Back

Who is leading the metaverse?

image 7

Over the past year the metaverse has rapidly gained mainstream exposure. Players, creators, and brands have flocked to metaverse platforms to engage with unique experiences, build virtual worlds, and reach new audiences.

But who’s actually leading the metaverse? Which platforms are truly seeing adoption, innovating, and accelerating past the rest?

Let’s weed through the hype and take a look at some of the platforms that are leading the pack towards the metaverse vision.

Roblox

Roblox is unquestionably one of the most popular metaverse platforms today. As of April 2022, more than 200 million people play Roblox every month and the platform continues to grow more like a social network rather than a video game.

The Roblox platform has more than 40 million experiences for players to explore. Players can customize their avatar with what seems like an endless supply of avatar items like clothing and accessories. They socialize, shop, compete, watch concerts, and engage with a variety of other experiences that are funky and unique to Roblox.

Brands have also started to explore building a presence in Roblox. Nike, Spotify, Nickelodeon, the NFL, and many others are experimenting with their own games, clothing lines, and other types of metaverse marketing and advertising.

Roblox continues to innovate and advance the platform’s capabilities. Recently they launched spatial voice chat that allows players to speak to other players when they’re near each other in-game.

Roblox has also been working on new tools for creators to build experiences that appeal to older audiences and up-level the aesthetic and game mechanics on the platform. The next Call of Duty or World of Warcraft might be built on Roblox.

Minecraft

Minecraft is well-known for its novel blocky aesthetic and established presence in family households. The platform makes it easy for any player to jump into a new game to begin exploring an endlessly generated world that pushes your imagination and creativity.

As of 2020, more than 130 million people play Minecraft every month. Players are split between Minecraft’s core adventure and creative game modes and user-generated worlds that you can find on platforms like Minehut that let anyone build and host a custom Minecraft server.

Brands have also found their way into Minecraft and have begun to engage players with worlds packed with adventure and mini-games.

Lastly, while Minecraft is a well-established game, there’s so much more to build to enable a platform that is more representative of a metaverse vision. We’re curious to see what Microsoft will do next with Minecraft.

Fortnite

Epic Games’ Fortnite has captured the world with their fun gameplay, virtual concerts, and steady growth into a metaverse platform. While their core game mode is their competitive Battle Royale, Fortnite Creative is their step towards a metaverse platform filled with a variety of interconnected user-generated worlds with the likes of Roblox.

In Fortnite Creative you can already build what feels like anything and everything. From parkour obstacle courses to prop hunting with Loki from Marvel Comics to racing cars through a futuristic cyberpunk city.

Yet, Epic Games is working towards their launch of Fortnite Creative 2.0 which will open the door for creators to build a variety of new experiences.

As of 2022, more than 80 million people play Fortnite every month. This is already competitive with Roblox and Minecraft, but we’ll just have to wait and see if Fortnite Creative 2.0 can move the platform up as a metaverse leader.

Horizon Worlds

Horizon Worlds is part of Meta’s (formerly Facebook) big bet on becoming a leading metaverse platform.

0*rW74jSQ4bQI8FKtv

When you enter Horizon Worlds for the first time, you land in the Plaza which acts as the central gathering place and main menu. From there, there are user-generated worlds to explore that range from meditation spaces to escape rooms to competitive game modes.

One of the biggest appeals of Horizon Worlds is the focus on immersion as a VR experience you can use with Meta’s Oculus headset. This makes it far more immersive and social than previously mentioned platforms where players mostly play on computers or mobile devices.

Meta and Mark Zuckerberg have gone all in on the metaverse vision. They have allocated at least $10 billion since 2021 and rebranded the company to highlight their focus. It’ll be interesting to see if the bet pays off and Horizon Worlds can accelerate past Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite.

Decentraland

Decentraland is a web3, browser-based metaverse platform. As the name suggests, they operate as a decentralized platform where players can use blockchain-based technology to purchase land and make in-game purchases.

0*0WOc5WpwTKM6uXMy

Unlike other user-generated content gaming platforms, Decentraland is built on a map with limited pieces of land for creators to develop. You need to purchase a land NFT using MANA, Decentraland’s cryptocurrency, and then build your experience confined to the space you own.

Notable names such as Snoop Dogg, Atari, Samsung, and JP Morgan have all either purchased virtual land or created advertisements within Decentraland.

While the platform may be attracting some household names, their monthly active user count sits at around 300,000 — far lower than their metaverse platform counterparts.

Rec Room

Rec Room is another metaverse platform worth mentioning. Rec Room, which started as a VR-only app, has grown to more than 3 million monthly VR players and likely many more players on other devices.

Rec Room, like other metaverse platforms, allows players to play and build different user-generated experiences. In addition to their VR-focus, Rec Room is unique in that every player gets their own customizable dorm room that can be a private place to hang out and customize your avatar as well as a social place where you can invite friends.

Recently Rec Room released a new way for players to create custom shirts by drawing and they hinted that players will be able to sell shirts in the future. We’re curious to see how much players will earn selling shirts and if Rec Room will work on other features that stimulate their in-game economy.

Closing Thoughts

While we’re still in the early days of the metaverse, we’re already seeing significant adoption and continued growth among players, creators, and brands across a handful of platforms. Fundamentally, it’s looking like The Metaverse is not one metaverse platform, but a collection of many metaverse platforms.

If we think of the metaverse as a new type of social platform, then a variety of competing metaverse platforms aligns with the landscape of the many competing social platforms we see today.

To be seen is if the leading social platform company, Meta, will be able to grow Horizon Worlds into a leading metaverse platform. Or if a decentralized, blockchain-based platform like Decentraland will find adoption. Or if a game platform like Roblox, Minecraft, or Fortnite will hold their place and continue to lead the wave into the metaverse.