- Despite massive buzz, Metaverse projects have so far failed to deliver compelling projects.
- Even major names, like Decentraland and of course Meta, have floundered compared to the hype.
- Still, with so much talent flowing into the industry, it’s probable that someone will eventually get it right.
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The Metaverse has been one of the hottest topics in crypto for more than a year, though really stellar projects are still lacking. Still, with talent flooding into the industry and the tech rapidly evolving, it’s likely just a matter of time before we see some winners.
This week, a report from crypto data platform DappRadar made the news by implying that Decentraland, the $1.1 billion “Metaverse” project, had only 38 daily active users. Of course, as with most sensationalist headlines, the devil is in the details. In actuality, those 38 users were only those who interacted with Decentraland’s smart contracts—as DCL Metrics has confirmed, the number of players hanging out in the game is actually in the thousands.
Still, the report raises an important question: even with an average of 7,000 daily active players, is Decentraland really worth over a billion dollars? The idea of the “Metaverse,” and crypto gaming more broadly, appears to have suffered more than most other parts of the crypto space during the current bear market. The two big projects—Decentraland and The Sandbox—have seen their tokens plummet 90% from their highs, and sales of the games’ land parcels are sluggish. It seems that now the hype has dissipated, investors have gotten wise to the fact that these games offer users very little reason to stick around.
To make matters worse, Meta’s (formerly Facebook) pivot to creating its own Metaverse is starting to take shape, and it’s giving the concept of virtual worlds a pretty bad image. Aside from the mildly dystopian undertones, Zuckerberg’s offering looks soulless and unpolished. As our U.S. editor Jacob recently said in response to the latest Meta teaser, “I can’t express thoroughly enough how much I do not want this product.”
But while the current Metaverse iterations are proving not to be “it,” there are several up-and-coming crypto gaming projects that look a lot like how games are supposed to be—fun. The pseudonymous creator Pas and his company OhBabyGames are putting together a kart game in the vein of Mario Kart or Crash Team Racing, but instead of playing as an Italian plumber or a wily bandicoot, famous “Crypto Twitter” personalities make up the game’s roster of playable characters.
Elsewhere, Studio369 is busy building what it calls the “only online competitive squad-based VR mech game,” MetalCore. Like other attempts at putting games on the blockchain, MetalCore tokenizes many in-game items as NFTs and even lets so-called “barons” lend them out to players in return for a cut of their in-game earnings. But MetalCore stands out from the pack because it has graphics and gameplay to rival that of existing triple-A games like Halo or Titanfall. Check out the trailer here to see what I mean.
Finally, I can’t write about crypto games without acknowledging the elephant—or rather monkey—in the room. Yuga Labs’ Otherside Metaverse has stayed relatively under the radar since its record-breaking land sale at the start of June, but that doesn’t mean its developers aren’t hard at work. With near-limitless funding, it seems likely that the Bored Ape Yacht Club creator is cooking up something special. From the teasers released so far, the project looks miles ahead of other Metaverses under construction. And with big names like Eminem and Snoop Dogg repping Otherside at the MTV Video Music Awards in August, it’ll likely draw in a big player base once it launches.
The first wave of crypto gaming might have promised too much and disappointed, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t quality projects out there if you look. Now is the time to start paying attention, so you’re ready once the hype returns.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH, BTC, and several other cryptocurrencies. The information in this piece is for educational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.