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A Week In 11.04.2023

Now that the noise of MVFW has petered out (how did that go by the way?), it’s back to your regular weekly dose of wry and why in our beloved metaverse. As well as this week’s news direct to your inbox, I’m also cooking up some sweet Metacrunch meets… episodes for you! In the meantime, we’ve got some killer collabs in the offing, and if you have a product that you want to reach a wide(r) audience, let us know by dropping us a line.

🕺 The Hokey Cook-ey 🕺

Sometimes it's not what you say, it's how you say it. Tim Cook has found himself in a bit of a conspiratorial situation where he's seemingly half-in and half-out of the metaverse. Was it only a few months ago that Apple’s CEO pooh-poohed any suggestion that his crew would be down with the metaverse. He said “I’m really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is.” This month? He's kind of into it, but with a Zuckerberg style caveat: “I'm not interested in putting together pieces of somebody else's stuff” ah shiz, he’s gonna make a metaverse, isn’t he?

This is a bit like buying a VR headset for your dad. He knows naff all about it until the headset goes on and then BOOM! He’s an expert. To be honest that’s everyone on Linkedin right now too, so….

So he, Tim Cook, not my dad, is the everyman in this conversation, all of the millions and trillions, or tens and maybe hundreds of VR and Metaverse users currently in the world that couldn't be bothered to go to Metaverse Fashion Week (basically everyone) can now find themselves being experts in the metaverse via Apple. Thank you, Tim Cook, for making my job even easier.

“I've told you a million times, do not exaggerate!”🙄

As metaverse event numbers drop considerably, spare a thought for Yugalabs, and give ‘em a little back pat for the bravado of “that’s what we were aiming for anyway” as a mere 7,200 people descend upon that weird Otherside trip I was talking about a few weeks ago. 90 minutes of sheer… I don’t know what.

Who creates a 90 minute metaverse experience? What happened afterwards? Did they just not stay in it? Did they leave? I'm so completely confused by everything that Yugalabs does. It's absolutely ridiculous, hypey waffle. To me, and my feeble gamer brain it feels like 7,200 people don’t need some stupid contrived elitist trip, they need to be acquainted with WoW, LoL or Medieval Empires or something. Have any of these people heard of Steam, FFS?

🍕Cornering the Market🍕

When I read this headline I was like YASSSSSSS! Because the way that food and drink is converting, via NFT, is quite something. I have just completed work on a wonderful NFT project for the last few months which I’m really proud of, and it relates to the hospitality industry too. Having seen it with my own eyes, I know how important it is to future proof every consumable lest we’ll be left behind. So, when I read about there being a Papa John’s NFT, I read the article twice. I didn’t want to miss the chance of owning a complete set of those tasty crust dips that you get in the corner of the pizza boxes, but it wasn’t mentioned. Instead, this came off like some kind of barely there event that wasn’t entirely endorsed by the great Papa John themselves. Why the hell not? NFTs are cool, wait, any NFT is cool when it has utility. This offering does not.

OneRare, whoever they are, is powering this collab and whilst they proclaim to be a “gamified foodie metaverse” (me either), I don’t see anything here for the player, for the pizza lover, what do they get? Oh wait, “Much like Starbucks and other brands that have entered the metaverse, Papa Johns has plans to turn this into more of a loyalty experience.” So they’re just going to borrow the loyalty loop and create a kind of metaversal points program? Hold the dips, I’ve completely lost my appetite.

❌The Metaverse is not Crypto (Repeat to Fade)❌

Another week, another stupid press release; this one is by a guy called Bitcoin Billy. Yes, really. I know a song about him but it’s not an accurate depiction. At all.

Listen people, when we talk about the metaverse, we've got to be really careful that we're not pushing on crypto, because crypto, in most senses of the word when it is associated with the metaverse, can be a bit pumpy and dumpy. Compared to say, when it’s a game like Bitcoin Miner, and then it’s a game with a Bitcoin element.

My argument about pulling crap into the metaverse is that it muddies the waters like you wouldn’t believe, Remember when Facebook rebranded? That’s what you get for rebranding your social media ad platform—a bunch of real metaversers desperately scrambling to disassociate themselves from datacrap. And the story is not that different because at most RobotEra is something like a game, I mean, it’s barely there as a builder. Trust me there are a good many more ways to create this type of experience and call it a metaverse. First MAKE A GAME. Then, MONETISE IT. Not the other way around.

I've had a go on it, and it's pretty rubbish. It's got some kind of story associated with it, but the graphics are just pixelated and nasty, and it's very limited. Bitcoin Billy’s conclusion has some truth though “Metaverse cryptos will continue to evolve, without a doubt.” But in my opinion, the more we web3 a good game, the more powerful game NFTs will grow.

↩️ Bend It Like Bitcoin ↪️

Oh hello, a press release from the Seychelles—famous for a million things and being a paradise island for tourists, but football? Never!

“OKX is the world's largest crypto exchange by trading volume and a leading web technology.” Fair enough. OKX are bringing us a collaborative fan experience featuring OKX ambassador and Manchester City player Rúben Dias. In this you're “empowered” to follow some of Rúben Dias favourite training techniques and benefit from his coaching and performance tips. Rúben Dias has played for Manchester City since 2020, and Portugal national team since 2018.

Now for the irony, courtesy of me, couch observer and all round lazy person Kelly Vero. This bit isn’t part of the press release from the Seychelles but kind of obvious when you think about it: You are sitting on your fat arse on the sofa, checking in on the latest performance tip from Rúben Dias. Scroll, stop, watch, go and get a can of something sweet and fizzy from the fridge. Receive some kind of POAP to say you have listened to Rúben’s wise words about keeping fit. Now, back to the doom scrolling.

I can see what they’re trying to do here, but collaborative doesn't mean interactive, and I wish it did because NFTs actually mean something in my world. Rúben is doing all the running here, and you're doing all the earning, ya lazy sod. I’m just sayin’.

✈️ Mile High Club ✈️

Finally, a really amazing use case for NFT is that isn't fashion and beauty-related! Tech travel startup Travel X is helping an Argentinian airline by providing NFT tickets, yes, you heard that right.

They don’t stop.

The firm “expects a handful of other air carriers to adopt this model by the end of the year.”

Yes. This.

Flybondi is the first to offer travellers the option to activate NFT versions of their tickets which allow them to make name changes on the reservation or transfer the tickets to someone else. Look, I don't call that utility, but bravo for this.

And using Algorand as their blockchain provider is a bigger plus than the Swiss flag because this spells climate change activism. Algorand is pretty good at carbon offsetting by virtue of “negligible energy consumption per transaction”. So they've obviously thought this through rather than just messing around, which is what pretty much everybody else has done in this A Week in wouldn’t you agree? However, I think it needs a little bit more work in terms of how the utility is going to work inside the Flybondi experience. Is it a loyalty or is it just a gimmick for you to make changes to your ticket? Bureaucracy, according to them, “is holding back some of the larger legacy airlines and such companies have also shared concerns about losing revenue linked to penalties for no shows.” But that’s not utility. Travel X says they can increase demand as they're unlocking a lot of use cases right now. “Early adopters will show the data and how this is bringing value not only to its customers but also to the headlines.” What a cool way of closing that story out? I for one will be very glued to Travel X to see how it develops—and I promise to bring the news to you, like I always do!

That's enough Metaverse for this week: I'm off to play Settlers of Catan. Rest well Klaus Teuber, who died last week. From Gary Gygax to Klaus, aren’t you proud to be a gamer?


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