In the early 2000s, several open source Metaverse projects blossomed to try to create a way to interconnect existing virtual worlds like Second Life to World of Warcraft. With the emergence of video games and digital platforms, the concept of a virtual world you could live inside grew more popular. The internet itself was called “Cyber space” at a certain era.
Instead of memorizing scattered URLS, browsers and search engines make the internet more coherent with an arrangement for what’s relevant to your searches. A 3D internet could play on the concept of browsers with something like “lobbies.”
In-game lobbies are used in video games as a menu screen where users can socialize before hopping into the game. There will likely be a similar evolution in the Metaverse space when a digital world standard protocol is developed,
Avatars are like the user profiles of the Metaverse. Our virtual selves. Like in video games, we can buy virtual outfits and modify our characters to how we’d like. But how will we carry that avatar between worlds – different platforms – different companies?
Blockchain enthusiasts talk about NFTs as avatars. An immutable and transferrable avatar with clear ownership. While that could work to an extent, there is also the issue of varying styles for different worlds. An avatar that looks like a character from Halo won’t necessarily work on Minecraft.
There might be a spectrum of shifting styles similar to what we have with emojis. When you send a smiley face emoji from your Apple device, it will look different on other platforms, such as Facebook. For every emoji, there’s a unique version of it for Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Messenger, Mozilla, and more.
3. Removing Walled Gardens
Gigantic tech companies like Meta aren’t going to hand over their server-based models and proprietary code to help aid in an open Metaverse unless there is profit for them to do so.
The drive would come from FOMO (fear of missing out). If a standard protocol starts to drive people to specific lobbies, private companies will want to join the standard so they can show up on the lobby.
For people outside of the crypto space, wallets hold digital assets like crypto and NFTs. They have a public key that you can use to link up to dApps (decentralized apps) and a private key that you don’t share but you use to control it.
Crypto enthusiasts will point out how in perhaps just a decade, we will be using wallets to sign in to applications rather than email accounts. instead of “sign in with gmail” we will see “connect your wallet”. This would tie our identity throughout different worlds.
5. Standard 3D file formats
When you design a 3D scene or object on Blender, you have the option to export it. There are various formats to pick from, such as .obj or .gltf (the file format Decentraland uses). There would either have to be an easy file converter or an agreed upon file format for objects, similar to the standard CSS file for websites.
Without projects from open source and blockchain developers, the Metaverse will be a collection of private XR worlds that collect your data for the company hosting it. The Metaverse could be based on open protocols and standards. The Metaverse could lean into blockchain tech. The Metaverse could be decentralized, democratized, and diverse. It’s up to how history plays out.