Understanding the Metaverse

Explore the intrinsic similarities in these platforms’ Sandbox experiences, delving into real-time socialization, user-centric content creation, and the virtual economy.

Origin of metaverse

The term, metaverse was first coined in the science fiction novel Snow Crash published in 1992. In the novel, the protagonist travels between actual Los Angeles and the metaverse (a virtual world). The protagonist uses digital avatars to escape into this alternate reality. Recently, the term has become pervasive, because many companies have developed technologies to support the metaverse ecosystem.

The metaverse transition gained momentum after Facebook’s rebranding to Meta in 2021. Searches for metaverse on the internet rose 7,200% in 2021https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/email/rethink/2022/04/06/2022-04-06d.html. People often mistake the company Meta for the metaverse, but that’s not true. Let’s now understand what exactly is the metaverse.

To understand it better, let’s delve deeper into the following metaverse platforms that enable people to take the form of an avatar and socialize/play in real time. For these platforms, we’ll list their common characteristics to further our understanding of the metaverse.

Second Life

The game, Second Life is known to be the first metaverse game, as stated by engadget. However, the founder didn’t initially (released in 2003) refer to the ecosystem as a metaverse. With time, commentators began calling it a metaverse because it’s a virtual 3D space aligned with the concept of a virtual ecosystem. Here, people can interact, create, and engage with each other through avatars in real-time with liberty. Linden Dollar (L$) is its virtual currency, which can be used to buy skins and gadgets within the game. The hardware interface of this game is a 2D screen with OS support of either Windows or macOS.


Roblox is a 3D virtual space for users in which they can interact as well as create games. This metaverse platform has its virtual economy in which Robux acts as the platform’s virtual currency. In terms of revenue and users, Robolox is exponentially growing 66.1 million daily active users as of May 2023.


It’s an open-world game enabling users to explore and create structures, tools, and assets in a virtual space. There is no specific mission, however, users can download maps created by other users that may have missions to complete.

Commonalities between the platforms

All of the experiences referred to above, fall under the category of multiplayer sandbox games. Sandbox games involve gameplay in which there is no predetermined goal or in which players set the goals. The major highlight of this type is the degree of freedom the user has to craft a customized virtual world, which can then be shared with other users. These games aim to escape reality and do whatever one wants in an alternate virtual world. A psychology paperhttps://dl.acm.org/doi/10.1145/3491102.3501858 presents that people usually play games to satisfy certain needs that they lack in daily life. What are those needs? In the peak time of COVID-19 lockdowns, there was a surge in virtual games where people not only socialized but also had the urge to have an alternate reality to escape their lockdown restrictions and satisfy their physiological and psychological needs.

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