With some of the largest companies in the world investing heavily in the metaverse, the interest in the space has grown exponentially over the past couple of years. The trend is not stopping anytime soon, as a 2022 report by the global management consulting giant McKinsey predicts the metaverse sector to generate up to $5 trillion in value by 2030.
However, with somewhat limited information available, many users are left wondering how to join the metaverse and what equipment they need to experience digital worlds.
In this article, we’ll aim to answer how to enter the metaverse in general terms, and then examine what the process looks like when using Decentraland, a popular blockchain-based metaverse.
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is a term used to describe a virtual world where users can interact with each other and digital objects in a shared environment. It is often imagined as a vast, interconnected network of virtual spaces and experiences that can be accessed through various devices and platforms.
Launched in 2003, Second Life is widely considered a pioneering metaverse project.
The concept of metaverse has been popularized by science fiction and technology companies envisioning a future where virtual and physical worlds intersect. In essence, the metaverse can encompass a wide range of activities, from gaming and socializing to shopping and working. It is seen as a potential successor to the internet, where people can have a digital presence and interact with each other and digital objects in a more immersive and interactive way.
The broad definition has led to many companies using the term for a variety of digital products and services, from the most basic mobile games to rudimentary social media platforms, leaving many to wonder what exactly the metaverse is and how it differs from already existing products.
In the cryptocurrency space, metaverse projects leverage the solutions afforded by blockchain technology, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and immutable transaction records. This adds another layer of security and the ability for users to transfer their metaverse assets between accounts and platforms more easily.
With that in mind, you’re probably itching to try out these virtual worlds for yourself. In the following sections, we’ll explain how to get into the metaverse.
How to access the metaverse? Explore blockchain-powered virtual worlds for yourself
Accessing the metaverse is typically very similar to connecting to any other internet service that requires an account to complete the registration process. In other words, to create a metaverse account, you’ll need to provide general information about yourself, such as your name, age, gender, and so on. You can choose to provide data that is false, as no metaverse platforms known to us require proof of identity or address to open an account. However, that might change in the future.
Next, you’ll need to provide an email address so you can verify your account. Again, nothing dissimilar to countless other digital services out there.
After the account is created, most metaverse platforms invite you to create and customize your avatar. It pays to spend some time when creating an avatar, as that is what other players will see when they interact with you. Contrary to traditional games and social media platforms, some metaverse platforms allow users to scan real-world objects (or even themselves) and import them into the digital realm for an added level of immersion.
Obviously, not all metaverses are created equal and there are different criteria to enter – for instance, some may not require an email address at all, or have avatar customizations behind a paywall. However, generally speaking, most metaverse registration processes are carried out as outlined above.
Is there any special equipment you need to enter the metaverse?
For the most part, a majority of metaverse projects currently available can be accessed without any special equipment. However, there are some prominent examples, like VRChat, which allow users to get fully immersed in what the metaverse offers with virtual reality (VR) headsets.
VR and AR headset shipments are expected to grow 30% each year, culminating in 35.1 million units shipped in 2026. Source
Going forward, virtual world experiences are almost certainly about to be increasingly dependent on VR, augmented reality (AR) equipment, and other accessories aimed at enriching gaming experiences.
Projections by International Data Corporation (IDC) show that the annual number of shipped VR and AR headsets could reach 35.1 million in 2026, up from 10.9 million in 2021. The market AR/VR headset market is currently dominated by Meta, with Quest 2 accounting for over 84% of all sales in the first three quarters of 2022.
A step-by-step guide to entering the Decentraland metaverse
In the following steps, we’ll be using Decentraland – one of the best metaverse games running on top of the Ethereum blockchain – to showcase how you can access the metaverse in just a couple of clicks.
Step 1: Download the app or play in the browser
First, head to the Decentraland homepage and decide whether you want to play in the browser or via the native desktop application. The latter option is advised if you want better graphics performance, as browser gameplay can be a bit stuttery at times.
Step 2: Connect a wallet or play as a guest
Connect your blockchain wallet if you want to experience all that Decentraland has to offer. The experience when playing as a guest is somewhat limited – you can’t buy land or interact with the world in as many ways.
Step 3: Create an avatar
You can customize the avatar to your heart’s content. Skin tone, body shape, hairstyle, clothes, and more can all be customized so you can find the look that matches your wants.
Step 4: Enter the desired nickname and an email address
As a final step before you can enter the metaverse, you’ll need to name your avatar and enter an email address. Click “Next,” and the Decentraland virtual world should be loaded in a couple of moments.
Step 5: Start exploring the metaverse
Congratulations, you are free to start exploring the virtual world. Remember that most metaverse titles follow a similar registration process as Decentraland, so you can use this guide as a reference.
Bottom line: Accessing the metaverse is easier than you might have thought
As you can see, the process of entering the metaverse is quite straightforward and requires no advanced computer knowledge. Armed with this knowledge, you are ready to start fully enjoying what the virtual world has to offer, such as buying land in the metaverse.
In addition, if you want to experiment with trading, staking, and earning digital assets in a variety of virtual worlds, give our guide on the best metaverse NFT projects a read.