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I think there is evidence for a potentially HUGE market for a "metaverse", although it might depend on how narrow is your definition of it. Shared worlds in which people both explore and express their creativity, not in the comfort of their bubbles, but in spaces shared with total strangers, are definitely "in". The (relatively) new brand of survival games like Ark and Conan Exiles hints at that when you see what people do in them. You see people flock to the official and popular servers while a lot of them could easily enough play solo or limit themselves to small private servers shared only with friends. Why, then, go play on servers populated with strangers? For a lot of them, the appeal is less about surviving, and more about creating, building together, and exploring to discover what other people created together elsewhere in this same shared space. It’s very close to what Second Life is about, only on a smaller, much less ambitious, scale. So, TL;DR, what does it tell us? That people are very interested in the idea of sharing creative space not just with friends, but also with total strangers (I do want to emphasize ‘creative’ here, it is not just about murdering one another on a grand scale like Fortnite or PUBG). But perhaps that, while people have interest in that, they have no interest in doing it in the scale of a metaverse? I think that we have strong evidence that they do. Surely you have heard of Star Citizen. People have, so far, pledged the head-spinning amount of 196 million dollars for a game that is still in alpha testing, and many argue will never see the light of day. Why? Because they just LOVE the idea of being space explorers in a gigantic shared universe (universe being the key word here, of course!). But, you might argue, you find other games out there, already out, with a much bigger universe, such as Elite Dangerous! But what is seducing to people is not just the scale, it’s the ability to feel like you are living in it. It’s waking up in your bed when you log in, pour yourself some coffee, get inside your ship with its fully fleshed out interiors, complete with living quarters. Living the space life. And what do people want to do the most in this shared universe? There is combat, both on-foot and in ships, but various polls and surveys organized by the community paint a clear picture of what people want to do the most. It’s not the combat, although there IS, of course, interest for it. It’s everything else! They want to be merchants, rescuers, settlers, farmers, repairmen, salvagers, miners… Cloud Imperium Games has made tons of money selling ships such as a flying hospital and a starliner for hundreds of dollars each! And people cannot even fly them yet, what they bought is the promise that, a few years from now, they might perhaps do such things. TL;DR: How interested in a metaverse can someone who spent over 200USD on the promise that perhaps they will be able to run their own space-hospital or travel agency years from now be? How interested about it can everyone be when they collectively raised over 196 million dollars on this same promise? Very, I would argue. This kind of commitment amidst the controversies surrounding the game is insane. To cut my rant short, my opinion is that interest in the metaverse, interest in Second Life’s vision, is very real. The problem lies with the lack of appealing options. In the days of AAA games, people have very high standards and make their mind in minutes. Most virtual spaces, including SL, do not even remotely meet those standards at first sight, and most people won’t stay long enough to make an effort and discover the jewel hidden under the very thick and smelly dirt. In lack of options that meet their standards, they fall back to spaces which meet their superficial standards but lack the vision and ambition of Second Life. They play Ark, Conan Exiles, Fallout76 (or soon will be), and dream of Star Citizen.
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Oct 17, 2018