3 min read

Hobbies and Interests in the Metaverse

The New York Times just profiled an 18-year-old Minecraft player who built the known universe in Minecraft. Christopher Slayton, known as ChrisDaCow on the Internet, spent about 6 weeks designing the virtual universe. The result is an accurate and to-scale representation that even takes space light into consideration. It’s truly mesmerizing to watch him create it:

World-building is the next great creator skill. ChrisDaCow, who has spent 10 years playing Minecraft, represents the next generation of digital creators whose work will reimagine education, commerce, human interaction, and entertainment in the metaverse. Think about how absurd it is that someone fiddling around in Minecraft is now in The New York Times. But that shows how desirable this skill is becoming.

There are already hundreds of creators on Fiverr selling their world-building services for Horizon Worlds, Spatial, Roblox, and general metaverse design.

Having written The Metaverse Handbook, naturally, I’ve talked with many businesses who want their own metaverse environments. Every business will eventually have its own world.

But the main hiccup is “what’s the draw?” Why should people show up?

A lot of metaverse design is pointless, today. They’re social worlds where we expect people to just show up and converse – as if this is going to replace Zoom and phone calls. The problem, though, is that this inspires no word-of-mouth.

To create a winning metaverse world, you must prioritize use cases that people will talk about. And leaning into shared interests is the best way to achieve that.

Vans World garnered nearly 90 million users in Roblox because we hadn’t experienced a virtual skatepark. Not to mention, there’s already a massive culture around skating, which was rocket fuel for this world. ChrisDaCow’s Minecraft universe has over 1 million YouTube views because there’s a fascination with space, and we haven’t experienced space exploration through a world like Minecraft.

If you’re looking to build your first metaverse world, whether for fun or for a business outcome, then build around a shared human interest.

Build a virtual car showroom and start hosting car shows. There are bound to be other people creating 3D car renders who’d like to join and bring their creations to your showroom. Car meetups in the real world are great community-building events and also great marketing opportunities for companies of all kinds.

Build a virtual homage to an iconic person like Muhammad Ali, showcasing some of his greatest knockouts, clips of his inspiring speeches, and other virtual memorabilia. There’s an established fascination with legendary people, which would drive visitors and word-of-mouth. Additionally, these public figures may actually be grateful for your metaverse and want to collaborate.

Now is the time to take chances with building metaverse worlds that toe the legal line.

I wouldn’t recommend you create a Marvel-inspired world because they are so strict on public use of their IP. But personal brands like Gary Vee or Joe Rogan already post a lot of their IP to public platforms (i.e. Instagram and YouTube). Build their fan club in the metaverse and find a way to tactfully insert yourself or your goals into the world.

RTFKT is probably the most graceful company to toe this legal line of metaverse design. They basically created a line of Nike NFT sneakers without using the Nike logo. Anyone familiar with the Nike brand could see how RTFKT’s metaverse wearables were inspired by Nike designs. RTFKT built a major following and customer-base for their NFTs by hijacking the Nike brand and beating them to the metaverse. As a result, they forced Nike’s hand and ended up getting acquired by Nike.

Social metaverse experiences aren’t going to get us to a billion metaverse users.

There’s already VRChat and Roblox for socialization. They’ve got that covered. But we don’t have enough metaverse environments revolving around shared interests and hobbies. These are the experiences that will drive users.

For my part, I’ve already built the Violinverse, which is a virtual museum for violin-lovers, and an upcoming Specimen51 museum which is a virtual space for the 400,000 followers of A New Specimen.

What will your contribution be?