virtual worlds are still struggling to meet their audiences and uses

She is dead calm in the metaverse, this term popularized by Half (previously Facebook) which refers to a virtual world where users can meet their friends, play games or even work using an avatar of themselves. However, Mark Zuckerberg had announced it during the presentation conference of his metaverse World horizon in October 2021 be “ convinced that the metaverse will succeed the mobile internet. We will be able to feel present, as if we were physically together, no matter how far apart we are. »

Indeed, the McKinsey company estimated in June that the metaverse market could represent 4,000 to 5,000 billion dollars by 2030. But for the moment, the term metaverse rhymes more with flop than with revolution. Half is its sad symbol. After investing more than $20 billion over two years in his metaverse project, only 200,000 people a month would use world horizon, according to the information disclosed by the Wall Street Journal.

Metavers and cryptocurrencies, a still unconvincing mix

As for the other metaverse attempts, success isn’t a given either. To differentiate, Decentraland And The sandbox, two virtual universes came up with the idea to connect the virtual world and cryptocurrencies and thus attract cryptophiles. Apart from these two spaces, decentralized metaverses, which allow users to exchange these digital assets thanks to a blockchain, a network of computers that validate and record transactions, fail to convince.

However, according to the European Central Bank, up to 10% of households could own cryptocurrencies”, when 12% of Americans would hold cryptocurrencies according to the US Federal Reserve. “ The metaverse is the convergence of the physical and the virtual, i.e. owning objects and data in our daily lives and finding them online. This is something that could be possible with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology”, introduces Julien Maltodazo, Deloitte’s partner in charge of innovation. NFTs or non-fungible tokens, certificates of ownership registered on the blockchain, allow for example to buy a pair of sneakers in a physical store and to bring the digital version into a virtual world.

Despite these potential uses, The sandbox reported just 203,000 users a month in an Oct. 10 tweet, when its competitor Decentraland shows just 56,697 visitors per month in an Oct. 7 tweet, far from the 50 million users per day advertised by Roblox a game that allows everyone to interact in a virtual world. And to make matters worse for their lack of popularity, they have to share the thin pie of the metaverse with other small virtual worlds like Plateau Where is it Alien worlds.

French composer Jean-Michel Jarre also wants to create his own virtual universe oxyville, to organize a concert there in October 2023. So many different and varied actors and goals that cloud the vision of what a metaverse is for the general public. According to a barometer by the Iligo agency published in April 2022, a virtual world would be considered of no interest to 62% of French people. “A metaverse will be able to distinguish itself as long as it finds users and keeps them”, warns Nicolas Perrier, consultant of Inetum. The metaverse subject matter specialist believes that a virtual universe must above all be intuitive and beautiful to create community. “The Sandbox and Meta forgot about end users and the fun and interesting side of spending time in this metaverse. For the moment it’s not nice, it’s not easy to use and therefore few want to go there”.regrets.

Multiverses, a solution to democratize virtual worlds?

Another possible economic model, in the absence of being able to create a metaverse themselves, companies offer to develop a virtual world on behalf of a client, all on a blockchain. It is the proposal of MultiversX, previously Elrond, which changed its name to reposition itself. “The MultiversX team announced that they will be working on a blockchain capable of carrying out a very large number of transactions and that will allow everyone to create their own metaverse. So, potentially, beautiful and interesting worlds that could host many internet users able to travel between these worlds easily.”says Owen Simonin, alias hasherFrench influencer and ambassador of MultiversX. An ambitious project that is only just beginning, however, as it will carry out its first test on December 10, creating a virtual world that should be able to host 10,000 users simultaneously.

“It is difficult to know if this project will be successful. Better interoperability between worlds and the development of technologies that are easy to use for the general public may not be enough to differentiate one blockchain from the others. There are currently around thirty blockchains competing with Ethereum, including MultiversX which is only nineteenth and in the medium-long term there will only be 3 or 4 left. », fades Stanislas Barthelemi, crypto consultant at KPMG, who believes that the new MultiversX project was created mainly to attract new customers.

Always to make sure that metaverses develop, other players in the field have been created the Open Metaverse Alliance early November on the occasion of the exhibition WebSummit of Lisbon. Metametaverse, alien worlds and even Animaco Brand, the creators of the sandbox, participated in the creation of this association, which aims to structure and promote decentralized metaverses with European regulators.

Why if Europe starts regulating cryptocurrencies and their uses with the recent regulation vote Cryptocurrency market (Not) And Regulation on the transfer of funds (TFR), metaverses and their uses do not yet enter their fields.

In fact, everything will play out on the regulation of the sector by governments, which the owners of these young shoots have understood. Like MultiversX, who, during the days dedicated to the presentation of the project in Paris, invited the Minister Delegate for Digital Transition Jean-Noël Barrot and his Romanian counterpart Sebastian Burduja to participate. “If Elrond held his conference in France it is because most of the community of this project is French. But more generally, France is attractive for companies because it has a very strict legal framework. So when you’re regulated in France, it’s very easy to get regulated elsewhere.” justifies Owen Simonin.

In other words, the creators of virtual worlds combined with cryptocurrencies will have to deal with the authorities but also with public opinion, which recently witnessed the collapse of the former rising star, the crypto trading platform FTX. A case that caused the price of the bitcoins by 20% between November 7 and 11 and brought Gary Gensler, the president of the Security and Exchange Commission (DRY), the American financial markets policeman, has called for more regulation of cryptocurrencies on the chain CNBC. A hurricane on the crypto ecosystem that could delay, let’s bury, the advent of decentralized metaverses.