Which Metaverse is the Best?

Josiah Nang-Bayi, MD
9 Min Read

The idea of a digital world where people interact through avatars in a shared virtual space, known as the metaverse, has exploded in popularity recently. However, there are already several competing metaverse platforms emerging with different visions and capabilities. Evaluating which current metaverse implementation comes closest to an ideal robust experience involves analyzing factors like the technology, content, user experience, and community. Based on these criteria, some top contenders for the “best” metaverse platform include Decentraland, The Sandbox, Cryptovoxels, and VRChat. Let’s dive in deeper…

Key Evaluation Criteria

To judge which metaverse platform is the strongest overall, we will assess against these key criteria:

Technical Capabilities – Smooth performance, rich environments, avatars, controls, and features enabling immersion.

User Experience – Onboarding, navigation, and content discovery must feel intuitive.

Social Features – Ability to easily meet other users and have meaningful interactions.

Interoperability – Assets and identity should transfer across worlds and apps.

User-Generated Content – Tools to encourage users to build environments and assets.

Virtual Economy – Active in-world transactions, ownership, and wealth creation.

Accessibility – Web, mobile, PC and VR access to reach all users.

Using these benchmarks, we evaluate the top contenders vying for metaverse dominance.

The Top Metaverse Contenders

Here are leading metaverse worlds compared head-to-head against the key criteria:

Decentraland

Technical Capabilities

Decentraland provides high-quality 3D visual environments navigable through PC and VR with detailed avatars. The decentralized architecture provides a persistent world owned by users.

User Experience

The web interface makes initial onboarding easy but in-world controls remain complex for beginners. Discovery of destinations could improve.

Social Features

Users can chat, interact through avatars, and attend events, but crowds remain sparse. More community incentives are needed.

Interoperability

As an open standard, it provides opportunities for asset portability but is still tied mainly to Ethereum.

User-Generated Content

The Builder tool allows users to create scenes, structures and environments with basic objects and scripts. Additional advanced functionality and assets would enhance creation capabilities.

Virtual Economy

MANA crypto supports in-world transactions like buying avatar wearables, virtual land parcels, and other goods. Active trading shows burgeoning commerce.

Accessibility

Available via website and apps on desktop and mobile, but VR headset is required for full immersion.

The Sandbox

Technical Capabilities

Smooth 3D environments and intuitive controls make Sandbox very accessible. Avatar options are currently limited but creators can build diverse worlds.

User Experience

Clear simple UX makes onboarding easy. Finding cool worlds can be aided by better search and curation. Many educational guides assist beginners.

Social Features

Chat and multiplayer game worlds enable collaboration. More avatar detail and communication emotes would elevate social connection.

Interoperability

Partnerships expanding, but still tied to its own SAND token. Can borrow traits like character IP across partners.

User-Generated Content

Robust VoxEdit and Game Maker building tools empower advanced world creation accessible to amateur creators. Huge advantage.

Virtual Economy

Active play-to-earn gaming economy with SAND. NFTs sell virtual land and items. Black market and scams are issues needing monitoring.

Accessibility

Available on all major platforms except VR currently. One of the most accessible metaverses.

 Cryptovoxels

Technical Capabilities

As a decentralized virtual world, it provides a persistent online cityscape with avatars. But less emphasis on realistic graphics.

User Experience

Onboarding flows are straightforward for crypto-natives but could be simpler. Navigation and controls easy to pick up.

Social Features

Its crowdsourced city structure fosters social interaction and collaboration, but audiences are still limited.

Interoperability

Assets like parcels use standard NFTs enabling portability. Partnerships forming to connect with other virtual worlds.

User-Generated Content

Users can build structures and environments on their parcels from model library. More sophisticated tooling would aid creation.

Virtual Economy

NFT ownership of parcels of virtual land and other goods allows trading. New commerce models emerging.

Accessibility

Primarily PC-based. Would benefit from expanding to mobile browsers or apps to improve access.

Horizon Worlds

Technical Capabilities

Smooth performance powered by Oculus VR, but requires headset purchase. Environments and avatars less customizable currently.

User Experience

Strong onboarding gets you oriented and connected quickly. Discovery is limited given closed structure. Oculus integration helps newcomers.

Social Features

Multiplayer games and avatar interactions make socialization a strength, but user base remains limited.

Interoperability

Walled garden approach limits asset portability outside Facebook properties.

User-Generated Content

No major creation tools for users yet besides basic outfitting. Facebook plans more robust creation features in the future.

Virtual Economy

No internal economy yet. Future integration is planned with Facebook Diem cryptocurrency and commerce tools.

Accessibility

Requires Oculus headset currently, limiting access to VR users. Mobile and web access could expand reach.

And The Winner Is…

Based on this head-to-head analysis, The Sandbox stands out as the current best overall metaverse experience balancing capabilities, user experience, creation tools, economy, decentralization, and accessibility.

The Sandbox’s strength stems from its easy onboarding, social gaming worlds, and accessible world-building tools empowering users to contribute content. While still early, its active gaming ecosystem illustrates the potential ahead for user-generated metaverse worlds layered on top of ownership-based cryptocurrency economies.

However, no single metaverse yet fulfills the full vision of an open persistent world. This leaves room for many platforms to evolve strengths around certain interactions like creation vs commerce or gaming vs socialization before achieving full convergence and interoperability.

The Path Forward

As metaverse capabilities advance, expect platforms to improve deficiencies while expanding features in areas like:

– More lightweight web and mobile access alongside VR immersion

– Shared live events syncing thousands of users together

– Photorealism for expressive avatars and environments

– Seamless identity and asset portability across worlds

– Natural conversational interfaces and augmented reality

Boundaries between virtual and real will continue blurring into a hybridized future with many interconnected metaverses forming this next phase of the internet. Rather than a single winner-take-all world, network effects and specialization amongst many interoperable platforms may emerge. While technical challenges remain, connecting and creating in shared virtual worlds promises to transform entertainment, collaboration, learning and e-commerce in coming years.

Within the next 5 years, expect boundary-pushing innovation across augmented reality, virtual reality, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, and blockchain economies to enable the next generation of highly immersive interconnected metaverses surpassing offerings available today. Tracking the rapid evolution across these domains reveals which networks have the momentum and community to achieve mainstream adoption.

While still early, immersing yourself in today’s preeminent metaverse platforms lets you gain valuable firsthand experience in this emerging arena of human connection, commerce and creativity. Just approach new virtual worlds with openness, patience and a spirit of experimentation. The technological foundations are already here for virtual environments that transform work, play, collaboration and life itself in ways we are only beginning to imagine. The open metaverse future awaits.

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Josiah Nang-Bayi, MD is a medical doctor by profession, an author, a financial literacy and digital assets enthusiast, an entrepreneur and a growing philanthropist.
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