Among the many aphorisms for which Mark Twain is known, there’s one that comes to mind especially when thinking of recent developments in online spaces. “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore,” Twain once said — a phrase that the rise of the metaverse could undermine ever so slightly. To be fair, that also depends on your definition of “land” — you could buy an entire planet’s worth of land in the metaverse, but you can’t physically stand on it.
All of which makes a recent Curbed interview with Jessica Stocker so interesting. As Curbed’s Bridget Reed notes, Stocker founded a company, Digiland, whose app was used to buy and sell space in the metaverse. Stockler’s main work is in the physical real estate world — and, based on comments she made in the interview, she’s become skeptical of the metaverse real estate market.
Stockler told Curbed that she feels that the metaverse still has a wide range of potential for the future — but that “as of right now, it’s really just advertising space in a digital world.”
Later in the interview, she points to price fluctuations over time in the market. “There’s no concrete proof yet that any of these metaverses are going to survive,” Stockler told Curbed. “Like right now, some of the land that people bought in Decentraland is down 70 percent.”
Something big could change that market, of course — perhaps the addition of legs, perhaps something else — but the call for caution is worth thinking about.
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