Companies have completely butchered the term “Metaverse” by using it for their own purposes, moulding it to suit their own economic needs.
When company A wants the metaverse to be a video game, they sell it as a video game, and when company B wants it to be a virtual world, they sell it as a virtual world. That has been one of the main problems why people have not trusted the metaverse, there was nothing defined because many were not interested in it.
Personally, I have seen myself in the moral obligation to defend a quite legitimate position when I have observed this kind of actions. I must also say that I play with the card that by not selling any product, I am not contaminated by the excessive profit motive that many people in the guild have shown.
One of these positions was to defend Fortnite simply as they have always seen themselves, as a video game. They are a company that has shown a constant work, in an effective way and also listening to their large community of consumers, whether they are companies or users and gamers.
The truth is that I have followed them very closely, each of their movements, updates, improvements, evolutions and integrations, and today, although I cannot allow myself the audacity to classify Fortnite as a metaverse, I can demonstrate that, although it is not, it is approaching a point of no return, where we are experiencing a metamorphosis in which the balance is leaning more towards the definition of metaverse (with its nuances beyond its constant evolution), rather than something as simple as “video game”.
LET’S GET ON WITH IT!
THE FAMOUS 7 LAYERS OF THE METAVERSE
When consensus began to form on the composition of the metaverse, 7 layers were discussed. These 7 layers were a stable, scalable, gamified, customisable, live, technological, fast, accessible, immersive and multi-channel metaverse.
Well, I want us to work together on how these layers are being applied to the Fortnite video game so that we, my readers and I, can come to a common conclusion:
These include video games, social platforms and direct-to-user projects. Many people imagine the metaverse solely in 3D, although this is not necessarily the case, as the ecosystem speaks of a dematerialisation of physical space, with its objects and respective distance.
And if some people saw Decentraland as a metaverse, others saw the interaction of Alexa, Teams in virtual offices or even Fortnite. Of course these were visions that differed from each other, but we can assume that :
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DISCOVERY OR FINDING
In this second layer, we focus on attracting and pushing users to engage with new experiences. Because in the end, communities will concentrate on those ecosystems that are most attractive and this will be profitable for companies and enriching for everyone.
Here, one user will search for information about a specific experience on their own, while another falls into the marketing strategies of brands, without having asked for it but accepting to participate.
Does Fortnite do it? The answer is yes. Proof of this are MediaMarkt Spain, StadioPlus PUMA Group or experiences such as the Travis Scott concert.
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In this third layer, creators create experiences for people to enjoy. In addition, independent creators have access to different tools to interact with social networks and monetise the content they create. In this way, even if the parent company continues with their creations, the user or community has the ability to do this on their own and create a digital economy.
Does Fortnite do this? The answer is yes, again. It has its own programme:
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COMPUTATIONAL OR SPATIAL COMPUTING LAYER
In short, we are talking here about the mix of the real and digital world to overcome the barriers of both worlds through the “phygital”. In this way, this layer is made up of gestures, 3D engines to show geometries, animations, architectures in video games through Unreal Engine or Unity among others and the recognition of objects to connect both worlds, this will come to mind as digital twins.
We can also include IoT device data integration, biometric recognition as well as proprietary apps to identify health or fitness for multiple purposes and next generation user interfaces to support simultaneous information flows and analytics.
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DECENTRALISATION OR DECENTRALISED NETWORKS
This represents a key point for people within the ecosystem, because through this layer all the resources of the metaverse can be distributed more evenly.
This layer is the one that offers a balance in terms of resources in the metaverse, distributing them in a much more equitable way. Blockchain networks, for example, offer the capacity for a scalable ecosystem to build much more competitive markets where users can govern their own data and creations.
This area of innovation can be called Web3, as it frees such financial assets from the control and custody of a single entity, what we now call DeFi finance. This area, of course, has a great application in video games such as Fortnite.
And recently, the Epic Games platform has readmitted video games with blockchain integration and non-fungible assets (NFT), however it is still very restricted because they have the American Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) putting the AO (Adults Only) rating in the soup when it comes to this type of video games that can perhaps induce “gambling” or addiction by being rewarded with cryptocurrencies or any other economic asset that provides profits to the player. This is the ESRB’s own account:
Adult-only content. Titles in this category generally include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual themes, graphics and/or content, extremely foul language or gambling/real gambling (and with money, currency, cash and coin), and frequent blood or nudity. The AO categorisation is the subject of controversy because of the exaggerated restrictions it imposes on some games.
For example: Hatred, GTA: San Andreas (2005, re-classification), Manhunt 2 and Thrill Kill. It is also commonly used in games that feature hentai scenes. Companies such as Microsoft,5 Sony or Nintendo6 do not allow games with this rating to be released on their consoles. It is suitable for persons over 18 years old only (may be restricted to persons over 18 years old).
The introduction of blockchain and nft into the Epic Store ecosystem can provide decentralised lines of player control over their assets. However, the current restrictions do not make it entirely clear to what extent this can be the case. They’re dipping their toes in the water but not too much at Epic Games, and it’s totally understandable when you’re in the crosshairs. Therefore, despite the company’s good intentions, we can’t give them this point as it becomes too restrictive in terms of listing them.
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HUMAN or HUMAN-COMPUTER INTERFACE
Here we talk about external devices that we install in one way or another in our body, “transforming” us into robots or cyborgs. Virtual or augmented reality viewers, haptic suits or platforms can be an example of this. In addition, A.I. technology and access to high-powered computer systems are also part of this line.
And although Fortnite is constantly introducing A.I. models such as in its recent game mode Rocket League the reality is that no devices have yet appeared for more immersive experiences in Fortnite worlds, so we can’t grant such a layer to the current Fortnite world either, although it is true that there have been numerous rumours for a couple of years now that they are working on a more immersive version of Fortnite:
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It includes everything we humans need to stay connected to the internet to interact in virtual worlds. We are talking about our portable devices: chips, batteries, image sensors, 5G networks and smart glasses, among others.
Infrastructure tells us about all those areas where we can stay connected to the internet interacting in virtual worlds. From batteries, image sensors, 5G networks, lenses, cloud providers will be needed, but also operators and a series of companies that will provide specific parts of the services such as the devices to access or the means of payment.
In addition, Fortnite allows to congregate the highest rates of simultaneous players (not in the same game) but in the whole of its ecosystem, creating a network of players never seen before, which is currently increased by all the existing game modes, agreements with other video game companies and by the creators of worlds themselves.
In terms of devices, it allows all or almost all of them and has even recently reached out to its great rival launcher Valve corporation to open Fortnite on its platform:
Undoubtedly, while such infrastructure can be increased, I do see the viability of the infrastructure layer through Fortnite and its parent Epic Games as a realm in unstoppable creation.
✅ FORNITE GRANTS US INFRASTRUCTURE ✅ 5/7
And here we are, just two layers away from success. Two layers that, although they may seem few, are very important and are those that, from my point of view, “will set us free”. Free to decide about our economy and free to have more than one life if we want to.
Two simultaneous lives, can you imagine what we would be capable of?
Thank you very much and see you in the next chapter.