One of the conceits behind the metaverse is that everyone will be able to have their own identity within the digital world. But how will people find themselves or craft their identities? Benjamin Charbit of Darewise spoke at the GamesBeat Summit and Facebook Gaming event, Into the Metaverse 2, on this topic.
Charbit said the identities that users are used to creating in games are based on principles that won’t exist in the metaverse. “In a way, it was always limited by this promise that you are a hero in this society. So when you start dreaming of the opportunity to build a virtual society, you realize that there can’t be any society if there is only one archetype of citizen.”
As Charbit said, not everyone can be the “protagonist” of the story, nor will they want to be. “We can start to envision roles that are much more alike what we see in the physical world. The obvious jobs of production and manufacturing, when you need to refine resources. But think of the hairdresser, the truck driver, the architect… We think of journalists and historians, and those are the roles we want to support in games like that.”
One of the roadblocks to users establishing those identities in the metaverse is potential boredom. With regards to users taking non-hero roles in the metaverse, Charbit pointed out that gamers buy titles that put them in non-hero roles constantly — citing farming simulators in particular.
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Darewise has launched the alpha of its sci-fi/fantasy game, Life Beyond, which it describes as having “the feeling of a modern MMO game with endless social and creative possibilities, powered by web3 and blockchain technologies.” The players spend their time on an alien planet, and will be able to have careers in the game. “As a true citizen of this society, you will have the chance to own land and build a home, heck, build a bakery, a cinema, a hospital, build whatever you feel fits the needs of the community.”
In fact, Charbit said creators won’t be able to create the socio-economic aspects of the metaverse without a solid foundation of gameplay. “It will only start being a metaverse when it will have these non-gaming, but entertaining activities in the world… You need good game design if you want people to stick. We’d be making a mistake if we were only trying to build another virtual world with some social-only activities without any gameplay. For us, gameplay has to come first.”
Charbit said that, regardless of what players choose to do or be, the ability to have a multiplicity of faces in the metaverse is the goal. “The day when we’ve managed to give people the chance to live multiple existences, that’s when we’ll have really succeeded.”