What Is The Metaverse?

The concept of a virtual world, or metaverse, has been around since the early 1990’s. However, the term has become extraordinarily popular over the past few months. There have been some notable moves by major companies such as the recent name change by tech giant Facebook (now called Meta) and their plans to hire 10,000 employees to work on metaverse related projects. This has left many wondering what is a metaverse? So we at Lion Gaming Group decided to start a series on metaverse applications that will highlight companies and technological advancements in the space. Continue reading this brief to grasp the basics of the metaverse.

The metaverse defined

To start, the term metaverse is a buzzword that seems to be thrown around in every news outlet, YouTube channel, Twitter thread, and just about everywhere that online discourse takes place. It’s a term that’s coming into the spotlight in a way similar to terms like DeFi, initial-coin-offering, blockchain, crypto, etc have.

There is not a set definition on what a metaverse is and what it is not. Broadly speaking, the term metaverse is usually used to describe a virtual world that can be accessed through the internet where users can interact with each other, buy and sell digital goods, change virtual clothes, play games, and navigate a virtual landscape. The game Second Life is commonly referred to as the first metaverse, due to its complex in-game economy, customization options for players avatars, and the depth of virtual experiences available.

Why all the buzz surrounding the metaverse now?

Due to advancements in technology in the past few years, specifically cryptocurrency and blockchain, the possibilities for metaverse applications have exploded. Recently, many metaverse projects have started incorporating blockchain technology to provide players with the ability to have ownership of their in-game assets by including a mechanism for players to generate, or mint, unique NFT’s (non-fungible tokens).

Game developers can now create games where players have the ability to generate income while playing the game – this concept is known as play-to-earn. One example of such a game is Axie Infinity. Moreover, through the use of NFTs the assets inside the games can now be owned and transferred from player-to-player. An example of how this new business model works is that Player A can mint a NFT from the game creator at “x” price, and later transfer the NFT they acquired to another Player B at “y” price. In simpler terms, a player can sell in-game assets, such as the sunglasses they no longer want for their avatar, to another player, in-exchange for assets with tangible value.

What is another example of a metaverse application?

One of the most popular metaverse applications currently available is Decentraland. Decentraland was founded in 2015 and first opened to the public in early 2020. Decentraland is built over the Ethereum blockchain, and is powered by its MANA token, which currently has a fully diluted market cap of over $6bn USD.

The game world of Decentraland consists of 90,601 parcels of in-game land. Each parcel of land is represented by a NFT and can be sold to other players. Notably, Sotheby’s purchased virtual land in Decentraland and created a digital version of its London headquarters. Sotheby’s uses this gallery to showcase and sell its digital art. The most prized parcels of land now sell for upwards of $100k USD per parcel. Decentraland also operates a marketplace for trading NFT assets. In Fall 2021, Decentraland hosted a 4-day music festival which included virtual performances by over 80 artists including Deadmau5, AlunaGeorge, Alison Wonderland, and more.

How does the metaverse apply to the iGaming industry?

The use of virtual goods in gambling is not a new concept. For years, players have been able to deposit in-game assets, or skins, to wager. This is commonly referred to as “skin gambling” and has been most prevalent with the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) video game. However, skin gambling is at best in the grey-market of the iGaming industry as it is in violation of the terms of service of Valve, which operates the marketplace used to convert skins to tangible currency. Additionally, skin gambling operators are not licensed, and are notorious for not ensuring bettors are of legal age. In 2016, wagering with CS:GO skins was estimated to have a global handle of over $5bn USD.

While iGaming has brought about the convenience of instant-access to casino games and betting lines, one of the longest standing challenges to the iGaming industry has been the lack of socializing relative to what brick and mortar casinos offer. As an industry, we have seen a proliferation in live-casino offerings as players yearn for an experience that is not simply a single-player vs computer program experience.

As metaverse applications continue to advance, Lion Gaming envisions a world where you’ll be able to put on your VR headset and sit down at a blackjack table or roulette wheel with your friends and socialize like you would at a brick and mortar casino. Plus, with the flexibility that a virtual world enables, we imagine the gaming experiences to far exceed those of in-person experiences that are limited by vicinity to location, lack of customization, and the laws of physics to name a few. Because of this, the iGaming industry has incredible potential to provide novel experiences that far exceed those offered by land-based casinos.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can incorporate the latest technologies into your iGaming business, contact [email protected] to start the discussion. Visit the Lion Gaming Group blog today in order to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and how they impact the iGaming sector.

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