I bought a house in the Metaverse for just £1,000 – it’s the future of the internet

I just bought a house for £1,000 but it’s not brick and mortar.

I turn the key in the lock of my new patio with a bed in 5 Angel Way. But there are no neighbors, birds are singing, no clouds.

I bought a new home in a pristine location in MetaTown

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I bought a new home in a pristine location in MetaTownPhoto credit: Oliver Dixon

My “house” is in Meta-Town, a UK expansion of the Metaverse launching on Friday.

The Metaverse is the “new internet” where you go about your day as an avatar in virtual worlds, typically with a VR headset.

MetaTown’s digital world has shops, a subway station and even miniature golf.

Some say this is the future of human interaction, with technology allowing colleagues thousands of miles away to hold meetings and families to meet up with loved ones. There is also an opportunity to make money.

To enter MetaTown, simply enter a website URL, making it much more appealing to the less tech-savvy.

After signing up with my name and email address, I created a digital me. Options are limited to hair, skin, eye color, and clothing. But in the future, they could be lifelike holograms.

I begin in this virtual world right in the commercial heart of MetaTown, with its grass field, a stage at one end, and miniature golf at the other. Shops surrounded me.

This virtual neighborhood was designed by Welsh tech company BrandLab360, who create such experiences for fashion brands and saw the potential in building an entire community.

It’s the brainchild of Jennifer Drury and Dan O’Connell. Jennifer said: “You can bring friends together from all over the world and spend time in this world. You could go shopping together, go to a concert.

“There’s a connectivity, a sense of community that you don’t get from typical websites.”

Most read in The Irish Sun

There is also a feeling that there is money to be made.

Billions are now being invested in the creation of such worlds by tech giants like Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, now renamed Meta.

And punters are also seeing it as an investment opportunity, hoping that a house bought now for £1,000 could be worth a lot more as these virtual worlds grow in popularity.

Handbags or cars bought in the metaverse could also increase in value. VR consumer expert Dr. Alena Kostyk, Lecturer at Glasgow University, explains: “With Metaverse purchases, technology companies are trying to create a sense of rarity and prestige. The idea is that these things, a house or something else, might be coveted and could go up in price.

“But just because something is scarce doesn’t mean it’s always wanted. Beanie Babies were a limited edition toy that was predicted to increase in value. People bought into the madness, but they never made any money.”

There's even a subway station in MetaTown for getting around

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There’s even a subway station in MetaTown for getting aroundRecognition:

I feel a bit overwhelmed when I buy NFTs – virtual money you need to buy a house lot.

I’m following the instructions to set up a Metaverse bank account. I then buy the cryptocurrency with my debit card. I can then buy my virtual property which is neutral and pristine.

My avatar can hover over color palettes on the walls and furniture to change their colors.

There is a study, a small bathroom and a spacious double bedroom, also with the possibility of changing the patterns and color of the sheets.

It’s like playing with a dollhouse, but on the internet.

MetaTown has 6,000 lots available. To date, 500 NFTs worth around £1,000 have been sold, mostly to people in the tech industry.

There will be nearly 50 virtual stores, with plans for 500 by the end of the year.

Luxury brands have been quick to recognize the money-making opportunities these worlds offer.

Last May, Gucci marketed digital “rooms” in an online Gucci Garden to allow users to “try on” and buy limited-edition digital clothing.

Brands like Ralph Lauren, Nike and Balenciaga, who have hired a “Chief Metaverse Officer” to develop a virtual clothing line, are also in attendance.

Two leading UK supermarkets and two from Europe are in talks with MetaTown, and Estee Lauder and Deloitte have signed up for virtual spaces.

My avatar walks into an Estee Lauder store, Maison Too Faced, and I’m impressed. It has a heavenly garden with pink bunnies hopping around.

There are games to play where you can win discounts and huge products that you can click on that will take you to the site to complete your purchase. In another clothing store, Hula, you click on items you like and they appear on the screen in a 360-degree view.

But why wouldn’t someone just sign up for Amazon or hit the stores?

dr Kostyk says: “It depends on what type of buyer you are and whether you are motivated by the joy of the experience or do it more functionally.

“There’s a lot of research that says these types of interactive, immersive features work much better for hedonistic shoppers. Some of this shows that customers are even willing to pay higher prices.”

Inevitably there are concerns about safety, bullying and sexual behavior. One user claimed their avatar was being groped by another.

Meta is committed to working on security, but concerns are widespread – especially given that the majority of users are young.

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would dr So Kostyk went on a shopping spree in the Metaverse?

She says: “It’s hard to predict the future, but right now . . . no.”

Take Snoop to Dogg

YOU can rub shoulders with stars in the metaverse.

American rapper Snoop Dogg joined The Sandbox Metaverse in 2021 directly as his avatar, a virtual world that includes sprawling mansions and VIP gigs.

A fan paid £340,500 for a virtual home plot next to Snoop’s.

Paris Hilton hosted a digital New Year’s Eve party. You can go on digital vacations and have digital pets.

By 2050, one expert even predicts that one in five babies could be virtual.

The subway in MetaTown is quiet - but it may not stay that way for long

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The subway in MetaTown is quiet – but it may not stay that way for longRecognition:
My house in the metaverse could be a great investment

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My house in the metaverse could be a great investmentRecognition:
In the Metaverse you can find friends and socialize

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In the Metaverse you can find friends and socializeRecognition:

https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9111142/bought-house-metaverse-future-internet/ I bought a house in the Metaverse for just £1,000 – it’s the future of the internet

Fry Electronics Team

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