Gaming has been one of the major developments that have emerged as a result of the development of computers and the internet. As far back as the 1970’s, games like Space Invaders, Kong and Pac-Man achieved widespread commercial success and spawned an entire tangential business, that of gaming arcades. Ever since then, gaming has been here to stay. The gaming industry has only gotten more realistic and life-like, trying to function as an escape from the stresses of the modern world for most people. Games until recently helped people use characters or avatar to play either in multiplayer mode (against other people) or in story mode, using the main character to fulfil a storyline and achieve certain objectives. However, recently, the emergence of the metaverse has solidly transformed gaming. Unlike traditional sectors or business industries, the metaverse which was originally developed for other purposes achieved the maximum possible success in the gaming industry due to the certain pre-existing characteristics of gaming. These were the presence of avatars, the creation of an online community, gaming being kind of like a second, virtual life and people being accustomed to and navigating a virtual world in gaming and understanding the value of the virtual world.
According to joystickgames.com, the metaverse revolution in gaming was sparked by the introduction of P2E (Play 2 Earn or Play to Earn) games, that helped usher in the metaverse because of their radical model. In P2E games, people utilise blockchain technology in order to verify the antecedents of and validate the authenticity of in-game tokens on virtual marketplaces in order to trade them for cryptocurrency or fiat currency. This helps people earn by playing, as all collectible items, in game characters, skins and designs etc can be traded and sold. P2E games also sometimes base the in-game currency or token on the blockchain, making the in-game token a cryptocurrency, essentially translating into the game itself becoming a self-regulating economy, as in-game tokens can be traded for other cryptocurrencies or fiat currency.
Blockchain helped this metaverse revolution by providing a secure framework on which to base the information storage protocol on, helping provide the platform for the emergence of P2E games such as these.
Furthermore, Pre-Metaverse, the gaming industry was undergoing a seismic change, with streaming gaining popularity, and e-sports becoming a common feature worldwide. With streaming, gamers earned money by streaming their games live on platforms, interacting with fans, while platforms earned advertising revenue. These gamers also participated in e-sports tournaments for huge sums of money, with one of the most famous e-sports teams, Faze Clan, being valued upwards of a billion dollars. All of this money being pumped into the gaming industry meant that non-related sectors, such as Luxury Fashion Brands and Automotive Companies also wanted to jump on the bandwagon and generate sales. Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren and Gucci have released limited edition items in games like Fortnite and Roblox and Ferrari and Lamborghini entered the metaverse by participating in NFT projects.
Looking at the rise in the popularity of the metaverse due to the heavy amount of money being pumped into the industry, two features are sticking out that make all the argument for gaming being the gateway to the metaverse stronger. These are: revenue from non-endemic brands and the emergence of the creator economy.
Revenue from non-endemic brands basically refers to companies that haven’t previously been associated with gaming releasing limited edition items in-game in exchange for a fee paid to the game’s developers. Just like adtech, these companies can either build in-house game teams to release new offerings for the various popular games that exist in order to maximise product revenue and promote one’s product through the metaverse, or they can hire an outside agency to complete these tasks for them.
Secondly, and the primary reason why gaming is the gateway to the metaverse is the rise of the creator economy. A creator economy helps build a self-sustaining economy, with creators driving production and providing services such as streaming, design etc. to people associated with and involved in the game in exchange for compensation. Now, with the advent of the metaverse, the payment process becomes cryptocurrency, ensuring all transactions are happening virtually, which is exactly what the metaverse aims to achieve. Therefore, gaming is the gateway to the metaverse.