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Introduction to Virtual Worlds: Somnium Space

Posted by
Ian Kane

Start exploring and contributing to a digital universe built by its users

Whilst some of us have been exploring the idea of virtual immersive worlds for some time, others are just waking up to a likely game-changing evolution in human interaction, and the way we live our lives. Of course, social media powerhouse Facebook announcing a name change to Meta didn’t hurt a movement already years in the making. Instead, it appears to have catalyzed people into action. Whether securing an avatar or simply coming to understand the concepts around virtual worlds and the metaverse in more detail, the hype is real. 

Firstly, it is important to understand one key thing. One virtual world can never be a metaverse. With the metaverse, we are talking about the interconnection of several virtual worlds, if not all at once. The metaverse is much more than the internet, blockchain, or any other technology. It is a virtual universe in which everyone can interact with other people, while data and value can be shared without permission. In essence, you can think of it as a digital version of the world as we know it. There are continents, countries, cities, villages, and regions. Each is autonomous in its own way, but each contributes toward the bigger picture. 

The rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has opened up prospects for virtual worlds. Projects like Somnium Space have enabled the creation of entire universes on the blockchain. These virtual worlds have properties, items, events, marketplaces, and perhaps most importantly, internal economies with their own currencies. Additionally, amidst what some see as an inflection point for blockchain usage driven by the massive adoption of play-to-earn games and NFTs, it has never been more important to understand virtual worlds and the metaverse concept.  

Somnium Space is one of several virtual world platforms already up and running. Somnium boasts a truly exciting roadmap, desktop support, access through mobile phones, full VR integration, and an internal marketplace powered by CUBE tokens. In this article, we will dive into the Somnium Space platform, explain what’s what, and how you can get involved either as a resident, investor, or both. First – let’s take a quick virtual helicopter ride over the Somnium Space map so you can get a feel for what it’s all about. 

Pretty cool right!? 

Stepping into the virtual world

Somnium Space is an open-source social VR world powered by blockchain and shaped entirely by its users, allowing them to buy digital land where they can build VR homes and buildings. Somnium 2.0 arrived in early 2020 and moved the project closer to a true Ready Player One virtual experience. Unlike the majority of multiplayer VR games where players are divided into sub servers and mirrored instanced rooms, Somnium 2.0 actually hosts all its players in a single massive world. This creates a truly immersive feeling for its users. Imagine standing on the top of the highest mountain inside of a virtual world looking down to see thousands of users exploring the world beneath in real-time. 

As mentioned, players can buy virtual land and proceed to build whatever they want on it. That land can be purchased using a blockchain wallet and ETH. A nightclub, an art gallery, a house; the possibilities are truly endless, and so are the rewards for savvy users. Land prices are dependent on factors within the virtual world. Variables such as location, proximity to others, and transport links (teleporters) all play their part. Just like in the real world—if you want to have an ocean view and lots of space—it comes with a price tag. 

As you can see, speculators are at large within the virtual world already. They are already scooping up land plots in the expectation that the platform will become a leading one, with hundreds of thousands of users. In turn, those new users will want to buy land as well, giving early investors an edge. Land plot buying opportunities can also arise when the price of ETH takes a nosedive, as given that all prices are set in ETH, there’s a chance to grab a bargain in a downturn. Looking at one specific land plot using the DappRadar Portfolio can reveal more insight into the NFT land. Plus, trading history shows us that since the Meta announcement, the market has been heating up. 

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This is an XL land plot originally minted 2 years ago. That means the owner got the plot in a pre-sale, or similar when Somnium was just getting itself established. Paying a set amount to simply mint the land. Minting is basically the creation of the digital parcel, or NFT so that somebody can own it. Then, just 2 weeks ago, around the time of the Meta announcement somebody paid the original holder 8 ETH or over $38,000 for it. 

As you can see, investing in virtual worlds a few years back would be paying the bills right now. However, not to worry, we are just getting started in this space and if you are reading this – I would confidently say you are still well ahead of the curve. 

CUBE tokens  

Due to the fact the virtual world operates on the Ethereum blockchain, it’s possible to tokenize in-game assets such as land parcels, avatars, wearables, and collectibles, etc. Somnium Space is one of the first VR worlds to allow its users to maintain ownership of their digital possessions through Somnium Cubes (CUBE). Additionally, Somnium Space allows you to place any NFT directly onto Somnium Land Parcels you own and explore them in virtual reality, potentially revealing the full scale of a generative piece of art, for example. 

Imagine building a gallery in a virtual world to display all the NFTs and digital collectibles you have accumulated over the years. It’s possible in Somnium Space which opens up countless avenues for digital revenues within the virtual world. Moreover, users are able to create and tokenize items, avatars, or full structures directly from the Somnium PC client, allowing anyone to instantly monetize their creations. Opening an entirely new economy to those willing to build and sell items within the platform. 

Metaverse future 

According to LimeLight research video gamers spend an average of six hours, 20 minutes each week playing games. Over 32% play more than seven hours each week, with 17 percent playing more than 12 hours a week. Imagine when a percentage of those gamers find out they can earn money for their time spent on platforms like Somnium Space. With the coronavirus outbreak currently wreaking havoc on global travel, VR worlds such as Somnium Space, AltSpace, VRChat, Rumii, and Engage, are quickly becoming the go-to platforms for workforce meetups and remote social interaction. 

The idea of large portions of society jumping headfirst into virtual worlds is perhaps not one you thought of or indeed would like to see. The concepts discussed here are similar to movie narratives such as The Matrix or Ready Player One. Whereby people turn to virtual worlds as an escape from a world left in tatters, ironically by us. 

Buying land and speculating on its value is just one way to look at things. But ultimately the virtual world becomes a digital extension of our physical one. Clothing brands will open shop in both realms, artists sell NFTs in one and physical prints in the other, virtual clubs can host exclusive parties for the metaverse citizens. The rise of the metaverse will bring new jobs to Somnium Space and other virtual worlds, where event organizers, curators, community managers all have their jobs reinvented. We’ve been paying tech companies for digital content for decades, now it’s time for the community to take ownership. That starts with a piece of land in Somnium Space or any of the other virtual worlds.

The above does not constitute investment advice. The information given here is purely for informational purposes only. Please exercise due diligence and do your research. The writer holds positions in ETH, BTC, ADA, MATIC, SAFEMOON, HEX, LINK, GRT, CRO, OMI, USDT, FLOW, ENS, AVASTR, BOSON, GMEE, SAND, MANA, AND OCEAN

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