The metaverse is all the rage in the digital realm right now. The idea of a virtual and perpetual space with assets you can interact with seems straight out of science fiction. However, whether you like it or not, this trend is here to stay. You can observe significant changes in several key areas, from finances to cybersecurity.
Although, considering digital entities as valuable is not a new phenomenon. There is a field where it has been around for decades: online gaming.
Origins of metaverse in online gaming
It may come as a surprise, but online gaming paved the way for the metaverse in the first place. The idea of people facing each other’s avatars in virtual space was made famous through Second Life, a game that gained massive popularity in 2003.
Over the years, several iterations, including VR Chat, kept the concept mainstream. Other games like Surgeon Simulator, Pavlov, Half-Life: Alyx, and Townsmen propagated the concept to several genres. So, it is safe to say that the metaverse will also have a significant impact on online gaming soon.
Today’s evolving gaming scenario
The gaming industry has come a long way within the past few years. While many significant publishers struggle to retain their fanbase, the indie gaming sphere is quickly getting more popular. Even mid-tier developers have come up with blockbusters, the latest example being Elden Ring from From Software.
In the same way, online gaming is getting recognized as a career instead of a hobby. Tournaments, e-sport teams, and competitive streaming are gaining attention.
Now, narrative-driven games are in high demand as compared to casual looter-shooters. The live service model is becoming mainstream as people expect a more personalized experience with every digital venture. It is where the metaverse can lend a hand to the industry.
How metaverse can impact online gaming
The online gaming sphere is taking notice with virtual reality and blockchain technologies developing quickly. As per AAA and indie developers, we see monumental shifts for upcoming games. Some of the most significant ones include:
With virtual reality becoming more mainstream, it can drive the price down so much that more developers would be comfortable creating games for it. And it goes far beyond just PCs and consoles. The mobile VR headset, such as the Oculus Rift, is compatible with Android and Apple smartphones. Who wouldn’t like to get a 10-kill streak through VR in COD: Mobile?
Online games are about immersing you in a digital world, where you can fulfill your fantasy by interacting with AI and other people. With the advent of the metaverse, developers say that they can create environments not bound by the limitations of a 2-D screen. A great example is Pavlov VR, a VR port for Counter-Strike.
While the original game was a first-person shooter, the VR made the player feel the confines of an urban counter-terrorist operation. When you must aim using your arms and all the weapons function like their real-life counterparts, it delivers a much more personal experience. The same can easily translate to other genres as well.
A critical factor in the recent sharp decline of NFTs is that most are simply images or color tones. With the metaverse in full swing, it is possible to create NFTs that are more than just JPEGs. For online games, this holds enormous economic potential.
With VR and blockchain working in tandem, you can create NFTs from virtual world items, say a digital statue of Master Chief from Halo. That statue can only exist on the blockchain in a persistent virtual world where any player can admire it, but only specific individuals have ownership. Those individuals can either modify it or sell it to the highest bidder. The transaction need not even include real-world currency, as the system could be regulated with in-game tokens.
As the metaverse expands, experts have expressed their concerns over its security. Defending against digital threats has never been more essential and more talked about. It is beneficial because it allows more people to know about the scams and data breaches that have hurt many financially and mentally.
A paradigm shift is increasing the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). They have recently seen a surge, helping all internet users protect their identities and data online, not just gamers. They can help you mask your IP address and enable you to access online features not available in your region. You can learn what is your IP before connecting to a VPN. After you do, you will notice that your location is no longer revealed.
Innovative gameplay mechanics
When you migrate online gaming to VR, you give creative freedom to game developers not available with keyboards and controllers. Star Wars: Vader Immortal is a prime example. The ability to operate complex starship controls by hand and use force powers intuitively was a huge step forward for any first-person game.
It also opens avenues for entirely new mechanics. It would be nice to see a technician simulator where you must operate a machine precisely as you would in real life. On the fantasy end, there is a demand for riding a dragon in virtual reality, something Game of Thrones fans would take up wholeheartedly.
All in all, there is an ocean of possibilities with metaverse influencing online gaming. And so far, we’ve only explored the shallow end of a beach. Only time will tell what kind of games would handle the torch next.