Metaverse Land: What Makes Digital Real Estate Valuable

People have been roaming digital spaces since the dawn of chat rooms and gaming MUDs (“multi-user dungeons”) in the early days of the Internet. But today, the digital world occupies an ever-increasing share of our activities and time, and is more physical than ever.

A powerful recent example is Zoom’s background image, which can distinguish the speaker in a video call from the surrounding physical background. This actually gives us the ability to create private digital spaces. People are quickly making these spaces their own, personalizing them with backgrounds ranging from Serengeti vistas to Studio Ghibli movies.

Metaverse platforms can now give digital spaces a sense of physical structure and geography, innovating ways to explore and interact. (For example, I attended several meetings on the platform where the Zoom room was connected to an 8-digit landscape where attendees could actually meet.)

*How should we think about what to build for the Metaverse? *The framework is actually very simple, almost tautological: digital space, refers to creating opportunities not found in the “outside version” of the real world. This means that the value of these spaces depends on the activities people want to engage in there , and how the functional properties of the digital spaces support those activities .

Further Reading: 7 Essential Elements of the Metaverse

Take Zoom again: you use it more for video calls with distant friends and family than for chatting with neighbors (at least outside of the Covid-19 pandemic). Likewise, people are more likely to go to Metaverse concerts with friends when meeting friends or music artists (or both) is difficult. While many people will soon be able to meet in virtual meeting room spaces, no one wants long, boring “commutes” in virtual worlds if they can “teleport,” that is, between digital locations If you move your position instantaneously. At the same time, the Metaverse will be the place to go when it offers experiences that are not available in the real world, such as legendary adventures or exploring distant galaxies.

All of this is still in the early stages, so it’s hard to predict exactly what will create huge and lasting value. Still, we can extrapolate what brings value to users in the growing digital space.

Metaverse Land and Real Estate

The concept of “digital real estate” has been talked about for decades. Historically, the phrase referred to a rare space (often dedicated to advertising) on ​​a particular publisher’s website, such as the New York Times homepage. Today, people are used to centralized entities and attention platforms like Facebook and Google, which own many of these spaces and then rent them out.

Digital real estate has always had value. Web3 is different in that digital asset paradigms such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) enable people to uniquely own (rather than just rent) specific digital real estate and virtual world land and locations, for private or shared use. Blockchain is the core technology of Web3, and it does this by providing a decentralized, tamper-proof and publicly accessible record of who owns which digital assets.

Given that digital space is theoretically infinitely expandable, skeptics will therefore question whether the concept of “owning” digital land or buildings makes sense.

But Metaverse platforms have their own rare forms: for example, there is only so much space on the walls of digital buildings; due to geography, there are only so many buildings close to amenities like a virtual concert hall or one of the Vespene geyser class repository.

But at the same time, distance may be less of a factor due to the possibility of fast travel or teleportation. Therefore, in consideration of the value of land and real estate in a given virtual world, it is important to consider how people’s activities affect their use.

People (or rather, their avatars) might walk out of a virtual concert together and meander down an adjacent virtual shopping area. Just like in the real world, the store closest to the virtual conference hall will get the most “foot traffic.”

Metajuku shopping district in Decentraland

This means that even in a virtual space, adjacent lots still matter. 

In fact, in a sense, adjacency to events and amenities in the virtual world can sometimes be more valuable than in the real world: for example, the audience for a virtual concert is spread across the globe, which could in principle raise concerns about Lots of attention from the digital building next door.

However, at medium and long distances, virtual distance is much less important. In the real world, owning a house in the suburbs has significant value because the house can be larger and the owner can still work in a nearby city. But it doesn’t matter if your virtual “home” is near your “work” location in the virtual world when you can commute to and from get off work in the blink of an eye.

More broadly, in virtual worlds, people are less likely to take time-consuming long-distance travel when instantaneous movement is an option. One exception is when long-distance travel is a valuable or interesting activity in itself—such as taking a virtual ferry, where people can explore and play games along the way.

All of this means that the value of virtual world land and real estate to users may depend on proximity, rather than the full geographic location in that virtual world. We can expect to see booming shopping malls, micro-cities, and even entire virtual worlds that are a bit like islands in a digital space — all kinds of activities that make people travel locally — but the difference between them The “distance” is great, and people need to travel with instantaneous movement.

It doesn’t even matter if these different activities are on the same platform. Just as we might use Zoom to meet at work and socialize using Messenger or Snapchat, someone might work in Meta’s Horizon Workrooms; then play with friends in The Sandbox; and curate their own private art gallery in Voxels .

The Metaverse platform market is unlikely to be winner-take-all. Furthermore, even within a particular platform, there may be many successful clusters of different activities, and entrepreneurs can try to launch their own activity clusters by developing new facilities or resources, acting as hubs to attract others to build other facilities around. . That’s the beauty of composability, a core feature of Web3, allowing people to build and adapt on top of existing frameworks to create new experiences. 

Metaverse Land Zoning and Planning

The building potential of the digital world is limitless, which means we want to remove the frustration that comes with zoning policies and other forms of structural geographic planning. But as with neighboring lots, planning is sometimes more important in the virtual world.

People may not want to set up shop next to unpleasant things, but with the power of digital construction, people can create ugly and dazzling things. If the virtual space becomes unattractive, users can immediately evacuate elsewhere; this places a particularly heavy burden on Metaverse platform architects and builders to manage the space according to user preferences and intended use cases. 

For the same reason, higher-level rules are often needed to prevent pornography, harassment, and other uses that detract from a participant’s digital experience. Given the importance of site proximity discussed above, combining complementary types of activities, such as different forms of commercial activity, can also help maximize the user experience.

But at the same time, creativity beyond the boundaries of traditional design (even physical) is one of the greatest benefits of digital spaces. The main advantage of some Metaverse worlds is that they give users the freedom to build whatever they want.

A natural compromise is to focus solely on the high-level layout and visual plan that guides the space. That’s what the White Sands Cosmos project has done with the latest collection of luxury villas: restricting people from changing the exterior of the villa, while empowering creators to redo the interior. This mirrors real-world local government regulations, allowing for the redevelopment and reorganization of spaces inside buildings while maintaining the exterior visual character of blocks and neighborhoods.

Metaverse Land: White Sands Luxury Villas

The importance of planning at the micro level, especially varies by context. Meticulous zoning may be essential for creating high-end digital streetscapes, but it may not be so important in a game world where people fight orcs or play goblins.Likewise, some types of development constraints we see in the physical world, such as height restrictions on roller coasters, are completely unnecessary in the virtual world, because digital spaces are not governed by the traditional rules of geophysics.

But overall, there will be significant value in creating a digital space that aligns with the user’s intuition, which means that some level of planning is often critical.

Digital Assets and Platform Selection

In addition to the geographic value of the digital and virtual worlds, there is also the question of which platforms are more valuable. This is where the classic chicken-and-egg relationship of guiding and building trading markets comes into play: it’s best to build on a platform with a large existing user base; but at the same time, users are more likely to join a platform with a thriving ecosystem .

This means that digital lands are especially valuable to users when they sit on top of an already popular platform architecture, like NFT Worlds running on the Minecraft engine. Likewise, joining a virtual world that integrates many existing digital communities, like The Sandbox, and Otherside hints at, could be hugely appealing to users and builders alike.

The source of these values ​​also depends on the expected user activities: some virtual world platforms are built to support the digitization of some daily affairs; some are more fantasy game worlds; and some are just inviting us to explore the infinite wilderness and interact.

If the Metaverse platform wants to encourage users to customize their space, and subsequently run a business, the platform needs to provide tools to help make that happen. In contrast, if the digital space is only used for business meetings or medical consultations, more attention will be paid to platform stability, security and privacy.

At the same time, for creators of digital assets such as artists, game studios, and NFT communities, building in a way that supports cross-platform interoperability and portability can be particularly valuable. One of the greatest benefits of Web3 is the opportunity for users to carry the digital assets they own with them, thereby accumulating personal identity, status, and other attributes. As users become more familiar with this model, it may become more and more necessary.

Portable, decentralized identities can be applied to just about anything: for example, someone who wants to take away a weapon or talisman they use in the video game world and use it as a decoration for a virtual office. (For example, the author decorates his real-world office with physical artifacts of his favorite virtual creations, such as Hyrule’s maps and Myst’s “Link Books,” wouldn’t his digital office do the same?)

But in the Metaverse, even buildings can be moved from one place to another. People with digital architecture can create a space that truly “belongs to them”, place their favorite artwork, furniture or ephemeral hipsters in it, and then take them with them as they move across platforms. For example, that’s the gist behind Far’s SOLIDS: a generative framework that can be used at will in different Metaverse environments. Thus, digital land in a particular Metaverse ultimately captures the value created in dozens of other Metaverses.

Solids NF Artist Far's NFT for the SOLIDS project, owned by the author.

The framework described in this paper shows that thinking about what determines the value of digital land to users is not as difficult as it may seem at first. What matters is how people will use the individual spaces of the Metaverse; how well the digital space fits into these activities; and the overall value these activities generate to users.

The discussion in this article focuses on intuitive user scenarios that have appeared on various Metaverse platforms.However, many larger opportunities will arise in areas that have not yet been thought of, after all, digital spaces increasingly enable experiences that cannot be compared to the real world. As the Metaverse expands more and more beyond what we can easily imagine, it is important to remember that the sources of value for entirely new applications are initially difficult to identify and explain, even when the same basic principles apply.

But, together we are creating more innovative digital spaces for ourselves, and the concept of digital and virtual worlds clearly means more than ever before.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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