From the very first time I watched The Matrix as a 12 year old, I dreamed about the infinite possibilities of virtual worlds. I was fascinated at the thought of spending hours creating, and wandering through new universes with their own sets of rules.
However, the 12 year old in me is still not excited by the virtual worlds that are available today.
Nowadays, gamers spend nearly 20 hours a week in virtual worlds. Their time is spent building, gathering, teaming up with other gamers, and fighting over digital goods that cost real money within the virtual universe. Right now, all of these worlds are owned by central organizations like Facebook Spaces, World of Warcraft by Blizzard, and EVE Online by CCP Games, to name a few. Because of this, they continue to lack the most important and exciting element: users are still bound by the arbitrary rules that govern these virtual worlds and player interaction.
We believe VR will begin to flourish once users can play a bigger role in controlling their reality, by owning land and virtual creations.
Currently, the companies that create the virtual worlds own all of the content built by the users. They are the ones who profit, reap the benefits from the network effects, and have the power to undo, change or censor what happens within the world itself. This decreases the user incentive to invest time and effort creating unique VR experiences.
The true potential of VR might be realized, and certainly surpass what already exists, if the power were put into the hands of the users.
VR hardware is on the verge of becoming accessible to the masses. It’s time to think about what kind of world we will create for our digital lives. Do we want a gatekeeper who decides the price of real estate and taxes; where a central organization can delete users and remove their content; or where a company sells our data to advertisers for profit?
We are building Decentraland because we think otherwise.
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Note: This article has been amended. We’ve transitioned the token sale start date to August 17th to ensure complete compliance with recent regulatory announcements. Learn more in our announcement.