Metaverse gaming is the new gold rush in the tech world, with game developers declaring and incorporating metaverse concepts into their existing game mechanics. Sometimes, these come with the introduction of NFTs and blockchain into the games' ecosystem, leading to rapid growth of crypto-based play to earn (P2E) gameplay models and virtual asset trading markets.
With the explosive popularity of NFT games like Axie Infinity, record-breaking popularity of Fortnite events and unprecedented interest in sandbox games like The Sandbox or Minecraft, metaverse games became the focus of gamers, investors and celebrities alike. This is why we compiled this list of top metaverse games - the most popular ones and those just about to start trending.
However, before we get into our subjective list of the best metaverse games to play today, let's briefly examine how the metaverse provides a dynamic, interactive, and expanded reality for gamers.
How does the metaverse work?
In the metaverse, avatars are used as virtual representations of real people, Players can use these avatars to explore the virtual ecosystem and engage with other players, non-playable characters or other elements of the digital world. These virtual communities mirror the activities that take place in the physical world. Virtual items can be earned, found, created, sold, or purchased, and players can invest and trade with each other.
Thanks to play to earn games, the metaverse could potentially also be a source of regular income for gamers. Virtual reality, live broadcasting, cryptocurrency, and social media are all part of the metaverse's interconnected ecosystem as users travel from one world to the next. When the "real" metaverse is finally developed - as agreed by multiple experts in the field of VR - any digital artifact that a player gains from one game created by one firm, will be transferable into a different virtual world from a different creator.
Metaverse is persistent, meaning that there are no pauses, game-overs, or resets in the virtual worlds, unlike in most online games. In addition, high-speed internet and a powerful virtual reality or augmented reality headset facilitate immersive experiences, such as a panoramic view of the virtual environment. Wearing a haptic glove or jacket can also allow you to engage the sensation of touch.
Metaverse will not be just online games
In recent months, the metaverse has been a topic of debate in the tech world. It has also been depicted in several works of science fiction, both literature and cinema. The term "metaverse" originated in Neal Stephenson's 1992 novel Snow Crash where it was represented as a virtual city.Ready Player One, a movie by Steven Spielberg, is one of the many visions of how the metaverse could be a major part of the future. In the non-fictional online space, Second Life, launched in 2003, has long been as close to the vision of the metaverse as we could get.
While the full extent of capabilities of the metaverse is still some years off into the future, there are already many game developers building its foundations and will no doubt dominate the niche as new technologies enable us to move more and more of our lives into the metaverse. Here are some of the top metaverse games that have already made a big impression in the industry.
10 of the best metaverse games
1. Axie Infinity
Axie Infinity was published in 2018 by Sky Mavis, a Vietnamese tech startup. Inspired by Pokemon, Axie Infinity is a play to earn metaverse game that features fantastical animals called Axies which can be bred, raised, collected, and traded. Over 500 body components may be customized for each Axie. They are born with new powers and abilities based on their genetic makeup.
Axie Infinity is the most popular play to earn metaverse game
With your team of Axies, you may search for treasure or fight other Axies to earn tokens. You can purchase land and build houses for your army as well.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or digital certificates of ownership regulate the value of Axies and other in-game items. To acquire tokens, players can lend three of their Axies to scholars or other players. Axie Infinity Shards (AXS) are the game's primary currency. SLP tokens, or smooth love potions, can be earned by defeating rivals and fulfilling in-game challenges. To breed Axies, AXS and SLP tokens are also required.
2. The Sandbox
The Sandbox is one of the most popular sandbox-type metaverse games
Pixelowl co-founders Arthur Madrid and Sébastien Borget released The Sandbox in 2012 as a smartphone game. With the use of blockchain technology and smart contracts, this platform was built by and for its users. Users are represented as block-like configurable avatars.
Sandbox has three primary products:
- Modeling objects and avatars in 3D with VoxEdit,
- The Marketplace, which allows you to sell your works to other users in its metaverse market,
- The Game Maker, where players create 3D games without writing any code.
Sand is the native token that functions as a currency in The Sandbox universe. Land is an NFT-like token used as ownership proof for in-game plots of land. ASSET tokens are NFTs attached to other items, such as equipment. Using the Sandbox map, you can buy land, build on it and then sell it, possibly for profit. You can trade or rent out individual plots of land, houses, commercial buildings, or even castles. You can also sell these assets on the OpenSea NFT market.
Minecraft - the original sandbox game and one of the best metaverse games today.
Minecraft is the best selling online game of all time, with over 238 million copies sold and nearly 140 million monthly active users as of 2021. While Axie Infinity is the flagship example of play to earn gameplay, any metaverse games list would be incomplete without Minecraft. It has been the most famous sandbox universe for years, earning it a first mover advantage in the metaverse game niche, years before the metaverse even began to be discussed in the public and business spheres.
In Minecraft, players can compete against the game engine or against each other. They can also cooperate or just hang out and build things. But the biggest magic in Minecraft happens in the Creative mode, where you can build your own world and game, and invite other people to join you.Uusing the game's open world you can construct buildings and structures, earthworks (such as roads, dams, canals, hills), crafting items and simple machines, or just extract and trade raw materials. There are also multiple mini-games, such as Build Battle, where players can compete at building models with Minecraft blocks.
Fortnite - a Battle Royale metaverse game and social space
Epic Games' flagship game, Fortnite started out as a Battle Royale-type open world RPG game and has grown a passionate userbase over the years, while adding more and more types of virtual experiences to its universe. Today, Fortnite can be considered a blueprint for what metaverse games will look like.
The basic purpose of the multiplayer gameplay in the Fortnite digital world, is to remain the last one standing while fighting against other players and obstacles in the game. Players can collect items, explore the world and build structures to gain an upper hand in battle.
But the metaverse potential of Fortnite truly starts with the worldbuilding possibilities in Creative Mode, as well as the ability to trade looted and self-made items. In the Creative Mode, players can build their own islands and invite other people to them - either to combat, or to hang out. Users can also socialize or play in their own games created on the Fortnite platform.
Ariana Grande's Fortnite concert was a breakthrough for entertainment in virtual space. Ariana also collaborated with the game creators to make an exclusive avatar skin.
Another feature signifying Epic Games' major move into the metaverse realm, were music concerts and social spaces in the Fortnite virtual world. Ariana Grande, Travis Scott and Marshmello were some of the music artists who held concerts in Fortnite, providing their fans with an immersive and interactive experience, where they followed the artists across the game universe.
Although Epic Games hasn't declared any plans to build their own blockchain based games or NFT-based market, they will allow their players to buy or sell game skins and assets through third-party NFT and crypto markets. This might give their platform, Epic Game Store, a chance to dominate this niche as Valve, the operator of Steam, has banned NFT and blockchain games in their store.
5. Horizon Worlds
Pixel Plummet is a user-created metaverse game in Horizon Worlds
The company largely responsible for kicking off the metaverse hype in 2021, Facebook, a.k.a. Meta, has developed Horizon Worlds, a VR platform for Oculus Quest, where users can hang out, have work meetings, explore the digital environment, participate in virtual events and play games. Some of those games were created by Horizon users, others were provided by Meta.
A few examples of mini-games in the Horizon Worlds metaverse would be Battle Royale experiences like Arena Clash, user-created Action Island Teams or Pixel Plummet. This Meta ecosystem, however, also features casual hangout spaces like Club Fuego or entertainment experiences like standup comedy shows at UA's Comedy Club or American Idol-style competition, where you can join the audience and watch singers perform live in front of the judges.
6. My Neighbor Alice
Scheduled for a launch in spring 2022, My Neighbor Alice is a blockchain-based metaverse farming sim, which was inspired by Animal Crossing.
My Neighbor Alice. Source: Antler Interactive
Players, represented by customizable avatars, use the in-game token (ALICE) to purchase NFTs attached to virtual plots of land (either from Alice or in the marketplace) from a limited supply. Using in-game assets (such as houses, livestock, plants, decorations) they can grow food and other products in their farm and then trade them in the marketplace.
Aside from a charming and relaxing gameplay and building features, My Neighbor Alice is promising robust economics with DAO (decentralized autonomic organization) governance ran by community members who own ALICE tokens. The blockchain ecosystem also allows DeFi features, such as NFT staking, collateralizing and renting of assets via smart contracts.
Sorare is a football team management metaverse game
Sorare is a football NFT game built on the Ethereum blockchain. There are already over 180 football clubs recognized on Sorare, with more joining the platform every week.
On Sorare, you can purchase cards and use them to build your fantasy teams. As a cardholder, you can gain points based on the performance of the players on the cards in real matches. Every week, the teams with the most points would get to make new cards as a prize. In addition, Sorare has announced a Series B investment of about $680 million, making it one of the most successful metaverse games in terms of financing. Another mark of success is that major game developer Ubisoft, has built a game using NFTs produced on Sorare.
Sorare is one of the most user-friendly online metaverse games to play today. Creating a Sorare account is as simple as providing an email address and logging in. Sorare NFT cards could be purchased using debit or credit cards and bank transfers. On top of that, Sorare NFT cards can be purchased in more than 40 countries across the world.
8. Alien Worlds
Alien Worlds - metaverse NFT game
Alien Worlds, a galactic exploration play to earn game that was released in 2020, requires you to mine Trilium (TLM), the official in-game coin, from six planets. You can stake Trilium (TLM) - the in-game currency to participate in Planet DAOs, mainly to vote for council candidates in weekly planetary elections. Staking also increases each planet's reward pool for miners.
To begin, you will be given a shovel. But if you want additional TLM and more sophisticated mining gear, you should buy land or pay a landowner to begin digging. You can also play to earn tokens by fighting other adventurers and participating in mining tasks.
You can build and run cities while uncovering the planets. Creating and combining Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), interacting with other players in user forums, and deciding on a playing strategy are some of the features that make Alien Worlds stand out as an interesting experiment in building a metaverse government.
Combat gameplay in Illuvium. Source: Illuvium trailer
When it comes to metaverse games, Illuvium stands out as a trailblazer among the huge billion-dollar market players. Illuvium is essentially an RPG built on the Ethereum blockchain. Exploring the large virtual environment in the game is its central tenet. The basic goal of the game is to acquire extraordinary creatures known as "Illuvials". Illuvium, on the other hand, stands out as one of the finest metaverse games even though it hasn't been released yet.
Illuvium already has a $1 billion market value with intentions to launch in the first quarter of 2022. The majority of Illuvium conversations are based on snippets from the real gaming experience. Illuvium's visuals and gameplay have been hailed by metaverse fans as some of the best they've ever seen.
There is also an exciting new virtual world to explore in the game's ecosystem packed with brilliant colors. Illuvium may be one of the best metaverse games right now, although it's too early to say for sure. Illuvium, on the other hand, may benefit from its authentic gameplay experience and attract a large user base.
Last but not least - Revomon, a metaverse game that could be a challenger for Axie Infinity's position as the best metaverse game in the NFT-based collectible monster category. Revomon has the undeniable advantage over Axie: it has immersive 3D graphics and can be played both on mobile devices and VR headsets (Oculus).
The gameplay resembles a VR version of Pokemon, where players catch and collect monsters and then summon them to fight other players' monsters. Where the game differs from Pokemon is its blockchain and DeFi functionalities. Revomon is a play to earn metaverse game, where players can socialize and cooperate, buy and trade assets, train to become a monster trainer, earning rewards for fighting mobs, and having the opportunity to sell their collected monsters in the NFT marketplace. The Revomon ecosystem is a DAO, where each token holder can vote on major decisions about the platform, the game and its content.
This subjective best metaverse games list is only a fraction of what is a fast-growing market, with more games being released pretty much every day. As a result, the finest metaverse games should get a lot of attention in the foreseeable future. On the business side, there are a lot of people who want to get on board, with the metaverse market getting hotter with every passing day.
There is a slew of popular metaverse games still in the works. However, the promising gameplay and capabilities in these new metaverse games could open up new opportunities for people who play them. Some experts say that play to earn games can revolutionize the labor market, giving new income streams especially to gamers in developing countries.
Incorporating NFTs in metaverse gaming gives players more freedom and control over their assets. The metaverse developers are working on groundbreaking technologies to make the virtual experience even more realistic and immersive. Metahero and Everdome are just one example of these projects that we are part of as metaverse developers, and we are excited to see the future of this field unfold.