This article is about the future of game development, how it relates to the future of the internet — and what I’m doing to help.

Along the way I’ll share some thoughts on my company, Beamable, and how it relates to the broad topics I cover in my Building the Metaverse blog.

Image credit: Hello Lightbulb

The Internet so Far

For the last couple decades, the World Wide Web has enabled people to access information, connect with each other via social media and shop online. It has been an amazing transformation that I’ve been a part of. One of my earliest contributions was when I saw that it…

In this article, I identify 9 megatrends — exponential shifts that are already underway on a global scale — and how they will shape the future of the metaverse.

Most of the megatrends are a blend of both technology and social change. Here are the megatrends I’ll discuss:

By looking at the 9 megatrends here, we are given a chance to “pull back the camera lens” and see a picture of the wider landscape upon which we’re constructing the metaverse.

Virtual Mainstreaming

People increasingly regard the virtual world to be as real as the physical world.

In the physical world, trust is…

The “creator economy” is about unleashing creativity — enabling anyone to earn a living or build a business around an audience, unconstrained by the high technological barriers that existed in the past.

Evolution of Creator Economies. Pioneer Era, Engineering Era, Creator Era.

We now have enough history to look back and see a predictable pattern play out: whether it was desktop publishing in the past — or e-commerce and 3D engines more recently — there are several phases within any given creative industry:

  • The Pioneer Era, when first-movers like Amazon or Pixar created their own technologies.
  • The Engineering Era, when bottoms-up tools and middleware emerge to support overwhelmed engineering teams.

In my article on the value-chain of the metaverse, I described the seven layers of the ecosystem. In this article I’m going to focus-in on three of the most important metaverse companies — Unity, Epic Games and Roblox — and describe the commonalities and differences.

Let’s start with where companies (and some open source projects) sit within the market (version 4.2— updated September 22, 2021):

Brief recap of what each of these layers represent:

  • Experience is what we actually engage with: games, social experiences, live music, etc.
  • Discovery is how people learn that an experience exists.
  • The Creator Economy is…

Trillions of dollars: that’s how much private industry is investing into the metaverse.

Seven Layers of the Metaverse: Experience, Discovery, Creator Economy, Spatial Computing, Decentralization, Human Interface, Infrastructure

In this article, I provide a description of the value chain of this market, from the experiences that people seek out to the enabling technologies that make it possible. More importantly, I also provide a prescription — a vision for a future metaverse that is powered by creators and built upon decentralization. …

There’s enormous hype surrounding the “metaverse.” This article is about understanding why — and more importantly — breaking it down to the elements so you can understand some of the specific technologies and experiences that are creating the excitement.

Scene from the trailer for Star Atlas, one of the games identifying as a metaverse.

If you only have two minutes, you can watch my video where I unpack many of the elements of the metaverse that people have in mind:

Where is the hype coming from?

Part of it is dewey-eyed idealism about a future society that’s going to be more abundant, fair and equitable.

Part of it is because recent IPOs like Roblox have identified as metaverses. Not to…

We’re entering a huge new realm of creativity: leaving the asynchronous, transactional world of creating websites — to crafting immersive, real-time experiences enabled by 3D engines.

Image credit: Stefans02 on Flickr

In this video I cover how the creator economy of the metaverse is being built by technologies that unleash creativity amongst artists, storytellers and game designers:

A few of the companies and projects mentioned in the above video: Roblox, Rec Room, Unity, Epic (Unreal), Shopify, Pixar, Innersloth (Among Us), Zynga, Beamable, Adobe, MongoDB, Ruby on Rails, Node.js.

I do a deeper compare and contrast on Roblox, Unreal and Unity. For more background on…

Are you making a game? Or crafting an experience for the metaverse? You’re going to need to make it fun.

The original version of this appeared in my book, Game On.

Photo by Eric Tompkins

Here are a few feelings and motivators that are fun: power, curiosity, independence, acceptance, order, saving, honor, idealism, social contact, family status, vengeance, romance, physical activity, tranquility.

But what exactly can you put into an experience to actually make it act on any of these?

Finding the Fun

Here are some specific things that you can include in a game to make it fun. You can also use this list to identify…

Image Credit: John Fowler

In the beginning, the universe was not much more than hot, unthinking hydrogen.

Billions of years passed, and the first suns died. New suns arose in the wake of their nebulae; these became engines of creation for more complex unthinking elements: carbon, oxygen and the others. These newer elements were important because they enabled life.

On the Earth, the first life was very simple: little more than bundles of replicating ribonucleotides. After some hundreds of millions of years, these molecules became bundled into complex packages — the first cells: prokaryotes.

The first major transition of life occurred: the eukayrotes —…

I originally wrote this article on my Wordpress blog back in 2011. Since that blog is now offline, I thought it was worth a re-post, particularly in light of my 2021 Building the Metaverse article, “The Metaverse is Real Gamification.

Ian Bogost’s essay “Gamification is Bullshit” has predictably raised the hackles of a wide range of people, most of who missed his point. Like Ian, I’ve pointed out that much of the “gamification” trend is driven by superficiality. As I wrote in the introduction to Game On:

…points are important. Badges can be helpful. Leaderboards are compelling. But these are…

Adventurer & entrepreneur. I fight for the game-maker. I like startups, digital culture, stories, software, crypto, cooking/wine, games and adventure.

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