Welcome to the virtual worlds where digital land is hot property selling for millions

Hrish Lotlikar, a former real estate banker who founded the company, says it has sold tens of thousands of plots with the average person buying 10 to 15.

He likens the concept to a cross between Pokemon Go and Monopoly: game developers, retailers or advertisers might want to overlay virtual items over landmarks such as Buckingham Palace or Rome’s Colosseum within Superworld. Whoever owns those properties would be able to take a cut.

“There’s a lot of places that people find valuable,” says Lotlikar. “We’re seeing activity in city centres, sports stadiums, but also places where people grew up.”

Lotlikar says most of Superworld’s users are buying out of interest rather than financial incentive, but that may not always be the case.

Last week Adrian Cheng, a Hong Kong property scion and chief of New World Development, announced that he was purchasing a large plot of The Sandbox. “We need to stay at the forefront of these changes by continuously exploring and developing the metaverse,” he said.

Outlier Ventures’ Steis says that online land gets its value in the same way as the physical world: because it is finite. “This land is scarce, the kind of the creators of these virtual worlds, they have vowed not to create any more.”

Scarcity, however, is only valuable if accompanied by demand. For now, the appeal of the metaverse remains unclear, despite Zuckerberg’s best efforts. 

There are also an infinite number of possible metaverses, with little way of telling if Decentraland, Sandbox or Superworld will be enduring properties, or become the next Myspace or Bebo. Meanwhile, the online economies are also largely based around cryptocurrencies, which are even more prone to boom and bust than the housing market.

Today, the million-dollar homepage still exists, but it is a graveyard of dead companies and broken hyperlinks. It remains to be seen if many of the metaverse’s early landlords could face the same fate.

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