Metaverse For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon
Listen to the article:
Video gaming experiences in the metaverse are at an early stage of development. Developments and improvements in hardware and software technologies will significantly ramp up the quality and overall visual appeal of metaverse environments.

© / Adobe Stock

Experiences will become more vivid, and activities, such as skiing, hiking, and surfing, can all seem very real with hardware that’s custom-built for these activities.

When people talk about the metaverse, the online game Second Life inevitably comes up, and with good reason. Second Life is the first real metaverse-style game.

Participants in Second Life create avatars to represent themselves in the game and essentially live an alternate, “second” life where they have friends, responsibilities, a home, and a virtual social life. It’s a persistent world that changes in real time.

The elements and features of Second Life are what many games today model themselves after. Of course, since Second Life debuted in 2003, the technology in today’s games has advanced significantly.

Second Life is still around and going strong, thanks to improved features and graphics, ease of use, and the fact that it’s free. Even though the game is free, there are plenty of things you can buy with real money in Second Life, including virtual land, clothing, and more.

Second Life features a marketplace with millions of items — from fashion to a café for your virtual home and more. There are thousands of virtual experiences and communities to interact with, making it the longest-running example of an immersive metaverse experience.

Some other online games that are using the concept of the metaverse include the following:

  • Fortnite: Very popular, and one of the first interactive games that used the idea of the metaverse. Users can join Fortnite and engage in various play scenarios.
  • Horizon Worlds: Created by Meta (previously known as Facebook), Horizon Worlds offers users the ability to make friends in the metaverse. Users can play games, join fun activities, attend group classes, and enjoy other social aspects.
  • Roblox: Users on Roblox can create different worlds within the Roblox environment, make friends, and interact with others in many different ways.
  • The Sandbox: As a participant you can join the Sandbox world and interact with various places that have been built by others. This could be virtual offices, play areas, art galleries, museums, and others. As a land owner, you can create a facility and create a place for others to visit.
  • Star Atlas: A space exploration–based world in which users can visit various places in a hypothetical metaverse-based galaxy and interact with others through many experiences.
These are some of the larger and more impressive options that have metaverse worlds up and running right now. Some of these platforms, including The Sandbox and Star Atlas, utilize the blockchain and cryptocurrency. Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are becoming popular in metaverse games as well.

Getting the tools you need to play metaverse games

To truly experience a metaverse world, you need the right tools. Most of the time, this includes some kind of virtual reality (VR) hardware or headset. Here’s a general list of items you should have:
  • A gaming PC, console, or mobile device
  • A high-bandwidth Internet connection of 10 megabits per second (Mbps) and above (in my opinion, 100 Mbps is ideal)
  • A VR headset
  • Cryptocurrency or game-specific currency if you plan to buy or trade within a game
  • A comfortable seat
  • A safe space without any objects that may be delicate, easy to damage, or dangerous (Gameplay can sometimes get highly interactive and injury is common.)
This list may change as new hardware devices bring added functionality to the metaverse. New gaming hardware may include haptic feedback gloves, for example, that shake and vibrate during gameplay, or odor-generating accessories that may emit the smell of a forest, café, or wherever you are in the metaverse.

Upcoming technologies for metaverse gaming

Here are some other technologies that are likely to play a part within the metaverse gaming area:


Blockchain establishes a new way of building databases and creating decentralized communities. Over the last decade, blockchain technology has grown in popularity; today, it’s seen as a foundational technology that can help different industries create products, solutions, and other technologies.

Within the gaming industry, blockchain can help create secure transactional mechanisms to exchange data, store information, buy and sell items, and fundamentally alter the way security works online.

With the expansion of blockchain technology, its impact may also permeate online banking and asset creation. This is already seeing an uptake with the creation of NFTs.


The exchangeable digital assets that also function as proprietary currency within gaming worlds in the metaverse are primarily cryptocurrencies. Today, many gamers use proprietary gaming currencies to transact; these include MANA for Decentral and ROBUX for Roblox.

With the evolution of the metaverse, it’s highly likely that gaming providers will begin creating their own cryptocurrencies to create value for gamers to stay within a platform. Other currencies in use include Ethereum.


IoT stands for the Internet of Things, meaning devices —including gaming controllers and headsets — that are connected to the Internet. As game controllers become more connected and functional, their usage within the metaverse is up to the creativity of creators.

Game controllers typically have more functionality in one direction. This means that users are able to control many interactions in a typical game with their controller, but controllers are unable to respond back in a similar number of ways. For example, controllers may only be able to vibrate through haptic feedback when an event occurs in a game environment.

Future added functionality of controllers can expand in many directions. This means the addition of more sensors that can record different types of data, such as eye movement, hand humidity, breathing rate, or other factors as needed. The IoT is currently being used in smart homes and smart industries and has a number of uses that go beyond the metaverse.


NFTs are a subcategory of digital assets created through blockchain technology. The application of NFTs is primarily in being able to provide access to a unique blockchain-generated digital asset category. As an example, an NFT created by a gaming provider could provide gamers access to specific sections of a game or unlock hidden aspects within a game period.

NFTs can be purchased and sold in the metaverse and can be of value for a short term or for perpetuity. The application of NFTs also expands to digital avatar assets — for example, fashion brands now offer digital clothing for avatars, primarily sold as an NFT. These can be purchased in the metaverse or through an NFT trading platform (such as OpenSea) or be traded within the gaming platform.

The frontrunners in metaverse development

Many large companies are starting to get deeper into the idea of building metaverses of their own. Most have visions of becoming the “one true metaverse” to which everyone is going to flock. Of course, only time will tell what happens with each of their endeavors.

Some of the companies that are at the forefront of metaverse development include the following.

Epic Games

Epic Games is the founder of the Unreal Engine technology, which has been making waves due to its ability to create 3D graphics with highly impressive resolution and accuracy. The Unreal Engine is used in movie production and other applications, and as a result, it has been very well received over the metaverse.


Meta’s metaverse games are primarily driven by its hardware technology. The Quest series of VR headsets provides access to Meta’s Horizon Worlds metaverse. Horizon Worlds is probably one of the most popular metaverses due to the extremely large user base on Facebook that can easily join the metaverse game with a pair of VR glasses or headset.

There is also a natural integration between Facebook (the social media platform) and Horizon Worlds (the metaverse gaming platform). Both can be accessed with a single login, which is your Facebook credential, and following the next steps is easy.

Meta is expanding its Horizon Worlds metaverse to include live gaming, group fitness classes, and other activities that suit individuals interested in interactive group activities.


Microsoft has been extremely successful with its existing gaming platforms, but they’re more 2D driven. (Games such as Minecraft are purely 2D.) In early 2022, Microsoft bought Activision Blizzard for $75 billion, one of the highest-priced gaming acquisitions up to that point.

Activision Blizzard is a leading online gaming company, and this acquisition is likely to pave the way for Microsoft to rival Meta and its metaverse offerings.


Gaming company Niantic has been behind games like Pokémon Go, which was probably one of the first AR games available that was accessible over a cell phone or smartphone. Niantic is believed to be building a platform for AR-based games that will also utilize a 3D map of the world.


Although not a primary gaming provider, NVIDIA is building and expanding the metaverse into an industrial category. By equipping different industries to use the metaverse, NVIDIA plans to make the metaverse accessible and help designers use the 3D workspace to build better products in the metaverse.

NVIDIA is creating its own version of the metaverse, called the omniverse, and its approach is based on building the metaverse from the ground up.

Roblox Corporation

Roblox Corporation owns Roblox, a popular metaverse game that offers users the ability to create worlds and customize game environments. Roblox is one of the newer entrants into the online and VR gaming category. Roblox also has its own currency, ROBUX, that can be used to purchase items within the game.

The types of metaverse games that are being played can vary greatly. However, with some of these companies, you should expect to see a change in the way the metaverse and games are presented.

It will likely be more akin to how Second Life works, but it’ll likely use VR or AR, at least, instead of requiring you to interact with a keyboard and screen. Of course, time will tell what works and what people want from these types of experiences.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Ian Khan is an emerging technology futurist and author, as well as a technology filmmaker whose work has been featured on Amazon Prime. Creator of the Future Readiness Score, he works with organizations worldwide to help them become future ready. Ian has been featured on CNN and the BBC and in Forbes and Fast Company. Ian is also a LinkedIn Learning Instructor.

This article can be found in the category: