7 levels of the Metaverse value chain.
Trillion dollars: This is how much the private sector is investing in the Metaverse.
Level 1: experience
Many people think about the 3-D space that will surround us. But the metaverse is not 3D or 2D, or even necessarily graphic; it is about the unshakable dematerialization of physical space, distances and objects. It includes 3D games like Fortnite on our consoles, Beat Saber in our virtual reality headsets, and Roblox on our computers. This also includes Alexa in our kitchens, Zoom in our virtual offices, Clubhouse on our phones and Peloton in our home gyms.
What happens when physical space is dematerialized? Previously scarce experience can become rich. The game shows us the way forward: in a game you can dream of being a rock star, Jedi, racing driver or anything else you can think of. Imagine what happens when you apply this to more familiar experiences. A concert in the physical space, for example, only sells a few seats in the front row – however, a virtual concert can create a personalized level of existence around each individual, in which you can always enjoy the best seat in the house.
The games will continue to evolve to incorporate more events with live entertainment, such as concerts and immersive theater that have performed at Fortnite, Roblox and Rec Room. Esports and online communities are enriched with social entertainment. Meanwhile, traditional industries like tourism, education, and live performance are being reshaped around a gaming mentality and a virtual economy of abundance.
The live events that I addressed here lead to another aspect of the meta-metastasis experience: the complexity of the content community. In the past, customers were just content consumers; today, they are also content creators and content amplifiers. In the past, the term “user-generated content” was used when it came to trivial functions such as blog comments or video uploads. Content is not simply created by people: it arises from their interactions and feeds the essence of the conversations within their communities. Content generates content: the virtual flywheel of content, events and social interactions. When we speak of “immersing” in the future, we are not only referring to immersion in a graphic space or a story world, but also to social immersion and its sparks for engagement and content promotion.
Level 2: Explore
The Discovery course is about push and pull to give people new experiences. It’s a huge ecosystem and one of the most lucrative for many businesses – including some of the largest in the world. In general, most discovery systems can be classified as either inbound (the person is actively seeking information about the experience) or outbound (marketing is not specifically requested from the person even if they are signed up).
- Real-time presence
- Community-driven content
- N of your friends like app
- App Store (together with ratings, rating system and classification / tagging)
- Curation – via app listing in shops, flavor manufacturers and “influencers”
- Show advertisements
- Spam (Email, LinkedIn, Discord)
Most of the above are known to internet users at this point, so here we will focus on aspects of the discovery that will become more prominent in the metaverse.
First, community-driven content is a much more effective means of discovery than most forms of marketing. When people are genuinely interested in the content or events they’re attending, they get the word out. Since content can be exchanged, processed and shared more easily even in more meta-verse contexts, the content itself becomes a marketing asset. One example that has come up is NFTs: they love or hate them, two of their main advantages are the relative ease with which they can be made available to decentralized exchanges and the supporting economy, more direct engagement between creators and the community. The content marketplace is becoming an alternative to the app marketplace as a means of discovery.
Real-time presence functions are a special form of the community interface. Instead of focusing on what people like, this is about what people are doing right now. This is very relevant in a metaverse where a lot of value comes from interacting with friends through shared experiences.
The various walled gardens for certain games make good use of the real-time presence: when you log into Steam, Battle.net, Xbox or PlayStation you will see that your friends are now playing every game. Outside of games, the clubhouse shows the power of this structure: deciding which room to join depends largely on the list of people you follow.
Just as we dematerialize physical reality, metastases also digitize social structures. While earlier stages of the Internet were defined by social media “clinging” to some monolithic providers, a decentralized identity ecosystem could shift power to social groups themselves. Clubs show up at the clubhouse and plan a party in the Rec Room; Guild changes between games; A group of friends jumps back and forth between experiences on Roblox. This is the marketing sense of a complex content community.
Real-time presence awareness, which spans the multitude of activities in the metaverse, is one of the greatest discovery opportunities for developers. Discord has a presence detection SDK that works in various game environments. Once this (or something similar) becomes more generally accepted and evident, over time we will increasingly move from asynchronous “social networks” to “social activities”. The experience of providing community leaders with the tools to launch activities that people really want to get involved in will guide the way.
Level 3: The Creator Economy
Not only are Metaverse experiences becoming more immersive, social, and real-time, but the number of people who create them is growing exponentially. This tier contains all of the technology developers use on a daily basis to create experiences that people enjoy.
Earlier creative industries developed along consistent patterns, be it in the metaverse, in games, in web development or in e-commerce:
Pioneering time: The first people to create experiences for a particular technology don’t have the tools, so they build everything from scratch. The first web pages were coded directly in HTML; People self-provision shopping carts for ecommerce sites; Programmers wrote directly into the graphics hardware for the games.
Technical age: After initial success in a creative market, the number of people in groups exploded. Building from scratch is often too slow and expensive to meet demand, and the workflow becomes more complex. The first tools on a market tend to reduce the overload on engineers by providing them with SDKs and middleware to save time. For example, Ruby on Rails makes it easy for developers (along with a large number of other application server stacks) to create data-driven websites. In games, graphics libraries like OpenGL and DirectX give programmers the ability to render 3D graphics without knowing a lot of low-level coding.
Creative era: Ultimately, designers and developers don’t want coding bottlenecks slowing them down – and programmers want to add their skills to unique aspects of a project. This era is marked by the dramatic and exponential increase in the number of Creators. Creators get tools, templates, and content marketplaces that reorient the bottom-up, code-centric workflow to the creative-centric top-down process.
Today you can start an ecommerce website in Shopify in minutes without knowing a single line of code. Websites can be created and maintained in Wix or Squarespace. 3D graphics experiences can be created in game engines like Unity and Unreal without ever touching the lower level rendering APIs – with the intuitive user interface in their studio environments.
Experiences in the metaverse are becoming more vivid, social, and constantly updated. Previously, creator-centric experiences in the metaverse have been geared towards centrally managed platforms like Roblox, Rec Room, and Manticore – where a full suite of tools, discovery, and networking features has enabled integrated social networking and monetization for an unprecedented number of people to create experiences for others. At Beamable, our vision is to equip independent creators with similar skills, but in a decentralized and open way.
Layer 4: room computer
Spatial Computing suggests hybrid real / virtual computing that removes the barriers between the physical and the ideal world. … Wherever possible, the machine in the room and the room in the machine should bleed into one another. Sometimes this means giving space to the computer, sometimes it means smuggling calculations into objects. Owner…