Otherside, the much-anticipated metaverse gaming platform from the creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, is open for business. Almost.
On Saturday, the Yuga Labs-developed game invited 4,300 players—so-called “Voyagers”—for a first-look tech demo and tour of the immersive, ape avatar-navigated online platform. All Otherside players will be required to embark on or view one of these “First Trips” to be able to participate in the game, which has still not yet fully debuted.
All 4,300 players who took part in yesterday’s digital excursion to the “Biogenic Swamp'” that constitutes the center of Otherside were owners of “Otherdeeds,” deeds to plots of digital land within the platform. In a litepaper released shortly after yesterday’s First Trip, Otherside’s developers announced that only Otherdeed owners and “selected third-party developers” will be permitted to participate in the game during its first phase.
According to the litepaper, “Phase 1” will see Otherdeed owners navigate Voyager’s Journey, an 11-part narrative game “surrounding a mysterious Obelisk that has appeared in the Otherside universe.” In Phase 1, Otherdeed owners will be able to contribute to the platform’s construction and shape its core capabilities as co-developers, via the Otherside Development Kit, the platform’s suite of creation tools.
“We believe in the extraordinary power of community and have seen firsthand how it can be a significant force for good in this industry,” the litepaper stated. “We aim to incentivize, empower, and recognize the expression, creativity, and ingenuity of Otherside’s community of contributors.”
The litepaper also doubled down on Otherside’s commitment to interoperability: the ability for digital assets to freely traverse the many digital neighborhoods, or gaming platforms, that potentially one day could constitute the avatar-navigated metaverse. Proponents of an “open metaverse,” like Yuga Labs, see interoperability as key to the ethos of a democratized and accessible future internet. Such advocates have been vocal about the risk posed by mega corporations like Meta (formerly Facebook), which may attempt to keep their metaverse offerings firmly bordered, in order to retain control over users’ data and analytics.
On Friday, Gordon Goner, one of Yuga Labs’ co-founders, said in a Tweet that Otherside is in direct competition with Web2 “giants,” but expressed optimism that “the future will bend toward the open, interoperable metaverse.”
The fact that Otherside is currently only accessible to its digital landowners distinguishes it from other leading metaverse platforms, which are open to all internet users. The cheapest Otherdeeds on the market are currently selling for 2.8 ETH, or just shy of $3,800, according to data from CoinGecko. Many are much more expensive. When Otherdeeds launched in April, in a frenzied 24-hour sale that generated $561 million in sales and severely clogged the Ethereum network, that floor price was $5,800.
Exclusivity and extremely high financial barriers to entry are key components of the recipe that has made Yuga’s Bored Ape Yacht Club perhaps the most popular and recognizable NFT brand in the world. Yesterday’s announcement highlights the potential tension between that spirit of scarcity and Yuga’s stated desire to make Otherside central to the fight for an “open metaverse.”
For now, Otherside might be considered the metaverse’s most prominent gated community.