Yuga Labs CEO Daniel Alegre stated that although Meta’s Horizon Worlds struggled with a low user base, his company remains committed to the development of its own metaverse platforms.
In an interview with Cointelegraph at Token 2049 in Singapore, Alegre expressed his belief that Meta has mischaracterized the concept of the metaverse, giving it an undeserved bad reputation.
According to Alegre, Meta’s approach has led people to think of the metaverse as a brand new phenomenon, even though multiple metaverse platforms were already in existence. Despite this, Alegre is optimistic that open online virtual worlds will continue to evolve in a positive direction.
When I was at Activision Blizzard, we were working on World of Warcraft, which is a metaverse in its own right. Fortnite is another example of a metaverse. So, in my view, the concept of the metaverse is already evolving in incredibly positive directions.
Alegre pointed out that one of the key issues with Meta’s Horizon Worlds was its low user engagement. However, he noted that the platform could have been more successful “if it had offered users a compelling reason to participate.”
(Users) come in and say, ‘Hey, Mark, it’s great to see you… So what happens now? It’s just a fiasco, there’s a big echo in the room.
Alegre further commented that, in contrast to Horizon Worlds, Yuga Labs’ forthcoming metaverse, Otherside— which has been in the development pipeline since at least March 2022 and is yet to announce an official launch date—originated from the community’s demand. Specifically, it aims to provide a digital space where its non-fungible token (NFT) holders can interact and connect.
What they want us to do is digital connection. At its core, it’s a way for our (Otherside) community to connect digitally in one place.
To date, Otherside has been showcased through a handful of early access demonstrations and a “vibe check” conducted with a focus group in July. Alegre mentioned that Yuga Labs recently carried out another limited test of Otherside, this time involving some of its core community members.
Meanwhile, Otherside’s competitor, The Sandbox, has also been working to digitize culture. Sebastien Borget, co-founder of Otherside, told Cointelegraph that they have developed virtual neighborhoods within their platform that are designed to mirror real-world locations like Singapore and Turkey.
NFTs are splitting into “two paths”
Alegre noted a distinct split in perceptions about the value of NFTs. On one side, NFTs are appreciated mainly for their artistic merit and historical significance. On the flip side, they are seen as valuable assets for society at large, with implications for intellectual property rights.
“These are the two directions this is evolving in,” Alegre asserted. He drew a parallel between two well-known NFT projects, CryptoPunks and Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC). CryptoPunks, one of the earlier NFT collections, has gained recognition from top-tier museums and collectors who understand the worth of owning an original piece, Alegre explained. In contrast, the Bored Ape Yacht Club has fostered a robust community where Alegre claims over 900 Ape owners have launched businesses based on their NFTs.
Drawing an analogy with YouTube, Alegre mentioned that Yuga Labs also operates on a user-generated content (UGC) model, facilitating the creation of businesses around shared digital content on its platform.
You have media companies based on UGC, creative agencies, and advertising. You’re starting to see the same thing developing with the Bored Ape community.
“This shows you that NFTs and NFT ownership can be used in ways you couldn’t even imagine if you give it to the community,” Alegre said. “Both in the offline space and the online space.”