Last week we guffawed at the idea that the metaverse might be dead and as I scrape the bottom of the virtual platform barrel for new and exciting platforms to add to my weekly top ten I am starting to believe the hype. In what open universe do we force folks to sign up before they can go in? I’m thinking about doing a name and shame chart of the worst platforms based on users, aesthetic and data. What do you think?
Mariella Frostrup’s passions for G&Ts aside, I am partial to Bellinis (more than one). So I was clapping my hands wildly about The Sandbox’s latest thing. The Sandbox is a decentralised gaming world under Animoca brands and they’re partnering with classic drinks brand Cipriani. The Sandbox is unashamedly brand-focused and that both puts them front and centre of press releases, but I always feel a bit sorry for them in that some of the brand choices seem so short-lived and a bit mercenary. This story is a bit of that. But Venice is mega! Have you ever been? GO! Or go virtually.
Working with a metaverse, like The Sandbox is, one might think of as a stroke of genius to preserve a city which has been falling into the sea since it was built. But no, booze comes first. The average sea level in Venice is today “32 centimetres higher than it was in 1872—and 61 centimetres higher than it was in the 1750s”. And folks are leaving the main island city in their droves to set up affordable homes on the mainland. It has lost “more than 120,000 residents since the early 1950s.” So rather than make a brand-facing short-lived experience, wouldn’t it have been better to preserve the heritage of the city, using Cipriani as a sponsor or an exposition for this space? I think so. As always, the success ratio of anything The Sandbox does depends on the appetite for folks wanting to be there. User motivation, in my opinion, is the best lesson they will ever learn.
Desperately Ceeking People
Is the future of metaverse entertainment based on NFTs? Decentralisation? Headsets? Lately, it feels like the future of the metaverse is based on macular degeneration because the amount of Getty and Pixabay images involving purple, blue and pink Ready Brek kids in headsets is giving me a headache (and maybe vertigo, I’ll let you know). Business Insider clearly did not get the memo for how to add images cleverly. Ah well.
Look, CEEK is looking to corner a marketplace which is currently owned by Meta, and I wish them well. I think it's really great that they want to do this. But as I always say, the entire approach to creating any type of entertainment brand hardware or software product is to find users—and there was no mention of how many users there are in that particular PRarticle. It's nice to give big tech corps a scare, but stop trying to bait tech corps! Instead spend that time ( and anger) building community because that’s what will ultimately make tech bros soil themselves. But if creating an “inclusive and connected future” means that your consumers have to pay to play, I think Meta, Apple and co will be just fine.
Lend me $3000 (I can’t pay you back)
Apple's new mixed reality headset can just do one which is completely the opposite to what this Crypto Times article states. After becoming the most jealous god in the world over NFTs, Apple is starting to embrace the world of the metaverse. They want to approach a more holistic and open system for getting people basically to adopt their hardware. Cool marketing, guys. One of the things that they could really focus on is making their hardware more inclusive and therefore making their software more inclusive. Who actually wants to buy a piece of equipment for $3k? Not me. I just don't have that kind of money. I’m not an Apple person, but I do have an interest in the metaverse. I also have nothing but time to go deeper than a Navy SEAL on how the metaverse industry is becoming an ad aggregator or monetisation tool and that’s too soon, too soon—it took the internet a long time to get there and the metaverse got there in minutes; so what’s left?
The World that Data Built
Ohio State is going to use the metaverse to train first responders. That’s exactly what the metaverse is for. You know, I'm writing a book at the moment, because some of the things that make me get out of bed in the morning are data driven environments and digital twins. I’m not some kind of fluffer who came along to make the metaverse the money shot, I’ve been working as a game dev for 30 years. I don’t care about your marketing schtick and how you see yourselves as gurus of nothing. That’s between you and your therapist. I want to change the world and I believe the metaverse will change how we do everything. Whenever I hear that Meta advert about how fire fighters will use the metaverse to do this or that I shout at the radio “THEY ALREADY ARE, MARK”; because it’s true. Using metaverses on platforms like Breakroom (where you can also fly between incidents) or Nvidia Omniverse are dedicated to creating simulations and models for us to practise and experience everything in an educational capacity. If data can bring us to the truth of anything we can train for then the time to money, or the time to success, and dare I say, safety is going to be shorter and more efficient. Should we be basically creating digital waste by virtue of crapware that no one's showing up to? No we definitely should not! So initiatives that involve training or that use measurable workflows are worth doing in our precious metaverse.
Korea is the Metaverse (and so is Japan and Taiwan)
Metaverse education is a major trend in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. I worked on a children's metaverse, remember? I know what the implications are, but also what the benefits are of being able to transpose Metaverse technology into schools as a tool for instruction. Whether you're using VR, and gosh, I hope you're not just using VR, one thing is certain: we have to move as far away as we possibly can from traditional education, it does not make for an innovative future. Instead, let’s help young people to build a world that they want to live in because let’s be fair, they’re inheriting every single mistake we ever made.
Metaverse Beauty Week, ugh, you know what I’m going to say. I did Metaverse Fashion Week and it sucks more than Bad Bunny mansplaining to Kendall Jenner. I want to see what the use case is for beauty beyond the POAP. God knows they suck right now, but when Avakin Life did their thing at O Boticário it was brilliant, but this? The point is that beauty should be really interesting; but each time someone tries to do something “beauty” in the metaverse it comes off like a tactical facepalm. It's bad to try and suggest that what you're putting on your face is something that you can feel when we don't have haptics in any of these platforms. Phantom touch aside it feels like an expensive press release which is exactly how Metaverse Fashion Week went down in the end—some people are still asking “Metaverse what?” but they know, they were there. If you care, and I don’t; this event runs from June 12-16.
Meta Inc., you know, those guys, well it’s betting big on AI with custom chips and a supercomputer. Well, I did not see this coming. Especially not after the absolutely shitty year that Zuckerberg has had so far as CEO of Meta. For a change, he’s got nothing to say, but I would like to congratulate him on his Jiu Jitsu win; finally he can become Pete Becker.
The VP of infrastructure says that they're building their own hardware capabilities to give them control. Quite cool, but they're using generative/AI for workloads, and ad designing creation tools. So again, what this all boils down to is “how can we make our business which is an ad business, more sustainable, streamlined and more profitable?” Step forward a combination of failed CPU projects which never rolled out and instead a custom chip design for accelerating AI algorithms. They spent billions on Nvidia chips and that meant changing their data centres, but finally Meta are really creating an in-house chip, which is due out in 2025. In short, this story is absolutely pointless for anybody else in the whole world, unless you work for Meta.
That’s enough metaverse for this week. I’m off to test my new Starlink (thank you SpaceX) from the top of a mountain. See you in hyperspace, losers! Want more juice? It’s a-coming. Until then check out our super Spotify playlist and listen while you work. Or, sample Metacrun.ch meets… where I interview only the coolest people in the metaverse and web3. Want in? Talk to us!