If you’re familiar with the metaverse and Web3 (and can provide reasonably accurate definitions of the terms) then you’re way ahead of the vast majority of the population and, let’s be honest, should be awarded some sort of prize. There’s a good chance you’ve also heard that the metaverse presents a number of new job opportunities for creatives, beyond turning your apartment into a Bitcoin mining farm or attempting to launch the next animal jpeg sensation.
But what are these next-gen career paths? Where do they exist? And how exactly do you get involved? Well, the Parcel Learn team has put together the following guide to give you a nudge in the right direction.
Architecture and design
During the development of Parcel's brand new platform for creators, the aptly named ‘Creatorverse’, we’ve spoken to dozens of architects and designers forging careers in the metaverse. Many have made the transition from careers in traditional IRL firms; others have graduated from degrees and plunged straight into projects in worlds like Decentraland and The Sandbox. Some architects we chatted with are charging six-figure sums for their work and are booking projects months in advance. Clearly, if you’re familiar with standard 3D modeling tools or even game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine, there’s gold in them thar virtual hills.
And the augmented reality projects like OVER are also attracting a fantastic array of talent, busy converting our physical world into a sort of Pokémon GO on acid.
- untitled, xyz – creator extraordinaire across Decentraland, Somnium Space, Mona, and Voxels.
- Cybernerdbaby – AR innovator, working with brands and producing weird and wonderful creations for the OVER platform.
- Blender and Unity – essential tools for the architecturally inclined, not to mention gaming, avatars, immersive environments, and more.
Speaking of Pokémon Go, the ever-reliable Andrew R. Chow from TIME, recently published an article that’s sure to raise the eyebrows of more than a few game makers.
TL;DR, Niantic, the company behind the aforementioned AR gaming blockbuster, is making its mapping system available to developers to create their own games. Anybody who’s witnessed someone falling into a water fountain while trying to catch an Eevee will know this has the potential to be huge.
And if you’ve been paying attention to other video games industry news recently, you’ll be familiar with terms like ‘P2E’ and ‘blockchain gaming’. Major studios have been making considerable investments in the space. The company behind Final Fantasy, Square Enix, recently sold off a chunk of its holdings and IPs to invest in blockchain gaming.
So what does this mean for game makers?
For starters, a massive boost in demand for talent. Blockchains like Ethereum, Polygon, Solana, Avalanche, and Binance all have studios vying to create the next big title and establish the dominance of their platform, which means they need creators to help them. Second, the metaverse model of gaming ain’t like the old days, when creators would slave away on a AAA title, with little to show for their efforts other than a paycheck and an addiction to Redbull.
Play-to-earn and the blockchain have shifted power to the creator. If you know the tools and your concept is compelling enough, then buy-in from a major studio, console support, or flashy, photorealistic graphics are no longer necessary to create a hit with players.
One of the big metaverse movers in 2022 has been fashion, evidenced by the popularity of Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week in March. Major industry brands descended upon the virtual world for runway shows, wearable drops, and giant walk-in bottles of Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair. Even if the aesthetic of Decentraland avatars isn’t your style, it’s tough to deny that virtual fashion is here to stay.
While its optimism may have been dented by recent market volatility – or a ‘bowel-loosening nosedive’ depending on your tolerance for risk – Morgan Stanley, at the tail-end of 2021, suggested sales of digital fashion and luxury goods could reach $50 million by 2030. Judging by the size and output of the metaverse wearables community, and increased interest in the space from brands and creators alike, this sounds like a reasonable assumption.
So if you’re a budding designer, or even a veteran fashionista, how do you get your work into the metaverse and on the backs of avatars?
Lucky for you, there are active, collaborative communities in the main metaverse projects – specifically Decentraland and Voxels. Dive into discussions in Discord and Twitter, learn the tools, and get creating.
If you’re a more established designer and prefer a higher resolution product, you can also check out the developer programs run by Ready Player Me and Genies.
Whether it’s Ariana Grande in Fortnite, Lil Nas X in Roblox, or Deadmau5 in Decentraland, metaverse events have been rapidly filling up the calendar since Covid-19 forced us to live our lives through our computer screens. While you may not get the gig to produce a show for a top tier artist, throwing an event – music or otherwise – is proving to be a viable and, in some cases, lucrative career path for creatives.
Of course, you’ll need a decent grasp of the platform, working knowledge of the various in-world tools and assets, and a killer idea wouldn’t go astray, but demand from brands and organizations is high and the barriers to entry are lower than you think. Plus, with land rentals and pre-fabricated builds becoming more popular, the elements you need are more readily available.
Music, spoken word and comedy, quiz nights, tarot readings (yes, tarot readings), product launches, DJ sets – the list of events is long and growing as more people find their way into the metaverse.
The 2022 Cannes Film Festival was a particularly special one, and not just because it was the 75th anniversary of the venerable event. It was the year Web3 shoved a hair in the gate of traditional film financing. Up and down La Croisette, a host of panels and parties celebrated the arrival of the film NFT, both as an ownable product and funding instrument.
Advocates like Decentralized Pictures, First Flights, NFT Studios, and others discussed how the blockchain is empowering both artists and fans to take control of production, distribution, and revenues; and in doing so, liberate filmmaking from what is often regarded as an impenetrable club.
Parcel was at the festival to speak on a panel, attend sessions, and generally try to look like we were meant to be there. We also met with ‘degen filmmaker’ Miguel Faus from Spain. Miguel has raised $650K through the sale of NFTs to create a feature film from his original short, “Calladita.” The funding process works a lot like Kickstarter or GoFundMe, except, instead of receiving a credit, merch, or a hearty “thank you” in return for your donation, NFT holders can potentially earn on their investment by way of box office profits, in addition to accessing a host of other benefits.
Much like they did when presented with the idea of streaming films over the internet, the major studios are responding with a mix of denial and derision. As recently as 2015, Netflix’s chief content officer was heckled at Cannes and accused of destroying the European film production ecosystem.
If history is any guide, you just know this is going to be huge.
Like filmmakers, musicians are also using NFTs to take control of their product and livelihoods. Tired of earning beer money from streaming platforms and having watched their live performance income wiped out by Covid-19, musos are seeing the wisdom in removing the middle men from the equation and connecting directly with fans.
Rockers, Kings of Leon were the first band to release an album as an NFT – three types in fact. According to Rolling Stone, “one type is a special album package, while a second type offers live show perks like front-row seats for life, and a third type is just for exclusive audiovisual art.”
Other artists, like rapper Spottie Wifi, have taken the concept further by releasing an album that comes with the rights to use the music in commercials, film or television – with profits going to the NFT holder. Not surprisingly, last August, all 2,000 copies of Spottie’s first album sold out in less than a minute and netted the rapper over $190K.
Revenue sharing is also taking shape as a popular option, with musicians effectively incentivizing their fans by giving them a percentage of sales. No longer is informing friends of your extensive knowledge of obscure indie artists simply tedious; it’s also potentially lucrative!
We’ve only just scratched the surface of the nascent career opportunities for creatives in the metaverse. And while these may still be early days, the landscape is unfolding with a ton of promise for the curious and the courageous. Check out the resources below for some good destinations to start your journey.
- Parcel’s Creatorverse (of course) – create a profile, connect with other creators, get hired for work in the metaverse
- Decentraland University Careers Center
- Sandbox Metaverse Accelerator Program
- SpacesDAO, PangeaDAO – creator communities paving the way to work in the metaverse NFT Studios – building the metaverse, one block at a time
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!