What is a Metaverse Avatar, and why will they become increasingly important? In this Technocracy Guide we’ll be comparing some of the leading Metaverse Avatar projects, from completely free platforms like ReadyPlayerMe, to higher-end NFT’s such as Collider Craftworks’ Cypher collection.
Before I jump into this exciting topic, I want to take a brief look at the evolution of social media.
Social media exploded in popularity due to our natural desire to communicate, combined with ever-growing digital advancements. At its core, social media is about making and maintaining relationships on a large scale. It’s also increasingly about personal branding. When Facebook launched in 2004 it was viewed primarily as a platform for young people. It now has over 2.91 Billion monthly users and is home to over 60 million active business pages. In 2004 most people did not think they needed a social media profile, and social media marketing was not yet a thing.
“Think about what people are doing on Facebook today. They’re keeping up with their friends and family, but they’re also building an image and identity for themselves, which in a sense is their brand. They’re connecting with the audience that they want to connect to. It’s almost a disadvantage if you’re not on it now.”Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook
There is a saying that if you get something for free, you should know that you’re the product. It was never more true than in the case of Facebook and Gmail and YouTube. You get free social-media services, and you get free funny cat videos. In exchange, you give up the most valuable asset you have, which is your personal data.Yuval Noah Harari, Historian, Author & Social Commentator.
The Metaverse is arguably the next iteration of the internet, an integration of physical and digital realms, where the lines of reality will become blurred. It will encompass gaming, retail, social media, music, video, the Internet of Things, and most probably every other aspect of life as we know it. We cover the broader aspects of the Metaverse in other articles, so for now we’ll focus on digital identity and Metaverse Avatars.
What is a Metaverse Avatar?
Metaverse avatars are digital representations of users in a virtual world. They can be used for a variety of purposes, including socializing, gaming, and even business meetings. Metaverse avatars are usually highly customizable, and users can change their appearance to match their mood or style.
Leading Metaverse Avatar Projects
The following is a list of what we consider to be the leading Metaverse Avatar projects. It is a “live list” that will be updated as and when new Metaverse avatar projects launch. If there’s a project you’d like to see featured, please tag us on Twitter and we’ll take a look.
Collider Craftworks’ Cypher Collection
First up is a collection from a studio that’s developed characters for some of the world’s best known video games. Think Mortal Kombat, Gotham Knights, Assassin’s Creed, Street Fighter…I could go on. The Cypher collection pays homage to the Cypherpunk movement, and features Next Gen game ready avatars and assets, hand crafted by some of the world’s best gaming artists. What’s great about this project is that it comes with a proprietary customization tool suite or “virtual wallet”, which you can use to customize your Metaverse Avatar. If you’re not feeling the helmet-clad, battle-ready vibes, you can strip things back and add a hat, some shades, and any number of other accessories available as NFT’s. There is definitely a gaming element to this project however..
“The Moshpit is a multiplayer battle royale arena that’s all about attitude and having fun, while blowing off some steam. Arcade feeling, opening the way to flashy, larger-than-life gameplay elements. The game aims to evolve from a Team-Deathmatch and PVE mechanics into a run-and-gun, shoot-and-loot, dressed-to-impress swag fest. Having a Cypher is a one-way ticket into a fun and wild community with room for experienced players and newcomers alike.”
If you’d like to learn more about Collider Craftworks’ Cypher collection we recommend you read their LitePaper and watch some of their YouTube content. One of the best interviews they’ve probably done is with Hustlepedia on the Crypto Banter show. Hustle has since described the Virtual Wallet as “the BEST avatar generation tool in the entire space by far.”
Fluf World is a collection of 10,000 animated 3d Rabbits, where holders have full commercial rights over their NFT. With a current floor price of over 2 ETH, Flufs are not the cheapest avatar on this list. But the project has announced multiple upcoming partnerships with development teams and studios, suggesting the IP could potentially be worth a lot more in the future. In their most recent blogpost, Fluf spoke about their ongoing collaboration with leading studio Wētā Workshop. This New Zealand company is the special effects titan behind blockbuster films such as Dune, Mad Max: Fury Road, Thor: Ragnarok, Blade Runner 2049, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings.
When Fluf launched in 2021 it attracted quite a few celebrity collectors. These included DJ Steve Aoki, NFT VC investor, “G Money”, and retired All Blacks captain, Dan Carter.
The brand has launched several other collections since Flufs dropped last year. These include; Party Bear, Thingies, Burrows, Scenes & Sounds, Eggs, and Rayguns. Despite a significant bear market decline in the collection’s floor price, Fluf World is a leading metaverse avatar project, that will likely be around for many years to come.
Bored Ape Yacht Club
It would be weird to write a metaverse avatar guide without including the most famous NFT project out there. Most people know Bored Ape Yacht Club started as a 2D pfp collection. But with the creation of Yuga Labs’ Otherside Metaverse, fully rigged 3D apes are on the way. These 3D models should be cross-compatible across any Metaverse game, and will likely be airdropped to holders of Bored and Mutant Apes. It’s also probable that new collections will be created by Yuga Labs for non-BAYC holders.
RTFKT (pronounced “Artifact”) is a digitally native brand that creates digital sneakers and other “virtual artifacts”. Clone X is a 20,000 metaverse avatar NFT collection designed by RTFKT in collaboration with Takashi Murakami. 10,000 NFTs were presold on 27 November 2021 to existing RTFKT NFT holders, and the remaining 10,000 mint vials were put up for public sale 2 days later. The launch was initially a Dutch auction with a starting price of 3 ETH per mint vial, however, attacks on the website resulted in the team switching the public mint price to 2ETH. In December 2021 RTFKT was purchased by Nike. Since the acquisition, RTFKT has continued to expand and develop its ecosystem in tandem with Nike. Clone X owners have received several airdrops, each with a different goal and use case. These included “Space Pods” “PodX” and “MNLTH”. Anyway, moving back to the avatars themselves. CloneX holders can download files related to their NFT in a variety of formats, depending on the platform they want to use their avatar on. Files are currently available for Unreal Engine, Unity, FBX, GLTF, C4D, Blender, Maya, & 3DS Max. The current floor price for Clone X is 5.95 ETH or $7745. This is down from an average transaction price of 28ETH in March.
Ready Player Me is “a cross-game avatar platform for the builders, creators and residents of the metaverse.” According to their website, the platform is being used by over 3500 developers and has already been integrated into hundreds of Metaverse projects. These include Spatial, Somnium Space, VR Chat, The Nemesis, and countless others. To create an avatar through the platform you must first create an account. You then upload a photo to the platform, which creates an avatar based on your features. You can then choose from 300 customization options to get a look you like. When you’re finished you can export your avatar to the virtual world, app, or game of your choice (so long as it’s integrated ReadyPlayerMe.
Metaverse Avatars are in their infancy. At the moment they are more of a novelty than a necessity, but this will change in the coming years. With advances in AR and VR, a person’s digital representation in the Metaverse will become important. There will be free avatar platforms like ReadyPlayerMe, and their will be expensive, designer options. Avatars might reflect what community you belong to, your status, and your unique style.
As mentioned before, this article is a “live list”, and will be updated as and when new projects launch. If there’s a project you’d like to see featured, please tag us on Twitter and we’ll take a look.