The Top 5 Metaverses of 2022!

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Metaverse

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When it comes to real estate in the Metaverse, not all lands are created equal. While there are lots of options out there for those looking to invest and build in the Metaverse, only a handful of them seem to have any momentum or adoption. We don’t want to offer you financial advice, and you should research all of the Metaverse projects you’re interested in on your own, but these are a few of the current options that we think are worth a closer look.

The Sandbox

What can you do with land in The Sandbox?

The Sandbox is hands down one of the most hyped metaverse players out there. They currently have the backing of major investors from all over the map. Couple that with their high-profile celebrity and brand partnerships, and you’re looking at a force to be reckoned with. These aren’t some small time indie developers either. The Sandbox is being developed by Animoca Brands, who recently held another funding round that valued them at $5.9 Billion . That’s a lot of cheddar!

The Sandbox is a Voxel style game engine that allows land owners to create unique experiences similar to how Minecraft works. Key things that set it apart include the updated graphics engine (that looks much better than Minecraft), their robust tools for developers that allow for a wide range of game types to be built, and of course, their ability to build hype and awareness for the game through their partnerships.

Unfortunately, for aspiring land owners, all of this doesn’t come cheap. The floor price for the smallest sized plot of land is currently around 1.6 ETH with prices escalating quickly for the larger spaces. That’s about $2,700 at the time of writing for the opportunity to build in The Sandbox Metaverse. It may seem like a lot, but The Sandbox is probably the safest bet right now when it comes to longevity and a proven track record of success. There’s a good reason it’s first on our list.

The Otherside (BAYC)

The Otherside announcement trailer

There’s no arguing that Bored Ape Yacht Club is the de facto leader when it comes to NFTs. Over the past year, they have surpassed any that came before them, even CryptoPunks, as the #1 collection without equal. When they announced they were going to be releasing a metaverse game and that those holding mutants and apes would get to mint them, it really cemented their place in NFT history. But many still had questions.

Would their metaverse be any good? Would they even finish it? What would it do?

Well, we’re happy to say that, not only are they building it, but if the early tests are any indication, it’s looking really good. In fact, it doesn’t just look good for an NFT project’s game; it looks good even compared with the current leaders in the blockchain or metaverse gaming niche. This is a testament to the hard work of the team at Improbable who are busy building the game.

The visual style of The Otherside immediately draws comparisons to Fortnite. While it isn’t a shooter, the art style and movement definitely bring the highly popular FPS to mind. Lands in The Otherside are randomly generated and have various characteristics, including resources, visual styles, and even tiny little aliens called Kodas (which are quite valuable). These lands also don’t come cheap. They currently list on the open market for a floor price of 2.16 ETH. That’s over $3,600 right now!

Despite the high cost, this is definitely one to look further into. While we don’t yet know any concrete details on how the lands will work, with the full weight of the Bored Ape brand and the team at Improbable working behind the scenes, I have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to be good…

Decentraland

A walkthrough of Decentraland

Decentraland may be one of the most approachable metaverse plays on our list. Launched in 2020, Decentraland is a fully browser-based game, meaning there is no need to purchase any additional hardware or have an extensive gaming machine to run it. In fact, it can run on most laptops just fine. It also benefits from being available to play right now and requiring $0 to get started. This makes it a great place to get introduced to the idea of the “Metaverse” if you haven’t actually experienced any of the games on our list.

For those looking for a better experience, you do still have the option of a desktop client, but it’s completely optional and unnecessary. When you join the game for the first time, you can create an account with your crypto wallet or simply join as a guest. Again, the real benefit here is the ease of access to get in and start playing around. After a brief tutorial in the lobby, you can choose from a range of experiences to try out. These are curated lands already developed and available in the game and feature several different game types. The gameplay is relatively smooth and easy to play.

Unfortunately, that’s about where the positives end. The engine feels a bit outdated already, and the graphical style leaves a lot to be desired. Once you get into the game, it isn’t obvious what to do, so you’re left to just wander around the areas. This wouldn’t be that bad if there were contextual events or directives to achieve, but the game feels sort of like logging into a brand new Minecraft server, except all you can do is run and jump, and that’s it. The experience is a bit of a letdown to say the least.

Even though this initial impression is a bit lackluster, it doesn’t mean Decentraland can’t one day be good. It’s possible that with the right creator tools, users could create much richer environments with more interesting types of gameplay and more direction for players. That’s the intriguing part about owning land in any of these metaverse plays. Perhaps you’ll be the one to really crack the note, so to speak, and find that killer gameplay experience that really sets the game apart from the crowd.

Decentraland has been around for a while and has several interesting partnerships. They even recently created a specialized land for the Netflix movie “The Gray Man” to provide an extension of the movie for fans. These kinds of creative promotional stunts will help to get users through the door, and it means that there’s a potential opportunity for solid exposure.

Land and items in Decentraland are typically purchased with their own custom ERC20 token called MANA, but land can also be purchased on OpenSea with Eth. The current floor prices are around 3,000 MANA (or 1.8 ETH), which makes Decentraland lands one of the more expensive on the list at around $3200.

While Decentraland does have an established brand and name recognition, as well as some solid partners, it’s a tough recommendation to make for someone just starting out with digital real estate. The game doesn’t have the graphical quality of The Otherside and lacks the extensive tooling that The Sandbox provides. If you’re looking for something to just tinker around with that your friends can easily jump into, Decentraland might be worth a look in the next dip.

Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity Lands World Premier

Despite their recent troubles, Axie Infinity might be the most high profile project on this list. After skyrocketing to the top of the industry and being touted as the next evolution of gaming, Axie Infinity has seen a huge drop-off in both hype and their userbase. With prices plummeting, Axie has actually become a lot more affordable for the average collector, but that doesn’t mean you should jump in head-first. In fact, we don’t even consider Axie Infinity a metaverse, even though most of the industry does (which is the only real reason why we’re including it in this list).

Axie Infinity has a game within a game where players can own their very own plot of land and create a small, customized area for the Axies to roam, gather, and to decorate with items they’ve earned or purchased in the game. The Axie land experience is much more akin to Farmville or a mobile game than it is the Metaverse we all imagine. There’s no VR here, you can’t design unique experiences for players, and decorations are limited to what you can earn in the game. On top of that, Axie has a heavy tint towards the blockchain side of things with several unique tokens, a custom blockchain and wallet that require setup and bridging, and some economics that don’t quite add up. Luckily, if you were rooting for Axie, it’s not all negatives.

Whether you consider Axie Infinity a metaverse or not, it does have a lot of positives. The cute art design and overall aesthetic are appealing to a broad audience with a wide range of players from all age groups, genders, and backgrounds. Axie also has strong name recognition and awareness within the gaming and blockchain industries, all of which will help the game stay relevant long term. They also have an existing userbase of die-hard fans that absolutely love the game and aren’t exactly quiet about it. Taking a quick look at Axie fans on Twitter shows a loyal and passionate group of gamers.

Even with all of this playing in their favor, we have a hard time recommending Axie as a metaverse play. For most, the Axie lands are not going to be the best choice unless you’re already invested and interested in the Axie Infinity game itself. We aren’t saying that it’s a bad investment or that it won’t amass a playerbase, but we are saying that it isn’t the Metaverse. Moreover, it has a very limited system that only involves utilizing your land to further your resource gathering and earning within the Axie world. If you love Axie Infinity, or if you love collectible card games, this might be worth a look for you. For everyone else, with Axie lands coming in at roughly 1+ Eth ($2,000), we think there are better options on this list.

The Wildcard - VRChat

VRChat’s recent Avatar Dynamics Dev Talk

We know, we know, this is supposed to be an article about buying land in the Metaverse, but hear us out, because VRChat has a lot to offer. Despite the fact that you can’t actually buy land in VRChat (it’s free), VRChat has become the most metaverse game out there. All of the projects on this list may call themselves a “metaverse,” but VRChat is probably the closest to actually accomplishing that Ready Player One-style Metaverse we all dream of.

Here are a few reasons why we think it deserves to be on this list:

  • VRChat is the only project on this list that is actually in VR
  • VRChat allows anyone to build amazing lands and it doesn’t cost $3,000 to get started
  • VRChat already has a vibrant (and quite large) community of developers and users building really cool stuff
  • VRChat has VR KMART (Watch our adventure in VR KMART to see it in action )

If that all sounds amazing, it’s because it pretty much is. VRChat has been around for a long time too. It released all the way back in 2017 and is still going strong. As a matter of fact, it has the most active users of any project on the list by far. All of this makes for a very intriguing play when it comes to the Metaverse, and you can still make money off of VRChat if that’s your goal; you just won’t do it from investing in virtual real estate.

How you might ask? Why, building of course!

VRChat has a robust market for freelance developers to create new experiences, design custom avatars, outfits, you name it. Whether you commission new artwork and decide to sell the avatars or design a custom experience for players to visit, there are a lot of ways to capitalize on the success of VRChat. It may not be a traditional “metaverse” in the eyes of the crypto crowd due to the lack of $3,000 1x1 land plots, but it may be the most “metaverse” out of all of them. We think it at least deserves an honorable mention and believe that the future of VRChat looks pretty damn bright.

Our Final Verdict

While we don’t want to recommend one particular metaverse or give financial advice, we don’t believe all metaverses are created equal. While these projects are some of our favorites and we think you should give them a look, there are countless others out there. Just because we didn’t cover your preferred metaverse doesn’t mean it’s bad; it just means it might be a bit more on the risky side. If you do your own research and learn about their community, their developer tools, any long term plans, and the team behind the project, we’re positive you will make the right choice!

Interested in getting your first Metaverse Real Estate? Check out our guide on “How to Buy Land in the Metaverse!”

If you buy something through our posts, MSQ may get a share of the sale. For more details, read here.
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