Video games and the Metaverse: A Strong Infusion

Although the metaverse has been known to the general public for a little over a year, its concept is old and dates back to the 1990s. It is an accessible virtual world in which users can interact with other people, explore environments, participate in activities, buy and sell virtual goods, and more

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Video games and the Metaverse: A Strong Infusion

A concept that is ultimately quite close to video games, particularly massively multiplayer online games (MMORPGs) that have also been developed for 30 years. So much so that metaverses and video games are closely linked with a number of elements in common.

We heard a lot about it in 2022 after Facebook launched into the metaverse with Horizon Worlds. A virtual world in which each user (with a VR headset) can meet, exchange, discover new things, watch a concert, etc. A sandbox-type platform. For some – including Mark Zuckerberg, founder of the social network – the metaverse represents the future of the internet. But what is the definition of metaverse? In short, it is a virtual world where users can interact both with a virtual environment and with each other using virtual or augmented reality. A space often described as an extension of the current Internet, offering a more immersive and interactive experience. Users can create and customize their avatars, explore spaces, participate in activities, buy and sell virtual goods, and much more. A digital concept very close to the world of multiplayer online video games, as we will see later. However, the metaverse goes beyond that to include social, economic and cultural aspects. It could also be said that it is about duplicating the physical world in a virtual environment. However, many experts agree that there is no "official" definition yet.

The emergence of massively multiplayer online games (MMORPGs) in the late 1990s was the first sign of the avant-garde of video games in this area. The Internet and 3D images combined made it possible for users to interact and converse in virtual spaces. The latter could cooperate or oppose each other in order to fulfil the objectives of the scenario established by the game publishers. But they ultimately invested themselves much more widely by having more pronounced social interactions between them. Doom (from 1993), The Sims (2000), Roblox (2006), Minecraft (2011), GTA V (2013), Fortnite (2017) are obvious examples. So much so that online video games are the main representative of the concept of metaverse in the world. According to Slottivity, the most used metaverse platforms are, in order: Fortnite (29%), Roblox (13%) and Second Life (9%).

Metaverse And Video Games, What Do They Have In Common?

As we have seen previously, online video games and their virtual immersion in 3D worlds are very close to the concept of metaverses. With technological advances in the fields of virtual reality and augmented reality, this has opened up new perspectives for the creation of more immersive and interactive worlds. These technologies have fostered interest in the development of the metaverse. Therefore, there are many common points:

  • The virtual environment. Video games or metaverses imply the existence of a three-dimensional virtual space in which users can evolve.
  • Interactions. In either universe, users are active. They can perform actions, solve puzzles, fight enemies, create content, work with players, etc. User interaction is a key element of the experience. According to the study, 21% of people say they interact with friends, 21% with strangers. In both cases, they offer real-time communication possibilities with users, whether through voice or chat. Users can form teams, compete against each other, etc. This was the case with Second Life for example in 2003. This free game gave its users the opportunity to embody virtual characters in a world created by themselves. It was even possible to make micro payments.
  • Avatar customization. Video games and metaverses allow users to create virtual representations of themselves in a digital environment.
  • Progression and goals are also two things that are found in video games and metaverses (although this is not always the case). Whether it is reaching a specific level, completing missions, solving puzzles or even engaging in virtual economic activities for example, users often have goals to achieve. Goals that are a source of motivation and satisfaction for players.

Video Games And Metaverse, What Are The Differences?

In a video game, players interact with a virtual environment in which they complete specific objectives, guided by a scenario or rules predefined by the studio that developed the title. Single-player or multiplayer, online or offline, a video game generally offers a playful and entertaining experience, emphasizing elements such as exploration, competition, problem solving, improving the player's skills, etc. The video game is first and foremost entertainment. Which is not always the case for a metaverse.

The Video Game Industry Is Getting Involved

More recently, players in the gaming industry have also seen the potential to develop the metaverse in their game or to create specific platforms. Roblox, for example, was able to attract major brands to its gaming universe in its eponymous game, such as Vans and L'Oréal; Decentraland hosts festivals, stores, casinos, etc. on its more than 90,000 plots; Sandbox was able to sell all of its land to large companies beyond the gaming circle; Otherside marketed more than 55,000 plots of land (for more than $300 million in revenue), etc.

The metaverse is gradually conquering the planet, but it is only in its early stages. Technologies are developing very quickly and it is certain that tomorrow, immersion will be even stronger than it is today. This is why, in this race for innovation, video games have a good head start. Nevertheless, challenges must be met so that this experience is the best possible, particularly concerning the guarantee of privacy protection and the security of exchanges and data.




(This article is part of DMCL Consumer Connect Initiative, a paid publication programme. DMCL claims no editorial involvement and assumes no responsibility, liability or claims for any errors or omissions in the content of the article. The DMCL Editorial team is not responsible for this content.)

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