Virtual World: Is Decentraland the future?
Virtual reality has been the hot topic for a while now. We’ve seen it grow in all kinds of interesting directions, from the photo real, to 2D animated worlds and illustrated narratives played out in imaginative detail. Now, a new direction is beginning to pick up traction, giving a more concrete shape to the future of virtual reality in our society.
By joining forces with another particularly hot topic, the blockchain – the revolutionary technology underpinning cryptocurrency – the foundations are being laid for future virtual worlds for adults (a potentially scorching topic).
Before we dive in, here’s a quick overview of blockchain technology:
To get started, let’s turn to the company attempting to bring the future virtual world to life using this technology…
Decentraland is a decentralised virtual world being built on the unique blockchain technology of the cryptocurrency Ethereum – a digital currency that has found success by overcoming some of the central limitations of Bitcoin.
Decentraland have begun building the infrastructure to support this shared virtual world, offering virtual land distributed via a decentralised ledger.
In doing so, they’ve built a peer-to-peer network where anything can be built and where the rules are dictated solely by the owner of the specific section of virtual land. Meaning, Decentraland will be a completely open, virtual world controlled by the people who use it.
Decentraland will be a completely open, virtual world controlled by the people who use it.
Running on the currency MANA (which runs on Etherium), a limited amount of land is initially up for grabs, which, once occupied, will then be the basis for this virtual society and economy.
With all ownership being logged on the blockchain ledger underpinning it, it will be a trusted landscape of interaction that cannot be co-opted by corporate powers. Meaning, this online virtual world will be a truly free space.
The Future Virtual World
With Decentraland, the VR industry, and the Etherium blockchain, are starting to take real shape.
Here’s a more in depth overview of how Decentraland is progressing so far, and their vision for the future…
While theoretically quite abstract, the virtual world itself will be a very real environment that users can walk around and explore – either through a VR headset or via a web-client and classic PC gaming controls.
The world itself is constituted by a finite number of 10x10m sections of land, with each section being assigned a specific coordinate and hash.
Integrated with the MANA currency, users can purchase land with real worth (dictated by the value of Ether) and then do with it as they please. Literally, any whim can be realised. Already, virtual museums, shopping centres, casinos and theatres stand in the virtual world, each property dictated solely by its owner (yet another example of how cryptocurrency is working towards the libertarian ideal).
Supporting custom scripts and a range of graphic rendering engines, the scope for what can be introduced to this virtual world is almost limitless. Plus, with plans to support in-game communication and multiplayer facets, it has the potential to be one of the best virtual world games we could possibly imagine. Picture living in The Sims, just with quite real financial consequences.
Will it be successful?
As with Bitcoin (and similar cryptocurrencies), this type of user-based technology can’t afford to scale quicker than its computational power allows. Meaning, necessarily, it will take some time to develop to its full potential, moving from the bronze age (where it’s currently at) to the bold and futuristic silicon age its creators and users are working towards.
As it grows, we will start to know more about its functionality and whether or not it becomes a powerful tool for real businesses. In the meantime, it’s a major advancement that both industries can enjoy and use as a guiding objective, or landscape, around which to build the future virtual world. And that, in and of itself, is an exciting prospect. A virtual space definitely worth watching.
If you’re interested in creating your own virtual reality experience, feel free to drop us a call to speak with one of our experts about what we can do for you.