The idea of The Metaverse is one that's the talk of the technological town. A digitised future blending the real and virtual world is peak escapism, but one that could make humanity a vapid species.
Metaversal tech is the next step towards bridging humanity with technology, and the culmination of the gamification of life. But as gamification is set to rule the future internet, how will games’ historically dodgy monetisation affect the Metaverse?
Metaverse monetisation will be a predatory experience
It’s not hard to imagine exactly how monetisation will work for the future. In fact, the exact future Zuckerberg and Co and planning is already well established by cryptocurrency and NFTs. The evolution of video games’ premium currency and CS: GO skins, these resource intensive asset cliques are the basis of Metaverses.
For example, is Facebook’s Metaverse plans go as well as they hope, everything will be tied to Zuckerberg’s wishes. Your virtual property will be sold through Meta realtors, your clothes will be sold at virtual retailers. Everything your interact with will be fake, but it'll cost real money.
It’s Second Life 2.0, but without the freedoms that Second Life offers. In Second Life, you can be a freakish Sonic OC. In the commercialised Meta world, your look will be tied to what official partners can offer. As reality becomes more entwined with virtualisation, the same capitalistic issues that restrict enjoyment in real life will permeate the digital world.
The digital future will be just like an EA Game
As the culture around NFTs grows and grows, the cryptoart industry has already become more like the worst video games. Much like the infamously terrible loot boxes that plagued EA games like Battlefront 2 or Fifa Ultimate Team, much metaversal content will revolve around paid chance. In fact, NFT loot boxes already exist and they're as disgusting as you'd expect.
The Metaverse will become a gamified digital life. As the gamification expands, monetising the process of games will occur. In the world of crypto, this is done by exploiting collector and consumerist culture.
For example, NFT trading cards are very common. Most NFTs are based around collecting sets of items, such as Marvel Spider-Man trading cards. This is all based on the faux ownership rules surrounding non-fungible tokens in the first place.
In the Metaverse, you'll inevitably try and own a virtual property or — God forbid — rent a digital apartment. You'll want your virtual property to look nice. As a result, you'll have to buy digital assets. This is exactly where stringent monetisation will reach its heights.
Remember: just like loot boxes in EA games, metaversal monetisation is a result of capitalism invading a niche. Everything needs to make money, everything can be sold. And the more money there is to make, the more egregious the schemes will become.