Video Game Makers Explain Why Main “Metaverse” Promise Is Wrong

  • One of the major promises of the “metaverse” is that your digital life will be yours, free from major technological platforms.
  • A key example is in-game purchases, such as character skins in “Fortnite”, switching between games.
  • Game developers say it’s a fantasy that will never happen.

In the near future, when the “metaverse” becomes real, any costumes you purchased for your avatar in “Fortnite” will seamlessly switch to “Minecraft” and “Call of Duty” and any other games you want. player.

At least that’s what proponents of so-called “Web3” concepts – like NFTs, blockchain technology, and cryptocurrency – would have you believe.

The latest such example comes from who but Linkin Park co-founder and singer Mike Shinoda, who took to social media this weekend to reveal this vision for the future.

“Imagine taking your favorite skin from” Valorant “and using it [in] ‘Fortnite.’ And don’t pay extra, because you own it. Then using it in ‘CoD’, ‘Minecraft’, even Twitter, IG. So many possibilities, right? ” he said saturday.

There’s just one problem: The people who make games have repeatedly pointed out the many flaws in this vision for the future, including one person working on the very game used in Shinoda’s example.

“Again, you can’t take a ‘skin’ from one game, drop it in another and expect good results, even if they were created in the same engine.” Riot Games senior engineer Jules Glegg said on Sunday. She specifically spoke of the technical issues of moving an “asset” from one game to another.

The term “active” is widely used in video game development as “a shorthand for everything that goes into a video game – characters, objects, sound effects, maps, environments, etc.” According to game engine maker Unity.

A picture of the game "Fortnite" digital storefront featuring Batman-themed items.

A selection of Batman-themed items were available for sale through the game’s “Fortnite” digital storefront. Each of these is considered an “asset” and consists of a variety of individual assets.

Epic games

A character “skin” is a plus – and moving it from game to game is a technical nightmare. “The scales won’t match. The platforms will not match. [level of detail] will not match. The hitboxes do not match. Shader budgets will not match, ”she said.

That’s a sentiment shared by two other game developers Insider spoke to this week.

“You bought a Big Mac from McDonald’s, but you can’t just go to Burger King and say, ‘Now make me a Big Mac,’” said Bithell Games COO Alexander Sliwinski. , during a telephone interview on Monday.

In the case of burgers, the problem is clear: Just because they both make burgers, doesn’t mean you should expect to get the same burger from one to the other. They’re not interoperable – and interoperability is at the heart of the idea that you can seamlessly move one part of a game to another.

Why, say, a t-shirt you bought for a character in one game couldn’t be transferred to your character in another game? Isn’t that just a picture?

The short answer is no, it’s more than just a picture – and all of the pieces that make up this shirt are specific to the game it was designed to be used in.

“Everything you see in a game is actually dozens of assets that work together, as defined by the code,” game creator and consultant Rami Ismail told Insider.

“If you really want to bring this t-shirt, you run into a problem: a t-shirt is made for a specific character,” he said. “So the fit will be in a specific way. It’s animated in a specific way. It has physics built in a specific way – again, for that custom size, for that custom gravity, from the first game. . This will not translate for the second game. “

These are just the initial technical issues such a concept faces, they said, before you have to tackle legal considerations regarding intellectual property rights – not to mention the resources required to make it all work.

“Just because something isn’t tangible doesn’t mean someone hasn’t done it,” Sliwinski said.

And, for many game makers, the financial and creative incentive is not there to make NFT’s dream of interoperability a reality.

Do you have any advice? Contact senior Insider correspondent Ben Gilbert by email ([email protected]), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We may keep the sources anonymous. Use an unprofessional device to reach out. RP pitches by email only, please.


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