What is the Metaverse?
Perhaps a bit of an explanation is needed for those who have not been following the latest tech trends. The Metaverse is essentially what is thought of to be the next real iteration of the internet, as we know it now. Some have likened it to the industrial revolution for the internet, which is saying a lot considering how far the digital world has already evolved. One of the driving forces behind the Metaverse is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. At this point, Zuckerberg is so invested in the Metaverse, he is renaming the company Meta Platforms. But what does Zuckerberg foresee the Metaverse being?
The Metaverse will be a four-dimensional representation of the internet. Rather than scrolling and reading, like we do now, we will be moving and feeling the internet. It will require nearly all of our senses, and much of it will be taking place in a virtual reality. It harkens to Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash which is where the term Metaverse was first coined. People have also likened it to Ernest Cline’s novel Ready Player One, which blends the Metaverse with gaming. In fact, online gaming is likely to be a major part of the Metaverse in the future, but what that iteration will be like is still beyond our full understanding.
The Global Emergence of eSports
If you asked people a few years ago what would be one of the most popular sports to compete in and bet on, most of them would have laughed if you said eSports. But competitive video game players have come a long way and are no longer just a punchline to a joke. The global eSports industry is no joke, raking in over $1 billion in revenues in 2021. The largest and most competitive tournaments offer prizes in the millions of dollars to the winners. Major cities around the US have sponsored, competitive eSports teams that have major followings around the country.
But perhaps what is most interesting about the emergence of eSports is the fact that it has become a target of sports bettors. Games like Call of Duty, Counterstrike, and League of Legends are all available to bettors at sportsbooks around the world. Is it strange to be able to bet on eSports? Not exactly. Like any other sport, teams have strengths and weaknesses within a particular game. As the Metaverse emerges as the new playing field for online gaming in the future, players will be suited up to play in a virtual reality setting. Esports players can have a new virtual reality experience using metaverse. If you play this online sport and you want to know more about the odds and predictions for any specific game, you will be able to do it at some online sportsbooks in New York.
It will be an interesting yet challenging shift for an eSports industry that has only recently broken into the mainstream. Will the Metaverse be the crossroads between online betting, eSports, and decentralized finance or DeFi? Digital wallets and cryptocurrencies are already expected to play a major role in funding the Metaverse, so it will be interesting to see if the eSports industry follows suit. For now, with legal sports betting (and eSports betting) opening up in states all over the country, sports bettors will need to accept placing bets in a two-dimensional online world.
Pay to Play Games in the Metaverse
Not only will the Metaverse provide a new environment for competitive gaming, but for the budding pay to play gaming industry as well. Not everyone has the opportunity to train and play a game for hours on end. Some people are more into the ability to make money as you play games in a non-professional setting. For games like Axie Infinity, where players are able to make a new type of cryptocurrency, it has changed the lives of those who live in lower income countries like the Philippines.
While eSports are fun now, perhaps the real winner of the Metaverse will be the pay to play industry. With digital wallets integrated directly into the game, players are able to make digital currencies that can eventually be traded in for real money. With these types of games, players have been able to quit their jobs and dedicate full days to making these digital currencies in the game. As the Metaverse evolves, it is easy to see that we could be making a legitimate living playing games.
But it’s not just crypto tokens that are up for grabs, it is everything to do with the world of cryptos as well. NFTs or Non Fungible Tokens have emerged as a popular way for people to make money, selling one of a kind images that are digitally certified on a blockchain. Imagine playing a game where you mine cryptos to buy NFTs and then resell them for major profits. The Metaverse isn’t just changing employment and gaming, it is threatening to completely change the way we think about economics.
In reality, no pun intended, we are years away from a Metaverse as advanced as this. But technology evolves at an exponential rate these days, and the ability to profit off of these games is already here now. If you thought legally betting on eSports was interesting, wait until you see how it will be done in the Metaverse. Online sportsbooks will likely be completely interactive as will most other sites that require payments and payouts. With less regulations in the Metaverse, will bettors in states where sports betting is illegal be able to place wagers? For now, bettors in states like New York will be able to bet on eSports soon enough, most likely in the new year. But it’s exciting to think about how things will look in the future for both the gaming and betting industries. If the Metaverse is as revolutionary as Zuckerberg makes it seem like, then the world as we know it will be changed forever.