilla marketing, but I don’t think it works very well because there are only three people in the room.
In front of me, there are new avatars.
Graphically, a young white man turns into a white-haired black man. Then, they split up to the left and right, and they go their separate ways.
I click „escape“ to leave the page, and then I’m in a weird fantasy world.
Because I can teleport, I can go from one place to the next
I can recognize the Twitter and Discord logos on street signs right away, which helps me get out of the noise.
Because so many brands want to be in the Metaverse, my escapism is distorted because so many want to be there.
Virtual Times Square is coming soon, I think, but I don’t know for sure.
To go to another room, press „M.“
It’s all a little confusing and hard to follow.
So, I don’t know where I’m going.
A few people are around, and I feel like a lost tourist without a Lonely Planet or Google Maps who doesn’t speak the language.
Neither street food nor anything else can be bought online.
I give up and hire a tour guide.
Trip 2: Reentry with a tour guide
Adam De Cata, the head of partnerships at Decentraland, gives me a tour the next time I visit. He shows me around.
Vice Media Group’s building isn’t as edgy as I thought it would be, but it’s still pretty cool.
It has a weird post-modern look to it.
I would have thought warehouse industrial might be a good fit for that once-grungy magazine, though.
There, De Cata tells us how Decentraland works as we walk around.
The DAO was set up in 2019. It has sold 90,000 parcels of land that are owned and run by the community.
Most of the experiences are locked, so you need a certain NFT to get into a certain building.
As a result, it’s like going on a bus tour of Hollywood and not being able to see inside the homes of the stars.
It’s not easy to use the technology, but the „fundamentals are truly interesting,“ says De Cata.
„It’s still in the early stages of being an entrepreneur, and the degens who are driving it are making the money.“
This is what he says: „It is hard to build in real time, but companies are willing to build case studies.“
It’s Metaverse Fashion Week in a few days. He wants me to come back.
he says, „You need to see something.“
Metaverse Fashion Week and other adventures
Because I go back to meet De Cata for Metaverse Fashion Week, he doesn’t show up.
Because he was being fair, it wasn’t a calendar invite, but a tentative virtual meeting with other people.
I’ll be there.
As I move around, the elevator music starts up out of nowhere.
As I fight with the keyboard, the music changes from dead silence to up-tempo to heavy guitars. This is what you would expect.
I try to click on a blackjack game, but I end up outside the Aquarium.
I then find a building that says „NFTWeek“ has been over.
I think so.
So, I press „Exit“ and keep looking for „Metaverse Fashion Week,“ but I can’t find it.
It’s hard for me to move around because I don’t play games.
I’m a little dizzy, but it’s not bad.
A lot of times, I get lost and run around aimlessly. But it’s freeing, like when you go for a jog in a new city as soon as you land and end up finding some cool local food that you didn’t know about.
You see the architecture in a different way if you were on a bus or in an Uber.
Smurfs run from Gargamel and his cat.
Before the hotel developers build skyscraper-style rooms, I feel like I’m the first person to see the landscapes change quickly.
A broken Greek column in a garden is what I think are „ancient.“
I look at the map and jump to the „Muslim Quarter.“ I think it looks like the Old City of Jerusalem in the Metaverse.
There is nothing there yet, but as I raise my volume, the call to prayer comes out.
It truly makes me feel like I’m a tourist in a place that is both exotic and familiar at the same time.
However, there isn’t any hummus in this case, either.
You want to pray🙏 but there is no mosque🕌 available ? Visit the „Muslim Quarter Project“ in @Decentraland 📡🌍! Happy to have built this mosque for Deem ! And many thanks to my 3D-artist @horstremote for his fantastic work ! #mosque #islam #shahda #turnthemusicon #decentraland pic.twitter.com/3a507JrBhc
— acl_crypto (@acl_crypto) September 13, 2018
All of the 90,000 plots of land could be full.
How will we get around the sites?
I see „Jammin‘ Land,“ and I think I’m going to Jamaica.
The bar is empty, with a picture of a frozen bartender behind the bar.
In this game, there is not a Bob Marley avatar that asks me if „I like jamming, too.“
Even though there are a lot of open-air markets, I still get a sense of how music events in this place could go.
In the Ukraine War Protest Gallery, I then teleport to the Ukraine War Gallery
It looks like a gallery of art.
It looks like all the buildings have that smooth, virtual concrete look to them.
Neither the Metaverse, nor anyone in it, likes to be rough around the edges.
Then, again, it reminds me that this isn’t a theme park.
Anybody can build anything quickly on this land because it isn’t controlled by anyone.
Before I decide to go to Fashion Week, I spend two hours walking around in the streets.
I somehow clicked on an event that was taking place in my time zone.
Time is, in fact, a big problem.
There are still different time zones even in the Metaverse, even though we’re all in the same place.
I already don’t like having work meetings with people from other countries because I live in Australia.
It’s bright and colorful, and there are a lot of avatars.
A vending machine is empty when I get there. There are no proof-of-attendance tokens left by the time I arrive.
I know this is avatar fashion week.
I think it’s a little like the bar scene in Mos Eisley in the movie Star Wars.
Avatars are able to show off very well.
During the runway, they also tend to jump a lot, which makes it hard for them to walk.
A lot of the poses are more Sonic the Hedgehog and not as much Blue Steel,
There are two things:
One, I finally made it to Fashion Week.
Maybe WAGMI is a foretelling of what will happen.
It’s also hard to show how beautiful it is in real life.
I now know that people go to the Metaverse to go to events like avatar fashion shows and computerized concerts. If you like these kinds of events, you might want to go.
It was a shame that Milli Vanilli didn’t get the chance to do a comeback show again.
He may rest in peace.
I’m sorry, degens, if you aren’t old enough to understand the joke.
Otherwise, the Metaverse is a lot like Adelaide in South Australia, which is a city.
Lovely, but there’s not much to do.
Next stop: The Museum of Crypto Art
A Metaverse museum makes a lot of sense for people who are interested in art, so let’s just say that.
Just the vibe.
You can go to the Museum of Crypto Art and not be subject to the laws of gravity, physics, or engineering that we use today.
Staircases can be beautiful, even if they aren’t strong enough to hold a lot of weight.
Some art is on every wall.
The museum gives its community members a say in the project’s direction by giving them a token. They are part-owners and co-curators of the project.
In a statement on its website, it says that its first acquisitions will „represent the earliest etchings on the blockchain, and will come to be seen as the digital cave paintings of our transhumanist story.“
As an art fan, it’s hard to understand art NFTs.
In this case, there isn’t anything you can use as a guide.
The good news is that Colborn Bell, one of its co-founders, gives me a tour.
There are many pieces of NFT history that he talks about.
Bell started looking for things to buy in 2017 and now owns the most on the NFT sales platform SuperRare.
His gallery was built on Somnium Space, which has „nice light and shadows and isn’t as cartoony as its competitors Cryptovoxels and Decentraland.“ He invested in Decentraland’s ICO in 2017.
Bell can set up an exhibition in a few hours for free.
Cryptoland loves a meme, and some works relate to the earliest history in the space, like the Bitcoin volatility clock piece. There are 350 pieces in total, going for an average price of $300, but only 50 pieces are on display.
Seeing NFTs on a virtual wall is still strange to me, as art is usually fixed in size and hung on a real wall based on that size. Small paintings are cute in a nook, for example. But as I noted when I tried to value NFT clones, the art is in the code — and the curation of the collection.
„What is art?“ I ask my tour guide.
His take is honest and crypto-native.
NFTs aren’t art right away.
They are really not.
I look for art outside of the established art movement and the art market, which have already been kept out of the way.
I want that piece by a queer artist in Kenya depicting two women kissing in a field of flowers.”
He’s referring to an actual piece in his collection.
„I don’t have a plan for investing,“ he says.
The reason I like supporting artists is because it shows them that they are good.
He says that art NFTs are “familiar but also have elements of the surreal.”
Famed project CryptoPunks gave Bell “a terrible first impression,” he says.
„Pranksy built the market, and he was a well-known con artist.“
(Lawyers, note: Magazine is not suggesting Pranksy really is a scammer, notorious or otherwise.)
Bell bought his first Punk relatively late, after Christie’s auctioned Alien Punks in mid-2021.
Bell also says that Pak, a well-known NFT artist, is good at „social manipulation, not art,“ but he’s not very good at art.
A museum isn’t about art, right?
Apparently, it’s more about being a customer.
“If it all [the value of the collection] went to zero tomorrow, I wouldn’t care. I’ve built friends all over the world. What was important to me was the growth of cryptocurrencies and bringing in creatives to the space. We already had devs and programmers.”
For me, the gallery is a great place to go on vacation because it has works that aren’t for sale.
It shows digital works in the right way.
I don’t mind the glitches, like the time it takes to load pages and the ID numbers on my avatar that make the art look bad. I also don’t mind the ID numbers on my avatar.
Events and attractions work well in the Metaverse
People in the Metaverse will be able to go to a place called Lonely Planet.
Do not let its current pixelated state fool you.
Events and attractions work well in the Metaverse. But for now, it’s just like throwing goo against a wall, and it doesn’t work.
Some things will last.
Every tennis ball avatar that still walks around Decentraland is a reminder of how well the Metaverse activations for the 2022 Australian Open went.
Fans were able to watch real live tennis from inside the Metaverse.
There is no caffeine in virtual coffee. I’m still hungry, and there is no caffeine in virtual coffee.
People who drink real beers are drunk.
So, I leave for the real world with one last thought: