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Reitio: Supercharging Metaverse Adoption with User-Generated Content (UGC)

The roots of the term “metaverse” goes all the way back to 1992, the year when the critically-acclaimed sci-fi novel of Neal Stephenson, “Snow Crash”, was first published to the world.

Since then, the Internet has gone from being the niche plaything of hardcore computer geeks dubbed the “information superhighway”, to become increasingly ubiquitous to our daily lives as it penetrates every facet of our modern society: social media, e-commerce, financial services, and so forth.

The maturation of Internet technologies during this timespan is what allows the Metaverse as a concept to evolve from being purely a sci-fi notion to become a feasible proposition in the present.

Read on as we decipher the Metaverse: an open oasis of interoperable 3D virtual worlds.

The Metaverse: Virtual Worlds, Reimagined

Metaverse Adoption: Girl looking at user-generated virtual worlds on-screen

It is easy to overlook that “social media” isn’t even a term back in the early 2000s, let alone an industry category, until Facebook goes mainstream. The same goes to “smartphone” before Apple’s iPhone, or “e-commerce” before Amazon.

Correspondingly, the Metaverse is set to be the next blue ocean: a network of interoperable 3D virtual worlds. Just like how social media encompasses Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, the Metaverse will encompass the whole universe of interoperable virtual worlds of the future.

The Metaverse is not and will not ever refer to one company or one virtual world — it will be like describing the World Wide Web as a single webpage, or labelling social media as only Facebook.

Make no mistake, virtual worlds are not new by any means. As a matter of fact, gaming virtual worlds like Grand Theft Auto and World of Warcraft have seen tremendous amounts of success due to its rich storyline and immersive gameplay. Social virtual worlds like Roblox and Minecraft have also made their mark, imbuing players with the ability to create their own 3D assets and craft experiences within their platforms. Fortnite takes it up a notch, offering players both gaming (via Battle Royale) and social elements (via Fortnite Creative) within the same platform!

Metaverse Adoption: Marshmello’s Fortnite concert
[HIGHLARK] Marshmello’s Fortnite in-game concert is attended by 10 million concurrent players!

With that said, what’s truly revolutionary is a state where these virtual worlds could interoperate with each other: a state where virtual items in a particular virtual world could be seamlessly ported to another virtual world (and back); a state where virtual assets are freely composable with one another; and a state where conducting virtual asset transactions, no matter its underlying virtual world, does not involve a centralized gatekeeping intermediary.

Just like how webpages can range from casual food blogs to full-blown e-commerce sites, virtual worlds also come in all shapes and sizes: an outer space shooter with story-driven gameplay, a VR-based virtual office, a pixelated social virtual world filled with user-generated experiences, a cyberpunk-themed metropolis for 3D commerce, you name it!

A single webpage is only able of fitting in so much information — but with a network of interconnected webpages, you create the World Wide Web. Similarly, a single virtual world is only capable of hosting so much experience — but with a network of interoperable virtual worlds, you create the Metaverse.

Realizing the Metaverse: A 3-Stage Endeavour

Realizing the Metaverse: User-Generated Content for Virtual World Adoption

It is easy to overlook that the Internet did not actually start out as the permissionless public network that we are accustomed to right now. In fact, the Internet back in the 1990s are more like private networks connected to each other via permission controls (what we now know as Intranets).

It was only when standards like FTP and HTTP emerged that Intranets gradually became more open, and it took a few more years in order for these standards to congregate under the Internet protocol suite (or the TCP/IP), marking the start of the World Wide Web and the Internet as the permissionless public network that it was originally envisioned.

Likewise, the absence of a common standard to denote virtual items across the Metaverse has spurred projects to resort to a Walled Garden approach — a siloed virtual world in which they are in the driving seat. Understandably so, it does not come as a surprise that the general perception on the term “metaverse” has skewed towards “siloed social virtual worlds” (like Roblox or The Sandbox), instead of it being a “network of interoperable virtual worlds”.

Not the Metaverse: The Sandbox gameplay
[Leo Finance] The Sandbox: a web3 virtual world, not the Metaverse

All in all, the realization of the Internet unfolds in three stages: 1) adoption of Intranets; 2) transition from private Intranets to the public Internet; 3) commercialization of Internet applications. Similarly, the realization of the Metaverse would somewhat resemble the Internet’s three stages as well: 1) adoption of virtual worlds; 2) transition from siloed virtual worlds to the open Metaverse; 3) commercialization of Metaverse virtual assets.

Having said that, each stage presents itself with challenges-to-address before the Metaverse is no longer an elusive dream:

1) Adoption of Virtual Worlds — Slow UGC Proliferation

User-generated content creation: VoxEdit 3D editor
[Mega Voxels] The Sandbox’s VoxEdit: still not user-friendly enough for mass UGC participation

User-generated content (UGC) is the lifeblood of all networked services. Without imbuing users with a free rein to create their own webpages, the World Wide Web would not grow to the degree that it is at right now. Virtual worlds are not an exception: just like how people will not use Facebook or Twitter if their friends or favourite content creators are not there, people will also not visit a virtual world if there isn’t sufficient UGC piquing their interest.

However, existing 3D editors (e.g: Blender, VoxEdit, etc.) require specialized expertise, such that it locks out ordinary people from the creative process. As a result, there remains a large skill gap to even create one simple 3D asset for use on a single virtual world, let alone across the Metaverse.

A thriving UGC base is of paramount importance in order for the Metaverse to become widely adopted. The more people participating in UGC creation, the more UGC will be generated, which attracts more users to virtual worlds (and with it, the Metaverse).

2) Transition from Siloed Virtual Worlds to the Open Metaverse — Archaic NFT Standards

Realizing the Metaverse: simple NFT standard/metadata
[Better Programming/Edward Jones] most NFTs now are merely “containers” pointing to an off-chain source

What TCP/IP is for the Internet, is what NFT standards will be for the Metaverse. Without TCP/IP, the Internet would essentially be a collection of Intranets. Likewise, without NFT standards, the Metaverse will remain a wasteland of siloed virtual worlds.

Unfortunately, current NFT standards are not advanced enough to represent even the most foundational game logic — one example being nested ownership (e.g: a sword equipped with a skin) — leaving current virtual world projects with no choice but to resort to their own closed-off central database in order to facilitate their virtual world’s mechanics.

A fully-fledged NFT standard able to store all the resources and dependencies of a virtual asset would be a watershed moment towards the realization of the Metaverse. The ability to facilitate any game logic on-chain will open the floodgates for creators to experiment with novel cross-world mechanics and collaborative monetization models via interoperable and composable virtual items represented as NFTs.

3) Commercialization of Metaverse Virtual Assets — Fragmented NFT Liquidity

OpenSea and Magic Eden: two NFT marketplaces residing on separate chains (Ethereum and Solana respectively), in which liquidity is siloed within their own ecosystems…

The rise of other L1 ecosystems outside of Ethereum (e.g: Solana, Avalanche, etc.) has made it clear to everyone that the future will be multi-chain: there will not be a single chain to “rule them all”.

As a consequence, the aggregate liquidity from market participants would inevitably get segregated across chains. In other words, protocols hosted on say, Ethereum, would be unable to gain access to liquidity from protocols on other chains like Solana or Avalanche (and vice versa).

A solution able to relay interchain smart contract communications would be vastly needed in order to de-fragment NFT liquidity across chains — an “interchain layer” of sorts that could call upon or trigger certain functions of a smart contract via commands originating from a different chain. This would allow the UI/UX to be refined to such a degree that users do not need to know on which chain a specific NFT is hosted on — they only need to know what virtual asset(s) that NFT represents, and on which virtual world are they configured for (e.g: an NFT representing a sword in world A and a gun in world B).

Reitio: Metaverse UGCs, Democratized

Reitio 3D editor: Metaverse user-generated content made simple
(actual product may vary due to enhancement…)

Reitio is on a mission to tackle the first stage towards the realization of the Metaverse: adoption of virtual worlds. The root cause is simple: creating even a half-decent 3D asset carries a steep learning curve, which locks out ordinary users from participating in UGC creation — hindering virtual world adoption.

As such, Reitio is built from the ground up to eliminate the steep learning curve associated with creating a 3D asset, empowering users to create 3D renditions of their own imaginations and bring them to life on their virtual world of choice, instead of getting intimidated before they even started.

Being a fully web-based solution, Reitio’s mix-and-match, templates-oriented approach to 3D design ensures that the toolkit is intuitive enough to be picked up by anyone within a few minutes — the Canva for 3D assets.

Demand-Side: Metaverse Participants

scaling a 3D sword mesh (actual product may vary due to enhancement…)

A Reitio-generated 3D asset is fundamentally made up of templates stacked on top of each other — like Lego blocks. Templates come in different flavours: free default templates are provided in-house by our internal designers, while premium templates are listed by community contributors or our virtual world partners, whereby each instance of usage will subject users to a pay-per-use royalty payment to the template creator.

The whole design experience is comparable to creating Lego structures: users start by choosing a ‘base’ template, then gradually work their way up — the extent of what defines a “finished” 3D design will ultimately depend on the user itself, just like the extent of what constitutes a “completed” Lego structure will be in the hands of that structure’s builder.

This design philosophy is what allows Reitio to be extremely user-friendly without sacrificing much of the variability and extensibility offered by more complex fully-fledged 3D editors.

Hegion — a Reitio 3D sandbox environment (actual product may vary due to enhancement…)

On the other hand, our extensive integrations with various web3 virtual worlds will allow users to deploy their created 3D assets into their virtual world of choice straight from the Reitio web app, ensuring a smooth WYSIWYG design-to-deployment experience for users.

In addition, Reitio-generated 3D assets could also be exported to a user’s local drive — allowing them to be brought to life even on virtual worlds not natively supported (yet) on Reitio.

Supply-Side: Professional 3D Artists

Reitio 3D assets: Supercharging Metaverse Adoption
(for illustration purposes only…)

Reitio will be the perfect breeding ground for 3D artists to build their brand and presence, providing them with an avenue to showcase and monetize their skills to eager Metaverse participants across the globe.

To this end, artists can choose to either develop a new ‘base’ template for potential users to start on, build add-ons on top of an already popular ‘base’, or create their own branded asset packs — each comes with their own implications:

  • Base: Essentially a blank canvas (e.g: a car frame);
  • Secondaries: Templates built on top of an existing base template (e.g: a car bumper attached to a car frame);
  • Add-ons: Templates built on top of an existing secondary template (e.g: a paint job for a car bumper attached to a car frame);
  • Asset pack: A collection of “finished” 3D assets from the issuing artist (e.g: a branded virtual clothing line for an avatar).
modular 3D meshes, at your fingertips (for illustration purposes only…)

Reitio’s Lego-like approach towards 3D design gives artists the liberty to choose which areas to specialize in. Over time, artists would find themselves carving out their own respective niches. For instance, an artist could specialize in generating cat ‘base’ templates, while another artist could be well-known for creating car add-ons.

Soon enough, prominent artists whose designs are wildly popular amongst the Metaverse populace would find themselves effectively becoming “Internet celebrities” in due course, in a similar vein to the YouTubers or social media personalities of now.

Towards Metaverse Adoption: User-Generated Content is King

The Metaverse is not a single virtual world, just like how the World Wide Web is not a single webpage. Yet, its actual realization still lies far beyond — first priority is getting to virtual world adoption: without it, you have nothing.

As with any other networked services, user-generated content is king — the Metaverse is not an exception. The current landscape however, imposes a steep learning curve towards ordinary Metaverse participants such that it locks them out from participating in UGC creation — holding back adoption.

Reitio is developed from square one to fill this gap: a codeless, no-download, on-the-web 3D design tool so intuitive that it will only take users no longer than a few minutes to get a hang of it and generate their first Metaverse 3D asset.

Disclaimer: This article is excerpted from Reitio’s general documentation.

Team Reitio
Team Reitio

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