comparison of centralized or non-centralized platforms

Metaverse is often associated with Web3, but not always adequately. In addition to the underlying technology, the ownership of users and therefore the premium varies radically.

In May 2022, a report by the McKinsey firm noted a potential value creation of around $5,000 billion by 2030. However, since its introduction, the same report acknowledges that the term was first used by Neal Stephenson in 1992. his novel Snow Crash “is defined both literally and figuratively.” First, the definition covers an infrastructure similar to the Internet, but immersive. Today, this term characterizes only platforms, taking into account the current state of technology and the lack of interaction between them.

These platforms do not have the same characteristics: although they can all be described as 3D social environments where avatars reside, they stand out for their openness and the freedom they offer their users. This is why we find metaverses with centralized infrastructure and others that are more open, implying some degree of decentralization and openness of the ecosystem.

Centralized metaverses

If those under thirty did not know him, the pioneer of metaverses is French and called “Second World”, a Canal+ Interactive project for the immersive reproduction of Paris, available on Windows and MacOS since 1997, although it was strong, it was discontinued in 2002. A community of 200,000 users.

Second Life In 2003, the first metaverse appeared on the Internet: the platform, sometimes considered as a remnant of the Internet, is still very active today and, above all, laid the foundations of its successors: the worlds of VRChat, Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite or Meta Horizon.

While not all of these metaverses have the same profession (Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite are video game platforms, while others remain social interaction environments), they all rely on similar monetization standards: the core of UGC, the acronym for which is user-generated content or user-generated content. means content created by – belongs to them. To create interactivity, these metaverses allow users to create virtual assets in the form of skins, objects, architecture, but if this content is transferable, the distribution of value raises many questions.

Creators on Roblox only receive 30% of their revenue. On Meta’s Horizon Worlds side, the creator will return 25% of their sales to Meta, excluding fees charged by the store (30% in the case of the Meta Quest Store). The payout in Minecraft is 30%. In Fortnite, only external creators approved by the platform can create game environments — they account for half of the playtime, according to Epic’s CEO — and the game’s terms of service don’t even allow game creation. resale purchases of a virtual item: therefore, users do not own these virtual assets. Land purchased by users in Second Life remains the property of publisher Linden Lab.

Moreover, if these platforms disappear, users also lose their purchases and creations without the ability to transfer them to another world.

Web 3.0 metaverses

A screenshot from Gucci Vault Land in the sandbox © Sandbox

Better distribution of value and digital asset ownership is the promise of Web3 platforms such as The Sandbox, Decentraland or even Somnium Space. A dream made possible by blockchain infrastructure.

If the environment of these worlds is still managed on the servers of the respective companies, it is nevertheless open to the integration of external content created on the blockchain in the form of NFTs, mostly Ethereum or Polygon. During an interview with JDN at Gitex in Dubai, Yat Siu, founder of Animoca Brands (owner of The Sandbox), insisted on the importance of this concept: “Nobody at Web3 can tell me that I’m not allowed to sell my house. If I own digital ownership of my asset, I have complete freedom. We are moving from shareholder capitalism to participatory capitalism, be it an avatar or a virtual land owner.”

As soon as the creator holds the key to the wallet, he is the full owner of this content and therefore can integrate and monetize it at lower costs than Web2 platforms: Decentraland transactions are taxed, for example, 2.5%, 5%. For Sandbox. In addition, the creator is free to associate the collection of royalties for his creation with each secondary sale. Another great factor about this type of creation is interoperability: the user can now use the same NFT within The Sandbox and Decentraland, although it requires several steps.

Finally, the Web3 infrastructure enables other community levers to be activated: Decentraland has made its governance part open to the owners of its tokens and land through a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), allowing them to vote transparently. political choices.

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