Today, the concept of metaverses in the gaming industry is becoming increasingly popular. Microsoft reported that the authors of content for Minecraft have already earned over $350 million on it. And individual game developers for Roblox earn hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars a year. We tell you what metaverses are and why developers are actively investing in them.


Shortly after the announcement of the results for the third fiscal quarter, Microsoft held a conference with investors and analysts. Within its framework, the CEO of the company Satya Nadella shared some data about the success of Minecraft.

It turned out that at the moment the number of downloads of various mods and add-ons for the game has exceeded 1 billion, and their developers have earned over $ 350 million. Microsoft does not specify exact data on revenue sharing, saying only that it gives developers more than 50% of revenue.

Recall that in April 2017, Microsoft announced the launch of a special marketplace for Minecraft, where anyone can sell additional content for the game. Thus, the figures mentioned above have been achieved over the past four years.

In his speech, Nadella also stressed that Microsoft wants to apply the successful Minecraft model in its other projects. In particular, we are talking about Microsoft Flight Simulator, which also has its own marketplace for selling in-game content from third-party developers.

This approach corresponds to the model of the so-called metaverses. The very concept of a single virtual world or a space uniting players is not new. However, it has become especially popular in recent years.

Venture capitalist Matthew Ball identifies seven distinctive features of the metaverse:

  • it should function indefinitely: it should not be reset, it should not end, and it should not suspend its work;
  • it should be a reflection of real life and work by itself, regardless of external factors and events planned by developers;
  • it cannot have a limit on the size of the audience — everyone should be able to join the metaverse and participate in its events at any time;
  • it should have a fully functioning economy — individual users or teams can create, sell and buy content for money;
  • it should unite the digital and physical worlds;
  • different platforms should be compatible with each other in terms of data transfer and virtual items — ideally, there should be no borders in principle, so that items can be transferred from one game to another;
  • it should be filled with content created by users — whether they are indie developers and enthusiasts or large companies.


Today, the most striking example of a successfully functioning metaverse is Roblox, whose developers entered the stock market this year at a valuation of $45 billion. The project, which began as a social MMO and game designer, has turned into a large-scale platform where third-party developers can earn serious money.

The case of 26-year-old Megan Letter, whose story was recently shared by Bloomberg, perfectly speaks about the possibilities of Roblox. She started her journey with The Sims 4 letsplays on YouTube, but for a long time videos did not bring her a lot of money.

Everything changed when Megan switched to Roblox, in which she played games made by other users. Now the Summer Channel brings her millions of dollars annually. However, the girl decided not to stop there and, together with her husband, began publishing her own games for Roblox, founding the Wonder Works studio.

One of their most popular projects is the RPG Overlook Bay, in which you need to collect and take care of pets. Now she has more than 160 million visits. According to Letterer, the revenue of Wonder Works for 2021 may exceed $ 8 million, and right now the studio wants to attract $ 10 million of investment at an estimate of $ 40 million.

Overlook Bay

Of course, the case of Letterer is somewhat unique, since her media presence and popularity on YouTube gives her additional opportunities to promote her games. On average, the revenue of content authors for Roblox is an order of magnitude lower — in 2020, 1250 developers earned $ 10 thousand on their games and only a little more than 300 authors earned $ 100 thousand and above.

Considering that companies that make metaverse content are valued at several tens of millions of dollars, it is not surprising that today the majors are increasingly becoming obsessed with the idea of creating virtual UGC platforms. In addition to Minecraft and Roblox, we can recall Dreams and the recent launch of Core, a platform for creating games, which was released exclusively in the Epic Games Store and attracted over $160 million in investments.

Showcase of projects for Core

Epic Games is also working on creating its own metaverse. To do this, it recently raised $1 billion, which it plans to spend on implementing social functions and strengthening the connection between its key games: Fortnite, Rocket League and Fall Guys.

The creation of unified cross-platform universes that unite different projects and users can play a big role in the development of the gaming industry in the future. That is why Microsoft and other companies are actively investing in this area.