Metaverse in gaming is all about shared experiences, says Loco Founder Anirudh Pandita

The metaverse is trending – and how! At YourStory’s flagship startup-tech event TechSparks 2021, Anirudh Pandita, Founder of live game streaming platform Loco, spoke about the metaverse in gaming, its growth, and scope.

The spotlight is firmly on the metaverse, with Facebook now rebranding itself as Meta. The social media giant aims to, by the end of the decade, attract one billion users to the metaverse, a digital reality that combines aspects of social media, online gaming, AR, VR, and cryptocurrencies to allow users to interact virtually.

The metaverse, first mentioned in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash, is basically an online 3D universe that combines various virtual spaces and allows users across the globe to meet, chat, work, and play games together. 

Closer home, Loco, a homegrown game streaming platform, which has been a pioneer in the live game streaming and esports sector in India, is already paving its way to be at the forefront of the game streaming revolution in India and creating a metaverse.

Can it happen or is it happening in India? 

Speaking at the 12th edition of YourStory’s TechSparks 2021, India's most influential startup-tech conference, Loco Founder Anirudh Pandita said the metaverse is here and “is very exciting”. He said a metaverse was no longer a far-fetched thought for India, and that it was all about shared experiences. 

“Just like the internet is a connection on different devices where all of us contribute, similarly, for creating a metaverse, it's not just one person or one platform, it's a shared set of experiences virtually with enabling technologies like blockchain technology,” Anirudh said. 

Gaming and the metaverse 

Anirudh said gaming is the easiest example of the entry point of the metaverse. 

At Loco, users can play any game, and can watch others playing, and with this they can share their experiences.

“Today you can watch games,l tomorrow  you can even stream games or contribute to them in the sense that you can actually make a part of the game. It all can become another level of experience that  can get unlocked,” Anirudh said.  

He said it's not an expensive experience as even a phone can become a VR set today. “The metaverse is about empowering experiences.” 

Stating that the gaming universe was already a metaverse, he shared examples of how users on Loco connect with each other on chat, or support favourite streamers. After the connect, they can play other games like PUBG or Battleground later, become friends. “”They run a squad and soon have a clan so the experience doesn't have to be VR.”

Tech, 5G, and regulation

On the metaverse ecosystem in India, Anirudh said the country would soon have 5G, which would be a great catalyst.

Everyone will have a good standard smartphone and 5G internet, which essentially means that mobile devices will run faster, have ultra-low latency, better reliability, optimised battery usage - all things that matter will happen in India, and will elevate user experience and gaming as well.

He also touched upon regulations, and said he believed that these had to be clear and simple.

“I feel the freest open market or the best market in terms of legislation is where governance is high, but government is low. That will win because finally that's where the most innovation will happen,” he said. However, he specified that there has to be strong regulation surrounding player protection, child protection, piracy, and cheating. 

How to be at the forefront of the metaverse?

In terms of advice on riding the metaverse trend, Anirudh said a game of the future had to have a very social element, be built with streaming in mind, and find ways of really opening the creator and player economies.

“These models are not fully developed yet. So, if someone can spend time on these, they can really make a big contribution,” he said.

Anirudh is also very bullish on technologies like blockchain when it comes to the metaverse. “Blockchain is going to present incredible new opportunities for gaming as well as game streaming, whether it's with NFTs or smart contracts, and allows digital asset exchange.”

Future of the metaverse

Anirudh said that the future of metaverse is in the hands of the consumers.

“We are going to see all sorts of experiences in different parts of life. There are already games out there that use AI to provide you an awesome experience in terms of storyline, characters you meet. The whole experience of the metaverse comes alive because you're in another world. These are  hangout experiences. It is all about making it more interesting and immersive. What’s next is in the hands of the consumers; what's next can be much better in terms of its scope,” Anirudh said.

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For a line-up of all the action-packed sessions at YourStory's flagship startup-tech conference, check out TechSparks 2021 website.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai