A report from crypto investment firm Grayscale estimates revenue from virtual gaming worlds alone could grow to $400 billion by 2025.
As we transition to the next stage of the internet’s evolution, the metaverse is increasingly at the forefront of what is being referred to as ‘Web 3.0’.
With digital worlds continuing to embed themselves in our daily lives, the metaverse could represent over a $1 trillion market opportunity, according to crypto investment firm Grayscale.
In a report published on Thursday titled “The Metaverse, Web 3.0 Virtual Cloud Economies,” Grayscale’s prediction is based on opportunities that will arise from the intersection of ongoing trends in our social lives and online gaming with blockchain’s potential to provide the infrastructure to digital worlds.
“The market opportunity for bringing the Metaverse to life may be worth over $1 trillion in annual revenue and may compete with Web 2.0 companies worth $15 trillion in market value today,” Grayscale said.
The #Metaverse and the rising Web 3.0 paradigm are closely related trends. @David_Grid and @MattMaximo1 from our research team break down what everyone is talking about (and what it could mean for investors): https://t.co/6Snh0R4fEL pic.twitter.com/CPQjO6RQ5n— Grayscale (@Grayscale) November 24, 2021
The metaverse is defined by the report’s authors David Grider and Matt Maximo as “interconnected, experiential, 3D virtual worlds where people located anywhere can socialize in real-time to form a persistent, user-owned, internet economy spanning the digital and physical worlds.”
“This vision for the future state of the web has the potential to transform our social interactions, business dealings, and the internet economy at large,” they said.
Grayscale believes that revenue from virtual gaming worlds could grow to at least $400 billion by 2025, from $180 billion in 2020.
The shift of game developer monetisation is the key dynamic driving the growth trend. The report underlines that gamers are increasingly moving away from “paying to play” premium games and moving towards “free” games, which developers monetise by selling in-game items to players or allowing them to gain social status within virtual worlds.
The report added that in the third quarter of 2021, fundraising for crypto reached $8.2 billion, $1.8 billion of which went towards Web 3.0 and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
Meanwhile, fundraising for gaming applications overshadowed all other NFT verticals in Q3, accounting for $1 billion.
Metaverse is in its ‘early innings’
We presently spend around one-third of our lives on leisure activities like watching TV, playing video games, or consumed with social media – which is only likely to increase as remote work continues to become normalised, Grayscale noted.
With a greater portion of our attention going towards digital activities, particularly following the pandemic, digital and physical worlds are progressively merging. It partly explains why the metaverse has been generating significant enthusiasm, with Facebook’s recent decision to rebrand itself as “Meta” the most visible embrace of this increasingly new digital reality.
Seamless interoperability between the digital and physical realm also means owning digital items. Take Decentraland, a leading blockchain-based project which creates an open-world metaverse where users can login to play games and earn Decentraland’s native token, MANA, which users can use to purchase NFTs or create NFTs for the value of their time spent in-game.
Services in the metaverse will extend outside the sphere of gaming too. Earlier this month, Decentraland inked a deal with Caribbean nation Barbados to legally declare digital real estate to build what would be the world’s first virtual embassy.
This is what distinguishes a centralised Web 2.0 from an ostensibly decentralised Web 3.0: Open networks like Ethereum offer users true ownership of digital items, whereas previous digital worlds were enclosed corporate metaverses owned by big tech firms that prohibited users from being able to freely monetise their investment and efforts.
Web 3.0 open crypto metaverse networks solve that problem by “eliminating the capital controls imposed on these virtual worlds by Web 2.0 platforms,” Grayscale argued.
Web 2.0 tech companies are quickly coming to terms with this inflection point, and “will likely need to start exploring the Metaverse to stay competitive,” Grayscale said, as witnessed a new wave of metaverse investments.
“Compared to the $10 billion that companies like Facebook plan to invest, and the amounts that could follow from other companies and venture capitalists, the metaverse virtual world users are “still in their early innings,” the report said.
But if growth rates remain on their current trajectory, this emerging segment has the potential to become mainstream in the coming years.