Two decades ago, Second Life was launched, which is considered the first metaverse-based role-playing video game. After peaking at 1.1 million monthly annual users in 2007, the game has since fallen out of favour and is no longer popular among gamers.
They can watch movies, start families, buy property, buy and sell goods, get jobs and earn money just like real-world people. You can buy and sell fiat currency in the game’s economy as well as with the game’s own currency.
Virtual landowner Anshe Chung (Ailin Graef) was one Second Life user who became a formidable virtual landlord and Second Life’s first millionaire through buying, developing, and renting or selling virtual land in the mid-1900s. The value of her virtual assets at the time equated to more than $1 million dollars.
Your Metaverse Avatar to Work
The virtual economy is making a comeback in conjunction with the metaverse’s resurgence. It’s becoming more common for companies to allow users to make their own avatars that can be used in the metaverse to find work and advance their careers, all while generating revenue for their creators.
Singapore-based OWNFT World plans to release 6,888 Ethereum-based avatar non-fungible tokens (NFTs) later this month. This means that each user will be able to offer its avatar NFT, which will cost each user $0.18 ETH ($514). It’s called “Guardians of Fashion,” and Warner Music Group, streaming networks, and fashion brands are all working together to produce the videos and shows for this new initiative called “GOF.”
GOF community tokens, which can be exchanged for other digital assets like stablecoins (a class of cryptocurrencies pegged to a’stable’ reserve asset like the U.S. dollar) when an avatar is cast in a show or video, pay a portion of the revenue to that avatar’s owner.
Project director Eu Wing Leong explains that GOF’s goal is to create an NFT project that will generate passive income for its owners rather than a work of digital art with “no lifecycle following purchase, other than to sit and hopefully acquire value.”.
As Second Life landlord Anshe Chung demonstrated, it is possible for digital avatars to establish careers and earn money. Brands like Amazon and American Apparel flocked to Second Life in the early aughts, much like Disney, Nike, and Gucci are doing now in the metaverse platforms of the present day.
Digital influencers on social media—whether human or artificial—are becoming more commonplace, experts say. This change is largely due to their recent rise and mainstreaming, they say. In today’s hyper-social and influencer-friendly world, Melanie Subin, director of the Future Today Institute, a research consultancy that helps businesses measure future risk and opportunity, says that people using online avatars to make money could grow—in particular, using such avatars to work as online influencers to generate passive income.
Make Actual Money From Metaverse
Lil Miquela, an Instagram star with a 3.1 million-strong fan base, was the first computer-generated social influencer to make her debut. Through paid promotions with brands and businesses, the avatar is expected to generate between $10m and $12m in revenue for its creators by the end of the year 2022.
First, NFT avatars in the metaverse will be used for entertainment purposes like mascots for e-sport matches and musicians hosting their own shows. Catherine Allen, CEO of immersive technology research consultancy Limina Immersed, agrees. According to Allen, companies like Encore have created platforms that allow musicians to perform in the metaverse via augmented reality (AR) and earn money from AR-backed virtual gigs.
According to Subin, Genies, an avatar agency that debuted in 2016, has been “representing celebrity avatars for a while.” If you haven’t already, check out the NFT marketplace, which allows you to create your own avatars and customise them with NFT accessories. You will have full ownership of your avatar and commercialization rights to use it however you like. As Subin points out, “this is a strong signal of what we can expect to see moving forward,” with companies providing services to help make money from digital characters while retaining user control and ownership.
Online avatars won’t completely replace real-world interactions, however, as Second Life did during its peak 15 years ago, says Subin. Those in their late twenties and thirties are expected to be the primary buyers and drivers of avatar NFTs in the next few years, according to her.
It’s possible Second Life will get its own second life. Ebbe Altberg, CEO of Linden Lab, told Quartz a year ago that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of users of the game and the in-game economy they create surged 30 percent to 40 percent. In 2020, Second Life residents earned and then cashed out $73 million from virtual world trading.