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Five Metaverse Myths You Should Be Aware Of

Debunking some of the key misconceptions, consistently dished up by pundits, the press, and many others in between.

Tue May 10 2022

5 Minutes

metaverse-myths

Introduction

It’s difficult enough navigating your way down the rabbit hole that is the metaverse without getting sidetracked into warrens, blind alleys, and other subterranean cul-de-sacs. Inaccuracies and disinformation – circulated throughout press coverage, opinion pieces, and (unsurprisingly) social media commentary – conspire to derail best efforts to make sense of this nascent ecosystem.

While everyone undoubtedly has their own pet peeves, the teams from Parcel and PangeaDAO have compiled (and cleared up) a few of the most prevalent myths to help you find your way.

Myth 1. Meta is building the metaverse

You may remember back at the end of October 2021, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook was changing its name to Meta and embarking upon the task of building the metaverse. This was news to a number of established projects that had already been making important contributions to an open metaverse for several years. What Zuckerberg was actually saying was that he was building a metaverse experience. But of course, everyone started talking about projects like Decentraland and The Sandbox as metaverses. Roblox is a metaverse. Fortnite is a metaverse. The Bored Apes are building a metaverse! No, they’re not.

The metaverse is ultimately a separate layer to our reality that is immersive and persistent. Think of it as the ‘spatial internet.’ Y’know – websites you can walk into. Shopping and socializing, gaming, banking, choosing a restaurant, or even booking a taxi will be seamless, more intimate components of our daily lives. And that’s just for starters. It won’t be entirely experienced in virtual surroundings (this tends to sideline projects like OVER and SuperWorld). Nor will it just be a massive video game, or advertisements that interrupt you on your morning run (okay, so there may be a bit of that).

Venture capital firm a16z recently posted an article that is both a fantastic metaverse explainer and lays out the essential ingredients for its success. It should put to bed any misconceptions about the metaverse as well as rampant misuse of the term. Although it probably won’t.

Just remember (and we’re talking to you here, Zuck) claiming you’re building a metaverse is like saying you’re creating the global economy, when you’re really just starting a company – or even simply rebranding your old one.

Myth 2. [INSERT WORLD/LOCATION] is the best place to buy virtual real estate

While there are popular worlds and preferred locations within them, anybody who insists that one particular project or set of map coordinates is the best place to invest your hard-earned crypto should be approached in the same way one approaches a naked man singing show tunes on a street corner. That is to say, you probably shouldn’t.

Nobody knows which worlds or projects will succeed or fail – hence the presence of carefully-worded disclaimers attached to articles like this one. And though proximity to certain areas within worlds are seen as attractive to buyers, the old maxim of “location, location, location” has been superseded by “teleport, teleport, teleport.”

When considering where you should buy property in the metaverse, your best starting point is to ask yourself, “WHY am I buying property in the metaverse?” Do you want to display your art? Open a shop? Host a music festival? Create an experience for tourists? Build a play-to-earn game? Answer some of these questions and you’ll get a better sense of where you might want to establish yourself. You’ll also stand a better chance of avoiding misleading recommendations. No guarantees on naked troubadours however.

Myth 3. You need to own virtual real estate to participate in the metaverse

You might wonder why a marketplace and a DAO focused on virtual real estate would call out this particular point. Mainly, because the people in our communities are much smarter than we are. We’d never get away with spouting a line like that. But also, it’s just not true.

Certainly, owning land is a great way to stake your claim, but it is by no means the only avenue to a rich and fruitful experience in the metaverse.

Many of the most exciting opportunities created by the metaverse are the range of careers that now exist for creators. Not only do architects, game-developers, fashion designers, musicians, filmmakers, and others have more ways than ever to get their work in front of the public; they’re playing a central role in shaping the look, feel, and function of the metaverse. Better still, there are an increasing number of opportunities for them to monetize and make a living from their work. No land ownership required.

Myth 4. virtual real estate is scarce

By which we mean it isn’t and also that it is. Confused much?

With new projects and land sales being launched seemingly every week, there is no shortage of interesting buying options. Where scarcity exists in the metaverse is in the lack of affordable plots in established projects like Decentraland and The Sandbox, whose maps have been treated like giant Monopoly boards by a select few development companies. Not surprisingly, they’re the same companies who espoused the original myth of scarcity.

However, we are in fact staring down the barrel of an authentic scarcity crisis.

New projects and land sales may indeed be providing fresh opportunities for buyers, but if we don’t address the scarcity of creatives who can build the structures, games, events, and other experiences that will make these projects worth inhabiting, then the metaverse is going to resemble a collection of empty Disneylands, devoid of rides, attractions and, ultimately, visitors.

The phrase “Content is King” (or Queen for that matter) has never been more relevant.

Myth 5. you’ve missed the boat – it’s too late to get into the metaverse

Some say we’re in the ‘MySpace era’ of the metaverse, but it’s our view that MySpace is a technological marvel compared to where we are presently.

Consider the Pew Research Center’s World Wide Web Timeline. It’s our estimation that, right now, it is the mid-1990s in the development of the metaverse: 18 million US homes are online, but only 3% of users have ever signed onto the World Wide Web; Amazon.com opens for business; Microsoft releases the first version of the Internet Explorer; Craig Newmark starts Craigslist; and the Netscape IPO triggers a gold rush for Web startups. Sound familiar?

Just a few years later, in 1999, David Bowie offered this prescient take on the opportunities and impacts of the Internet in an interview with the BBC. Replace his references to “the Internet” with “metaverse” and the story is remarkably similar. One wonders what Bowie, if he were alive today, would make of the metaverse. No doubt, he’d be busy actually making the metaverse.

We are still early. You’re going to hear that a lot, because it’s true. Whether as an investor, creator, brand, or user, the metaverse is worlds, layers, and goodness-knows-what of opportunities just waiting to be brought into existence.


Disclaimer: the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. None of what you’ve just read (if indeed you got this far) should be regarded as financial advice. Do your own homework. Take a deep breath. wgmi!

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