A Great Mix of Fun, Thrill and Education
On the heels of the recent launch of New York City within Upland, we asked the question many are wondering: what is it about Upland that makes ‘doing business’ in this alternate metaverse so addicting?
Upland is a digitally recreated version of our world. The geography is the same, even the physical dimensions of the land and properties available are the same (right down to the addresses!) but everything else becomes an alternate reality that you build – and thanks to blockchain – you also own. If you haven’t heard of Upland, check out our blog post here.
Because the items in the game hold real value, specifically the parcels and properties, Upland launches areas of its metaverse in a controlled and gradual manner. Originally, only San Francisco was available as part of the experience, however, certain economic milestones within the Upland market that were met allowed for expansion to their next city, NYC, which is why it was marked by more than a few media mentions last month. That’s aside from the appeal of owning digital portions of the Big Apple, of course.
Playing the Long Game
Upland is an acquired taste for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that it’s currently in open beta. That means things are still changing, improving and the long list of features and capabilities are still far from complete. However, it is unique in the types of users it attracts.
Basically, non-crypto users (the platform is aimed at mass-market) get easily upset because they are used to quick-tappers or games at the top of the App Store list where you do not own or exchange any real value, therefore the game operator has no problem giving you thousands of coins every few hours. On the other hand, yield farmers get upset that they cannot make money easily or cash out immediately (the fiat-out feature through partner Second Life (Tilia Pay), which will allow the sale of in-game assets directly for fiat and will be released soon).
But those early adopters that enjoy themselves do so very much because they accept Upland for what it is: a thinking game. Much like life itself, there are not necessarily any quick routes to becoming “King of the Hill” and the path to success requires learning the mechanics, and quite literally, ‘playing the market’.
Users can gain more of the in-game token, UPX, by participating in events, treasure hunts, scavenger hunts, but above all: by buying low and selling high. That means reading the market, what areas are becoming popular, which areas are becoming less so, which areas may have potential value for building upon with new features in the future, and so on.
More so, like a business or a marketplace, Upland is an experience between people. Getting those very rare or very expensive properties will often depend on your negotiation and deal-building skills with other members of the community (enter chat server here). And squeezing out an extra few UPX every month necessitates that you know which properties can fit into which collections that offer yield boosts, keeping track of them and moving them around accordingly.
The combination of negotiating deals, building an actual in-game portfolio of property assets and trying to figure out how you can make more without necessarily buying more seems to have enticed the appetites of a certain growing and eager crowd of Uplanders.
A World in the Making
While the current, top-down Monopoly-looking style of Upland pleases many of the several thousand players that currently log-in on a daily basis, a look at the roadmap shows just a bit of what’s in store: and it’s a lot.
Property development, meaning the ability to build on top of the properties you are trading, is in development complete with a 3D view (which you can already access by using the tilt feature of the map and zooming in on City Hall in San Francisco). The ability to run in-game businesses like a virtual car dealership is also in development.
The platform is designed to be enveloping but always reminds you that though this world is virtual, it’s real value offers real obstacles. Succeeding them is part of the challenge. For example take the recent air travel mechanic that was launched. Traveling between San Francisco and the newly opened New York City requires taking a flight – that flight costs around 2,500 UPX and takes around 42 real-life minutes. No shortcuts here. The team has said that down the road, walking, traveling by cars and more will all be options and each will have their advantages and disadvantages that you must take into consideration. Do you fly to another city to make a quick deal but spend an arm and a leg to get there – or do you take the long scenic route which is cheaper but risk missing out?
However, this approach also opens opportunities. One recent event held in Upland involved an Art Walk in San Francisco, where the purpose wasn’t as much to compete as it was to discuss the real-life artwork that was part of the event in the community’s very active channels.
New York City and Big Dreams
The expansion to New York City looks like it’s just the start. Upland has already revealed plans to make certain areas of properties more affordable for new players (they call this the “Fair Start Act”), let you build cafes in which you can chat in groups, and much more.
If you’re interested in experiencing the genesis of Upland’s metaverse, fly into their “alternate” NYC today and scoop up a property that has some significance to you. You’ll figure out the rest along the way.