The metaverse is becoming a weird and wacky black mirror, but some really cool bits have started cropping up out of the continued research and development inside this space (ignore the idiot tech bros churning out old crap in a new package). Recently I wrote a book about the metaverse and the involvement of game technology in its evolution, so it’s really, really refreshing to see one such story taking centre-stage this week (clue, it’s not Elvis, nor is it the one about The Met). Games are without question one of the most important elements of what is being created right now. If your game or IP is strong enough you can create a strong transmedia platform to develop the metaverse upon. It’s just that no one has the stamina or foresight yet. So until that happens, let’s celebrate the web3 rebels who are leading the way.
🕺 Jailhouse ‘box
Get ready to shake, rattle, and strut, as the King of Rock 'n' Roll himself, Elvis Presley, gyrates his snake hips into The Sandbox. I gotta hand it to them, when it comes to grabbing headlines these guys are the caporegime. But hold onto your blue suede shoes, because even if a whopping 3,000 Elvis NFT avatars are hitting the jailhouse floor it might not be enough to light a fire under absent users. But look, ain’t no party like a metaverse party and if Elvis is the guest of honour perhaps Snoop will pop back in again? It’s like a metaverse Where’s Wally. It would be great to find a proper use case for The Sandbox wouldn’t it? Until then, "Thank you, thank you very much".
🏛 Double Take
Another day, another brand activation. I’m fairly cynical (no, really) about wasting time trying to put something in a virtual platform and hoping people will engage with it. Zepeto has recently fallen foul of a similar brand activation in recreating some kind of photo shoot at a virtual Louvre. It’s all a bit meh. But at least folk are using the metaverse to try and figure out why no one is attending their museums anymore. I have a huge idea what the answer is: museums are mostly boring and curators are not very innovative either. Tencent’s partnership with the French National Collections (RMN) as well as the Juanqinzhai (or as we know it, the "Studio of Exhaustion From Diligent Service" in the north-west corner of the Forbidden City) has been one of the greatest museum projects I have ever witnessed as a human being on this planet—but you’ve never heard of it. You’ve heard of Roblox though, right? Well, the annually iconic Met Museum is taking a leap into the metaverse with Replica, a breathtaking digital experience in collaboration with Roblox. Imagine strolling through virtual halls adorned with timeless art, all while enjoying the immersive wonders of Roblox. This sounds a lot like Juanqinzhai doesn’t it? But, low-poly. Mehhhhhhhh. Masterpieces are for everyone, you only need to visit the myriad of messy jigsaw projects the Smithsonian has developed over the years to know how important it is to bring history, art and imagination to life for EVERYONE. Can Replica do it? Probably not.
🎮 Games Industry’s Future, by A Non-Gamer
Clutch your controllers, huntys, because Forbes is writing about games, and trust me, this is like watching your dad explaining drill music. I’ve read this article so you don’t have to vomit on every comma. There’s the usual Ernst and Young quote (insert your management consultant stats here) however there’s just one morsel of joy in this otherwise dreadful article and it’s about interoperability. Tim Sweeney notwithstanding (I’m literally never gonna get a job at Epic, let’s face it) the discussion about interoperability from the perspective of games is a powerful one. It’s also a necessary conversation to have if we’re going to REALLY build a metaverse (instead of just talking about it which everyone seems insistent on doing this year) I have covered this topic so much in the recent past that it’s become more and more obvious every damn day that the players and indie devs are not the problem. Monopolisation is. From Ready Player me to Meta, everyone wants a piece of the pie…… on their own terms. With their own pre-tax profits. So interoperability is not gonna happen. There will never be a simple equation for interoperability until there is an open platform which I always thought would be a one blockchain solution, and I’m even wrong about that. So, avert thine eyes to the corporate crap and focus on the Mystics, the Fumbs and the Nefta-powered games. It’s much more heartening to see the underdogs win. Help them.
💡People Who Don’t Code
“Veteran” “industry” “wizard” Sam Barberie (I know—right?) has spoken, and he's calling out game developers for missing the boat on web3's untapped potential. I’ve written about this for Beyond Games and for Metacrun.ch but it looks like we really need a man around here because no one is listening. It seems like all these testicular marvels are intent on telling us little people in the games industry how monetisation works. Wow, Sam, thanks so much for using this article to state the actual bloody obvious. How about you spend that time focusing on user-acquisition for some of your products instead? As the metaverse unfolds, unique opportunities will continue to knock at every door but if you don’t let us in because you are bamboozling us with your well-crafted PR word salads how on earth will the games industry get an appetite to change? From decentralised ownership to interactive NFTs, the possibilities are endless, but you make them so complicated, Sam. Day one: stop doing that.
🌌USD is a Better Currency than FBX
Pfftt! I won’t put the oof into Mark Zuckerberg's Meta this time because I am concerned by the lack of basic sense in everyone from the Guardian to Business Insider. Let me say this one more time: THE METAVERSE IS NOT A DESTINATION, it’s a journey. The Neal Stephensons and the William Gibsons and other entitled soothsayers might proclaim the opposite, but technology is about evolution. Sure Meta faces a mixed bag of results in the metaverse but faint heart never won a fair maiden. Financial challenges and market struggles are testing the tech giant's mettle and you know what? That’s way more healthy than getting a $50-odd million investment that spaffs out of a sewage pipe and into nowhere after a year, don’t you think? Meta, for all its unfortunateness, is an unquestionable advertising platform to serve the metaverse, or layer software (à la X) that the metaverse is built on. You choose. I never thought I would defend Meta’s right to do anything but with their vast technology expertise, they remain the only decision makers in shaping their version of the future—can we just get rid of Nick Clegg?
🚀 A Press Release That VentureBeat Likes
VentureBeat has picked up a press release which means nothing much. Gaming meets blockchain in an explosive collision as Gala Games rockets into the metaverse through Elixir Games Launcher. Ok, well, Ultra are doing this. Nefta to a greater extent are doing this. Babe, everyone is doing this. This isn’t a new era of gaming, blockchain gaming is a thing. It’s just that everyone’s CEO dad is getting on the hype train so expect to see a lot of this. What the metaverse needs more than anything is education, solid use cases and PEOPLE.
Do Something Less Boring
Love AI but need some inspo? I got u.
Make videos that you could only dream of when PewDiePie was good. Now, make it 10x faster with AI.
Get all them likes on Linkedin by writing well thought through content. Or alternatively, get AI to do it for you in bulletpoints.
Analyse this! Put your spreadsheets in and get the questions out. It’s like the hokey cokey but without the fuss. Wow what’s that? That big glowing ball in the sky? It’s so warm!
I could really do with a huge strawberry sundae but I’ve got this pitch deck to finish off. If only AI could…. YES. And put a cherry on top!
The airport novel, an institution, but now with added Snoop Dogg.*
**Gwyneth Paltrow is also available for more than just airport novels
THAT'S ENOUGH METAVERSE FOR THIS WEEK.
That’s enough metaverse for this week. I've got a visit to G-Star in Koreato prepare for—will I see you there? If you haven’t watched my latest Metacrun.ch meets… with the amazing Thomas Woodhams, tech recruiter extraordinaire you are missing out! We’ve also got a wonderful Machine Learninginterview for you - woohoo! If you want in on any of the stuff we’re doing—get in touch or if you think someone else would benefit from Metacrun.ch—share the love!