Worldwide Webb, a novel take on a metaverse blended with an MMORPG, has raised $10 million in a seed round led by Pantera Capital.
When you think “metaverse”, your mind is likely thrust toward one of a few, similar mental images: Ready Player One, Snow Crash, or Black Mirror. The thread that ties them loosely together is hi-tech VR and immersive digital worlds. This is not necessarily a helpful association, no matter how much the narrative is pushed. In fact, I wrote an article on this subject — The Danger of Insisting the Metaverse Needs to Be in VR — and here’s a relevant extract:
Now, the problem for those in Web3 and the metaverse is this: how much weight do we put in VR when building the metaverse? Building the poorly-defined-thing for the not-yet-ready technology is absurd.
So, when developers break that quietly agreed-upon paradigm, I’m all for it, and that’s exactly what Worldwide Webb is doing.
What Is Worldwide Webb?
Worldwide Webb is a browser-based MMORPG mixed with a metaverse, on the Ethereum blockchain. This pixel-style world allows players to use their own NFTs to represent themselves, including NFTs from major collections and IPs. Within this dystopian fever dream, Chain City, there is a selection of games to play, including a dungeon crawler with NFT loot and a free-to-play PvP MOBA coming soon.
Worldwide Webb reminds me of a cross between Habbo Hotel and Runescape, with more than a dash of chaos added into the mix. The direction of this metaverse is patently different from what we have come to expect from metaverse-style projects, which usually utilize Unreal Engine 5 and require some heavy-hitting hardware to operate at a serviceable FPS. Worldwide Webb’s approach might be seen as an unambitious move, but a browser-based metaverse that is highly accessible and that incorporates any NFTs you want to use is unambiguously the better immediate approach. Plus, I rather like the retro looks!
Clearly, I am far from alone in my positive reaction to it as in a recent blog post, Worldwide Webb announced that with the help of Pantera Capital, they had raised $10m for the project. The money is earmarked for recruitment to expand the team and ramp up work on the project.
— Worldwide Webb (@Worldwide_WEB3) February 23, 2023
I realize I am often critical of browser-based games, but there is undoubtedly a time and place for them. When it comes to building a metaverse that people can use right now, making it mobile-friendly and/or browser-based means that it is widely accessible, which is not the case for most UE5 worlds. If you want mass appeal and mass adoption, you need to play the hand you’re delt, and VR tech is too far from prevalent to get enough players through the door. That isn’t to say projects for the future shouldn’t shoot for that moon, but right now, a metaverse like Worldwide Webb has a far higher chance of success.