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How to Access the Metaverse in 2022

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While the full potential of the metaverse has yet to be discovered, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of ways to jump in and get a taste of what’s to come. For years, companies have been developing variations of their own “metaverse” environments, built around blockchain, cryptocurrency, and the global communities.

However, figuring out how to access the metaverse isn’t always simple. If you want to be one of the initial explorers discovering what the “embodied internet” could mean for the way we live and work in the years to come, you might need a little guidance.

Today, we’re going to look at exactly what you need to access various examples of “Metaverse” environments in 2022, focusing on some of the most popular options available right now.

Decentraland

Number of Users: 300,000+

Country of Origin: Argentina

How to Enter: https://decentraland.org/

Decentraland is one of the better-known environments for Metaverse enthusiasts today. This decentralised virtual world has quickly captured the attention of all kinds of users. Within Decentraland, you can buy, sell, and build artwork, digital real estate, and NFTs. You can also communicate with a huge global community.

The platform runs on the Ethereum blockchain and is entirely community owned. You don’t need much to get started. As a guest user, you can explore by opening the Decentraland website in your browser. You’ll need to make an avatar, confirm your age, and accept the terms and conditions before you can start exploring.

Following your avatar creation, you’ll start in the “Genesis Plaza”, a town square where you’ll be surrounded by other people’s avatars. A floating robot (Alice) will fly in to guide you through the basics of how to direct your gaze, chat and move around.

The two central elements of Decentraland are MANA and LAND. Buying LAND gives you specific access to a small amount of the virtual landscape, where you can build structures and store content. To access LAND, you need MANA, which you can access through your profile using traditional currency or cryptocurrency.

You can also earn MANA through play-to-earn games within the Decentraland environment, or buy completing tasks and offering services to other users.

Second Life

Number of Users: 64.7 million +

Country of Origin: United States

How to Enter: https://secondlife.com/

Probably one of the earliest examples of the metaverse to emerge in the digital landscape, Second Life is an online community, playground, and role-playing game, created for the online world. While there is no VR experience with Second Life, there’s still a huge number of places to explore and communities to join.

People within Second Life have relationships, families, and homes within the ecosystem, and you can even make a living creating content for the platform.

To get started, you’ll need to join Second Life and install the client on your computer. While you can access a Premium account, it’s best to start with a basic, free account while you’re getting used to the new world. Next, you’ll log into your account and create your own avatar. You’ll be able to edit your appearance and sculpt your appearance to make your avatar look just like you.

In the “Welcome Island” section of the platform, you’ll be able to go through various tutorials, get a feel for how the software works, and even meet with potential mentors. Second Life allows you to explore destinations by clicking the “Destinations” button, and “Teleporting” to wherever you want to go. There’s the option to visit beginner-friendly spaces, or check out the hottest new destinations.

As you continue to explore Second Life, you’ll discover the need for “LindeX” – the currency within the platform. You can make money with various tasks, as well as accessing free “LindeX” from time to time.

The Sandbox Game

Number of Users: 2 million +

Country of Origin: United States

How to Enter: https://www.sandbox.game/

The Sandbox game was created by Pixowl Inc as a multiplayer environment where users can create their own worlds with unique objects. The game is similar in design to Minecraft, allowing people to build and create simple environments in a digital world.

In the Sandbox, you can create labyrinths, buildings, puzzles, and more, as well as sharing your virtual world with other people. The project allows people to create all kinds of experiences without any prior coding knowledge. Based on the Unity engine, the Sandbox encourages players to create their own mini part of the Metaverse.

Unlike some Metaverse environments, the Sandbox game can be pretty expensive to get started with. You’ll need to invest some money in the form of ETH and SAND cryptocurrencies. This means you’re going to need your own cryptocurrency wallet.

To begin building, you’ll buy land plots, which also double-up as NFTs in the Ethereum blockchain. You can also combine several blocks of land or share ownership of an area with other users. Once you have your land, you can start buying NFT objects to implement into your space.

Roblox

Number of Users: 43.2 million +

Country of Origin: United States

How to Enter: https://www.roblox.com/

Roblox is a free-to-play game environment where anyone can create their own community landscape with games, puzzles, and unique experiences. Players can join an infinite number of different worlds, and meet new people within the Roblox environment.

Roblox is popular among children and adults alike, who create everything from immersive collaborative experiences to obstacle courses within the digital world. All you need to do to get started is make an account. From there, you can choose a “Builder’s Club” monthly subscription which determines what you can do with your Roblox account.

Within Roblox, users can buy, sell, and exchange items for tokens like “Robux”, which they can use to purchase plots of land and various other objects within the Roblox space. You can also use Robux to customise your metaverse avatar. As soon as you log into your Roblox account, you’ll be presented with a host of games to play and communities to explore.

Horizon Worlds

Number of Users: 300,000+

Country of Origin: United States

How to Enter: https://www.oculus.com/horizon-worlds/

Formerly known as “Facebook Horizon”, Horizon Worlds is a free online video game, enhanced by virtual reality, and built for Oculus by Meta. The Horizon Worlds environment allows users to interact with other people online in an infinitely customizable space.

Similar to environments like VR Chat and Rec Room, Horizon Worlds supports all kinds of community experiences, from professional collaboration sessions, to playing games with friends. You can also create unique worlds of your own, as well as visiting existing environments.

To get started with Horizon Worlds, you’ll need a VR headset and an Oculus Avatar. You’ll have to connect your Facebook account to your profile, and be over the age of 18. If you don’t have an Avatar, you’ll be taken to the setup screen when you log into Horizon Worlds.

Once you’re in Horizon Worlds, you can choose to either explore the environments created by other users, or design your own space. Build mode allows you to design comprehensive spaces complete with their own sounds and interactive elements.

Star Atlas

Number of Users: Unknown

Country of Origin: United States

How to Enter: https://staratlas.com/

A unique take on the concept of metaverse environments, Star Atlas is a metaverse RPG game where players can travel to the year 2620, and explore the cosmos through a range of virtual experiences. The realm is divided into different groups, including humans, aliens, and robots, and you need to choose your faction when you’re getting started.

Unlike your standard video game, Star Atlas allows users to monetize their time playing, earning real-world income by exploring new planets and discovering hidden treasures. The game is massively funded by the Axie Infinity scholarship.

You’ll need a cryptocurrency wallet, and potentially some Solana cryptocurrency to get started with Star Atlas. When you set up your account, you’ll be able to link your wallet, and access the marketplace where you can purchase NFTs and other assets for the game itself. The ship you purchase will allow you to get involved with battles in the game. The rarer then NFT, the more expensive it is.

Like many Metaverse communities, Star Atlas has its own currency “ATLAS” which you can earn by scanning portions of the open world and collecting materials you can sell to the marketplace, or to other users in the community.

VRChat

Number of Users: 21,000+

Country of Origin: United States

How to Enter: https://hello.vrchat.com/

VRChat is a huge metaverse landscape built for the age of virtual reality. While you can enter and explore VRChat without any VR equipment using a Steam application, you won’t have the same immersive experience.

VRChat is a community-focused environment, built to bring people together from around the world. It’s also a space where you can design your own experiences and share them with others. To get started with VRChat, you’ll need to create an account login, and design an avatar.

You can use a pre-existing model included within the game, or create something from scratch. From there, you’ll enter the VRChat hub world, where you’ll be able to choose between worlds you want to explore, and connect with other people through voice, emoting, and video.

To create a world, you’ll need a decent amount of coding knowledge, as you’ll have to work with things like 3D spatialization and layers.

Rec Room

Number of Users: 37 million+

Country of Origin: United States

How to Enter: https://rec.net/ 

Rec Room is a virtual reality online video game available through Microsoft Windows, Xbox, PlayStation, the Oculus, and various Android devices. At the core of the experience is a “Rec Center” hub room, where you’ll find doors leading to countless games and user-generated rooms.

While the best way to experience the Rec Room environment is with a virtual reality headset, you can still explore some spaces without any VR equipment.

To begin, you’ll need to download Rec Room on your chosen device, and create a username. You’ll also be able to customise your character’s appearance. The step-by-step setup wizard will tell you how to enable your microphone, before taking you to the welcome center.

Rec Room is relatively straightforward, with lots of instructions to familiarise you with the controls. When you’re playing, you can either focus your attention on exploring other worlds, or building your own dedicated “room”, where you can create experiences, invite people to interact with you, and store various pieces of digital content.

Avakin Official

Number of Users: 100 million+

Country of Origin: United Kingdom

How to Enter: https://avakin.com/

Avakin defines itself as a 3D socializing game, where you can connect with wider communities, and build your virtual identity. You can dress up your avatar with the latest fashions, and create your own clothing designs, or design a building where your virtual self can live.

With Avakin, you can explore locations around the world and join other environments built by similar players. There are also thematic and seasonal events available to players throughout the year. You can also make your own “apartment” available to other users, or keep it private to you.

To start, you’ll create an account with Avakin life and choose your username. You’ll also be able to create an avatar which you can adapt and customize again later. Once you enter the welcome environment, you’ll see the option to start working on your apartment, or exploring various locations.

To build your presence on Avakin and access more features, you’ll need to collect the currency of the realm “Avacoins”, which you can earn by doing jobs in the virtual community.

Microsoft Mesh for Teams

Number of Users: 250 million + (Global Teams users)

Country of Origin: united States

How to Enter: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/mesh

Microsoft Mesh for Teams is Microsoft’s effort to bring the Metaverse into existing collaborative environments for companies around the world. With Mesh for Microsoft Teams, you’ll be able to access the mixed reality features of Microsoft Mesh, alongside the various tools for sharing information and insights on Microsoft Teams.

All you need to get started is an account with Microsoft Teams, and access to the Mesh environment. When joining a Teams meeting after downloading Microsoft Mesh for Teams, you’ll be able to decide whether you want to join a meeting as yourself, or create an avatar version you can teleport into the environment for people using MR headsets.

Microsoft Mesh users can also access immersive spaces, where people using virtual reality headsets can interact with other users in the real world creating shared virtual spaces. Microsoft Mesh for Teams is still in its early stages, but it’s one of the first clear examples of how the Metaverse environment could be used for business environments.

Join us at XR Summit 2022 and discover more about extended reality and metaverse technologies.

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