Why metaverse platforms are gamifying their virtual real estate to attract customers

By Alexander Lee

This article is part of a 10-piece Digiday series that explores the value of NFTs and blockchain technology.

Some of today’s leading metaverse platforms have made millions of dollars selling virtual land — but they’re still figuring out how to get users to spend time on their digital property.

There are numerous brokers of virtual land, but a group of prominent digital real estate companies has emerged — Decentraland, The Sandbox, Somnium Space and Cryptovoxels— which Web3 observers have dubbed “the Big Four.”

Until now, virtual real estate has largely been treated as a financial asset, but recent trends in the crypto market indicate that this use case might not be sufficient: As crypto markets continue to crash, the average price of virtual land NFTs in both The Sandbox and Decentraland has dropped by thousands of dollars in recent months. To stop the bleed, both metaverse executives and virtual land investors are becoming increasingly aware of the need to add tangible utility to their digital property, either through gamification, community-building or a combination of the two.

Each prominent virtual land platform operates a digital world consisting of a set number of land parcels — for example, Decentraland has 90,000, The Sandbox has a total of 166,464 — with each parcel acting as a non-fungible token (NFT) that can be bought and sold on the open market. At the time of this article’s writing, the floor price for a parcel of Decentraland land is 2.1 ETH, or approximately $3,400; in The Sandbox, it’s 1.88 ETH, or $3,000. Parcels range in price depending on their size and location.

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Medicine and the metaverse: New tech allows doctors to travel inside of your body

The world of technology is rapidly shifting from flat media viewed in the third person to immersive media experienced in the first person. Recently dubbed “the metaverse,” this major transition in mainstream computing has ignited a new wave of excitement over the core technologies of virtual and augmented reality. But there is a third technology area known as telepresence that is often overlooked but will become an important part of the metaverse.

While virtual reality brings users into simulated worlds, telepresence (also called telerobotics) uses remote robots to bring users to distant places, giving them the ability to look around and perform complex tasks.  This concept goes back to science fiction of the 1940s and a seminal short story by Robert A. Heinlein entitled Waldo.  If we combine that concept with another classic sci-fi tale, Fantastic Voyage (1966), we can imagine tiny robotic vessels that go inside the body and swim around under the control of doctors who diagnose patients from the inside, and even perform surgical tasks.

I know that sounds like pure fiction, but a startup company in Hayward California has recently “flown” a tiny robot inside the digestive track of human subjects. The company is Endiatx, and I had a chance to discuss their technology and vision with CEO Torrey Smith.  As a technologist who has been involved in telepresence research from the early days, I was impressed with the progress Endiatx has made. But before I get into that, let’s jump back in time a few decades and provide some context as to why their breakthrough strikes me as such an unexpected advancement.   

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MetaMundo Launches Pioneering 3D Marketplace for the Metaverse

MetaMundo has launched the first 3D marketplace for collecting metaverse scenes and assets.

By Max Antony Rapkin

Scenes such as 3D galleries, villas, music venues, parks, avatars and vehicles will be sold as NFTs on the marketplace by leading artists, architects, and designers.

Crucially, all 3D NFTs on the marketplace will be compatible with multiple metaverse platforms, such as The Sandbox, Cryptovoxels, Decentraland and Spatial.

“MetaMundo’s vision is to facilitate a beautifully designed, interoperable, and open metaverse – an immersive 3D social internet, where everyone can own and build parts of it through blockchain technology. The marketplace launch is our first major step towards realizing this vision,” said Finn Hansen, co-founder of MetaMundo. “For the first time, we have enabled metaverse users to collect high-quality 3D scenes—minted as NFTs—for use across many virtual environments.

Now, users can visit the marketplace and enjoy an immersive exploration of two scenes built by leading 3D creators Dutchtide, and the American modernist architect Luis Fernandez.

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Meta’s latest VR headset prototypes could help it pass the ‘Visual Turing test’

They’re focusing on delivering HDR, higher resolution screens and more to make VR truly realistic.

By D. Hardawar@devindra

Meta wants to make it clear it’s not giving up on high-end VR experiences yet. So, in a rare move, the company is spilling the beans on several VR headset prototypes at once. The goal, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is to eventually craft something that could pass the “visual Turing Test,” or the point where virtual reality is practically indistinguishable from the real world. That’s the Holy Grail for VR enthusiasts, but for Meta’s critics, it’s another troubling sign that the company wants to own reality (even if Zuckerberg says he doesn’t want to completely own the metaverse).

As explained by Zuckerberg and Michael Abrash, Chief Scientist of Meta’s Reality Labs, creating the perfect VR headset involves perfecting four basic concepts. First, they need to reach a high resolution so you can have 20/20 VR vision (with no need for prescription glasses). Additionally, headsets need variable focal depth and eye tracking, so you can easily focus on nearby and far away objects; as well as fix optical distortions inherent in current lenses. (We’ve seen this tech in the Half Dome prototypes.) Finally, Meta needs to bring HDR, or high dynamic range, into headsets to deliver more realistic brightness, shadows and color depth. More so than resolution, HDR is a major reason why modern TVs and computer monitors look better than LCDs from a decade ago.

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18 people spent a week working in the metaverse. 2 dropped out and the rest felt frustrated and said their eyes hurt, study finds.

The idea of the Metaverse as the future of work has gained traction since Mark Zuckerberg renamed Facebook as Meta.

By Stephen Jones

  • 18 volunteers experimented by spending a week working in the metaverse, using virtual reality.
  • Two dropped out in hours, while the rest reported feeling more anxious and frustrated by the end. 
  • The study lays groundwork for subsequent research into the potential of the metaverse for work. 

The concept of the metaverse has been hailed by evangelists as the future of work, meetings and even the way that companies recruit workers. 

Yet the results of a recent experiment suggest that could still be a long way from reality. 

18 university staff logged into the metaverse for an entire working week. Two of them had to drop out due to nausea, while the rest reported feeling more frustrated, anxious and said their eyes hurt by the end, New Scientist reported.  

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‘Bored Ape’ Unicorn Raises $320M By Selling Virtual Land In Its Metaverse

By Marlize van Romburghmarlizevr

The startup behind the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs has raised as much as $320 million in cryptocurrency by selling 55,000 plots of virtual land in its metaverse. The virtual real estate buying frenzy over the weekend reportedly was so intense that it crashed the Ethereum network and sent fees on the blockchain system soaring. 

The land sale offered buyers the chance to buy a plot in the Otherside metaverse for around $5,800, plus transaction fees. The virtual land sale is believed to be the largest of its kind, according to Bloomberg, which calculated the total proceeds at $320 million. Reuters pinned the number at closer to $285 million, based on the price of the ApeCoin virtual currency. 

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Epic announces the RealityScan iPhone app for turning real things into 3D objects

People can create 3D objects out of whatever they point their iPhone at.

By OLIVER HASLAM

  • RealityScan is a new app for creating 3D models of objects.
  • Epic Games is making a beta version of RealityScan available for testing.

Epic Games has today announced a new iPhone app dubbed RealityScan — the aim of which is to scan objects in the real world and then turn them into 3D objects in the virtual one.

The app is now available in limited beta and those interested in taking it for a spin can get it via TestFlight now. With the app installed, people can use their iPhone’s camera to capture a 3D model of whatever it’s pointing at. The app comes by the way of a collaboration with Capturing Reality.

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Meta AI Labs Introduces BuilderBot, a Voice Control Builder for Virtual Worlds

By Daniel Dominguez

Meta’s latest AI research introduces BuilderBot, a new tool to fuel creativity in the metaverse capable of generating immersive objects through voice commands only.

Building for the metaverse will require major breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. Meta AI labs is already making advancements in research and development as part of a long-term effort to enable the next era of computing.

According to Meta, BuilderBot enables you to describe a world and then it will generate aspects of that world for you, adding that as we advance this technology further, you’re going to be able to create nuanced worlds to explore and share experiences with others with just your voice.

BuilderBot is part of a larger AI project called Project CAIRaoke, which focuses on developing the conversational AI necessary to create these virtual worlds.

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Foodverse: World’s First Food Metaverse Where NFTs Can buy Food IRL

Foodverse: For the first time, chefs, food brands, and restaurants have their own foodverse. The potential for product placement is endless.

By Nicole Buckler 

  • A food metaverse is being launched that brings together the food and beverage industry and foodies
  • The commercial potential for in-metaverse advertising is bright
  • Users can swap NFTs from in the foodverse for real-life food rewards

Gaurav Gupta and Supreet Raju are a husband and wife team. They have created OneRare, the world’s first food metaverse. The Foodverse pulls together the food and beverage industry, and puts it on Web3.

The foodverse is the first-ever foodie platform on the blockchain. It is an opportunity for food businesses to explore new technology and leverage it for marketing, growth and social impact. In other words, the commercial potential for this metaverse is noteworthy.

Users of the foodverse can have virtual experiences, trade food NFTs, play games, and interact with foodies from around the world.

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The Real-World Metaverse belongs in the automotive cockpit

Maybe this is what the Metaverse would look like.

Chen-Ping Yu explores potential use cases of the ‘Real-world Metaverse’ in the vehicle cockpit as well as the tech that’s still missing to make it a reality.

“Metaverse” is one of the hottest topics these days, spearheaded by Meta Platforms Inc. (then Facebook) riding on the successes of its Oculus virtual reality (VR) headset. While the Metaverse is intimately related to VR, there is also the real-world version of Metaverse that has been generating quite a bit of excitement recently. Here we’ll explore the importance of the Real-World Metaverse, a critical technology that it needs but has been largely overlooked, and how automotive is an optimal platform to deploy the Real-World Metaverse.

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How the Metaverse is Transforming Real Estate

Investors have spent millions of dollars buying land in the Metaverse over the last few months

The term ‘Metaverse’ first appeared in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 book Snow Crash. For several years, it was primarily limited to science fiction and, to a degree, gaming platforms that tried to recreate an immersive replica of the real world on digital platforms.

Recently, the Metaverse has gained momentum due to the launch of several blockchain-driven apps that decentralized virtual worlds – with major implications for the real estate industry.

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