Since Facebook announced its vision to become Meta, a lot of new projects are popping up in the industry that consider themselves metaverses. Due to the current hype around these metaverse projects, the term Metaverse itself has become subject to a lot of different interpretations. Many projects that used to be gaming projects now consider themselves metaverses. Yet, most of them fundamentally have not changed and are simply still games with strict technical, device, and content constraints that each require their own specific skills and tools to build upon.
Just like with different blockchains, this distinction between the various degrees of implementation of metaverses leads us to classify them differently. When we are speaking about the Metaverse (with a capital M), we refer to the future vision of an infrastructure and ecosystem that hosts a multitude of interconnected virtual experiences. In terms of content, such a place would initially be empty until it is gradually filled by content creators, companies, and their communities.
Any project that confines itself to realizing the infrastructure of the Metaverse, we consider a Layer 1 metaverse. This infrastructure should aim to enable others to deliver interoperable virtual experiences and thereby tackle challenges in the industry regarding continuity of experience, delivery, integrations and tooling. In contrast, Layer 2 metaverses are defined in terms of the world, gameplay and features but lack a scalable infrastructure that empowers others to create autonomous experiences. The following is an overview highlighting their key differences:
Mesh of apps / metaverses
Single app / metaverse
Peer-to-peer / Edge
As can be read from the table, a difference between a Layer 1 and a Layer 2 is the extent of their services regarding programmability, composability, and delivery. YOM provides the ability to create custom interoperable Web3 experiences in Unreal Engine and a scalable peer-to-peer infrastructure that facilitates the rendering of experiences from distinct top level domains.
In fact, a Layer 1 metaverse may have more in common with a cloud/edge gaming infrastructure provider than with a game. The reason for this is that people fundamentally desire easy access to photorealistic and engaging experiences rather than just another game filled with predefined, and often unexciting, virtual worlds. You can therefore imagine YOM as a Youtube or Netflix for virtual experiences (also referred to as metaspaces). The key difference between YOM and Youtube is that Youtube runs on a centralized advertising model and cloud and YOM on Web3 models and peer-to-peer.