Why Is Everyone Buying Virtual Land?
The idea of spending thousands of millions of dollars to purchase fictitious "land" in a virtual world may sound absurd. But in recent months, we have seen significant investments in virtual land within the metaverse. PwC and Adidas are among the latest to dive in, having purchased real estate in The Sandbox, for an undisclosed sum.
The metaverse describes a vision of a connected 3D virtual world, where "real" and digital worlds are integrated using technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). This immersive environment will be accessible through the likes of VR headsets, AR glasses, and smartphone apps, and users will meet and communicate as digital avatars, explore new areas, and create content. The idea is the metaverse will develop to become a collaborative virtual space where we can socialise, play, work and learn.
Financial incentives aside, you may be wondering what companies and individuals will actually do with their virtual land. As an example, the Metaverse Group's purchase is in Decentraland's fashion precinct. At the time of the sale, the Metaverse Group said the space would be used to host digital fashion events and sell virtual clothing for avatars - another potential area for growth in the metaverse. The company has since revealed it will stage the impending Metaverse Fashion Week on that very plot of virtual real estate.
While investors and companies are dominating this space at the moment, not all metaverse real estate is expected to cost millions. But one may ask:
"What could owning virtual land offer you?"
If you purchase a physical property in the real world, the result is tangible - somewhere to live, to take pride in, to welcome family and friends. Virtual property does not provide physical shelter, but there are still some significant resemblance to the conventional property we are all familiar with.
When shopping for virtual real estate, you would buy a piece of land to build on - or you could choose an already-built virtual house that you like. You can make it your own with various digital objects, and invite visitors, and visit others' virtual homes, too.
This vision is likely a while away, but if it seems completely absurd, we should remember that once upon a time, people had doubts about the potential significance of the internet, and then social media. Technologists predict the metaverse will mature into a fully functioning economy in the coming years, providing a sunchronous digital experience as interwoven into our lives as e-mail and social networking are now.