What do a Japanese anime character, the most popular villain, and a rapper have in common? They’re the gateway to the metaverse, and one company has made the genius move to bring them all into one universe.
The Fornite Revolution
The word metaverse was hyped when Facebook changed its name to Meta, but it was theorized and discussed years before, especially in the gaming industry. Some were creating a metaverse without realizing it at first. With the enormous number of people playing their game, they started seeing their product not as a video game but as Social Media. This is the story of Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite; in the East, there is a similar phenomenon with the game Honor of Kings(王者荣耀), a battle arena game that became the most social game in China.
In 2017 the Fortnite craze was unstoppable, everyone was getting non-stop Fortnite videos as a recommendation, and Twitch growth exploded thanks to the Battle Royale genre. Some streamers completely unknown to the public became overnight superstars, like Ninja and DrDisrespect. Epic Games, Roblox, and Tencent have succeeded where Facebook Failed, keeping their product cool and engaging to teenagers and young adults.
The Metaverse as Social Media 2.0
The metaverse will inevitably be an extension of Social Media, a more immersive, fun, interactive version of social media. Think of Youtube or Tiktok, there are hundreds of different topics, there are funny videos, gaming videos, videos about finance, macroeconomics, history, etc. All those people can’t meet in one place. They sometimes watch videos simultaneously but don’t interact and are invisible to each other. In the metaverse, people from different parts of the world with different interests will be able to meet. We will see them going on the “watching video world,” or we will see others going to play “the hot game of the moment.”
The Metaverse will take inspiration from MMORPG
Think of the Metaverse as a gigantic hub of different social experiences. In World of Warcraft, human players gather around Stormwing while Orcs gather around Ogrimmar. Those two cities are the races’ central hub, where players gather before going on a long adventure to prepare for a raid or sell items at the auction house. The metaverse won’t be any different. We will start with one hub, and with technology improving and more competition releasing their own version of the Metaverse, there could be multiple hubs. People will gather in one place and then go to the place they’re more interested in.
Epic Games has done what no one has before with Fortnite, they’re the most competent company to transform their game into a real Social Media+Metaverse mix. They collaborated with brands that normally would never think to work together, they made very successful virtual concerts with Travis Scott or Ariana Grande, they gathered tens of millions of players, and already have a very successful business model, reportedly making $9 billion in revenue in its first two years.
Don’t look at Meta, Google, or Amazon. Video game companies have what it takes to lead the metaverse industry in the years to come.