The rise of the metaverse has opened up new opportunities for gaming and virtual experiences, allowing players to immerse themselves in entirely new worlds and environments. In this article, we'll explore the concept and possibilities of "Character Creation" within the metaverse.
The Booming Virtual Goods Market
The virtual goods business has gained popularity in recent years with the growing demand for virtual content in games, e-sports, and the metaverse. According to a report by Credence Research, Inc: The Global Virtual Goods Market generated revenue of around USD 67.5 billion in 2021 and is anticipated to grow a CAGR of over 20.2% and reach around USD 203.6 billion by 2028.
Ultimately, developing a monetization model for a virtual goods business requires a deep understanding of the target audience, users involved in this business model, the virtual goods being offered, and, later, an appropriate balance between gaming and monetization. By evaluating different pricing models, testing and refining them, a virtual goods business can create a profitable and sustainable revenue stream. Here are 4 major monetization models which exist now in virtual good businesses in game dev:
The Digital Price Tag: What is the Cost of Creating a Virtual Character?
Based on cost of character development: The cost of creating a virtual character for a AAA game can vary widely depending on various factors such as the complexity of the character, the detail of the design, the team's experience & where they are based geographically, the software & hardware tools used. According to industry estimates, the cost of creating a virtual character for a AAA game starts from $8000 and can go up to $50,000, with more complex characters costing up to $100,000 or even more.
Artem Gansior, Founder of ODEE studio (Creator of cinematic characters for Love, Death+Robots, League of Legends, Tomb Raider)
The cost of creating game or cinematic characters typically ranges from $12,000 to $15,000, which includes concept design, modeling, texturing, rigging, and look development (but does not include animation). Models with textures alone generally cost between $7,000 to $10,000. Concept art is often the most expensive aspect of character creation.
Based on hourly rate/salaries of artists: In the creative industry, project rates can vary widely depending on the compensation desired by artists. Location and experience level are two major factors that impact the rates. However, it's worth noting that these rates are not fixed, and some artists charge more or less than the average based on factors such as industry reputation, project scope, and client budget.
Max Emski, Senior Concept Designer at Metaverse Games Studios
It’s also important to consider how much money artists spend when using platform tools for character creation because now it’s very expensive to make AAA characters. Artists know how much money they receive per 8-hour work day.
Based on RevShare: Based on 2 facts, artists emphasized that RevShare compensation is not motivating enough for them. Because they know their hourly rate (as well as the average one across the market). And in most cases, RevShare profit for them is going to be lower than what they would have received working on their fixed rate. Another factor is that they know the prices for character creation. They consider this approach too risky and unpredictable.
Alina Starostenko, 2D/3D Character Artist at Syncreality
Artists aren't really interested in the RevShare model, not because they don't believe in the products they work on, but because relying on RevShare as the only payment for their services is quite risky and unsafe. Usually, artists are paid based on the hours/days they spend developing characters. However, the revenue-sharing model can be beneficial for selling in-game items or models on platforms that sell stock objects, in addition to receiving a payment fee based on their rate. It is better not to rely solemnly on the royalty model as the primary method of compensation, although many artists in the industry would welcome the opportunity to receive royalties from some of the projects they work on.
From Worries to Wins: Addressing Concerns
The creation of a business model for virtual character agencies comes with 2 technical obstacles that businesses must tackle. One of the most significant obstacles is interoperability. The world of character creation is still a work in progress, and there is currently no standard platform that allows a character to be used across all platforms due to varying technical requirements.
Brendan ONeil, Founder of Sombra and Bonfire
In the area of character and avatar creation, interoperability is one of the biggest obstacles. The concept of interoperability in the world of avatars and character creation is still in development, as there is no standard platform that allows a character/avatar to be used across all platforms due to different technical requirements. Metaverse is still being defined. And it may take another three years before a consistent variable between all platforms is established.
This means that different gaming engines and metaverse platforms may need different versions of the same character, requiring additional work to be done by creators.
Another technical obstacle that companies creating virtual characters may encounter is the use of different software solutions. Many studios develop their own software pipelines for creating virtual characters, and these pipelines may not be compatible with those of other studios or clients.
Copyright and licensing issues can become major obstacles in the character creation industry, where many virtual characters and assets are copyrighted, trademarked, or patented.
Yassine Tahi, Co-founder & CEO at Kinetix
There are two audiences to consider. On one hand, there are brands, IPs, and celebrities, whose purpose is to distribute branded content to engage their communities and generate new revenue streams. On the other hand, there are content creators who may also be end-users or gamers. In this case, they can decide whether to use the content for themselves or craft it for a future trade.
Both audiences can distribute on creator-friendly platforms such as Roblox, Zepeto, and soon on Fortnite Creative. Additionally, they can leverage blockchain technology to increase their monetization opportunities with platforms such as The Sandbox or Decentraland which offer additional monetization incentives such as royalties.
Delivery can be a significant challenge, particularly when it comes to delivering content to multiple platforms. At present, the implementation of complex programs within the Metaverse is still developing, and the speed, latency, and quality of these tools remain a challenge. Additionally, some regions may have internet connection issues.
The concept of character creation in the metaverse is rapidly evolving and presents an interesting intersection of gaming, virtual reality, and identity exploration. The virtual goods market is growing, which means that new tools and monetization models are emerging. There are concerns surrounding the cost of creating a virtual character and ensuring fair and transparent monetization practices. However, by fostering a community of creators, designers, and gamers, a sustainable ecosystem could be built where innovation, creativity, and self-expression in the virtual world are encouraged.