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Through the Looking Glass: A Guide to Discovering the Metaverse

Kelly Vero here! Creative badass, future-gazer, game developer and general metaverse nerd. I like to find simple ways to educate and entertain, the metaverse really isn’t as complicated as you might think.

women looking through digital glass

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” Alice asked.

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

We're all a bit Alice sometimes: she was unsure about what was on the other side and quite rightly so, for it was filled with a world of hateful deeds but also friends for life, if she knew that beforehand, would she have ever fallen down the rabbit hole? I could end the article here by saying, “and that's all the metaverse is”. However, I think it bears a little bit more investigation than that.

First of all, what are you looking for in the metaverse?

There should be some key things that help you to decide whether this metaverse is for you. I like to approach the metaverse with an idea of what it is that I want to get from the metaverse. And remember the metaverse is a multifaceted descriptor. It covers everything from fintech to tools systems. Don't be under the illusion that the metaverse is just a thing. It's a multitude of things.

Here's a quick description about exactly what the metaverse is:

Persistent, shared, interoperable.

That's it. You shouldn't be looking at the Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, or Ernest Cline definitions unless you really believe that the metaverse is some concoction of a writer’s imagination. These definitions are, in some cases, over 30 years old now anyway, and how many Gen Zs or Xennials really believe that the future is 30 years old?

The basic definition itself probably does hold true, but the metaverse is an evolution, it will continue to shape and develop.

Follow the White Rabbit

Like a total nerd, I have a checklist of what I believe makes a good metaverse, do you want to see it? These points might help you as you navigate this broad church of experience for the first time.

  1. Ease of use. Is this metaverse easy to find? Is it aimed at my demographic? Is it something that I will be interested in? And once I've decided yes, it is all of those things it should be a breeze to log into. Decentraland does just that. As a visitor to the metaverse you have an opportunity for a period of time to surf (!) or experience the world without ever having to hand over your email address or your first born child to experience what is happening in that world.

  2. Content makes a metaverse. The failure to discover content easily is a big red flag for anybody entering this new social space. Social = content and that’s the bottom line: either the platform creates the content or the users do. If you're just expected to walk into a metaverse that has absolutely nothing going on this is not the place for anyone. Unless you're pretty happy to just stand there doing absolutely nothing in an empty room, that just looks pretty. Trust me, I have seen hundreds of people standing in a virtual space where they have no clue what they are doing.

  3. Where are all the people. Where are all the people? A key factor in deciding whether this is the metaverse I want to join usually is how many people are either on the server or in the instance that I wish to land. 100 users per day? 1000 users per day? It’s not much, is it? Unfortunately, vanity precedes sanity when it comes to getting people on to metaverse platforms. You know what? That's fair enough, because the metaverse has to be marketed just like everything else. However, I would rather be in a space where there are lots of people and where I can be sociable and have a great time as well as taking some time to myself and crafting my real estate or my apartment, etc. Rather than being in a space where there is literally nobody and I'm just moving through districts and prefectures inside the metaverse in an endless search for like-minded individuals.

The thing that I love about the metaverse is creativity. The metaverse is built around, or it should be built around a creative economy. If it isn't built around the creative economy, there's nothing for you to discover. Unless it's been placed there by the developers themselves. And that's not a lot of fun. Because looking through the eyes of somebody else and their dreams and their hopes and wishes is exactly not what you want to be able to discover when you're embarking on new lands, new frontiers or new universes. So that brings me to finding metaverses that might be fun for you.

  1. Avakin Life. The reasons why I like this particular metaverse are many - there are over 250,000 people in Avakin Life every single day. However, I love how it skews with my demographic. I’m not a kid, so Roblox is not my jam. Avakin Life allows me to do all the things that I would do during my day to day but just inside the metaverse; so, if I want to have a job, I can get a job in the metaverse no problem (I’m a hairdresser). If I want to go to hang out on a yacht somewhere, I can do that. Actually, I can't actually do that in reality, but you know you don't have to dream in the metaverse.

  2. Decentraland. There are a lot of people in Decentraland but more importantly there are a lot of activities in Decentraland. The diverse and focused approach in Denetraland is like no other. Culture and subculture is heavily supported here, whilst maintaining that connectivity through social development, and I really enjoy that about Decentraland. You also can use interoperable NFTs here as well as their own currency MANA which is traded both inside and outside of the experience.

  3. The Rec Room. It’s a watercooler moment-type place, a space to collaborate, learn and socialise. It’s a place for fun, but it’s also a proto boardroom type experience where you should be able to interconnect the dots of bluechips worldwide in a commerce space.

  4. Spatial. I really enjoy Spatial because there's always something interesting happening there. It utilises a really important system for metaverse development and that's jump in play or as we call it in the games industry: instancing. You don't have to be necessarily invited to things to go there - but when stuff is live and happening you can literally jump between events servers. And… and this is big, it supports video and audio way better than a lot of its contemporaries (who literally don’t bother).

  5. Zepeto. Full disclosure, I’m in my 40s - so is Zepeto for me - hell yes it is! From shopping at Gucci to dance classes, there’s an abundance of activity in this particular metaverse. Go and live your best BTS life.

Life, what is it but a dream?

A final couple of words of advice when navigating the metaverse fully: if you have to buy a device to access an experience then it’s a walled garden. The elephant in the room is always there. If I have to buy a headset to visit a biodome, then yeah, the graphics are great sure, but this just cost me $500. How is that equitable for universal access?

Do you have to pay a subscription to visit a specific platform? That’s not cool. The metaverse, for the most part, is free and if you want to buy coins to access new digital fashion, interiors or items, that’s your choice, but it must never be the first thing that you do in order to get there.

You've got a cell phone and that cell phone should be quite enough for you to navigate to where you want to be and what you want to do and where you want to go. The world is yours, take it.


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