For the past few years there has been a clearly noticeable trend of moving humans' life to the Internet. Without leaving the house, you can shop, meet with friends, study, meet new people and future partners. You can also create escape rooms and play in them. And streams of going through such escape rooms are eagerly watched! This is how escape rooms entered the metaverse.
The purpose for which inventions and technologies are created does not always coincide with what they are used for by users - Facebook and Google are great examples. (The) Facebook was created in 2004 with the idea of creating communities, sharing photos and content, especially in the context of school friendships. Google, created in 1998, was intended to be a search engine, helping to find content of interest in the meanders of the Internet. Meanwhile, a dozen years later, in 2021, Facebook and Google had as much as 80 percent of the online advertising market share in the UK. Every Internet user knows how influential these companies have become, what they now offer and how far they have deviated from the assumptions of their creators.
The platforms I'm going to tell you about today were also created for completely different purposes, nevertheless they are today a source of entertainment and a place for creative co-creation and transformation of virtual reality. If game developers were not agree for the creative freedom, metaverse escape rooms would not have been created.
What is the metaverse?
In science fiction, the "metaverse" is a hypothetical iteration of the Internet as a single, universal, and immersive virtual world that is facilitated by the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets. In colloquial usage, a "metaverse" is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. Wikipedia
Simply put, metaverse is an alternate reality in which, depending on technological possibilities and assumptions, the users can be anything they want and do things that are impossible in real life (e.g. flying, building, fighting with mobs or other players)
Here are some of the most popular metaverses now:
Minecraft (140 mln daily active users)
Roblox (43 mln daily active users)
Fortnite (2-4 mln daily players)
The Sandbox (39 thousand daily active users)
Decentraland (8 thousand daily active users)
What do escape rooms have to do with it?
In the above-mentioned metaverse I found escape room constructions (maps, buildings and games). In most of them, it is completely free to solve more than one escape room puzzle, getting into the atmosphere of real escape rooms. Some of them are simple, intended strictly for children, while others are difficult even for experienced players. I checked out these games and their popularity, here are some of them!
This is a platform created in 2006 with the youngest kids in mind. By design, it is an educational platform - and it fulfills its premise. Children (67% of players are under the age of 16) can create more games and maps, build their own worlds, the platform is focused on developing children's creativity.
The most popular escape room game is... Escape Room.
Trapped in a room, with nothing but puzzles as far as the eye can see! Solve your way through more than 20 different complex rooms in this award-winning puzzle-adventure game! And as always - no Hints, no Pausing, and your time starts... NOW!
This is not the only game of this type on the Roblox server - some are simply called Escape Room, others have more fanciful titles, but they have a lot of interest in common.
This one game alone has been played more than 90 million times (2 other popular games have been opened 9 and 3.5 million times). In addition to adventure games, we can also come across horror, survival and games that are hard to categorize.
Minecraft has become famous for its simplicity. The game consists of... building your own world. Originally intended for children, Minecraft has become popular across age groups. Young users of the game began to build amazing, breathtaking structures, inspired by real places and buildings…
But also elements of the fantastic world from games and books.
There are many escape room maps in Minecraft. These maps are created by Minecraft enthusiasts (not only - Minecraft was used for company promotions). Such maps are free and can be downloaded and installed.
The most popular escape maps:
Escape the Emerald Empire
The Nether Escape
4 Escape Rooms
Elements: Survival Adventure
Escape Room: Prison Escape
There are, of course, more maps, but it's hard to list them all - hundreds (maybe thousands) of them have already been created and new ones are still being created. Every fan of escape rooms will find something for themselves.
Fortnite from Epic Game studio is an extremely popular computer game in recent years, especially among young people - 60% of players are aged 18-25. The game was created in 2017 and the gameplay is currently available in 3 modes - Fortnite: Save the World, Fortnite Battle Royale and Fortnite Creative. Thanks to the third one it is possible to interfere with the Fortnite world and create maps.
There are also escape rooms, among which the most popular are:
Decentraland differs from the previous metaverse in terms of audience. The largest group of Decentraland users are those aged 35-64 (39%). This metaverse is dedicated to an older, more affluent audience, investing real money in the world they create - in Decentraland you can buy land, the cost of which depends on the size of the plot and location in the metaverse.
Prices start from 2,000 MANA to as much as 135,000 MANA (you can probably find bigger ones, but this offer was the most expensive one I found). How much does it cost in reality? The cryptocurrency of this metaverse - MANA, is worth $0.73 on the market, in decentraland you can buy it for $1.3 (the minimum number of MANA purchased at once is 19). This means that you have to pay more than $175,000 for the most expensive plot of land. Is that a lot of money? Judge for yourself.
At the time I am writing this article (February 2023), the most famous escape room LOST, designed by VIRTRIX studio, no longer exists in Decentraland (or I can't find it, but I searched very intensively!). However, by coincidence I came across another one, described as the first escape room in Decentraland [85, -139].
The online press in previous years predicted that more such places would be built, but since then the number of Decentraland users is regularly decreasing.
Is it worth playing a metaverse escape rooms?
Sure it's worth it! If you like escape rooms, it's an interesting alternative to the classic point-and-click games that started it all and real escape rooms in your city. The games are not without flaws, as they are mostly created by amateurs of programming and escape rooms (although the best ones are really at a high level - both puzzle and graphics!). If you have children, I bet they are well acquainted with metaverse worlds and will be happy to show you how to play.
Quo vadis, mundi?
Nowadays in the metaverses you can buy mansions, branded clothes, cars for really big money, meet influential people, join extraordinary parties, fly, build empires. Will humanity someday decide to go deeper into the virtual world, taking advantage of opportunities that real life does not offer? Or will the world move toward making the internet and metaverse the real world - the natural environment for mankind?
Journalist and indologist by profession. Writer, marketer, tarantulas keeper and urbex explorer by heart.
In the meantime I’m playing escape rooms and board games, and I wonder how I find time to sleep (still dunno). I was born to write - my favorite forms of expression are extensive articles preceded by a long research, and horror stories (for some it’s the same).
Greetings from Traverse City, MI! Now that we have had a week to recuperate, we’re ready to give you a recap of our twelve state, thirty-five escape room marathon that we completed in just sixteen days!