An Introductory Guide to Metaverse Projects

Written by Coursera • Updated on

As metaverse projects grow, so do jobs on metaverse projects. Check out some of the projects and how to evaluate them as you consider work in this sector.

[Featured Image]: 3d game designer constructing and checking experience within the metaverse.

The metaverse is more than a trending topic in the technology world. It has gained more traction when social media giant Facebook changed its name to Meta in 2021—a nod to what many believe is the next iteration of the internet. The metaverse is built on blockchain technology and is still a work in progress; however, analysts expect the market value to reach more than $1.5 billion by 2030 [1].

As the internet moves into its next stage, dubbed Web 3.0, the way people interact with technology may also evolve. It's already a place where users collaborate on projects, teach each other valuable skills, and build a sense of community. Metaverse projects take all this and more to a new level. If you're ready to dabble in digital worlds, now is a great time to learn more about what they are, how they operate, and who's finding success in them.

What is the metaverse?

The metaverse is a digital world that combines elements of virtual reality, augmented reality, gameplay, and more. Its name comes from the 1992 novel "Snow Crash," in which author Neal Stephenson used the term to describe the 3D buildings and virtual worlds where avatars met. Metaverse pioneers see it as an extension of what we already do online—share information, connect with others, shop, and entertain ourselves. It just happens in 3D.

In a broader sense, the metaverse is more than a social network. It marks a shift in the way people use the internet to communicate and connect with each other. If you play games like Roblox or World of Warcraft, you've already experienced the type of perpetual virtual world that exists in the metaverse. You can communicate with other players, engage in challenges and games, and buy and sell goods.

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What role does cryptocurrency play in the metaverse?

The role crypto plays in the metaverse is two-fold—cryptocurrencies are the currency used in the virtual world and the technology that it’s built. For example, Decentraland's currency is MANA, an ERC-20 token used for trading LAND and paying for goods and services in the online world. Decentraland also operates on Ethereum blockchain (and blockchain is the technology that supports crypto).

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What metaverse projects are people watching?

Some notable metaverse projects that have sparked interest include Decentraland and Sandbox. Interest in these projects may mean watching what happens to the value of the land's digital coin. Others may want to know which digital worlds are attracting the greatest attention from the public. Another group may be looking for a metaverse to join as a consumer.

In some ways, keeping track of metaverse projects is like the search engine race in the late 1990s and early 2000s. One question metaverse watchers are asking is which metaverse project will win? Like with search engines, the answer may be less about which becomes the most popular and more about which is likely to meet your needs. Keep that in mind as you check out the top metaverse projects people are watching.

Axie Infinity

Axie Infinity stands out because of the way it utilizes NFTs. In game, users have digital pets called Axies which they breed, care for, and use to battle other players as they build their kingdoms in the metaverse. Since Axies are NFTs, their owners can buy and sell them in the Axie Infinity marketplace. To date, Axie Infinity is a highly successful crypto game and a leader in the world of NFT gaming.

Read more: What Is an NFT? Your Guide to Non-Fungible Tokens in 2023

Cryptovoxels

Cryptovoxels has been around since 2018, drawing on the success of games like Minecraft that let players build and create in the virtual world. Guests can freely explore what's happening in the world, but you need to own digital land (purchased with CVPA) if you want to build your own property. It has a surprisingly robust roster of owner-builders actively working in the space and personalizing it with posters and music.

Decentraland

Decentraland dates back to before 2016, making it one of the older metaverse projects on this list. It operates like a simulator, offering a place where users can meet with other people, play games, shop, and build businesses. Users purchase non-fungible digital assets called LAND to fully access the digital world. LAND is a limited commodity in this metaverse, and purchasing it destroys the tokens (MANA) used to buy it. 

Sandbox

In many ways, Sandbox reminds users of the popular game Minecraft. Like Decentraland, it operates on Ethereum. Some of its tokens include SAND, ASSET, and LAND; they’re used in transactions within the metaverse, such as purchasing digital space and playing games. Popular activities in Sandbox are games created by users, and now big names like Atari, Lionsgate, and Tony Hawk have partnered with Sandbox to create games. 

Star Atlas

Star Atlas capitalizes on the futuristic nature of the metaverse with a game set in the year 2620. Within the game, players earn coins for completing tasks, trade tokens (ATLAS and POLIS), and create NFTs that they use to buy land, equipment, and crew members to help them gain an advantage in the game. It operates on the Solana blockchain. This metaverse currently has nearly 100,000 users, with even more people active on the world's social media sites.

How to evaluate metaverse projects

If you're interested in joining or working on a metaverse project, consider the one that’s best fit for your personal and professional goals. Since the metaverse is still relatively new—the first metaverses started opening to the public in 2020—you may not find an abundance of guidelines to help you evaluate projects. 

One method you may find helpful is the SWOT analysis. Business analysts use it when they're working on a strategic plan for an organization and want to take a more in-depth look at its position within its market. SWOT is an acronym for the following characteristics:

  • Strengths: Look at what the organization does well. For a metaverse, this may include the ability to attract new members, the value of the underlying currency, and more.

  • Weaknesses: Consider areas where the organization can improve. In a metaverse, this can include privacy, community moderation, and lack of name recognition.

  • Opportunities: Investigate factors outside the organization's control that may give it a competitive advantage. Favorable market conditions, media exposure, and more can create growth opportunities for a metaverse project.

  • Threats: Examine factors that can hurt the organization. Regulatory actions, increased competition, and the actions of the founders can affect the success of a metaverse project.

Factors to consider when assessing metaverse platforms

Since the metaverse is still relatively new, analysts are still experimenting with valuation methods for these projects. When you assign value to a traditional business, you primarily look at its past and projected sales, earnings, assets, and liabilities. However, these factors may not apply to metaverse projects. Instead, you may consider the following factors:

  • Market capitalization: This metric gives you an idea of the project's value on the open market and what other investors are willing to pay. As such, it can be a measurement of the project's potential.

  • Size of the user base: It's generally a good sign if people are flocking to a particular metaverse project and engaging with it. This typically means they've found value in the project.

  • Token status: All metaverse projects have native tokens to buy and sell products and services within the metaverse. The purpose of the token and how users trade it offers clues into the token's value and stability of the project.

What jobs on metaverse projects can you get?

You can get many jobs in the metaverse, from game designer to community manager and storyteller. Some of these jobs are likely what you expect to see available within this space, such as a software engineer working on a product that exists online. Other jobs may not be as technical, but roles like community manager and content creator help ensure the metaverse functions as intended so users can continue to enjoy and expand the experience. 

  • 3D game designer: As a game designer, you create, construct, and check the gaming experience within the metaverse.

  • AR/VR software engineer: In this highly technical role, you get to create worlds where users interact and play.

  • Community manager: In the metaverse, community managers tend to be a combination of brand ambassadors and moderators. You interact with community members and ensure they have a positive experience.

  • Hardware engineer: In this highly technical position, you develop the hardware that supports the metaverse experience.

  • Metaverse marketing specialist: Marketing specialists in the metaverse put their creativity and out-of-the-box thinking skills to use, attracting attention and increasing engagement from investors and community members.

  • Product manager: As a product manager, you collaborate with metaverse developers and storytellers to create new products and implement them in the digital world.

  • Storyteller: Metaverse storytellers play a pivotal role in establishing the user experience in the metaverse. You get to create a storyline that defines the digital world and attracts investors and community members.

Future metaverse jobs

As the metaverse grows and evolves, you can expect to see additional jobs join the space. You may notice the demand for the following jobs increase:

  • Asset advisors

  • Data bounty hunters

  • Digital clothing designers

  • Digital stylists

  • Event planners

  • Lawyers and legal counsel

  • Metaverse researchers

  • Safety managers

  • Virtual tour guides

Qualifications for metaverse project jobs

The qualifications for metaverse project jobs largely depend on the nature of the job. For example, a product manager may need to have some experience managing teams of people. VR software engineers probably need a background in computer science or design. You can check job listings or speak to hiring managers to find out which skills you need for the jobs that interest you.

Metaverse skills

Metaverse jobs require both technical and workplace skills. For example, an animator should have the technical skills necessary to create graphics to use in the metaverse. They can also use collaboration skills to work with team members to develop a vision for the graphics. The following skills frequently appear in metaverse job listings:

  • Animation

  • Augmented reality

  • Collaboration

  • Communication

  • Creativity

  • Data analysis

  • Empathy

  • Programming languages

  • UX design

  • Virtual reality

Education

Employers may require formal education for some metaverse project jobs, but it's also possible to land one without a degree. This depends on the type of work you want to do and the employer's requirements. Learning the fundamentals of blockchain, understanding how to work with the platforms and tools used to create digital worlds, and developing a working knowledge of statistical analysis can be helpful foundations for a career in the metaverse. 

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Next steps

Whether you want to work or play in the metaverse, understanding how it operates can enhance your experience. You may start by building your knowledge of blockchain technology through a course like Blockchain: Foundations and Use Cases from ConsenSyn Academy or learning more about the metaverse with What is the Metaverse? from Meta. Find these courses and more on Coursera. 

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Article sources

  1. GlobeNewswire. "Metaverse market size to worth around USD 1,607.12 bn by 2030, https://www.globenewswire.com/en/news-release/2022/06/08/2458533/0/en/Metaverse-Market-Size-to-Worth-Around-USD-1-607-12-Bn-by-2030.html." Accessed December 16, 2022

Written by Coursera • Updated on

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