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How to Access the Metaverse in 2023: A 101 Guide for Beginners

Welcome metaverse traveler! If you are wondering how to explore the hottest new virtual worlds known as the metaverse, you‘ve come to the right place. This comprehensive beginner‘s guide will explain what the metaverse is, the different platforms available, and how to start your journey into these futuristic landscapes. Let‘s dive in!

Defining the Metaverse

Before we look at how to access the metaverse, it‘s important to understand what it is exactly.

In simple terms, the metaverse refers to persistent 3D virtual environments where users can interact in real-time within a virtual universe. It is the next evolution of social connection and the internet itself.

According to tech research firm Gartner, by 2026 over 25% of people will spend at least 1 hour a day in the metaverse for work, shopping, education, social media and/or entertainment. That‘s part of what makes this such an exciting new frontier!

Some key components that make up the metaverse include:

Virtual Reality (VR) / Augmented Reality (AR) – VR headsets and AR glasses allow users to enter these immersive virtual worlds in 3D as if they were really there. Shipments of VR headsets are projected to grow from 11.2 million units in 2022 to over 30 million by 2026.

Blockchain – Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies enable decentralized, secure ownership of digital assets like land, avatars, wearables and other items across the metaverse. The market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which represent ownership of unique assets, surpassed $40 billion in 2021.

Persistent Online Worlds – The metaverse consists of always-active alternative digital worlds that do not pause or shut down. This persistence allows for vibrant interactive communities and economies.

Embodied Avatars – Users are represented by customizable avatars allowing social interaction similar to real life.Avatar skins and accessories are an emerging trend, with over $100 million spent on avatar fashion in 2021.

With these core building blocks, the metaverse aims to take social media, work, shopping and entertainment into more immersive 3D environments beyond the limits of physical reality. Now that you know what it is, let‘s look at how you can actually access and experience the metaverse starting today.

Popular Metaverse Platforms Available Now

While the full potential of the metaverse will take time to develop, early virtual worlds provide a glimpse into the future and are already attracting millions of users. Here are some of the most popular metaverse platforms available today:

Decentraland

Decentraland is a browser-based virtual world where users can buy virtual land plots as NFTs called LAND, traverse 3D scenes, play games, and interact with others. You‘ll need to install a crypto wallet like MetaMask to store MANA and ETH tokens which are needed for purchases in Decentraland. With a wallet set up, you can create an avatar, buy land at auction, and start building!

Decentraland sees over 50,000 active monthly users and over $1 billion in cumulative land sales. It‘s a great starting point to understand the basics of a blockchain metaverse.

The Sandbox

The Sandbox offers a virtual world where players can build 3D voxel game experiences and earn rewards in SAND, the platform‘s cryptocurrency. Landowners can monetize experiences built on their virtual real estate. After installing a crypto wallet, you can start exploring scenes, playing games others have built, or start constructing your own world!

With over 2 million monthly active users and partnerships with brands like Gucci, The Sandbox shows the commercial potential of metaverse experiences.

CryptoVoxels

CryptoVoxels is made up of voxels, basically 3D pixels. You can set up an ETH wallet to start buying "parcels" of virtual land to then develop and monetize. Builder tools allow you to create scenes with unique objects like sculpture gardens. You can also buy wearables like hats to customize your avatar‘s look.

CryptoVoxels has a thriving marketplace for virtual land and items, with over 30,000 ETH in trading volume to date. Its art gallery features some amazing voxel-based artwork from the community.

PlatformKey FeaturesTarget AudienceLimitations
DecentralandVirtual land ownership, avatar customization, 3D scenesGeneral consumers, crypto/NFT enthusiastsLower quality graphics
The SandboxUser-generated gaming experiences, voxel creation toolsGamers, builders, creatorsSteeper learning curve
CryptoVoxelsVoxel artwork galleries, stores and exhibitsArtists, collectors, shoppersLess structured gameplay/activities

This table provides a quick comparison of some of the most accessible metaverse worlds available today. While there are limitations, these early virtual environments provide a glimpse into more advanced consumer metaverse experiences to come.

Now that you know the major platforms, let‘s get into the specifics of how to gain access.

Step-by-Step Guide to Entering the Metaverse

Here is a walkthrough of the exact steps needed to enter the metaverse and start exploring:

Choose a Metaverse Platform

Based on your interests, choose an accessible metaverse platform to start with. I‘d recommend Decentraland or The Sandbox for first-timers looking for a broad experience. Check the table above for other options.

Install a Crypto Wallet

You‘ll need a crypto wallet app to hold the tokens needed in each metaverse. I use MetaMask as my wallet for ease of use with desktop and mobile. Make sure to set up strong security during the wallet creation process.

Purchase Relevant Tokens

Now you need to actually buy cryptocurrency! For Decentraland, you‘ll need ETH and MANA. I use Coinbase to easily purchase different cryptocurrencies with my credit card, then transfer them into my MetaMask wallet.

Create Your Avatar

Time for the fun part – creating your virtual identity! Choose an avatar name and customize the look with faces, clothing and accessories. Your avatar is how you‘ll be seen in the metaverse.

Access the Metaverse

Go to the platform‘s website and connect your crypto wallet to log in. For desktop, use keyboard and mouse to move and interact. For full immersion, connect a VR headset if compatible.

With those steps complete, you are ready to enter amazing virtual worlds! Now let‘s look at what you can actually do for fun (and profit) within these metaverse environments.

Activities to Enjoy in the Metaverse

The possibilities are endless when entire virtual universes are built around your interests. Here are just some of the many things you can do:

Social Experiences – Attend live events, join group tours, hang out in plazas, go clubbing at virtual nightclubs with new friends. I love going to Decentraland‘s Dragon City to people watch and chat with other explorers.

Games and Quests – Many platforms incorporate popular play-to-earn games where you can win tokens and NFT prizes. Or go on quests alone or with teams to find hidden treasures and exclusive content.

Shopping – From designer fashion to streetwear, you can buy virtual apparel, accessories and gear for your avatar. Brands like Gucci and Adidas are launching metaverse stores with unique digital-only collections.

Real Estate – Purchase virtual land and transform it to profit from other users. Build a virtual store, amusement park, office space – anything you can imagine, you can create!

Creating – Use simple builder tools to construct anything from art galleries to 3D game levels. Some platforms even support coding custom experiences. Let your creativity run wild!

Remote Working – A growing number of companies are building virtual offices in metaverse platforms for remote work. Attend meetings, collaborate on projects and brainstorm in creative workspaces.

Learning – Education initiatives are emerging using metaverse classrooms for more engaging learning via field trips, simulations and mixed reality lessons.

The key is finding experiences tailored to your needs and interests. Keep an open mind, and you‘ll be amazed at the innovative ways you can have fun and interact in these virtual worlds!

Now that you know what you can do, let‘s discuss what sets the metaverse apart.

How Metaverse Platforms Are Different

While metaverses share elements with traditional 2D virtual worlds, there are some key differences:

Ownership of Assets – Using blockchain, digital assets like avatars, land and items are truly owned by users, not companies. These assets are tradeable as NFTs for real value.

Persistence – Metaverse worlds run continuously, unlike isolated virtual experiences. You can come and go while progression remains.

Interoperability – Your identity, avatars and possessions should be transferable across metaverses to a degree. It‘s more of an open ecosystem.

Decentralization – Metaverses aim to put governance and power in users‘ hands, unlike centralized legacy platforms driven solely by corporations.

Real-World Economies – Billions are being invested into metaverse platforms given huge economic potential from digital goods and services.

By leveraging emerging technologies like blockchain, VR and crypto, metaverses aim to evolve virtual experiences to the next level. But this is just the beginning…

The Future Possibilities of the Metaverse

While still early, the metaverse is where the internet is headed. As the technology improves, here are just some of the possibilities that emerge:

More Immersive Digital Lives – VR and AR will become more accessible and realistic, creating seamless experiences between real and virtual worlds. Your entire digital life may be lived in the metaverse.

New Economic Ecosystems – More user-generated value, careers and businesses will center around creating digital goods, services and experiences. The cottage industry of the internet.

Transforming Social Media – Social networks like Facebook are already transitioning into more immersive and visually engaging metaverse experiences focused on connection.

Blending Work and Education – Schooling and jobs may involve spending portions of time learning and working within metaverse environments and virtual simulations.

Advanced Simulations – For training, recreation, therapy, public safety drills…the possibilities are endless for creating hyper-accurate metaverse simulations.

Merging realities – With advancements in digital twins and smart cities, the lines will blur between physical and virtual until they become seamless extensions.

This glimpse into the potential future is why early adoption is important. But don‘t worry – with some core tips, anyone can get started!

Tips and Best Practices for New Metaverse Users

The key is being open to new experiences and taking time to learn. Here are some tips to help you start strong:

  • Start small – get comfortable in free areas before spending big on land or tokens.Small investments ($50-$100) are enough at first.
  • Join community channels – platforms like Decentraland have active Discord servers to learn, ask questions and make connections. Or find Facebook groups related to your interests.
  • Customize your look – take time to create an avatar that reflects your personality. This helps build your identity.
  • Experiment! – The most fun comes from exploring different worlds and experiences to find ones you enjoy most.
  • Enable two-factor authentication and other security features in your crypto wallets and exchange accounts to keep assets safe. Don‘t share private keys.
  • Be patient and helpful to others. We are all learning together!

The metaverse remains a work in progress, but with an open mindset and sense of adventure, anyone can jump in and help shape the future.

So don‘t wait – join this digital revolution! With this beginner‘s guide, you now have all the knowledge needed to take your first steps into the metaverse. See you on the other side!

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Michael

Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.