What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a term coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 science fiction novel. snow crash to describe a future online world based on virtual reality. Some have gone as far as pronouncement Stephenson’s novel a prediction of the future.
Before accepting that it’s a mystical glimpse into the future and invoking the rules of time travel, let’s first investigate what the Metaverse is through the lens of something much more accessible: Minecraft. But, more on this later.
Unlike the Internet or even virtual reality as we know it today, the Metaverse would be a fully immersive 3D environment where people could interact with each other and digital objects as if they were real.
The metaverse doesn’t fully exist yet. However, some platforms have already created experiences close to what the Metaverse will be. Video games, for example, have already pushed the boundaries of gaming through virtual economies and in-game events.
In a nutshell, the Metaverse is a concept of an online 3D universe that combines various virtual spaces. Like a future iteration of the web, the Metaverse is slowly paying off. The goal is to allow users to socialize, play games and even work in these 3D spaces.
One could say that as technology evolved, the appearance of something like the Metaverse was inevitable, a kind of natural evolution as things took their course.
Related: Microsoft Metaverse vs. Facebook Metaverse: What’s the Difference?
What is Web3?
Web3 is the third generation of the World Wide Web and refers to the vision of a decentralized web. The first iteration, or Web1, focused on static content, while Web2 introduced dynamic content and social media features.
Now, with Web3, the focus is shifting to a more decentralized web where users are in control of their own data. Originally called the “Semantic Web” by World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, Web3 is geared toward enabling websites and applications to process information more autonomously and intelligently.
Through technologies such as Big Data, machine learning, and decentralized ledger technology (DLT), data can be processed in a more intelligent and humane way.
How is Minecraft a useful tool for understanding the Metaverse?
Minecraft is a game that allows players to build and explore in a 3D world. It is also one of the first games to offer a virtual economy, with players able to trade items. As such, Minecraft can be used to understand the concept of the Metaverse.
By understanding how to use Minecraft, people can better understand the Metaverse and Web3. Furthermore, they can learn about the potential of these concepts and how they can be used in the real world.
What makes Minecraft such a great metaverse platformer?
A few key factors make Minecraft a great platform for the Metaverse. Minecraft is highly responsive, which means players can create their own content and share it with others. This makes it easy to create new experiences and worlds within the game.
Minecraft also has a large and active community that creates a sense of belonging, allowing players to connect with each other. Most importantly, Minecraft is constantly evolving, with new features and updates being released regularly. This makes it easy to create new experiences and worlds within the game.
There are many more areas where Minecraft has been successful when it comes to metaverses. Let’s break them down below:
The Minecraft metaverse is decentralized: no one owns it
There is a reason why Mark Zuckerberg’s desire to build the Metaverse through Facebook was met with derision by many in the crypto community.
Facebook’s move gives us a glimpse into a metaverse largely owned by tech giants like Zuckerberg. It’s Monopoly all over again and it goes against decentralization, which is essentially what the Metaverse is all about.
On the other hand, Minecraft is a great example of a decentralized metaverse. While Microsoft owns the game, it remains an open platform that anyone can access and play. No company controls the game or dictates what players can do.
Minecraft works well because each metaverse can have its own interaction rules. In Minecraft, anyone can create a metaverse, unlike Facebook’s intention to create a monolithic version of the Metaverse. This decentralization is key to the success of the Metaverse, as it allows for a more democratic and open environment where anyone can contribute.
It’s immersive even with lo-fi technology
For all the hype surrounding the Metaverse, which is a high-tech version of everything we know to be true on the web today, Minecraft gives us a glimpse of what it could really be.
Minecraft managed to be exceptionally immersive while using lo-fi technology, without the need for virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), or holograms. The hype surrounding the impending metaverse assumes that digital worlds can only be truly immersive with virtual reality cameras strapped to our heads. And, perhaps, the wind blowing into our ears from a nano-fan for good measure so we can feel the breeze as we walk in our digital garden.
However, Minecraft proves that metaverses can be immersive even when accessed through old-fashioned computer screens, without the need for VR goggles. In case you haven’t tried it yet, Minecraft can run even on very old computers.
Minecraft has a unique purpose
People play Minecraft for different reasons. Some want to create, some want to explore, and some just want to socialize. In a way, Minecraft has become a platform for people to do all of these things and more.
The game offers a unique purpose that sets it apart from other games on the market. This is one of the main reasons why Minecraft has been so successful. It’s a game that can be anything you want it to be, which makes it perfect for anyone looking to explore the potential of the Metaverse.
Minecraft Education, for example, allows students to experience and imagine worlds and cultures beyond their own. For example, in partnership with Microsoft, Piki Studios helped New Zealand students learn about Te Ao Māori culture through Minecraft.
Related: Metaverse for education: how virtual reality can help schools and universities
How do people interact within a Minecraft metaverse?
Players can interact with each other through various methods such as chat, private messages, and forums. Additionally, players can also join servers to play together. Servers are dedicated game worlds that players can connect to.
The most common way to interact within the Metaverse is to contribute within the context of the server you are on. If you’re on a server trying to hit a huge build, you’ll have to contribute each day to meet the deadline.
If you are part of a Second Life simulation server, you will have to play your role, be it as a warrior, miner or fighter. If you’re on a narrative server with factions and such, you’re going to have to roleplay and make the experience as real as possible for all players.
Notable metaverse projects built on top of Minecraft
There are more than a dozen projects based on the 2011 video game, with seed non-fungible tokens (NFTs) from the world of Minecraft selling for tens of thousands of dollars each.
For example, NFT Worlds is a collection of 10,000 unique NFTs from the Minecraft world. Each NFT has a “world seed” or code capable of spawning a Minecraft world. Metaverse Fates can also be hosted on a player’s own server with the help of verified builders.
Uplift World is another Minecraft metaverse, a play-to-win metaverse built on the WAX blockchain. It also uses NFT and has a tokenized transportation rail system.
Enjin, on the other hand, has also been one of the first releases of a Minecraft metaverse and Java SDK EnjinCraft addon. This has allowed some people to build a Minecraft metaverse on the blockchain using Enjin and Ethereum, providing a glimpse of the future as more developers build on top of Minecraft.