The Leading Open Metaverses

MetaMundo
17 min readMay 30, 2022

2003 saw the birth of Second Life — an online, virtual world inhabited by human-created avatars. That time in technology was very different from today. IRL wasn’t yet coined as a term; Twitter was not yet around; the Xbox just launched; the iPhone had yet to be invented — let alone mass-produced and adopted; and wi-fi was just starting to be available, nearly everywhere, for laptops. Backed by the likes of Jeff Bezos and Pierre Omidyar; Second Life fell into the pattern of immersive worlds then being created, such as The Sims. Meaning, that it was ultimately designed to be a (digital) space and place for daily escapism. It was and still is, a 3D, user-generated world, where people can be or do whatever they chose. However, the world of 3D graphics and the speed of internet connections have advanced in ways that now allow for the creation of immersive digital worlds — metaverses: entire new eco-systems of user interaction, ownership, social platform tools enabling voice interaction; even ‘land’ ownership, and inter-metaverse fluidity of avatars, objects, and NFTs.

What is the Metaverse?
Free from the confinements of traditional IRL daily tasks, Second Life had the added societal effect of popularizing the world of online virtual avatar representation, as created by their own users. That helped to formulate the foundations for what has now come to be known as ‘the metaverse’ in popular culture. Interoperability is the term that defines how digital assets retain their functionality across the different metaverses, which as outlined below, consist of numerous ‘verses’, or platforms. So, rather than being one set thing, the term ‘the metaverse’ has come to denote the currently agreed-upon collective connotation surrounding metaverses; not the individual metaverse platforms, such as Spatial, Decentraland, Somnium Space, Wilder World, Cryptovoxels, Nifty Island, and The Sandbox, for instance. When speaking of building an open metaverse — as MetaMundo advocates for through its 3D NFT marketplace and platform — interoperability is key to ensuring the word metaverse does not come to later denote a singular, monolithic, silo-ed, closed virtual world. That, is not ‘open’.

Though first, let’s take a big step backward.

Where did ‘the metaverse’, even come from?

Metaverse Historical Origins
The word was coined back in 1992, by Neal Stephenson, in his novel Snow Crash, and many definitions have emerged since then. However, the concept and ideas–the literal line of thought for dreaming up such a world–go way back to the mid-twentieth century. Think of metaverses, or the metaverse, as being the internet, experienced in 3D. To help further sketch this definition, we’ve narrowed the current usage of the word metaverse, to three meanings:

“A persistent and interconnected network of 3D virtual worlds that will eventually serve as the gateway to most online experiences, and also underpin much of the physical world.” –Matthew Ball

“The metaverse is a persistent, live digital universe that affords individuals a sense of agency, social presence, and shared spatial awareness, along with the ability to participate in an extensive virtual economy with profound societal impact.” –Piers Kicks

“In the broadest terms, the metaverse is understood as a graphically rich virtual space, with some degree of verisimilitude, where people can work, play, shop, and socialize. Metaverse proponents often focus on the concept of ‘presence’ as a defining factor: feeling like you’re really there, and feeling like other people are really there with you, too.” –Polygon.com

What Defines an Open Metaverse?
Since the emergence of web3–projects aimed at continuing to build spaces in the metaverse have increased more than tenfold. Decentraland, The Sandbox, Cryptovoxels, and Somnium Space (currently known as the big four) have all gained huge followings in recent years. They are all, also the beginnings of the emerging open metaverse, as we’ll come to know it. Unlike Minecraft and Roblox — first and foremost gaming-verses; examples of closed metaverse platforms — these projects all originated within the web3 space. Creating an interoperable, open metaverse is no small task, and here at MetaMundo, we’re giving our own commentary on the current leading, open metaverse projects.

The defining feature of an open metaverse is its use of the blockchain.

That attribute differentiates the metaverses that we outline below from, for instance, Facebook’s metaverse named Horizon World. It is what contributes to more interoperability between metaverses, such as with avatars and scenes.

It’s useful to remember when reading this article that each of the metaverses we describe below has its own design properties, aesthetics, level of NFT importance and integration, and varying degrees of accessibility regarding mobile, PC, and browser requirements. And, that the total value of the land for sale within these worlds is not always aligned with the hype surrounding individual metaverses. And, some platforms don’t even offer land for sale.

Metaverse Mass Adoption
For instance, Decentraland has consistently made waves in the news during late-2021 and in early-2022 for its involvement with IRL fashion, by hosting the inaugural Metaverse Fashion Week; and art, via Sotheby’s opening of an art gallery there. Therefore, whereas Decentraland is well known for its partnering with larger fashion houses and big corporations, and their own efforts at using metaverses to experiment with new forms of marketing and advertising; platforms such as NFT Worlds and Treeverse are, oppositely, community-focused, moving more toward becoming DAOs (decentralized autonomous organization), in which community governance is the priority.

We will be updating this post as new metaverses continue to appear.
If you think that we’ve missed one, just let us know in the comments.

The Leading Open Metaverses: Platform Summaries & Stats

1. Decentraland

Funded by an ICO, Decentraland is the first fully decentralized virtual metaverse, which is also owned by its users. It is accessed through a browser only and utilizes the Ethereum blockchain. The platform focuses on ownership of virtual land, with each owner having the possibility to create unique environments within Decentraland. Just as in the physical world, here too, is the land also a limited resource, with a finite number of plots available for purchase within the “Gothic City”. Decentraland was launched in February of 2020 and has received notoriety for such events as the 2022 Metaverse Fashion Week, which it hosted in March 2022, and the establishment of many major brands’ metaverse ‘headquarters’, such as the art house Sotheby’s. Of all the metaverses in existence, Decentraland is currently the most used by major brands. Debbie Millman, a New York-based designer, author, and the world’s foremost branding expert has stated about this current phenomenon, of big brands entering into the current leading metaverses: “Ultimately what [people] are looking for right now, and especially the Gen Z’ers, is: ‘How is this brand going to make a difference in my life?’ And if [these metaverses] provide a benefit for someone, which could be as simple as pure joyful entertainment, then I think people will feel really excited about being in these environments… The design of these experiences is still in the early days.” Of the main metaverses currently highest in popularity, Decentraland is the only verse that does not support VR experiences, such as through using headsets, and it’s currently regulated to in-browser use. It is also the metaverse of all those existing that are actively courting Gen Z, through partnerships.

Details
–Number of plots of land: 96,601
–Size of land: 16mx16m
–Average sale price (as of May 29, 2022): $4,879.29
–Average market cap (as of May 29, 2022): $387,749,918.85
–Accepted scene file type: GLB/GLTF
–Accepts external avatars: As long as they’re in GLB/GLTF file format, and fit the maximum requirements per plot, there are no further restrictions on the use of external avatars (after a review process). For details on scene limitations; see here for more info.
–Max triangle count: 10,000
–Development phase: Established
–Platform: Web
–Chain: Polygon/ETH
–Website: https://decentraland.org/

2. The Sandbox

The Sandbox is a user-generated, decentralized metaverse and gaming ecosystem. 74% of its land is available for user purchase. Once claimed, owners can then create, share, and monetize their assets and gaming experiences. The Sandbox was originally launched in 2012, and after a series of investments dating back to 2019, The Sandbox Metaverse — a metaverse version of the game, incorporating in-game blockchain ownership of assets, launched in November 2021. The platform is currently only available on a Windows PC, is not available on mobile, and it has its own currency token named $MANA, which users can purchase by converting Ethereum. The Sandbox is distinct from many other metaverses due to the platform’s tripartite division, into a marketplace for selling and buying NFTs, what’s called the VoXEditor, for making 3D assets for use in the verse, and a game maker that allows users of the platform to make their own games.

Details
–Plots of land: 166,464
–Size of land: 96mx96m
–Average sale price (as of May 29, 2022): $4,333.11
–Average market cap (as of May 29, 2022): $528,456,505.19
–File type: GLB/VOX /GLTF
–Max triangle count: Single entities can have no more than 2,500 sides; complex can be no more than 5,000
–Development phase: Established (Season 2 in Alpha)
–Platform: Web
–Chain: ETH
–Website: https://www.sandbox.game/en/

3. Cryptovoxels

This NFT-based metaverse allows players to buy land, create avatars, and build stores and art galleries — for instance, for displaying one’s NFT in it. This metaverse consists of an urbanity called ‘Origin City’, owned by ‘The Corporation’, and parcels of land—which, when bought, allow purchasers to freely build. The streets and walkways between the land parcels are technically ‘public space’, owned by The Corporation. The platform also boasts its own marketplace where one can buy, sell, and create wearables for Cryptovoxels — which can be accessed in OpenSea. Unlike — for instance — Decentraland, is it possible to access Cryptovoxels from VR headsets as well as from within a desktop browser. Simultaneously, unlike Decentraland, Cryptovoxels as a platform is intended to re-create experiences from IRL, such as watching movies with a friend. Cryptovoxels was launched in June 2018 and is distinct in the metaverse for its ‘voxel’ graphics, which are composed of blocks that amass, create volume, and give this platform its own ‘feel’.

Details
–Plots of land: Periodically created; currently there are 7,351
–Size of the land: Varies
–Average sale price (as of April 20, 2022): $1,453.34
–Average market cap (as of April 20, 2022): $18,504,470.18
–File type: VOX
–Max triangle count: 2,200 voxel files in one scene of 32x32x32, or a mega-voxel (five in one scene) of 126x126x126
–Development phase: Established
–Platform: Web
–Chain: ETH
–Website: https://www.cryptovoxels.com/

4. Somnium Space

Somnium Space is an open metaverse that is also a VR world, which supports its owns currency named $CUBE that’s an ERC-20 token. By default, this metaverse also has its own economy. Buying land, building homes, playing hyper-realistic games, establishing businesses, and attending live events, are all possible within the worlds of Somnium Space. Unlike both Cryptovoxels and Decentraland, this metaverse is defined by graphics that are as realistic as they come in VR, at least with the present speed of the internet, and VR headsets currently available on the market. The platform is also a pioneer in the space, in the sense that it’s decentralized, and for ordering those within its virtual world, using what it calls ‘karma’ levels to reward positive engagement. Somnium Space was first launched as a publicly accessible platform in September of 2018.

Details
–Plots of land: 5,026
–Size of the land
–Small–200m² and 10m height & depth build limit
–Medium–600m² and 25m height & depth build limit
–XL–1,500m² and 50m height & depth build limit
–Average Sale Price (as of May 29, 2022): $2,158.45
–Average Market Cap (as of May 29, 2022): $22,027,347.95
–File type: GLB/FXB
–Max triangle count: 70k, but ideally around 32k
–Development phase: Mature
–Platform: Web, PC, VR
–Chain: ETH & Solana
–Website: https://somniumspace.com/

5. Spatial

Spatial is a metaverse that was launched in 2020 — kind of. In late-2020, the company assessed that the way their product was being used was not how they had at first intended it to be used. It first set out to be a metaverse for meetings, having come to the public attention toward the end of 2020, when the world was experiencing what has come to be known as ‘zoom-fatigue’. At that time, Spatial began to shift its focus toward becoming a meeting place for cultural events, which coincided with the increasing rise of NFTs in the wider popular public consciousness. They saw the opportunity of bringing NFTs into their meeting spaces — which range from houses to parks, to amphitheaters, to full 3D worlds that are themselves, NFTs; ownership gives access. Much like Somnium Space and Cryptovoxels, Spatial supports immersive VR using headsets. Their ultimate goal is to be a metaverse that serves as a meeting place to host cultural events. By doing so, they are uniquely positioned amongst metaverses, through their focus on those who are involved with the creative and cultural industries IRL and are NFT/metaverse literate. It is also the only metaverse that makes joining meetings or larger events possible via a mobile app.

Details
–Plots of land: N/A
–Size of the land: N/A
–Average sale price: Free or $20 per month, for Pro
–Current market cap (as of May 29, 2022): There is currently no governance token for the platform, so it’s not possible to assess market cap; Opensea's trading volume is, as of May 29, 2022: 142 ETH.
–File type: GLB/GLTF/FBX/OBJ/DAE/PCD
–Max triangle count: Recommended at 60k and can go up to 180k
–Development phase: Mature
–Platform: Web, Mobile, VR
–Chain: Polygon
–Website: https://spatial.io/

6. Wilder World

In-game rendering of Wilder World.

Wilder World is a fully immersive, and photo-realistic, 5D metaverse founded by the anonymous 3D artist, Frank Wilder. The platform has its own currency, named $Wild, with ownership of at least 1 $WILD token granting access to this metaverse. This very futuristic digital world boasts a unique collection of assets that allow users to build. This year, the platform’s roadmap is based on invoking the ‘Wilder Spirit’; a sort-of ethos and aesthetic that has evolved around Frank Wilder’s body of work as the artist has matured. The artist is known as being the ‘master of 3D sculpture’ and has made many 1/1 3D NFTs. They have just dropped their first phase of deliverable actions from their 2022 roadmap, with the introduction of ‘Wilder Beasts’: a project that will arrive in seven collections, each a unique species. The first ‘beast’ was the wolf, then ape, bull, bear, lynx, and Shiba-inu, for a total of 15,321 beasts; there will also be 888 phoenixes. Wilder World is differentiated from every other metaverse currently in existence by the photorealism of the platform (what they have dubbed 5D), the unique NFT assets with extreme utility, such as with their beasts, wheels, and air wilds (shoes) series, all of which reach their full potential when used within the platform. Wilder World is an open platform built on Zer0, with an abundance of natively produced NFTs — each of which comes with a 300-frame 3D-video.

Details
–Plots of land: TBD
–Size of the land: TBD
–Average land plot cost (as of May 29, 2022): Not yet announced
–Current market cap (as of May 29, 2022): $24,566,349.00
File type: GLB/VOX /GLTF
–Max triangle count: None
–Development phase: Under development
–Platform: Web
–Chain: ETH
–Website: https://www.wilderworld.com/

7. Nifty Island

Nifty Island was developed by Nifty Studios, and it is the first verse in what they have dubbed the ‘Nyftyverse’. For now, this verse is very much in its early days and is not open to the general public, limiting access to early-holders of its first NFTs, as its ‘palm’ series. The premise of the verse is incredibly different from the other major metaverse platforms described in this article. Rather than offering land for sale — as within Decentraland, The Sandbox, or Treeverse—Nifty Island grants each user of the platform their own island, for free, immediately upon entering the verse. They aim to mainstream the ultimate immersive experience with users, by providing near to no barrier for entry: users can immediately inhabit the virtual world, import their NFTs, and begin to build. They also hope to bridge the gap between available content on the internet and emerging content on blockchain to explore more innovative features of the NFT gaming domain. With lighthearted, whimsical graphics, and a focus on community and accessibility; Nifty Island is a platform that will eventually blossom into a full-fledged ‘gameaverse’, with unlimited islands free to all its users, avatar-led social functions, in-game NFT minting, and ‘playground games’.

Details
–Plots of land: Infinite
–Size of the land: 100m
–Average land plot cost: Not tracked, as land is free
–Current market cap: Not tracked, as land is free
–File type: GLB/VOX /GLTF
–Max triangle count: 70k tris per scene (falling somewhere between Somnium/Spatial)
–Development phase: Alpha
–Platform: Web, Mobile
–Chain: ETH
–Website: https://www.niftyisland.com/

8. Webb World

Webb World is an interoperable metaverse, named after its creator, Thomas Webb. It’s essentially a dAap (decentralized app) that allows users to create avatars from their NFTs. Their 2D pixel approach enables them to integrate NFT projects with unprecedented speed. This metaverse has rapidly grown, and the platform largely attributes that to its community-focused approach. As they continue to work through their roadmap, we can expect big things to come, such as in-game NFT minting, a DAO, and guild integrations for communities. Unlike most other metaverses, Webb World is largely 2D in terms of its graphics; more similar in its look and feel to Atari games, such as the classic Pac-Man, from the late-1980s and early-1900s. Webb World launched on 29 November 2021, and is also a MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing game), given its focus on integrating NFT collections, such as CryptoPunks.

Details
–Land:
–Size of the land: 100m
–Small apartment: 5,000
–Medium apartment: 3,000
–Large apartment: 1,000
–Penthouse: 69
–Average land plot cost (as of May 29, 2022): $4,000.00
–Current market cap (as of May 29, 2022): $38,004,979.80
–File type: GLB/VOX /GLTF
–Max triangle count: 32x32px 2D sprite sheets
–Development phase: Alpha
–Platform: Web, Mobile
–Chain: ETH
–Website: https://webb.game/

9. Treeverse

Treeverse will be an open-world fantasy MMORPG project with MOBA-style combat systems. It was created in 2021 by the NFT artist Loopify, whose project NFTrees gained such a close-knit community that they chose to create an entire metaverse derived from that collection. The platform’s graphics are cheerful, smooth (thus, intentionally non-pixelated), and distantly recall those found in classic games from the 1990s, such as N64’s Snowboard Kids, and Pokemon. It’s a fantasy metaverse, with no intention of re-creating spaces found IRL, such as art galleries. While still in development, the Treeverse brand now includes the original NFTrees collection, another NFT collection named Timeless Characters, which will be able to be used in Treeverse, and the so-called ‘Treeverse Plots’ — essentially NFTs consisting of 10,420 plots of land for sale. This platform is set to be available on mobile devices and a PC, and it will be entirely browser-based. The platform will have two token currencies: $SEED, which can be earned through play, and another named $ROOT, which will be used to assert governance and decision-making by the holders of the tokens. Treeverse is currently unique amongst the numerous metaverse platforms in that it was born from an NFT collection and aims to focus on integrating NFTs owned by its users within the game. Treeverse is therefore positioned at the forefront of the next wave of NFT innovation: in-game asset ownership; further merging digital and physical. Loopify recently launched Interweave, which is a media NFT production company that aims to become a DAO, with plans for the organization to work in tandem with the world of Treeverse.

Details
–Plots of land: 10,420
–Size of the land: N/A
–Average land plot cost (as of May 29, 2022): $2,053.00
–Current market cap (as of May 29, 2022): $32,929,032.04
–File type: GLB/VOX /GLTF
–Max triangle count: N/A
–Development phase: Preproduction
–Platform: Web
–Chain: ETH
–Website: https://medium.com/@treeverse

10. NFT Worlds

NFT Worlds is currently the largest multi-metaverse in existence, and the project starts when users purchase a world. Each of the 10,000, has its own algorithmically generated terrain, and its own unique features. The rarer the traits in a world, the more perks landowners will receive. Bootstrapping their platform with Minecraft has enabled NFT Worlds to radically expand on and enable new types of 3D voxel-based and decentralized gaming metaverses, all backed by the Ethereum blockchain. NFT Worlds has the ambition to become a massive multiplayer system, with limitless opportunities for users to buy, build, and create their own entire worlds. They offer NFTs that are individual worlds, with most going for about 8 ETH; making these NFTs that entail land ownership — rather different from the NFTs on offer by Cryptovoxels, which are plots of land within that platform’s primary world, named Gothic City. NFT Worlds also supports VR headsets and has its own token named $WRLD, which can be purchased with Ethereum.

Details
–Plots of land: 10,000
–Size of the land: 16,000,000 x 16,000,000
–Average sale price (as of May 29, 2022): $7,550.54
–Average market cap for May 29, 2022: $65,112,335.01
–File type: GLB/VOX /GLTF
–Max triangle count: The platform makes use of Minecraft Java Edition as its editor, and land has an average of 400 km2, which provides ample space; Minecraft allows play with 60.000.000 blocks per map.
–Development phase: Fully functional
–Platform: Web
–Chain: ETH and Polygon
–Website: https://www.nftworlds.com/

11. Webaverse
Coming soon…

All of these projects are making enormous strides in the industry through their strengthening of open metaverses, and we can’t wait to see what else they’ll reveal. Here at MetaMundo, we will be closely tied with many of these verses as they work with us to co-expand interoperable, open metaverses. In line with the web3 ethos we adhere to and are built into our community; MetaMundo believes the more information available to a wide-ranging audience that demystifies web3 for those still immersed in web2, further contributes to co-creating open the open metaverses of the future.

We know that these links and summaries will prove to be an accessible resource for the various leading spaces that are currently working toward building transparency and trust within web3.

Make sure to bookmark this page, as we will periodically be updating it as new information, and new metaverses, become available along with parallel maturation of platforms within the space.

Happy metaversing.

About MetaMundo
MetaMundo is a curated marketplace for 3D scenes and assets, enabling anyone to own high quality 3D NFTs for use across the open metaverse. Powered by web3 technology, the scenes and assets available on MetaMundo are verifiable on the Ethereum blockchain. We developed our own NFT, specifically for 3D scenes and assets, which are metaverse-ready. Each of our NFTs contain a bundle of 3D files, optimized for use across the open metaverse — including versions, which can be used in high fidelity game engines and environments. MetaMundo presents exclusive drops to collectors from the world’s leading 3D artists, designers, architects, and brands — with creators receiving royalties from future sales. Every 3D NFT minted by MetaMundo can also be resold by collectors on secondary NFT marketplaces.

MetaMundo is backed by acclaimed metaverse funds, advisors, and angel investors.

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