Somnium Space started auctions for land parcels on a weekly basis and this marketing tactic is driving attention for their upcoming second land sale. The virtual world topped the trading charts on OpenSea over the weekend, only to be surpassed with a small difference by Cryptovoxels. As a result Somnium Space is generating quite some hype.
This hype is most related to investment potentials, because according to SteamDB the player numbers didn’t increase. On a daily basis only five people play the game. However, Somnium Space isn’t limited to Steam. The game can also be downloaded from the official website using a dedicated client.
Social events in the game generally attract a couple of dozen users. Even music events with paid entrance have people joining in on the fun. Over the weekend over ten people danced to electronic music in a virtual club called Club Hex.
Last week investors spend 90 ETH, over 13 thousand dollars, on 25 land parcels in the virtual world. This were sold separately in a Dutch auction, during which the price drops until someone buys it. Late March several waterside parcels sold for 110 ETH, which equaled 14 thousand dollars at that time.
Every week Somnium Space is auctioning 25 land parcels on OpenSea. These auctions are all a promotion for the upcoming second land offering. The Road to the Second Land Offering event takes a total of ten weeks. After these ten weeks, the team will announce the date for the secondary land offering, which is likely to take place in the second half of the year.
Virtual land rush
The real virtual land rush we’re seeing in games that offering a virtual world or virtual reality. At the moment there are four titles that come to mind: Somnium Space, Decentraland, Cryptovoxels and The Sandbox. However, other games are also jumping in. Axie Infinity had land pieces for sale a while ago, even though these don’t have any utility within the game yet. At the same time Brave Frontier Heroes is selling land right now.
Ownership over this digital land is stored on the blockchain, and land owners can sell or trade whatever they want. In virtual worlds the idea is that land owners are able to create anything on their land. They can build a house or something nice to look at, but they are also capable of monetizing elements of their land. For example, they could create a virtual museum with an entrance fee, or a virtual store.
In games like Axie Infinity and Brave Frontier Heroes land has another usage. Often these lands offer new gameplay options and another way to earn some money. Take MegaCryptoPolis for example, in which players earn money when surrounding land around their own parcel goes up in value.
A critical perspective on growing demand
There’s a lot of potential in developing virtual worlds on blockchain technology. But teams also need to be able to create a captivating, useful or fun experiences for those who are visiting. Is this virtual world still fun or useful if you don’t own any land? That’s the biggest question. Nonetheless, there’s a lot of demand for virtual land.
It’s always good to be critical about potential financial gain. It’s still very early in the technology, and above everything it’s a new business model that we haven’t seen yet in modern gaming. We’ve never had to pay for virtual land in The Sims, Civilization or Second Life.
The big question is, whether a big audience is willing to visit these virtual worlds. These worlds need to be able to offer something that can’t be found anywhere. Think about for example interactive education, unique gameplay or great social experiences. In addition these virtual worlds need to be able to offer an entertaining world where everybody is able to have some fun. Whether Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, Somnium Space and The Sandbox are able to provide that, remains to be seen.
Also published on Medium.