In the previous posts, we looked at the Web 3 Toolbox and at the anatomy of any given instance of the Open Metaverse as a platform. We already know that each of these elements can exist in any virtual world. Today we’ll examine how ready is Web 3, and consequently a Open Metaverse OS, for prime time.
Well on the one hand the Web 3 ecosystem is thriving with several nascent technologies that can enable many aspects of an Open Metaverse, and could and is being deployed in virtual worlds right now, albeit in an incremental fashion. But on the other it’s still significantly behind on several measures such as performance and cost when compared to Web 2 which has had decades to mature and where the benefits of economies of scale have been achieved by platform monopolys.
Equally, Web 3 technology has instead optimised primarily for high degrees of decentralisation and transaction security rather than and sometimes at the expense of enabling smooth, real-time interactions, and its applications for more 2D web based experiences on desktops and mobiles. As a consequence user experience in Web 3 has to date been poor and requiring a high degree of technical literacy due to both the radically different security model of self custody and the nascency of the industry; with frictionless user experience of web3 technologies within gaming engines even further away. But this is changing as increasingly the world of Web 3 and crypto is it’s self converging with new environments like gaming and VR there is a generational shift away from Web 2 platforms.
Therefore the Open Metaverse OS is best understood as an evolving collection of highly composable technologies that will increasingly, but selectively, be used to make aspects of a Open Metaverse possible as it seeks to serve a greater global population across several use cases and environments. It is also meant as an invitation and inspiration for teams to build those components that don’t exist yet, or aren’t ready for the needs and sheer scale of ambition we have of The Open Metaverse.
As it stands The Open Metaverse OS is concentrated on the critical lower layers of the stack, including non negotiable features such as user-sovereign identity and assets, in world economics and bridges into and out of its economy, and between each themselves leaving the intricacies of gaming engines, 3D modelling toolchains and rendering stacks to the primarily centralized world. However, over time we expect The Open Metaverse OS to also eat further downwards to decentralise those aspects as well.
An Openness Framework
This way of thinking about an Open Metaverse OS also allows a framework through which to assess the openness or otherwise, design choices and trade-offs made by a given instance of the metaverse including; is the code open source, are the assets portabile, is the data platform proprietary or user controlled, who can create value, and the degree of UGC vs platform made and how can it be monetized.
It is important to stress however it is unlikely openness is absolute and it’s choices binary but rather on a spectrum. And even within those virtual worlds and platforms we could classify as the most ‘open’ there will be significant nuance, often driven by technical limitations both of being an early adopter as well as dependencies on underlying protocols like Ethereum which require work arounds for improved usability comprising what happens on-chain, impacting ‘openness’.
For example it seems Decentraland is the only metaverse project which has a fully open source approach but still takes a more restrictive approach to avatars and wearables. E.g. like Cryptovoxels it doesn’t store avatar files on-chain, nor is their system available to outside avatar models and wearable minting is curated.
Equally, we presume any given instance will shift over time towards openness based on pragmatism rather than dogma. And we expect and highly encourage existing closed virtual worlds to gradually adopt components out of the Open Metaverse OS to increasingly open up and reap its benefits.
Outlier Ventures has been investing and accelerating the Web 3 ecosystem since 2013. In 2019 we launched Base Camp – an accelerator program for pre-seed startups operating in DeFi, NFTs and open data. We provide capital, help with your token design, access to our network of the best investors and founders of Web 3, back office support and mentorship.
What is more, in 2020 we started a decicated token launch program called Ascent where we help you launch, accelerate and scale your network.
Some of you might be wondering: why build or integrate a virtual world or good with The Open Metaverse OS at all?
Nex week we’ll answer that question for you.