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The Metaverse and Its Impact on the Gaming Industry

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Metaverse and Its Impact on the Gaming Industry

Here in 2024, we’re pretty accustomed to the disruptive shifts that advanced tech developments can have on even the most innovative of digital industries, including gaming. 

Over the past few decades, we’ve seen the quality of games improve to the point where video gaming is no longer just a niche hobby but a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry. Improvements in provably fair gaming mechanics and the emergence of specialised platforms such as PokerStars Casino have even transformed casino classics like roulette into immersive, cutting-edge gaming experiences. The popularity of digital-only variants such as High Roller Roulette contribute to the ongoing success of the iGaming segment. And that’s to say nothing of milestone developments like the growth of the massively multiplayer online RPGs (League of Legends etc.) that form the basis of the eSports sector, or cross-platform cloud gaming. 

Bursting as it is with innovation, can gaming get any more cutting edge? Well, yes, if the Metaverse has anything to do with it! In this article, we’ll be diving into this futuristic concept and take a closer look at how it could impact the global gaming industry in the years to come.  

Understanding the Metaverse

Understanding the Metaverse

The Metaverse is, in short, a collective digital space where users can interact with each other and digital objects in real time. The concept brings together different virtual environments that feature persistent spaces in which users can create, explore and collaborate on various activities. If all that sounds pretty sci-fi to you, then you’d be right. The term itself was actually first coined by Neal Stephenson in his 1992 novel, Snow Crash.

In order to successfully transport users into the digital realm, metaverses are reliant on several key tech innovations such as: 

  • Augmented Reality – a staple of modern gaming, augmented reality (AR) overlays digital content onto the physical world to enrich users’ real-life experiences.
  • Virtual Reality – unlike AR, Virtual Reality offers a fully immersive experience, allowing users to interact with virtual spaces as if they were real, typically via headsets and other devices. 
  • Blockchain Technology – although it’s often associated with cryptocurrencies, blockchain tech has several use cases. When it comes to the metaverse, blockchains provide the infrastructure needed for secure transactions, decentralised governance, and the creation and management of digital assets like NFTs.

Gaming and the Metaverse

While metaverse technologies are all set to bring about substantial changes to the future of the industry, gaming has actually been an integral part of the concept of the metaverse pretty much since its inception. Multiplayer games, particularly those with online elements, and open-world or sandbox games served as precursors to the concept, providing players across the globe with both immersive experiences and real-time social interactions. 

Games such as Second Life, Minecraft and Fortnite allow players to explore, build, and compete or interact with each other in vast virtual landscapes. Some, like Fortnite, have helped to accelerate the development of the metaverse as seen in their pioneering in-game virtual music concerts. This is a mantle that’s since been taken on by the likes of Decentraland, which is — as the name suggests — a decentralised virtual platform in which users can buy, sell and build on virtual “real estate” via the Ethereum blockchain. Although the platform is utilised for a wide range of virtual activities, many budding developers are able to use Decentraland to create and monetise unique gaming experiences 

The Future of Gaming in the Metaverse

When it comes to future developments for gaming in the metaverse, as the technology continues to advance and virtual environments become ever more sophisticated, it’s poised to reshape the gaming landscape in a number of significant ways. 

Platforms like Decentraland and Metcade are signalling a shift towards decentralised, user-driven platforms and economies. Blockchain technology, with its ability to enable secure transactions and digital asset ownership, will play a central role in shaping metaverse gaming. We’ll likely see the proliferation of new business models and economies that will empower players to monetise both their creations and in-game activities, akin to the evolution that’s already been happening in GameFi and Play to Earn (P2E) segments.   

Then, there’s the expected acceleration in the development of Extended Reality technologies (VR, AR, Artificial Intelligence etc). While gaming here in 2024 is already pretty immersive, the integration of XR has the potential to place gamers directly in virtual gaming worlds. It’s a level of immersion that is unprecedented and something that the entire gaming economy will need to be ready for.

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