Are you curious about the metaverse and how to navigate its diverse and evolving (virtual) landscape? If so, you might want to check out this launch post that introduces the MetaPlayers Quadrant or MPQ for short: a simple but powerful framework that can help you understand, compare and plot distinct types of metaverse experiences.
Key points in this launch post
- The MPQ is based on two dimensions: (de)centralization on one axis and productizing versus “platformization” on the other axis
- Platformization measures the degree of openness and modularity that a metaverse offers to its creators and users. A metaverse product is more like its own (often true 3D) planet while a platform is more like a (2.5D) galaxy.
- Centralization measures the degree of control and ownership that the creators and users of a metaverse have over its content, rules and economy.
- By combining these two dimensions, there are four quadrants that represent various kinds of metaverse experiences:
- Central Products aka Global Socializers (in VR/6DoF)
- Decentral Products aka Niche Designers (in XR/true 3D)
- Central Platforms aka Creative Gamers (in flat-screen 3D)
- Decentral Platforms aka Web3 Blockchainers (in flat-screen 2.5D)
Thank you for your interest in a brand-new framework called the MetaPlayers Quadrant or MPQ for short. It’s a simple framework that can help you understand and compare four types of metaverse experiences based on two dimensions: (de)centralization on one hand and platform versus product on the other.
Before we dive into the four quadrants, let’s define what (de)centralization and platformization means in the context of metaverses.
(De)centralization: Web 2.0 vs. Web3
Centralization refers to the degree of control and ownership that the creators and users of a metaverse have over its content, rules, governance and economy. A centralized metaverse is one where a single entity or a small group of entities has most of the power and influence over the metaverse, while a decentralized metaverse is one where the power and influence are distributed among many entities or even the users themselves. Decentral power (and money) to the individual user is a core — not to say central — theme to decentralized products and platforms.
The central companies are usually Big Tech players that became powerful in the Web 1.0 era (like Apple and Microsoft) and especially Web 2.0 such as Meta. Its primary content is user-generated but the users are not getting paid for their content contribution as their product; in fact, their users are the product.
(De)platformization: planets vs. galaxies
Platformization refers to the degree of openness and modularity that a metaverse offers to its creators and users. A platform metaverse is one that provides a set of tools, services and standards that enable anyone to create, share and monetize their own content and experiences within the metaverse, while a product metaverse is one that offers a more curated and predefined content and experience that is mainly designed and delivered by the metaverse provider.
The MPQ framework can help you evaluate and compare different metaverse projects based on their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It can also help you identify potential gaps, synergies and collaborations among different projects. However, it is important to note that the MPQ framework is not static or fixed. It is dynamic and evolving, as different projects may shift their position along the axes over time, depending on their goals, strategies, challenges and innovations. Therefore, it is useful to keep an eye on how the metaverse landscape changes over time using the MPQ framework as a reference point.
Central Products aka Global Socializers
The Global Socializers in this quadrant represent a more traditional and mainstream vision of the metaverse, where popular and well-known brands and franchises offer immersive and engaging content and experiences to their large and loyal fan bases, but with limited user agency and creativity. Examples of projects that fall into this quadrant are Meta Horizon and (former) AltspaceVR, which use proprietary technology to create social VR platforms that host various events, activities and games.
Decentral Products aka Niche Designers
The Niche Designers in this quadrant represent a more focused and niche vision of the metaverse, where specific use cases and applications are built on top of decentralized platforms or protocols, but still offer some degree of user autonomy and participation. Examples of projects that fall into this quadrant are Spatial and SynergyXR, which use a combination of VR and (web)XR technology to enable immersive collaboration and communication across different devices and platforms.
Central Platforms aka Creative Gamers
The Creative Gamers in this quadrant represent a more hybrid and flexible vision of the metaverse, where established and successful platforms offer a balance between user-generated content and curated content, as well as between user empowerment and platform governance. Examples of projects that fall into this quadrant are games like Fortnite, Roblox and Minecraft, which use game engines and APIs to enable users to create, play and sometimes monetize their own games and worlds within the platform.
Decentral Platforms aka Web3 Blockchainers
The Web3 Blockchainers in this quadrant represent the most ambitious and radical vision of the metaverse, where anyone can create, own and govern their own virtual worlds and communities, without relying on any central authority or intermediary. Examples of projects that fall into this quadrant are Web3 initiatives like Upland and Decentraland, which use blockchain technology to enable peer-to-peer transactions, digital ownership and governance of virtual assets and spaces.
Now what? Metaverse March 2023 edition coming!
You might wonder: What’s in it for me? Great question! If you are a business or perhaps even a metaverse provider, feel free to contact me to get listed on the next edition scheduled for 2023Q2 around June. If you’re simply curious which metaverses are out there, then check out the upcoming release of the MetaPlayers Quadrant March 2023 edition.
Since you’ve made it till the end of this launch post, here’s the preview of the Metaverse March 2023 edition (MPQ2023-Q1) as token of my appreciation: