Heralded by some industry leaders as the “technology of the future,” the metaverse has been particularly active of late with regard to gaming. In fact, some of the most popular gaming titles today, from early pioneers like Roblox to full-immersion experiences like Axie Infinity and Sandbox, currently live in these connected digital worlds drawing in millions of players. But while most metaverse games focus on world-building, battle royale, or adventure-driven stories to draw in new users, Decentraland, in particular, is betting on a new approach with online poker.
What is Decentraland?
The metaverse, which is estimated to be worth about $800 billion within the next few years, is populated by many worlds. One of the most well-known, though, is Decentraland. A 3D virtual world that is browser-based, Decentraland fully leans into the immersive, crypto-powered trends of recent years. On this platform, players can use their MANA cryptocurrency to buy NFTs that serve as virtual plots of land –– all via the Ethereumblockchain.
Since Decentraland’s initial release in early 2020, it has mostly been known as a world-building opportunity. Players can build what they like, and some big names like Adidas and Samsung even bought virtual properties for brand exposure purposes. On top of this, global-scale events have also become popular on Decentraland. Just this February, Decentraland’s annual slate of events included Comedy Decentaral and Boy George Live in Vegas City. Despite this, until recently, technical issues, clunky moderation, and confusing (read: boring) mechanics kept the user base relatively small.
How Is Poker In Decentraland Paying Off?
This past year, Decentraland finally began to see the odds shift in its favor. Inarguably, this was due to the virtual world’s significant partnership with Decentral Games. Through its investment in this gaming group, Decentraland now boasts control over the celebrated ICE Poker. According to recent reports, this offering has significantly boosted Decentraland’s success. In the first few months of 2021 alone, the ICE Poker virtual casino generated over $7.5 million in poker-related revenue. Aside from this, more than 1,000 players are reportedly active within the casino at any given time. This is said to account for up to 30% of Decentraland’s daily traffic. Every indication is that the new ICE Poker virtual casino is a step above the rest of the metaverse in terms of engagement.
The main selling point between Decentraland’smetaverse poker and traditional online poker is the enhanced opportunity to network. Ask any experienced poker player, and they’ll tell you that networking with others is an important aspect to winning at poker that’ll enhance your game over time. Indeed, while things like knowing how to manage your bankroll and handle your wins and losses emotionally are crucial on a game-to-game basis, having the chance to connect with other players will help you learn better strategies. On your typical online poker sites, this is harder to do, since at most all you’ll get is a chat (or voice chat). Meanwhile, in the metaverse, you can literally move and interact with other players, making it much more immersive and “real.” This opportunity to network is also particularly handy since many players resort to “borrowing” wearable NFT merchandise that Decentraland requires poker players to possess. Ultimately, by investing in poker, Decentraland is swelling their native user base. Consequently, the metaverse is much likelier to see interest and traffic increase across its other features as poker players come and go from the virtual casino.
Is It Worth Signing Up For?
We’re still in the relatively early days of the metaverse, so making a prediction about the long-term success of Decentraland’s ICE Poker is difficult. However, in terms of simply being an engaging poker experience, it does seem to be one of the most appealing options out there. Designed with fully interactive spaces and customizable avatars, the virtual casino is one worth trying out for serious poker players. That said, if you’re a more casual player but still want to dabble in poker-related digital assets, you may be better off with another venture. Recently, special NFTs have been released in partnership with poker’s biggest names. A noteworthy example of this is poker star Phil Ivey’s series of exclusive NFTs immortalizing his greatest bluffs. Aside from this, Ivey has also previously worked with platforms like Binance to back unique NFT auctions. As such, while NFTs themselves are not exempt from volatility, they at least offer investors a little more assurance that at the end of the day, they can actually take something home.
In closing, if you’ve already got an understanding of the metaverse and you want to take your poker activity up a notch, then give the virtual poker realm a shot –– so long as you don’t go all-in on it just yet.