Experience the virtual universe of an 8-year-old child

Many people have not yet figured out what the metaverse is, but there are children who already live in the virtual universe every day.

The company Facebook changed its name to Meta in late October, reflecting its ambition to expand from a mere social network to a virtual space company. Mark Zuckerberg said the metaverse is “the embodiment of the Internet, but users can immerse themselves in the content instead of just watching it”.

“After many days of reading lengthy descriptions of this mysterious world, I decided to seek an explanation from someone still living in the virtual universe. It was my 8-year-old son Anton, who is associated with gaming platform Roblox“, editor Alex Williams of NY Times let me know.

Mark Zuckerberg's character in the metaverse was introduced on October 28.  Photo: Reuters.

Mark Zuckerberg’s character in the metaverse was introduced on October 28. Photo: Reuters.

Anton and many of his classmates are among the more than 43 million daily users of Roblox. This game exploded during the pandemic when the number of players increased by 82% in the first 9 months of 2020.

Roblox The impact was so great that Anton and friends felt like they were going through a global crisis when the system went down for 3 days at the end of October. All were confused and worried by rumors of an attack. surprise attack by hackers. “Don’t put their names online. Everyone knows what happens when a hacker gets angry,” Anton said.

Roblox representatives later confirmed that the system crashed due to overload, not the result of a cyber attack.

Player Roblox and popular online games like Minecraft nice Fortnite Everyone feels familiar leaving the flat interface of websites and social networks for a more interactive world.

“Dad will enter a completely different world. It doesn’t happen in reality, but it feels like that,” Anton said.

Roblox contains millions of RPGs from indie developers. Anton chooses a real life simulation game Bloxburg. The world in the game is no different from a normal city in America, Anton’s character also goes through the same problems as a real adult.

Anton keeps switching between different games with real-life activities, from lifting weights inside Weight Lifting Simulator to a service job in Pizza Planet. His shifts last only a few minutes thanks to Roblox’s time compression feature, but the game character is constantly busy putting pizza in the oven at a futuristic restaurant.

The boy expressed joy when he received enough Blocksbux virtual currency to decorate his house in Roblox. “Players make their own rules. An 8-year-old can drive, buy a house, go to a party or get a job,” explains Anton.

Bloxburg There is also nightlife. Father and son attended a dinner party in a house where the guests did not know each other. However, all of them seemed happy when they appeared in crowded places and did what they wanted.

7-year-old girl edits character in Roblox.  Photo: Reuters.

7-year-old girl edits character in Roblox. Photo: Reuters

Anton then switched again Adopt Me, Game collect and take care of pets hatched from eggs. “I just got a fluffy cat. This game is very kid-friendly,” the boy said as he logged in.

If you look over, Adopt Me emphasize the elements of preschool education and health care, in which players are rewarded if they take their pets to the doctor regularly.

On closer inspection, the game seems to contain many elements promoting intrigue and mercenary. Much of the good stuff is for sale instead of freebies, while virtual currency can be earned through quests or purchased with real money. The goal is not to win or lose, but to find and accumulate items.

Many elements in the game also reflect real life. Anton’s starter egg is free, but only spawns a normal puppy. Players have to pay if they want the pet to be cooler. Anton spent about 3.5 USD to have a dog with wings and fly in the game.

The more unique the pet, the higher the price. Virtual scarcity drives up costs. Anton used to easily buy a wingless white dragon for about $9.99, but now it is much sought after and can only be exchanged for a very high price. “Not because it’s beautiful, but because it’s rare,” the boy said.

This is why players in the game, young or old, are looking for ways to build a zoo with unique species. Anton and friends often traded assets and consulted data sheets online, no different from Wall Street financial experts.

“This makes me think of the recent negative comments, when many people think that the metaverse will become a suffocating technological curtain, making people no longer communicate with each other and blocking all pleasures in real life.” , editor Williams said. “I have the opposite concern. It’s that the metaverse will drag kids like Anton from an innocent world to a virtual life that’s no different from the real thing, with painful lessons I don’t have to face until I’m done. over 20 years old”.

Diep Anh (follow NY Times)

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