I see myself as an oldschool gamer – no grind is too hard, no client too large to download.
Visiting the Frontier Zone in Dark Age of Camelot, riding in World of Warcraft through the Burning Steppes, fighting at the Gates of Trinsic in Ultima Online, epic moments. These worlds have been real for me from the beginning, I made real friends and real lifelong memories.
But our gamer world changed a lot over the years, requiring less attention, providing more instant gratification. In Lost Ark a level 65 Amor dropped in the first 15 minutes, talking about the inflation of levels. Lately I got a little bit annoyed by some of my “oldschool” game developer friends talking about the Metaverse and how this had already been done years ago.
I got curious and wanted to understand if that is really the case. Was Active Worlds, Onlive Traveller or the virtual worlds that have been created years ago really the Metaverse ?
Looking back at this time when I used my Connectix Quick Cam, bought in the US at the Incredible Universe, the Internet Phone and spatial real time voice communication in Onlive Traveller was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced. But up to today most of these worlds we created have been exclusive places for people with subscriptions.
Free to play was really the first step in Gaming to open online worlds up for people who have been scared to pay for something online, and even more scared to pay for a game. Virtual entertainment that most people considered as “Nerdy” or childish. The “Try before you buy” changed everything.
It changed the gaming world from being the “exclusive club” of monthly paying customers to a diverse group of people trying out games and virtual worlds. This was one of the two big moments that propelled us in a new era of user adoption – everyone who wants to play and test out virtual worlds had a chance to do that, without paying for it (until your attention got drawn to the online shop).
The second big push happened during the pandemic – now even people who had zero interest in joining the virtual world have been forced to while being in their home office.
This situation opened up the floodgates for all the Metaverse Hype.
…to be continued