While companies like Meta have tried to create buzz around the possibilities of the so-called Metaverse and tried to position it as a game-changing development, the ideas and concepts have been around for decades in the virtual chat and video game spaces. . When it comes to the latter, the affinity for metaverse-like experiences is particularly high among younger players. According to data from Newzoo, 38% of gamers between the ages of 10 and 20 in major video game markets played a proto-metavers game in 2021. As our chart shows, this makes the average metavers gamer significantly younger than the average player.
By comparison, only 16% of self-identified gamers who haven’t played any proto-metavers titles like Roblox, Minecraft, or Fortnite fall into this age bracket, with the majority being between 21 and 50 years old. Interestingly, the real decline in the share of gamers engaged in proto-metaverse comes after the age of 36, with 36% of gamers aged 21-35 having played one of the three mentioned titles in the past last six months.
The high share of underage metaverse gamers can be attributed to the success of Roblox Corporation, which is currently valued at $26 billion. Its Roblox platform, which gives its users developer tools to create their own games that can then be published and played through the service, had around 50 million daily users in Q4 2021. The exceptionally young player base has resulted in a slew of hackers and scammers manipulating the platform’s economy that allows users to sell in-game items for Robux which can, in turn, be exchanged for traditional currency.
While Fortnite can be considered more of a traditional multiplayer game, microtransactions with in-game items also play a huge role in its success. In 2021, it crossed the 350 million user threshold and has increasingly spread into wider popular culture, with artists like Travis Scott and Ariana Grande hosting elaborate concert experiences inside. The third proto-metavers game on the list, Minecraft, isn’t just the best-selling game of all time with over 238 million copies moved around the world. It also allows users to create dedicated servers hosting live experiences. A major example was Block by Blockwest, an online music festival that saw performances from acts like Massive Attack and Pussy Riot in May 2020.