Microsoft made gaming history in 2007 when it broke the closed console paradigm with the launch of Games for Windows Live, opening cross-play between XBOX 360 and Windows PC players. What followed was a ceaseless golden age of connectivity and online multiplayer. Finally, gamers playing on completely different hardware could cooperate or square off in Halo 2 and Gears of War, and later in further legendary titles like Street Fighter IV, BioShock 2, Fable III, and Age of Empires Online.
Inspired by Microsoft’s success with cross-play, other publishers began experimenting more heavily with multiplayer, giving rise to the hit MOBA and Battle Royale genres in the early-to-mid 2010s. Luckily enough, these genres gained popularity alongside Twitch.tv – their exciting cooperative PvP gameplay lended itself to streaming, creating a positive feedback loop that propelled games like League of Legends, DotA 2, and H1Z1 into the stratosphere.
Watching the gaming space evolve, Epic Games quietly developed a game specially formulated for virality in the online gaming age. Released in 2017, Fortnite quickly became one of the most popular games of all time, pulling 30 million registered worldwide users within its first year. By 2020, this figure climbed to over 350 million, leading many to ponder the factors behind Fortnite’s continuous domination.
Last year, Epic Games released a statement attributing much of Fortnite’s growth to cross-play, citing the statistic that cross-players play Fortnite 570% more on average than non-cross-players. Fortnite makes it very easy for friend groups to connect, as it supports cross-play across Xbox One, PS4, MAC, PC, and Switch – no matter their individual systems, friends can loot and parachute together. Following Fortnite’s success, Epic Games expanded Fortnite with social game modes, thousands of customizables, and countless live events. With no end in sight for these expansions, many gamers have pointed out Fortnite’s resemblance to an early metaverse. A question is raised when players can play on anything, do anything, and be anyone: What’s next for gaming?
Citing the trends of increased connectivity and player expression, rising studio MetaKings believes that the future lies with Web3 technologies that enable players to fully express themselves through real ownership of their virtual identities. MetaKings is heavily investing into this future with its upcoming release of BLOCKLORDS, a Web3 grand strategy MMO with RTS elements set in Medieval times. In BLOCKLORDS, characters exist as a digital asset whose attributes are determined by their players’ experiences and decisions throughout the game. From knight to raider or farmer to merchant, players choose their own stories and have the ability to monetize their unique talents through a player-driven economy.
The Web3 focus is shared by several major companies, the most outspoken of which being Meta (recently rebranded from Facebook). Capitalizing on modern advancements in extended reality technologies, Meta’s approach is blending the physical and digital worlds into a game-like social experience with a digital economy. On the gaming side, Ubisoft has partnered with Crucible, a Web3 company that aids game developers in creating decentralized metaverses in which users retain full rights to their digital data. Meanwhile, Google focuses on hologram technology and Microsoft is developing virtual work experiences.
Since no one company or person can claim the entire metaverse, the future likely holds a plurality of interconnected metaverses, each supported by a variety of disruptive and related technologies like cryptocurrencies, blockchain, NFTs, and extended reality. While it’s difficult to envision exactly how these technologies will come together, current trends predict metaverses characterized by human connection, digital asset ownership, and personalization.
Follow BLOCKLORDS’ social feed or check out the website below to learn more information about this promising new game.