I’ve just returned from Viva Tech in Paris and Art Basel where I’ve been looking at the latest and greatest innovations in the world of technology and art. Whilst I prepare a super-mega-awesome overview about what happened who is worth your time, here’s this week’s collection of the beautiful and the downright grotesque.
👟 Unleash the Beast
Kicking things off, sportswear giant Puma has just launched its very own metaverse experience! They've taken a leap into the digital world, bringing their signature style to the virtual playground. “The firm says that the experience is for everyone to explore, but only those possessing RB tokens airdropped to Puma Pass holders can purchase a digital "Rulebreaker” sneaker and claim two digital wearables.” Their virtual experience is complete and utter bollocks for anyone who has a modicum of UI sense. Who uses right-click for action? Unless you are in League of Legends or something; and trust me this place is emptier than my bank account. It’s got a flymode, which doesn’t even come close to Breakroom’s flymode so forget about that and the graphics are very lacklustre. This platform is a flex, nothing more.
🤝 Things No One Asked For #2649
In a groundbreaking partnership, Xavatar and Fexco have unleashed their metaverse payment technology, transforming the way we buy and sell in the virtual realm. AI-driven entertainment tech mouthful Xavatar has launched an even bigger mouthful: Xataverse. Seriously, why? Why are techbros doing this? Are they waiting for something good to happen? Newsflash: IT WON’T UNLESS YOU HAVE USERS. Apparently, they have a show called "The Art of Movie Music". Well that changes everything. Seriously guys, congrats with the non-news but I have some paint to watch. Something, something digital wallet, something, something.
💄Lipstick On a Pix
Gird your loins it’s Metaverse Beauty Week. Who said the metaverse is all about gaming and tech? The beauty industry is diving headfirst into the digital realm, with brands like Lush and Lottie London sharing their insights on how the metaverse benefits their glamorous businesses. But wait, this sucks. I just saw some equally sucky crap in Paris and I have to report that beauty doesn’t really work in this space. AR, yes! VR, maybe! On a monitor whilst you try and navigate a Caesar Salad—face it, it’s gonna end up all over you. Additionally on mobile it LOOKS LIKE HELL! Please stop. This is killing me. The metaverse is NOT your new beauty playground. Your phone is.
🎭 Don't Dream It, Be It
Did you know that famous funk/disco/cool band CHIC was the first to name check Gucci in a song? Now you do. However, I don’t rate Gucci as a credible anything in the world of NFT fashion. Prada on the other hand? Assolutamente! Because Prada is on their 42nd NFT collection. Terminology aside, because I do not believe 1 x drop = 1 x collection, Prada has been working hard (bts) to bring er, Prada exclusives to its diehards. As you know, I believe that any NFT without utility is a massive grift and at the time of writing this I’m not entirely sure what the point of owning a Prada NFT is right now, except for collecting them all (the article says “another exclusive NFT”—but what's the point of that?) FYI disruption only works when it changes the status quo. So the mere mention of NFTs and H&M or Zara in this particular article is pointless if NFTs are not going to be acceptable use cases for sustainability—which they are not.
👟 Three Stripes of Utility
Not to be outdone, Adidas is teaming up with NFT artist Fewocious to bring us an exclusive sneaker collab in the metaverse. REJOICE! Sneakerheads, I’m gonna level with ya. The art is not all that, but collectible sneaks? I am drooling for a pair. But there’s a catch. Whilst I’m all for sustainability because the transaction is basically sneakers on demand when you buy your NFT: I’m not entirely ok with NFC. 99% of all NFC tags on the market right now are neither circular, nor good for the planet. Please give some thought to whether you really need a pair of sneakers that cannot be recycled. The problem with a lot of these collabs is that they are not as good for the environment as you might think. Well, it’s your choice I guess—but I will judge the life out of you when we meet. You can be stylish and mindful.
Alexis Ohanian believes that play-to-earn is the future standard for gaming—a collective yeaaaaaah from people like me who think play-to-earn is still relevant and is still a sensible development in financing the future. If no one's really figured out what the hell are good use cases for NFT, they sure as hell don’t know what play-to-earn will do. At a time when for a number of reasons, the metaverse has its detractors, and it's a very, very dirty word and at a when we’re in the throes of some weird cost of living/global recession/political inflation problem you know people are finding other more beneficial ways for them to earn money. Whenever I see an NFT or a Bitcoin story, it's always “this person” or “this collection has got $8 million worth of blah, blah, blah.” If virtual currencies are to be really believed and accepted, we should not be comparing Bitcoin with the US dollar or any other currency. If we keep doing this there’s no way that virtual currencies will ever become anything. According to Eurochange there are, as of 2023, 180 currencies in this world. Are we arrogant to believe that it will always be this way? If we don't start believing in the fact that there might be virtual or different currencies to the established currencies that we have in the world. There isn't a rule about this, there’s an SEC and an FCA, but there are also countries who are using other currencies and blockchain technologies. I digress. P2E has to be the standard for gaming because we have to do something with all that virtual currency and that our hard work and effort in games has to be comparable to something of value. Why not? The future is what we’ll make it.
How are our friends in Industry 4.0 doing? You know, the tattooed Jensen Huang and the voyage of digital twins? Pretty bloody great thanks for asking “Companies using the industrial metaverse in production have managed to cut capital expenditure by 15%.” The more you design digital first, the less stuff you need to manufacture. I’ve chanted this mantra repeatedly since 2020 and with very little support—yet here we are with actual data to support it. Do you really need to make-that-thing on a lathe? Nope. Do you really need to zip that thing up the internets? Yep. And sustainability levels have improved too—I guess that’s because they aren't using NFC chips like the intellectually challenged in fashion are currently jizzing about.
So that’s enough metaverse for this week. I’m going to lay in an ice bath to get away from this heat. Remember that CPUs need a good vacuum cleaner and a decent fan too. This week sees our Machine Learning section open for business, and if you want to share your latest innovations with us—we’d love to tell the world about you, take a look at our Metacrun.ch Linkedin page for how to get started.