The blockchain-powered virtual reality world of Decentraland is opening its gates for a public release on February 20th 2020. The entire infrastructure of the game is decentralized, including in-game communication and distribution of content. This also means that everything that happens within this virtual world is up to the users.
Literally there’s no going back for the developers of Decentraland after this release date. This blockchain-powered virtual game world has been in development since 2015, when the developers launched their first experimental version of what would become Decentraland.
“From now on, no single agent will have the power to modify the rules of the software, curate LAND content, modify the economics of MANA, upgrade the LAND smart contract unilaterally, or prevent others from accessing the world, among other decentralization features.”Decentraland press release (15/01/2020)
With all the decentralization and power to the people, that also means that the citizens of Decentraland can create whatever they want. Theoretically they could make a virtual strip club, a haunted house, or an art gallery. However, it’s also likely that players will create a form of governance themselves in order to provide organization, growth and development to the virtual world. Also expect stuff like renting land and live virtual events to happen more often.
Decentraland is a virtual reality platform powered by the Ethereum blockchain. Users can create, experience, and monetize content and applications. In this virtual world, users purchase plots of land that they can later navigate, build upon, and monetize. At the core of the economy are two tokens: MANA and LAND. Mana is the in-game currency, while LAND are player-owned non-fungible tokens. Yes, players can buy virtual land and build their own attractions.
When it comes to speculation there are no limitations. Pieces of land within Decentraland sell for as little as 12 thousand MANA, which equals 432 dollars. The most expensive piece of land on sale right now, is listed for 800 thousand MANA. Which is almost 30 thousand dollars. The value of MANA increased ten percent at the moment of writing, valued at $0.036.
Will Decentraland be fun at release?
The economy behind Decentraland is booming, an editor allows players to create all kinds of virtual buildings. The big question is whether the release of Decentraland will be a major success that will attract a mainstream audience. With AlphaWorlds and Second Life we’ve had virtual worlds in the past. At the moment things like Minecraft comes closest to this concept.
However, there’s so much potential. In theory a movie company could buy or rent some land, build a cinema and allow people to watch a movie. Shops could build virtual representations of their own shop, including a way to buy actual or virtual clothes. There are enough possibilities to make this a very convincing and interesting world.
But will it be fun? The developers even hosted a game jam in October. Developers created a version of Pac-Man, and all kinds of other games based on jungles, farming, and something that reminds us of a virus invasion. There were shooters, puzzles, racing games and so on. Only time will tell whether we are ready to embrace this virtual life.
In the past two years Decentraland has become a big name in blockchain gaming. However, it also gained competitors. Cryptovoxels is already running in web browsers and provides a stylized and art oriented world. At the same time Animoca Brands and Pixowl are working on The Sandbox 3D. This virtual world is build a bit more with video game entertainment in mind. In all three virtual worlds players can build their own buildings and place them on the land they bought in an auction.
Any of these virtual reality games could be key or could contribute to the rise of virtual reality game worlds with real life economies. They could be a key to the mainstream acceptance of blockchain games, but above everything it needs to be fun to play.
Also published on Medium.