Otherside, the upcoming metaverse game from the creators of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, impressed during its “Second Trip” demo this spring by packing several thousand players into the same game world. And now the tech that powers Otherside, created by startup Improbable, has been opened up to other creators to start building out more of the metaverse.

MSquared (M²) is a creation suite for interoperable online worlds, spanning a network, tech stack, and metaverse markup language (MML) for creating digital assets and experiences within those worlds. In other words, it’s a metaverse creation engine—and all part of what Improbable co-founder and CEO Herman Narula called a “stupidly ambitious project" and a "network of metaverses."

On Friday, Improbable—which was reportedly valued at $3 billion when it raised funding last fall—opened up early access to its MSquared tools, and open-sourced the MML to make it accessible for builders. Already, people are playing around with the tools via the Construct metaverse environment and sharing their creations.


The early Otherside demos, which Narula told Decrypt that Improbable built in partnership with Bored Ape creator Yuga Labs, are the highest-profile examples to date of what the tech is capable of. And indeed, the experience of being among thousands of live players—as GG recounted in April—felt like a totally original gaming feat.

But it’s the smaller, impromptu online sessions that Narula said have provided even richer learnings so far for Improbable. The ability for a creator or a celebrity to quickly spin up an online session, drop a link on social media, and pull potentially hundreds or thousands of users into a shared, web-based space could open new economic models, he said.

“You don't necessarily need very elaborate, large-scale events. Of course, you can build them, and we plan to do those as well,” he said. “That's really exciting, because I think that could create a lot of really fun business models that nobody's tried before. And that's what the metaverse really needs—to prove out the use cases that are valuable.”

Prior to Friday’s official launch, Narula and his colleagues shared a number of experimental spaces and dropped links on Twitter for on-the-fly play sessions. In May, Arsenal football star Oleksandr Zinchenko joined in and interacted with fans. Now more and more people are tapping the MSquared tech in what’s described as the second phase in a long-term plan.


Some details around Improbable’s plans have yet to be formally announced, however. The firm revealed on Friday that tech giants like Google, Nvidia, and Dolby are providing cloud streaming tech to enable MSquared-powered worlds, and Narula added that further brand and content partners beyond Yuga Labs will be announced in the coming weeks.

Furthermore, while Narula said that MSquared “runs on Web3 principles” and that its network will rely on the concept of digital ownership, Improbable isn’t ready to reveal full technical details. A shift to decentralized governance is part of the long-term plan, too, and creators can integrate NFTs from other networks—or shun NFTs altogether.

“The fundamentals of MSquared are powered by blockchain, and then the experiences on top are blockchain-optional,” Narula told Decrypt. “We think that's a great balance to strike.”

MSquared’s public rollout comes amid dampened enthusiasm around the metaverse, which had a buzzy moment in late 2021 and early 2022 but has struggled to maintain the hype. Narula pegged some of the weakened momentum on a broad “misunderstanding” of what the metaverse is, noting that the premise has been “conflated” with virtual and augmented reality.

But he also said that hype and unfulfilled promises from tech companies have played a role. He believes that meaningful social experiences powered by metaverse platforms are “necessary and will happen”—and that MSquared-powered events themselves will ultimately win over skeptics.

“People are skeptical of the metaverse, people are skeptical of Improbable, people are skeptical of everything,” he said. “You should be skeptical of us, and of this. It's fairly normal and rational.”

“Why believe any more hype and promises in a market where so many companies have promised things, especially in a bear market?” Narula added. “But what’s really interesting to me is, you don't have to be cynical when you see the events themselves.”


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