In Polygonal Mind we've been heavily involved in Decentraland development and community for the past 2 years, and thanks to it we've been in many meetings answering questions about this Metaverse.
This article is a recap of all the most common questions we've been getting about the platform explained for a non technical person.
What Is Decentraland?
Decentraland is a virtual world divided into squares of land of the same size. You can buy and trade this land and also build on top of it. All the content in the world is generated by the owners of the land, making it a huge collaborative space.
How Did We Get Here?
The project has been under development for longer than most would like to admit, and it is evolving on a very slow pace to my taste. This slow motion is probably because 2 years ago, most of the progress of the platform was not poured directly into developing it, but more into the financial aspect of it.
This was very criticized and tagged by many as a "money grabbing project" the progress the team was showing to the public was very focused on financial, while at the same time, various promises were broken on the technical side.
Many in the community felt very disappointed at the time, especially for the VR aspect. Decentraland as a concept drove many different people in investing for a very long term project without a clear route.
But what many of us wasn't able to see at the time, was that having a very strong coin and assets before the actual platform would enable the growth of a development ecosystem from the ground up.
Seen with perspective, it was a risky move, but the right one. I don't really know if this was made on purpose or accidentally.
Decentraland As An Ecosystem To The Future
During this time, there has been many initiatives to attract talent to the project.
Game Jams, Funds, and contests, providing MANA and LAND.
In the future, these initiatives, especially the game funds, will be managed by the Decentraland DAO. That will unlock funds to bootstrap projects pitched directly to the community.
These type of events has motivated professional teams to invest their time into developing for the platform. This has been a great advantage against other platforms that haven't invested that much into attracting developers. It is highly important to allow monetization of your work as soon as possible if you want to retain creatives for the long run.
Most of the times these payments were done in MANA, which has been increasing its price during last year, helping even more those teams who hold it as a financial asset to fund their ideas.
Taking all of this into consideration, we can expect his internal ecosystem to grow slowly into a B2B market for the short term, that will evolve eventually on a play to earn economy.
I Haven't Been In Decentraland Ever Before, How Can I Enter?
You'll need a computer and a browser.
The Graphics Suck
Although this statement might hold some truth, there are various things to consider on the graphical style of Decentraland.
The most important one is resource optimization, it is a web project that loads your 3D interactive land and everyone around you on real time, from your browser, and on top of that, is USER generated content, that can or cannot be prepared to run smoothly.
Think about browsing a website, I'm sure you have experienced a bad website that takes forever to load because it has high resolution images. This is the same thing, but multiplied. So when you open a site, you open at the same time all the sites around it, some of them will work just fine, but others will work badly.
Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do about this, for now.
And if we think even more into the future, probably everything will be rendered on a cloud computer and streamed to your device, like Google Stadia does. I'm not very optimistic about this technology since it will need that most of the world uses a very high speed internet connection. But only time will tell.
The second thing to consider on the graphic aspect is the style, and this is purely a personal taste opinion. This debate has been going for years on the videogame industry, hyper-realistic graphics against stylized content. There is no real answer to this. Stop.
There are many things that Decentraland is lacking visually, we can all agree on that, but I expect the team to deliver them in the future.
How Do I Become Rich Playing Decentraland?
Unfortunately you can't, yet.
How Can I Make Wearables?
A very frequent question, right now, you need a license to mint wearables, and it is given by the DCL team. There is a reason behind, making wearables requires 3D modelling, texturing and rigging skills. Not everyone has them.
We're in the early stages of the platform, and I guess the team is doing closed experiments with experienced teams and individuals to learn the best way to open the market later on.
In the future we can expect:
What About VR
This is one of the points that have brought many different debates and heated arguments to the community. It was promised in the Whitepaper, but discarded a few years back.
Developing a platform is not an easy task, and a VR platform is even harder, so removing it from their roadmap was not a crazy idea at all, it has helped focus on bringing DCL to more devices than a VR focused project could potentially do at the moment.
It has been stated by the Decentraland team that VR is not a forgotten thing, just postponed. So eventually we'll be able to experience Decentraland with our favorite headset. When? Not anytime soon pal, probably in 2022.
Why LAND Is So Expensive?
There are various reasons behind this, the most obvious is scarcity. There is a limited amount of them and in order to make more, the community has to vote for it.
Building on it isn't easy either, you need some expertise to create something worth visiting.
We can't deny that the market has gone wild and has been pumping prices for a while, leading to what we have today.
But at the same time it has shaped the vision of the project into a more B2B approach rather than the B2C we all had in mind. For a business, buying and investing into Decentraland is way more reasonable than a regular person.
Why Should I Buy LAND If I Got Funding To Build
My Own Virtual Space?
Many old fashioned businesses are starting to consider their own Metaverse presence and this question pops very often on their head.
The Metaverse is and will be infinite, endless layers and worlds that we can access anywhere from many different devices. You'll be lost and very easily as we get deeper on the internet.
Decentraland will act as an attention beacon for users, pretty much like any social media platform does these days. So you might want to build your own personal space outside these Metaverse platforms, but you'll need to invest a lot of efforts to attract users there and retain them.
And I'm not just talking about advertising, you'll need to develop interaction on your own, servers to hold visitors, avatar systems, interactivity, etc. Not saying that is impossible, but it will take way more time and funding than having your parcel in Decentraland.
I would say that having a small presence on Decentraland (or any other platform) and linking it to your personal space will be the most logical option in the future, just like you have your Facebook page and your own website.
This is just a highlight of the many different questions we get everyday, my goal this time has been to explain how Decentraland has been evolving in the last few years from an insider look.
But there are lots of different questions that I haven't included here, so stay tuned for more Decentraland insider looks.
As a final reminder, Decentraland is a collaborative layer of the Metaverse, just like Facebook is part of the internet. If everything keeps evolving steadily it might become the business cluster of the future.
See you around the Metaverse!