comparison of platforms, centralized or not

Metaverses are often associated with Web3, without always being adequate. Apart from the underlying technology, the ownership and therefore the remuneration of the users varies radically.

In May 2022, a McKinsey report evoked a potential value creation around the metaverse of $5,000 billion by 2030. However, since its introduction, the same report acknowledges that the term, first used in 1992 by Neal Stephenson in his novel “The Clash of snow” “remains to be defined, both literally and figuratively”. Originally, the definition covered an infrastructure similar to the Internet, but comprehensive. Today, the term characterizes only platforms, given the current state of technology and the lack TheirsINTEROPERABILITY between them.

These platforms do not have the same characteristics: while they can all be described as a 3D social environment populated by avatars, they are distinguished by their openness and the freedom offered to their users. Therefore we find metaverse towards centralized and other more open infrastructures, implying a certain degree of decentralization and openness of the ecosystem.

Centralized Metaverses

If those under thirty didn’t know it, the pioneer of the metaverse is French and it’s called “Second World”, a Canal+ interactive project for the immersive reproduction of Paris accessible on Windows and MacOS from 1997 and stopped in 2002, despite having a strong one. community of 200,000 users.

On its ashes, Second Life appeared in 2003, the first metaverse on the web: sometimes perceived as a relic of the Internet, the platform is nevertheless very active today and above all laid the foundations of its successors: VRChat, Roblox, MinecraftFortnite or Meta Horizon’s Worlds.

If all these metaverses don’t all have the same profession (Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite are platforms of Video game while others remain social interaction environments), they all rely on similar monetization standards: a large part ofUGC, this acronym that stands for user-generated content or user-generated content – ​​belongs to them. To create interaction, these metaverses allow users to create virtual assets, in the form of skinobject, architecture but if this content is transferable, the distribution of value raises many questions.

On Roblox, creators only get about 30% of their revenue. On the side of Meta‘s Horizon Worlds, the creator will return 25% of their sales to the Meta, not counting the fees received from the store (30% in the case of the Meta Quest Store). In Minecraft, the fee is 30%. In Fortnite, only external creators approved by the platform can create game environments – they are responsible for half of the playing time, according to Epic’s CEO – and the game’s terms of use do not even allow the resale of purchases of virtual items: therefore users are not the owners of these virtual assets. In Second Life, land purchased by users remains the property of publisher Linden Lab.

Moreover, in the event of the disappearance of these platforms, users also lose their purchases and creations, without the possibility of transferring them to another world.

The Metaverse of Web 3.0

View from Gucci Vault Land in Sandbox © Sandbox

The best sharing of value and the possibility of owning a digital asset is the promise of Web3 platforms such as The Sandbox, Decentraland or even Somnium Space. A wish made possible by blockchain infrastructure.

If the environment of these worlds still works on the servers of the companies in question, it is nevertheless open to the integration of external content, created on a blockchain, most often Ethereum or Polygon, in the form of NFTs. During an interview with JDN at Gitex in Dubai, Yat Siu, founder of Animoca Brands (owner of The Sandbox) insisted on the importance of this concept: “In Web3, no one can tell me that I am not allowed to sell my house. If I own the digital property of my assets, I have complete freedom. We’re moving from a shareholder capitalism to a participant capitalism, whether it’s an avatar holder, a virtual land.”

As soon as the creator holds the key to his wallet, he is the full owner of this content and therefore can integrate and monetize it at much lower costs than on Web2 platforms: transactions on Decentrale, for example, are taxed at 2.5 %, 5% for Sandbox. In addition, the creator is free to accompany the collection of royalties for his creations with any secondary sales. Another big factor about this type of creation has to do with interoperability: a user can now use the same NFT within The Sandbox and Decentraland, even if it still requires a few steps.

Finally, a Web3 infrastructure makes it possible to activate other community levers: Decentraland has visibly opened up part of its governance through a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) to holders of its tokens and land, allowing them to vote transparently. political elections.

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