Matrix is a podcast series from ForkLog in which we discuss how the digital environment is being transformed with the advent of VR and augmented reality technologies, and talk about metaverses with pioneers: businessmen, researchers and philosophers. In this issue, I discuss with Yaroslav Volov, CEO of startup Meta Ads, the challenges facing the growing metaverse market.
1. The Metaverse lacks traffic. This is partly due to the fact that the technical requirements are different: one metaverse needs a smartphone, another needs a VR helmet, and this in itself is a problem: devices lag, people get dizzy. There are projects with high requirements for hardware. Some are available only from a personal computer, others require special browser settings. Others, on the contrary, work normally only from the phone.
2. The worlds are incompatible. In clever parlance, this is called the “interoperability problem”. Achievements or loot earned in one metaverse cannot be dragged to another. This reduces the flow of users.
3. Quality content is not enough. The basic algorithm in most projects is as follows: you come, buy a piece of “land” and create something on it. But this often requires a good understanding of three-dimensional models, the ability to place them, that is, to perform a lot of technical actions. Many people are put off by this, and traffic is declining. The options for solving this problem now are something like this: you have a cool team and you sell turnkey solutions. Or you yourself turn to a cool team, set out your vision, so that everything is arranged for you as it should. Finally, AI solutions are now being developed. Probably, in six months or a year it will be possible to drive in prompts, and the rest of the work will be done by neural networks.
4. There is no legal framework. From a legal point of view, the metaverses are not regulated in any way, although as long as the traffic there is negligible, the regulatory authorities do not care about them. And questions, meanwhile, weight. For example, if you can scan people to play basketball, then obviously there are conflicts over what context someone’s image can be embedded in.
Now the issues of regulation lie on the shoulders of the site owners. They are trying, on the one hand, to avoid responsibility, and on the other hand, to reduce the risk of conditional dikpiks in their universe. If the game has zones with slot machines, then they will most likely be allowed in only after age verification.
When a user places something prohibited on their location, sanctions are possible. First comes a warning about breaking the rules. If you continue to show this content, it may be removed, your so-called stage will be demolished, and you will have to create it again. Or, in extreme cases, you can lose the land.
How to understand what is prohibited? Usually, when buying land, a user agreement is given, with which, as in any program, users agree without reading. It usually says that you can not post content that is contrary to common sense and the requirements of the metaverse.
5. A special case of legal difficulties is the problem of virtual property. An example from the experience of Decentraland: in this universe, one participant controlled several plots of land using the DAO mechanism. A scandal broke out: it turned out that he distributed earnings from the land dishonestly, he pocketed something. As a result, the question of governance was put to a vote within the metaverse. This problem can occur systematically.
6. Monetization mechanisms are limited. Metaverses usually accept payment in crypto on the blockchain of the system on which the universe is built: the more transactions with the token, the more profitable the project. Some issue their own token, after which all operations within the metaverse occur on the basis of this token. This is the “usefulness” of the token, which allows it to keep the price on the market, and the owners of the metaverse to earn. Projects are often monetized by selling land, and its owners can earn money by organizing events, advertising goods and services (our startup Meta Ads just offers marketing campaign tools). The future largely belongs to educational and developmental programs.
7. The level of traffic is difficult to maintain. Any IT product either develops or dies. A one-time event can be visited by several thousand people who will never return. There are different ways to avoid this: mini-games, training. The user will return if you gave a great lecture and announce another one in a week. If you offer scientific or educational material, the return user conversion can be much higher than just creating an aesthetically pleasing place.
What projects does Yaroslav Volov follow?
- Decentraland – a lot of game mechanics, cool events. There are people who deeply understand the code and IT products in general;
- Roblox – interesting for children, an example of the metaverse 2.5;
- Sandbox – similar to Roblox, pixel art, many brands, quality content inside the lands;
- The beta version of the Sensorium Galaxy will be released soon – there are high demands on the power of the machine, but advanced graphics, as new universes are built on Unreal Engines.
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