On the 16th of July 2022, 4,500 users - better known as “voyagers” - from across the globe, took part in what is being dubbed The First Trip.
And no, we’re not talking about your first heavy weekend in Berghain. Where did they go you ask? Otherside - a Metaverse forged by Yuga Labs, the company behind NFT franchise, The Bored Ape Yacht Club.
So what makes Otherside and this event so significant? And why should non-crypto heads be paying attention? Let’s dive in.
For starters, let’s discuss the technical achievement. Having 4,500 individuals placed in a digital environment, at the same time, all moving, talking, and interacting with the world in real-time from, any device! The First Trip was a resounding success, a claim made by both the organizers and users.
For comparison, let’s say you play one of the most popular multiple-player online games, Call of Duty’s Battle Royale game, Warzone, headed up by multi-billion dollar company, Infinity Ward. Even with all of its resources, Warzone only accommodates 200 players maximum, at one time. During peak time, you’ll often experience ‘lag’, delayed entry to servers/lobbies and massive variations in ‘ping’ times (the speed at which data is sent to received by the server, in turn affecting the user’s gaming experience).
To accomplish this technical masterstroke, Yuga Labs partnered with industry-leading company, Improbable to leverage their M² game engine, enabling Otherside to use a groundbreaking networking solution. Improbable’s lite-paper explains the M² engine “allows for thousands of players in the same space to exchange networking information at the same bandwidth of a typical 100-player battle royale game... plus a custom character rendering engine that supports thousands of totally unique avatars being rendered at the same time with different animation states”. What’s even more impressive is Otherside being accessible in browsers such as Google Chrome, completely wiping out the need for high end, high spec PCs.
This is a massive step forward in delivering the practical utility needed to make concept of a metaverse practical. And even though the word ‘metaverse’ has been banded around the mainstream a lot in recent years, and in some circles the last few decades, it may seem like the metaverse has already matured. The reality is, metaverses still have a long way to go. Despite this, Otherside’s lastest move sees it sprinting ahead of the pack.
And what of the rest of the pack? Otherside’s primary competition exists in the form of metaverses created by Decentraland and Sandbox, however, it’s hard to ignore the much humbler graphics and general, simplified user experience. Otherside’s first trip is more than a step in the right direction, more akin to a leap forward in both graphical pedigree, scale, seemlessness, and user interactivity, working in unison to drive the industry closer to the wider, mass adoption it needs.
Huge MMORPGs like Otherside aren’t anything new. Infact, even the concept of metaverses aren’t new). World of Warcraft and Second Life have been around for 18 and 19 years respectively, even predating the likes of YouTube and Facebook. These games feature customisable avatars which can be traded, in-game items can be bought and sold, users can even own land or shops. All of this taking place on a server hosting 100s of people at a time.
However, Otherside and other metaverses have set themselves apart as they enter a new frontier for the MMORPG genre with with one key difference, NFT technology. Those first 4,500 Otherside voyagers were not randomly selected - they were all NFT owners of individual plots of land within Otherside’s metaverse, sold weeks ago making the participants more like residents than voyagers.
Ownership of the NFT was your ticket in. Unlike games of the past, where access was granted through the simple purchase of the game itself, with this new web3 eco-system, users/players/members will be organized and granted permissions, based on what digital assets they own, or don’t.
And what Otherside (along with many other metaverses) promises is the never-ending possibilities of what those digital assets could be; clothes, jewelry, homes, the artwork hung inside of those homes, tickets to events, even magical powers, or access to another metaverse inside this metaverse, it’s like inception but for games, wrap your head around that.
These NFTs will be owned by you, in real-life, not your character that lives inside of a centralized operated game. If tomorrow Blizzard, the makers of World of Warcraft, decided to sell the company or just shut the servers down, your items, those digital assets would be lost forever. We know what you’re thinking, Otherside’s creators could pull a similar move and turn off the servers one day. The difference here is the items you own, purchased, traded, and collected from that metaverse would still be inside your own wallet. Immutability, baby. NFT technology means NFTs are interoperable across metaverses, meaning you can hop between the digital playgrounds as you wish with your digital assets in tow.
This opens up an entirely new eco-system, working in conjunction with the technical user experience discussed above, to create even greater digital immersion, the likes of which us humans have yet to experience.
Is Otherside just another metaverse? The short answer is no. Otherside is a metaverse spawned from, arguably, one of the greatest NFT collections to date, The Board Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). The word NFT has almost become synonymous with the BAYC. A quick google search for “NFT” will validate that statement. Going a step further, we’re pretty confident that asking a random person if they’ve seen those pictures of a cartoon monkey will result in an ‘oh yeah’ in return.
The BAYC has the potential to become the Disney of the NFT/Web3 world, with an IP pedigree (not to mention revenue) that will allow the franchise to launch anything from a clothing line, TV show, or fast-food chain, to theme parks. And their first true flag in the ground, beyond their original 10,000-piece collection, is their own metaverse.
It means that Yuga labs can leverage not only the existing 10,000-strong community of original ape holders but the millions of other fans of the franchise who want to be a part of it. This power of brand can get the metaverse thriving far quicker than any of its competitors or predecessors. For example, Decentraland currently sits at 8,000+ daily active users. On the other hand, Otherside had 4,500 users to play around with their first tech test.
And so, the stage is set. Nothing is guaranteed, however, the power of the brand that BAYC is bringing to the table is demonstrating to the world the power metaverses.
The ground swell of early adopters, fans, functionality, and technological innovation could have just been the winning combination of factors needed to mean that even though this “First Trip” was just for the 4,500, soon it could be the “First Trip” into the metaverse for us all.
Revolutions are the instruments of change; sign up on https://fair.xyz now and join the millions of creators, collectors, and curators who are on this journey with you.