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If you want to cruise around the metaverse in the future, you might do it with multiple digital identities, or agents. And if that sounds appealing, Crucible wants to be the company that enables that agent for you. Your agent will be all that you need to navigate the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One.
Crucible cofounder Ryan Gill said in an interview with GamesBeat that his company has created a way to build the open metaverse using web technologies and other tools the company has captured in its Emergence software development kit (SDK). And that’s why he spoke on a panel with Crucible chief technology officer Toby Tremayne at our GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse online event.
Crucible is building an application layer that relies upon decentralized Web3 protocols and technologies such as blockchain, the secure and transparent digital ledger technology that can be used to verify things like digital ownership or identity. The application layer abstracts away the complexity of the underlying technology, and game developers simply use Crucible’s software. And it’s agnostic to any single platform, Gill said.
“Our company is about how the metaverse can stay open,” Gill said. “It’s important for the metaverse to be designed in a player-first way” that protects things such as privacy and digital ownership.
Gill and Tremayne have been working together for two years, and they have watched as companies big and small working on it in silos, on their own. But Gill and Tremayne don’t want the metaverse to be controlled by walled gardens such as the tech giants. And Tremayne said on the panel that many companies will have to build interconnected technologies based on common standards.
“True openness and an abrupt deviation from the current model of business is going to be really important,” Tremayne said. “The age of owning the network and locking in users is dead.”
“We believe that the internet is for the end user,” Gill said. “With Web3, we’re really trying to build that into a very simple way for game developers. There is no way you can scale in-game economies without this technology. It’s infrastructure technology.”
Crucible is working on “self-sovereign technology,” said Tremayne. The agent has a secure interface that you can take with you anywhere. It has your contacts and your relationships so you can log into anything you need to log into. It can log you into any of your games and let you choose the secure personality to represent you in a game. You can reskin your agents as you wish, but they are always tied to you, Tremayne said.
Gill wants gamers to be able to move from one triple-A game to another with the same avatar, wearing the same skin, or outfit. The metaverse won’t be a single world, Gill believes. It will be a collection of all of the worlds, connected through common standards and frameworks. It’s not unlike what Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has called for.
The London-based Crucible went through the Outlier Ventures accelerator in the United Kingdom. Crucible has five employees, and Gill is raising money for a seed round.
Gill is trying to round up an industry consortium, dubbed Blueprints for the Open Metaverse, or a federated system to help build the open metaverse. Crucible has identified a half-dozen Unreal Engine projects that will be candidates for testing its technology soon. It hopes to launch testing for the tech with a working software development kit, the Emergence SDK, by March. The goal is to make it compliant with both the Unreal and Unity game engines.
The tech is akin to Web 3.0. This SDK could make it easier for parties to interact with the open metaverse. Developers can use this SDK and be assured that the tech will enable them to make metaverse-compatible experiences. They can use it to do things like verify someone’s identity and verify ownership of digital items.
“It just lives in the background,” Gill said. “The gamer doesn’t even have to know about it. Gamers only care about what’s in front of the TV. They don’t care about the wires and everything in the back. That’s very much our philosophy.”
Players will be able to log in with a Crucible agent once. They verify themselves and create avatars that can be linked back to the real identity. Brands and creators can then sell items direct to the player, and players can get passwordless access to games and access to secure communications. This “direct-to-avatar” approach means that players don’t have to buy items through an app store, or inside just one game. That means Crucible’s tech is built for the post-app-store world.
“This is all about decentralization, so we give the human being the ability to use the power of separable identity that can be attached to games or social media,” Tremayne said. “Each persona has its own avatars and its own sort of preferences. I can use a lifelike avatar when I go into teleconferencing. But I can use another avatar for a game. The agent is your front-end tool that manages your identity and creates these secure identities and connections.”
You can access interfaces so that you can engage in text chat, voice chat, video chat, or whatever you want to do in a game.
“This is about building that platform where we really want to go 10 years in the future,” Gill said. “To me, the metaverse is going to be a creative and economic renaissance. That can be an entire real virtual economy. We’re really laying the technical foundations for that to be possible. And I believe that that’s a multi-trillion dollar market opportunity.”
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