Open vs Closed Metaverse: Which is Best for Your Business?

Open vs Closed Metaverse: Which is Best for Your Business?

Written by:

Written by:

Apr 23, 2024

Apr 23, 2024

Open vs Closed Metaverse: Which is Best for Your Business?
Open vs Closed Metaverse: Which is Best for Your Business?
Open vs Closed Metaverse: Which is Best for Your Business?

Key Takeaways

  • The metaverse is still evolving: Don't get locked into any one platform or set of technologies. Flexibility is key in the early stages.

  • Prioritize learning: Engage with metaverse communities and experiment with small projects to gain valuable insights.

  • Ownership matters: Strive to retain control of your core assets (3D models, customer data, brand identity) whenever possible.

The metaverse is all the rage, but there's something important to understand before diving in: there are two main flavors. Open metaverses are all about decentralization and putting control in the hands of users. Closed metaverses, on the other hand, work more like the big platforms we're used to. Let's break down what this means for businesses looking to get involved.

What is an Open Metaverse?

The open metaverse is more than just fancy tech; it's a philosophy about how the next iteration of the internet should work. Let's unpack what that means:

Picture the Early Web, But in 3D

Remember when the internet was mostly smaller websites, less corporate control, and a spirit of experimentation? That's the vibe open metaverse enthusiasts are aiming for. Instead of being confined to a single company's platform, it's a sprawling interconnected network of virtual experiences.

  • Your Identity Travels With You: You'd have a consistent avatar and digital wallet, rather than creating a new profile for each platform. This makes it feel more like moving between neighborhoods than switching between totally separate apps.

  • Ownership is Built-In: Think of NFTs (on the blockchain) as your digital passport. You could buy a virtual designer jacket and wear it everywhere compatible, maybe even sell it later. This isn't fully possible yet, but it's the goal.

Community Calls the Shots

Who decides the rules in a world with no central owner? Often, open metaverses use something called DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations). Think of these like online communities that make collective decisions, sometimes by voting based on tokens they hold.

  • Less Corporate Overlords: The idea is that users, creators, and builders have a say in how the metaverse grows, rather than all the power resting with a handful of tech companies.

  • Standards Matter: For this to work, different open metaverses need to play nice with each other. Imagine if your email worked on only one website - that's what they're trying to avoid for the open metaverse.

A Creator's Dream

One of the most exciting aspects of the open metaverse vision is the potential for regular people to play a bigger role.

  • Not Just Building, Owning: Imagine designing virtual storefronts, minting NFT art collections, or even creating mini-games that earn you cryptocurrency. The barrier to entry could be much lower than the traditional web.

  • Control Your Destiny: If a big closed metaverse platform changes its fees or shuts down, you're at their mercy. In an open system, you can (ideally) pack up your digital shop and move it elsewhere - talk about bargaining power!

The Pros and Cons

The promise of an open metaverse is super appealing. A decentralized internet with real ownership and creator freedom sounds awesome, right? But as with most exciting new things, there's a flip side to consider. Let's break down the pros and cons:

Pros of the Open Metaverse

  • Your Stuff, for Real: NFTs and blockchain stuff aside, the idea is simple – you finally get to own those virtual sneakers or that custom sword, not just "license" them from a company. This could change everything about buying and selling in the metaverse.

  • The Rise of the Little Guy: Open systems don't need permission from a corporation. Anyone with a cool idea and some skills can build experiences or sell virtual goods. This might lead to a lot more original stuff that would never get greenlit in a closed metaverse.

  • Less Mercy of the Giants: When no single company sets all the rules, it's harder for them to change fees on a whim or yank your content. For creators, that could mean fairer deals and more stability overall.

Cons of the Open Metaverse

  • Tech Has to Catch Up: That dream of taking your awesome outfit from one virtual space to another seamlessly? We're not there yet, and it's super complicated to make happen.

  • Finding the Cool Stuff Gets Harder: No more slick app stores! Open metaverse discovery is still being figured out. Anyone building there will need to learn how to get their stuff noticed.

  • Not as Grandma-Friendly (Yet): Blockchain wallets, crypto... it can be intimidating. Open metaverses gotta get way easier to onboard average folks if they want to go mainstream.

An open metaverse is still a work-in-progress. The ideas fueling it are worth getting excited about, but it's important to be realistic about the challenges, too. It's about a shift in power and ownership, which could be huge for businesses in the long run.

What is a Closed Metaverse?

Think of closed metaverses as the natural next step for the social media platforms and gaming spaces we're already familiar with. Instead of just scrolling a feed or playing on a flat screen, you're immersed in a 3D world. While these experiences can be fun, it's important to understand the trade-offs.

Your Account, Their Rules

Closed metaverses are owned and operated by single companies – titans like Meta, Roblox Corporation, or others that emerge. Here's how it works:

  • The Company's Virtual Kingdom: Everything you experience happens within their system. They design the currency, they control what you can and can't build, they run the marketplace. Your success is closely tied to their whims.

  • This Feels Familiar: If you use big social media today, the concept isn't that strange. You create a profile tied to their service, and your options are often influenced by their algorithms and ever-changing policies.

The Double-Edged Sword of Convenience

Closed metaverses make it simpler to dip your toes in the water, but that comes at a cost:

  • The Easy Path (Often): They heavily emphasize user-friendly tools, letting even non-coders build simple games, experiences, or virtual stores. This lowers the barrier to entry.

  • Trapped in Their System: If that platform tanks, or changes its rules or fees drastically, you have little recourse. You've invested time and maybe money into a space you don't ultimately control.

Pros and Cons of Closed Metaverses

Let's be fair, closed metaverses aren't without advantages, especially for newcomers:

Pros

  • Find an Audience Fast: Big platforms already have tons of users. If quick visibility is your top priority for an early metaverse experiment, this can be a big plus.

  • Less Scary for Some: With centralized control comes a sense of predictability. For brands worried about the "wild west" aspect of open spaces, this can feel safer.

  • Easier Onboarding (Usually): Closed metaverses strive to make sign-up and creation tools straightforward, attracting those intimidated by tech jargon.

Cons

  • Limited Ownership: You rent your digital items and storefront, not truly own them. The company calls the shots on what you're even allowed to sell or earn.

  • One Platform's Success is Your Ceiling: No matter how cool your stuff is, you're at the mercy of their algorithm changes, fee structures, and overall platform health.

  • Potentially Less Creative: The very nature of a closed system can stifle the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that drives truly unique metaverse experiences.

Closed metaverses are likely the easiest way for most people and businesses to get their feet wet with metaverse concepts. However, it's wise to approach them as a stepping stone. The long-term potential for creators and businesses might be limited compared to a more open and decentralized future.

Strategies for Businesses

The metaverse is full of potential, but it's a lot to take in! Instead of trying to guess which single platform will win out, focus on getting some hands-on experience. This sets you up to adapt as the whole concept matures.

1. The Importance of Staying Informed

The metaverse is changing fast, so getting locked into how things work today isn't a smart move. Think of your early efforts as research. To get the most from this stage, you need to be engaged with the community:

  • Follow the Trailblazers: Join discussions wherever the builders and early adopters are hanging out – forums, Discord, or even just exploring platforms firsthand. This gives you an unfiltered look at where the excitement is, and the problems people are trying to solve.

  • Tools Matter: The software we use to create metaverse stuff keeps getting better. Staying aware of what's out there (and even what's in the pipeline) helps you dream up projects that weren't possible a year ago.

2. Start with Small, Focused Projects

Nobody expects you to build a massive, interconnected virtual world overnight. In fact, starting smaller is way smarter when things are still this new. Here's why:

  • Closed Metaverses as a Sandbox: Platforms like Roblox or Meta's Horizon Worlds have simple creation tools to get you started. Experiment with a pop-up shop or a fun mini-game to learn how people navigate 3D spaces, and what kind of visuals work well.

  • Dip a Toe in the Open Waters: If you can spare the resources, try a side project (even a basic one) on an open platform like Decentraland or The Sandbox. This gets your feet wet with concepts like buying virtual land and integrating NFTs in a practical way.

3. Prioritize Ownership Wherever Possible

It's tempting to rely on the stuff a metaverse platform gives you, but this hurts you in the long run. Try to keep control over these, even if it means some compromises now:

  • Assets to Go: Design 3D models of your products in ways you can easily adapt to different metaverse platforms. This saves you a ton of rework if you decide to branch out later.

  • Know Your People: Collect data on who actually visits your metaverse spaces (when the platform allows). This lets you market directly to them, rather than hoping the platform's algorithm works in your favor.

  • Don't Forget Your Brand: Your logo, your visual style, the whole vibe of your experience needs to stay the same across different metaverse projects. In a world that feels disjointed, brand consistency is how people will remember you.

Recommended Tools

There's no single right answer, so you need to be honest about your team's skills and how ambitious your goals are:

  • Game Engines: Unity and Unreal Engine are the powerhouses, and increasingly metaverse-friendly. If you have experienced developers (or plan to invest in some), these are solid options.

  • Accessible for Beginners: Roblox Studio and Horizon Worlds are less intimidating, good if your focus is on simple experiences rather than ultra-realistic game-like worlds.

  • Open Metaverse Building Blocks: Decentraland and The Sandbox let you build with a blockchain twist, giving you options for owning virtual land and using NFTs within your creations.

Why Partner with TokenMinds

Companies like TokenMinds specialize in the complexities and fast-changing nature of the metaverse. Here's how we help your business thrive:

  • We Live at the Cutting Edge: We're constantly learning the latest technologies and trends across both open and closed metaverse developments. You benefit from our expertise, without having to do all that research yourself.

  • Focused on Your Success: We don't just get the tech part working, we make sure your overall metaverse strategy truly serves your unique brand and business goals.

  • Making It Easy: We handle the technical hurdles so you can focus on the creative, exciting aspects of building your presence in the metaverse.

Conclusion

It's probably not going to be a winner-takes-all scenario. We'll likely see large, closed metaverses coexist with open ones. Successful businesses will find ways to meaningfully engage on both sides of the equation and stay flexible as the whole concept of the metaverse evolves.

Key Takeaways

  • The metaverse is still evolving: Don't get locked into any one platform or set of technologies. Flexibility is key in the early stages.

  • Prioritize learning: Engage with metaverse communities and experiment with small projects to gain valuable insights.

  • Ownership matters: Strive to retain control of your core assets (3D models, customer data, brand identity) whenever possible.

The metaverse is all the rage, but there's something important to understand before diving in: there are two main flavors. Open metaverses are all about decentralization and putting control in the hands of users. Closed metaverses, on the other hand, work more like the big platforms we're used to. Let's break down what this means for businesses looking to get involved.

What is an Open Metaverse?

The open metaverse is more than just fancy tech; it's a philosophy about how the next iteration of the internet should work. Let's unpack what that means:

Picture the Early Web, But in 3D

Remember when the internet was mostly smaller websites, less corporate control, and a spirit of experimentation? That's the vibe open metaverse enthusiasts are aiming for. Instead of being confined to a single company's platform, it's a sprawling interconnected network of virtual experiences.

  • Your Identity Travels With You: You'd have a consistent avatar and digital wallet, rather than creating a new profile for each platform. This makes it feel more like moving between neighborhoods than switching between totally separate apps.

  • Ownership is Built-In: Think of NFTs (on the blockchain) as your digital passport. You could buy a virtual designer jacket and wear it everywhere compatible, maybe even sell it later. This isn't fully possible yet, but it's the goal.

Community Calls the Shots

Who decides the rules in a world with no central owner? Often, open metaverses use something called DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations). Think of these like online communities that make collective decisions, sometimes by voting based on tokens they hold.

  • Less Corporate Overlords: The idea is that users, creators, and builders have a say in how the metaverse grows, rather than all the power resting with a handful of tech companies.

  • Standards Matter: For this to work, different open metaverses need to play nice with each other. Imagine if your email worked on only one website - that's what they're trying to avoid for the open metaverse.

A Creator's Dream

One of the most exciting aspects of the open metaverse vision is the potential for regular people to play a bigger role.

  • Not Just Building, Owning: Imagine designing virtual storefronts, minting NFT art collections, or even creating mini-games that earn you cryptocurrency. The barrier to entry could be much lower than the traditional web.

  • Control Your Destiny: If a big closed metaverse platform changes its fees or shuts down, you're at their mercy. In an open system, you can (ideally) pack up your digital shop and move it elsewhere - talk about bargaining power!

The Pros and Cons

The promise of an open metaverse is super appealing. A decentralized internet with real ownership and creator freedom sounds awesome, right? But as with most exciting new things, there's a flip side to consider. Let's break down the pros and cons:

Pros of the Open Metaverse

  • Your Stuff, for Real: NFTs and blockchain stuff aside, the idea is simple – you finally get to own those virtual sneakers or that custom sword, not just "license" them from a company. This could change everything about buying and selling in the metaverse.

  • The Rise of the Little Guy: Open systems don't need permission from a corporation. Anyone with a cool idea and some skills can build experiences or sell virtual goods. This might lead to a lot more original stuff that would never get greenlit in a closed metaverse.

  • Less Mercy of the Giants: When no single company sets all the rules, it's harder for them to change fees on a whim or yank your content. For creators, that could mean fairer deals and more stability overall.

Cons of the Open Metaverse

  • Tech Has to Catch Up: That dream of taking your awesome outfit from one virtual space to another seamlessly? We're not there yet, and it's super complicated to make happen.

  • Finding the Cool Stuff Gets Harder: No more slick app stores! Open metaverse discovery is still being figured out. Anyone building there will need to learn how to get their stuff noticed.

  • Not as Grandma-Friendly (Yet): Blockchain wallets, crypto... it can be intimidating. Open metaverses gotta get way easier to onboard average folks if they want to go mainstream.

An open metaverse is still a work-in-progress. The ideas fueling it are worth getting excited about, but it's important to be realistic about the challenges, too. It's about a shift in power and ownership, which could be huge for businesses in the long run.

What is a Closed Metaverse?

Think of closed metaverses as the natural next step for the social media platforms and gaming spaces we're already familiar with. Instead of just scrolling a feed or playing on a flat screen, you're immersed in a 3D world. While these experiences can be fun, it's important to understand the trade-offs.

Your Account, Their Rules

Closed metaverses are owned and operated by single companies – titans like Meta, Roblox Corporation, or others that emerge. Here's how it works:

  • The Company's Virtual Kingdom: Everything you experience happens within their system. They design the currency, they control what you can and can't build, they run the marketplace. Your success is closely tied to their whims.

  • This Feels Familiar: If you use big social media today, the concept isn't that strange. You create a profile tied to their service, and your options are often influenced by their algorithms and ever-changing policies.

The Double-Edged Sword of Convenience

Closed metaverses make it simpler to dip your toes in the water, but that comes at a cost:

  • The Easy Path (Often): They heavily emphasize user-friendly tools, letting even non-coders build simple games, experiences, or virtual stores. This lowers the barrier to entry.

  • Trapped in Their System: If that platform tanks, or changes its rules or fees drastically, you have little recourse. You've invested time and maybe money into a space you don't ultimately control.

Pros and Cons of Closed Metaverses

Let's be fair, closed metaverses aren't without advantages, especially for newcomers:

Pros

  • Find an Audience Fast: Big platforms already have tons of users. If quick visibility is your top priority for an early metaverse experiment, this can be a big plus.

  • Less Scary for Some: With centralized control comes a sense of predictability. For brands worried about the "wild west" aspect of open spaces, this can feel safer.

  • Easier Onboarding (Usually): Closed metaverses strive to make sign-up and creation tools straightforward, attracting those intimidated by tech jargon.

Cons

  • Limited Ownership: You rent your digital items and storefront, not truly own them. The company calls the shots on what you're even allowed to sell or earn.

  • One Platform's Success is Your Ceiling: No matter how cool your stuff is, you're at the mercy of their algorithm changes, fee structures, and overall platform health.

  • Potentially Less Creative: The very nature of a closed system can stifle the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that drives truly unique metaverse experiences.

Closed metaverses are likely the easiest way for most people and businesses to get their feet wet with metaverse concepts. However, it's wise to approach them as a stepping stone. The long-term potential for creators and businesses might be limited compared to a more open and decentralized future.

Strategies for Businesses

The metaverse is full of potential, but it's a lot to take in! Instead of trying to guess which single platform will win out, focus on getting some hands-on experience. This sets you up to adapt as the whole concept matures.

1. The Importance of Staying Informed

The metaverse is changing fast, so getting locked into how things work today isn't a smart move. Think of your early efforts as research. To get the most from this stage, you need to be engaged with the community:

  • Follow the Trailblazers: Join discussions wherever the builders and early adopters are hanging out – forums, Discord, or even just exploring platforms firsthand. This gives you an unfiltered look at where the excitement is, and the problems people are trying to solve.

  • Tools Matter: The software we use to create metaverse stuff keeps getting better. Staying aware of what's out there (and even what's in the pipeline) helps you dream up projects that weren't possible a year ago.

2. Start with Small, Focused Projects

Nobody expects you to build a massive, interconnected virtual world overnight. In fact, starting smaller is way smarter when things are still this new. Here's why:

  • Closed Metaverses as a Sandbox: Platforms like Roblox or Meta's Horizon Worlds have simple creation tools to get you started. Experiment with a pop-up shop or a fun mini-game to learn how people navigate 3D spaces, and what kind of visuals work well.

  • Dip a Toe in the Open Waters: If you can spare the resources, try a side project (even a basic one) on an open platform like Decentraland or The Sandbox. This gets your feet wet with concepts like buying virtual land and integrating NFTs in a practical way.

3. Prioritize Ownership Wherever Possible

It's tempting to rely on the stuff a metaverse platform gives you, but this hurts you in the long run. Try to keep control over these, even if it means some compromises now:

  • Assets to Go: Design 3D models of your products in ways you can easily adapt to different metaverse platforms. This saves you a ton of rework if you decide to branch out later.

  • Know Your People: Collect data on who actually visits your metaverse spaces (when the platform allows). This lets you market directly to them, rather than hoping the platform's algorithm works in your favor.

  • Don't Forget Your Brand: Your logo, your visual style, the whole vibe of your experience needs to stay the same across different metaverse projects. In a world that feels disjointed, brand consistency is how people will remember you.

Recommended Tools

There's no single right answer, so you need to be honest about your team's skills and how ambitious your goals are:

  • Game Engines: Unity and Unreal Engine are the powerhouses, and increasingly metaverse-friendly. If you have experienced developers (or plan to invest in some), these are solid options.

  • Accessible for Beginners: Roblox Studio and Horizon Worlds are less intimidating, good if your focus is on simple experiences rather than ultra-realistic game-like worlds.

  • Open Metaverse Building Blocks: Decentraland and The Sandbox let you build with a blockchain twist, giving you options for owning virtual land and using NFTs within your creations.

Why Partner with TokenMinds

Companies like TokenMinds specialize in the complexities and fast-changing nature of the metaverse. Here's how we help your business thrive:

  • We Live at the Cutting Edge: We're constantly learning the latest technologies and trends across both open and closed metaverse developments. You benefit from our expertise, without having to do all that research yourself.

  • Focused on Your Success: We don't just get the tech part working, we make sure your overall metaverse strategy truly serves your unique brand and business goals.

  • Making It Easy: We handle the technical hurdles so you can focus on the creative, exciting aspects of building your presence in the metaverse.

Conclusion

It's probably not going to be a winner-takes-all scenario. We'll likely see large, closed metaverses coexist with open ones. Successful businesses will find ways to meaningfully engage on both sides of the equation and stay flexible as the whole concept of the metaverse evolves.

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