Meta…what? – Prime examples of early metaverses in Web2

Have you ever wondered what life could be like beyond the boundaries of our screens and devices? If you’ve heard the buzz about “metaverses” lately, you’re in for an electrifying ride! Buckle up as we journey into the past to uncover the roots of these immersive digital realms that have been lurking in the corners of the Web2 landscape.


In a world where selfies, status updates, and cat videos reign supreme, a new horizon is dawning—the metaverse. Picture a space where avatars frolic, economies thrive, and alternate realities blend seamlessly with our own. But hold on a second—before we dive into the dazzling world of Web3 metaverses, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and explore the early pioneers of this concept in the era of Web2.


Remember the times when we adorned our digital alter egos and ventured into realms that blurred the line between reality and imagination? These early metaverses paved the way for what we’re witnessing today, and boy, were they a hint of the magical possibilities that awaited us!


So, dear readers, grab your virtual passports, and let’s embark on a nostalgic yet thrilling journey to discover the prime examples of early metaverses in the vibrant realm of Web2. Get ready to unlock the doors to these virtual hangouts where friendship, creativity, and commerce converged in ways that were only imaginable until recently. Ready? Let’s dive in!



A bit of Web history


Let’s assume that not all of our readers are so familiar with the latest trends and do not fully understand the difference between the different “webs”. For their sake, let’s have a quick look at what exactly each term means and what are their key features or differences!




Web1, often referred to as the “Static Web” or “Read-Only Web,” represents the early days of the World Wide Web. It emerged in the late 1980s and continued through the 1990s. During this era, websites primarily consisted of simple HTML pages that provided static information. Users could view text, images, and links, but there was limited interactivity and user engagement.


Key Characteristics:


  • Static HTML pages with basic text and images.
  • Limited user interaction and minimal dynamic content.
  • Predominantly one-way communication from content creators to users.
  • Emphasis on information dissemination and resource sharing.



Web2, often called the “Social Web” or “Read-Write Web,” marks a significant shift in the evolution of the internet. It began in the early 2000s and continues to this day. Web2 introduced dynamic and interactive websites that fostered user-generated content, social networking, and online collaboration. This era saw the rise of platforms like social media, blogging, video sharing, and e-commerce.


Key Characteristics:


  • User-generated content and social interaction.
  • Rich web applications and dynamic content (e.g., JavaScript, AJAX).
  • Two-way communication between users and content creators.
  • Emergence of social media platforms, online communities, and user-driven content sharing.
  • Focus on user engagement, interaction, and participation.




Web3, also known as the “Decentralized Web” or the “Semantic Web,” represents the current and emerging phase of the internet’s evolution. It builds upon the principles of Web2 while emphasizing decentralization, blockchain technology, and increased user control over data and online identities. Web3 aims to create a more open, transparent, and user-centric online ecosystem.


Key Characteristics:


  • Decentralization through blockchain and distributed ledger technology.
  • Focus on user privacy, data ownership, and control.
  • Seamless digital identities and interoperability between platforms.
  • Smart contracts, which enable self-executing agreements without intermediaries.
  • Integration of cryptocurrencies, decentralized applications (DApps), and NFTs.
  • Emphasis on trust, security, and transparency in online interactions.


Key Differences:


  1. Interactivity: Web1 was primarily about static content, Web2 introduced interactivity and user-generated content, and Web3 continues the trend with more advanced, user-centric interactions and decentralized applications.

  2. User Control: While Web2 allowed users to contribute content, Web3 focuses on giving users greater control over their data, digital identity, and online experiences.

  3. Decentralization: Web3 goes beyond the centralized nature of Web2 platforms, leveraging blockchain technology to distribute control and data ownership.

  4. Trust and Transparency: Web3 emphasizes transparency, security, and trust through decentralized authentication, smart contracts, and cryptographic verification.

  5. Economic Models: Web3 introduces tokenization, enabling new economic models based on cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance (DeFi) applications.

  6. Data Ownership: Web3 challenges the data ownership models of Web2 platforms, enabling users to own and monetize their data more directly.


In essence, the transition from Web1 to Web2 and now to Web3 reflects the evolving needs and expectations of internet users, with each phase bringing progressively more sophisticated technologies and a deeper focus on user empowerment, decentralization, and innovation.


The Evolution of Web2:


Before we dive into the metaverse time machine, let’s set the stage by understanding the landscape in which these early digital realms sprouted. Welcome to Web2, the era of social media, user-generated content, and interconnected lives.


In the not-so-distant past, Web2 brought us platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. These platforms revolutionized the way we shared our lives, thoughts, and creations with the world. Suddenly, our stories had a global audience, and “going viral” became the digital equivalent of winning the lottery.


Web2 was all about user engagement, connecting people, and giving everyone a virtual soapbox to stand on. We marveled at the power of instant communication and the ability to interact with people thousands of miles away as if they were right next door.


However, despite these leaps, a sense of limitation lingered. As much as we shared, commented, and liked, there was still a missing piece. We yearned for more immersive experiences, spaces that felt more like extensions of ourselves, where our avatars could dance, fly, and explore boundless horizons.


Enter the early metaverses of Web2—the precursors to the grander Web3 metaverse revolution. These digital playgrounds offered a taste of what was possible, teasing us with a hint of the worlds we could truly inhabit. In the next section, we’ll embark on a tour of some of the pioneering metaverses that laid the groundwork for the immersive wonderland we’re witnessing today. Get ready to revisit a time when virtual reality met our digital existence, and the concept of a metaverse began to take shape in ways that would change the internet landscape forever.



Early Metaverses in Web2: The pioneers


Second Life: The Virtual Frontier Unveiled


Ah, Second Life – a name that resonates with early digital adventurers and visionaries alike. Born in the early 2000s, Second Life emerged as one of the pioneering metaverses in the realm of Web2, transforming how we perceived virtual interactions and creativity.


Imagine stepping through a digital looking glass into a world where imagination knew no bounds. Second Life offered users the chance to create avatars, unique digital personas that they could mold to their liking. These avatars weren’t mere representations; they were extensions of the users themselves, exploring a vast digital landscape.


Second Life wasn’t just a game; it was a living, breathing universe where creativity and commerce converged. Avatars could traverse picturesque landscapes, from bustling cities to tranquil beaches, attend virtual events, engage in real estate dealings, and even establish their own digital businesses. The virtual economy thrived, with users buying, selling, and trading virtual properties, commodities, and services.

And let’s not forget the artistic marvels that flourished within Second Life’s pixelated terrain. Creatives flocked to the metaverse to showcase their digital artwork, sculptures, and performances. Galleries hosted virtual art exhibitions, and artists found a canvas unburdened by the constraints of the physical world.


Second Life demonstrated the power of virtual spaces as a canvas for human ingenuity and social interactions. It sparked conversations about virtual economies, digital identities, and the blurred lines between reality and the digital realm. While it had its limitations, Second Life planted the seeds that would later flourish into the immersive metaverse landscapes we’re witnessing today.


As we journey deeper into the early metaverses of Web2, remember the name “Second Life.” It’s a testament to the audacious spirit that dared to imagine, create, and thrive in a world beyond the screen.


World of Warcraft: Where Fantasy Meets Reality


Venture forth, brave travelers, into a world of fantasy, camaraderie, and epic quests. World of Warcraft (WoW), released in 2004 by Blizzard Entertainment, marked a turning point not only in the gaming world but also in the realm of early metaverses within the Web2 era.


WoW wasn’t just a video game; it was an intricately designed digital universe that brought together millions of players from around the globe. Azeroth, the fantastical realm in which the game is set, was a sprawling landscape filled with diverse regions, each with its own history, inhabitants, and mysteries waiting to be unraveled.


One of the remarkable features of WoW was its ability to foster deep social interactions and vibrant communities. Players formed guilds, bands of adventurers united by common goals and shared experiences. Together, they embarked on epic quests, vanquished fearsome monsters, and explored dungeons teeming with treasures. These in-game connections transcended the digital realm, leading to real friendships, alliances, and even marriages among players who had started their journey as strangers.


However, WoW’s metaverse extended beyond mere social interactions. The game’s virtual economy was an ecosystem unto itself. Players engaged in various economic activities, from crafting and trading to participating in the Auction House—a digital marketplace where virtual goods were bought and sold for in-game currency. Some players became virtual entrepreneurs, amassing in-game wealth through savvy market maneuvers.


WoW blurred the line between fantasy and reality, creating an environment where players could truly immerse themselves in a virtual world. The game’s rich storytelling, coupled with its social and economic elements, made it a prototype for the metaverse concept that would later flourish in the Web3 era.


Always remember the lessons that WoW offered—a reminder of the power of shared narratives, the joy of collaborative endeavors, and the enchantment of exploring a digital universe that felt like a second home.



Minecraft: Building Dreams, Block by Block


Ladies and gentlemen, miners and crafters, welcome to the realm of Minecraft! While often celebrated as a game of creativity and survival, Minecraft’s influence stretches far beyond its pixelated landscapes. This sandbox phenomenon, born in 2011, is a prime example of an early metaverse that harnessed the Web2 spirit to create an expansive universe of endless possibilities.


Minecraft is a universe where you’re not just a player; you’re an architect, an adventurer, a creator. Armed with nothing but a blocky landscape and an infinite palette of digital building materials, players embarked on a journey of imagination. The canvas was yours to mold, and the only limits were the boundaries of your own creativity.

In the heart of Minecraft’s metaverse was its creative mode—a realm where players built structures that defied gravity, logic, and even the confines of the real world. Cities emerged from the ground, soaring castles kissed the sky, and intricate redstone contraptions transformed the landscape into a realm of ingenious engineering.


Minecraft’s metaverse went beyond individual creativity; it gave birth to communities that shared visions, dreams, and worlds. Players collaborated on colossal projects, from intricate fantasy realms to life-sized replicas of real-world cities. The in-game sharing of these creations became a social endeavor, connecting players in ways that echoed the early days of social media.


Yet, Minecraft’s metaverse wasn’t just about construction; it was about exploration and adventure. Its survival mode tasked players with gathering resources, battling creatures, and surviving in a challenging environment. The shared thrill of conquering dungeons, uncovering hidden treasures, and surviving the night bound players together in shared experiences that mirrored the spirit of cooperative gameplay found in early metaverses.


Minecraft exemplifies the potential of digital landscapes as metaverses of creation, collaboration, and self-expression. Its blocky façade belies a universe where communities thrive, individuality shines, and dreams are realized one voxel at a time. As we journey through the corridors of metaverse history, let us not forget the lessons of Minecraft—an ode to the power of limitless imagination and the profound connections that can be forged in the spaces we construct, both physical and digital.


IMVU: Crafting Identity in a Digital Realm


Prepare to step into a world where self-expression reigns supreme, and avatars become the canvas of personal creativity. Welcome to IMVU, a metaverse where social interaction, customization, and digital fashion collide to create a unique virtual experience within the Web2 landscape.


IMVU, founded in 2004, introduced a novel concept: it wasn’t just about exploring a digital landscape; it was about becoming a digital embodiment of your imagination. Users crafted avatars that were more than just representations; they were expressions of individuality, adorned with clothing, accessories, and styles that spoke volumes about the people behind the screen.


The metaverse of IMVU was a thriving ecosystem of avatars interacting in dynamic 3D chat rooms. These virtual spaces became digital stages where users could converse, dance, and share their stories. The creative freedom extended to the environment itself; users could design their own chat rooms, complete with furniture, decorations, and interactive elements that transformed conversations into immersive experiences.


However, IMVU’s metaverse didn’t stop at social interactions; it fostered a bustling virtual economy. Users could buy, sell, and create virtual products, ranging from clothing and accessories to furniture and animations. The concept of “credits,” the in-game currency, transformed the metaverse into a marketplace where entrepreneurial spirits thrived, showcasing a digital fashion world that transcended physical boundaries.


What made IMVU a pioneering Web2 metaverse was its emphasis on personal identity. The avatars were not just characters; they were extensions of real people, each with their unique stories, dreams, and aspirations. IMVU’s metaverse empowered users to experiment with different personas, forging connections and friendships that celebrated diversity and creativity.

As we explore the annals of metaverse history, let us remember IMVU—a metaverse that dared to make individuality the heart of the experience, where virtual spaces transformed into stages of self-expression, and avatars became more than pixels; they were windows into the souls of the creators.


Welcome, intrepid explorers, to a digital universe where virtual experiences transcend the screen and camaraderie knows no bounds. Say hello to, a metaverse that captured the essence of community, creativity, and shared adventures within the vibrant tapestry of Web2.

Emerging onto the scene in the early 2000s, wasn’t just a platform; it was a living, breathing world brimming with opportunities for social interaction, creativity, and entertainment. The metaverse presented a variety of settings, from bustling cities to serene landscapes, each a canvas for its users’ desires.


At the heart of were the shared experiences. Users gathered in virtual events, concerts, and parties, dancing to the beats of live music and forming connections that defied geographical boundaries. The metaverse’s chat zones, where avatars congregated, sparked conversations and friendships that echoed the vibrant social interactions of the physical world.


Yet, went beyond socializing; it celebrated the human desire for self-expression and creation. Users could customize avatars, clothing, and even vehicles, infusing each with a slice of their personality. The metaverse allowed users to create their virtual goods, transforming them into entrepreneurs and fostering a digital economy of possibilities.

One of’s unique aspects was its emphasis on real-world activities transposed to the digital realm. Virtual world sports, car racing, and even art galleries added a layer of familiarity to the metaverse, bridging the gap between the physical and the digital. Users could explore hobbies and passions within a world that harmonized the virtual and the tangible., in the grand panorama of Web2 metaverses, stood as a testament to the power of shared experiences and a testament to the human desire for connection. It provided a haven where users not only created avatars but also forged friendships, pursued passions, and explored a world that blended the real and the digital in ways that were ahead of its time.—a metaverse that invited us to dance, explore, and connect, underscoring the truth that the digital world can indeed be a canvas for human connection and shared adventures.


Embracing Metaverses in a Web3 Landscape: Unlocking the Next Dimension of Possibilities


As we bid farewell to the early metaverses that shaped the Web2 era, let’s take a bold leap into a hypothetical realm—a realm where these projects, Second Life, World of Warcraft, Minecraft, IMVU, and, exist as metaverses within the Web3 landscape. What wondrous transformations might occur? How could the principles of Web3 elevate these digital realms to new heights? Let’s embark on a journey of speculation and imagination, as we explore the potential benefits these projects could harness if they existed as metaverses in the Web3 world.


1. Second Life: Evolving the Digital Economy


Imagine Second Life in a Web3 metaverse, powered by blockchain technology. Virtual land ownership could transition from a centralized system to a decentralized one, ensuring transparent ownership records and streamlined transactions. The economy within Second Life could thrive even further, with secure and transparent transactions facilitated by smart contracts. Creators could have verifiable ownership of their digital creations through NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), unlocking a new level of monetization and recognition for their work.


2. World of Warcraft: Real Value for Virtual Achievements


In a Web3 metaverse, World of Warcraft could usher in a new era of true asset ownership. Imagine players earning in-game items and achievements as NFTs, representing tangible value in the form of digital assets. The concept of “play-to-earn” could flourish, allowing players to earn cryptocurrencies through in-game achievements and trade these assets beyond the confines of the virtual world. Moreover, blockchain-based scarcity and uniqueness could elevate the value of rare in-game items to an entirely new level.


3. Minecraft: Land of Tokenized Creativity


Within a Web3 metaverse, Minecraft’s creative landscapes could become tokenized, allowing users to buy, sell, and trade virtual real estate as NFTs. The virtual worlds players construct could be owned collectively by their communities, governed through decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). Creators could monetize their creations directly, receiving royalties whenever their designs are used in various user-generated worlds. The open-source nature of Minecraft’s metaverse could foster interoperability, allowing assets and designs to be used across various platforms.


4. IMVU: Avatar Identities on the Blockchain


IMVU’s metaverse could thrive in a Web3 world by allowing users to mint their avatars as NFTs on the blockchain, granting them true ownership of their digital personas. Virtual fashion and accessories could be tokenized, enabling users to buy, sell, and trade these items seamlessly. With decentralized identity solutions, users could carry their digital identity across various metaverses, building a consistent online presence without relying on centralized platforms.


5. Building Real-World Connections


In a Web3 metaverse,’s social interactions could be taken to a new level of trust and transparency. Blockchain-based identity systems could ensure that virtual avatars correspond to real individuals, enhancing the authenticity of relationships. Virtual events and experiences could be monetized through smart contracts, enabling content creators to receive direct compensation for their contributions. The metaverse’s unique blend of real-world activities could be integrated with decentralized finance (DeFi) mechanisms, fostering real-world value exchange within virtual spaces.


While these musings are speculative, they underline the potential of merging the early metaverses of Web2 with the principles of Web3. As blockchain technology continues to transform the digital landscape, the lines between reality and the virtual world may blur even further. The benefits of increased ownership, transparency, trust, and economic opportunities could usher in an era where metaverses become not just spaces of imagination, but engines of real-world impact. As we journey through these visionary landscapes, let us remember that the future of metaverses is not just virtual—it’s the evolution of our interconnected human experience, waiting to be explored.





AMG is a decentralized autonomous organization, bridging the gap between players and web3 game developers, bringing the next billion users into the metaverse.


AMG acquires non-fungible tokens (NFTs) used in blockchain-based games and acts as a trusted party advocating for games in the metaverse, thus bringing more people in.

We are leveraging strong partnerships with games developers and Yield Guild Games to launch our organization to the forefront of the Central/Eastern European gaming market.

AMG DAO has been building a game-focused crypto wallet, guild management, and other tools to keep contributing to the ecosystem, in order to aid the creation of games with sustainable economies.


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