In a time when the world and their dog are metaverse experts (see also AI and chatGPT idiots), the actual OGs of the metaverse are being drowned out by the sounds of narcissism. I’m just being honest friends; it’s tiring to hear or read the divvys of the metaverse spouting untried and unrest sage advice that no one wants to hear from a place of no experience and even less: no shipped products in the space that they are spotting their brand of crap about. Fancy wading through web3 treacle? Read on…
Ça Plane Pour Moi
My mantra of web3, blockchain and everything metaverse remains. Focus on the player/end user first, always on the experiences first. When I read stories about how things are digital-first, metaverse-first or NFT-first, I just wonder whether these creators have ever thought about putting the consumer first, because that’s priority one.
It’s therefore no surprise that a bunch of dudes went into a studio and created a metaverse-first band. And you know, that was their first crime. Then UMG came along and signed them because they’d previously produced Bruno Mars for god’s sake. Two strikes. Then Spotify said “hold my pint”, and to help artists (!) in this space make money, they’re setting up some kind of NFT thing to monetise playlists with token gateways. There are a good many crimes in that paragraph. Largely these are crimes against musicians who are just trying to get heard above the noise of guitars programmed into Fairlights or auto tuned vocals from talentless dregs.
Read my newsblast from last week about Napster because what they’re doing seems to be made for creators. But this Spotify crap is a total flex. I won’t even grace you with the fact that this Gorillaz rip-off is all BAYC. My god, the Bored Apes are not ageing well.
Poor Ian Brown. Anyway, what is the point of this? If it was a way to be able to reach a different audience, then certainly, I would applaud it for its innovation. But to be fair, Spotify already exists. I don't know if anybody noticed this, but it definitely already exists. So is there a reason to create a new model inside an existing model?
The final undoubtedly goes to creative titan Mike Middleton (if you don’t know him, find him and follow him): “There is nothing in this that requires Blockchain technology tho. Pretty sure the Spotify API could accommodate this without a single ETH being spent. What part of this is "the metaverse"? Is it just "the metaverse" because Kingship are Bored Apes?” ‘Nuff said.
Which web3 superhero is currently back in stealth mode following a series of failed “launches” of their NFT series?
Here's some just awesome news. This has made my actual week for a number of reasons. First up, it’s ridiculous, secondly it’s a total no-brainer. Are you ready? The Cardigans’ favourite soap opera Emmerdale has decided to join the metaverse. That’s the tweet.
For my international friends the elevator pitch of this particular soap is “Several families from a tight-knit community in the Yorkshire village of Emmerdale face various ups and downs in their lives and strive to overcome their problems.” ITV, the network responsible for both this mega idea and the soap itself, want to use the programme’s iconic intellectual property of sheep, horse brasses and biblical-named characters to create experimental prototypes inside an interactive virtual world of the metaverse.
I worked on a soap about 20 years ago. A lot of my pals have gone on to do big things on big soaps but this was something that soaps needed to do during the transmedia boom of 10 years ago. Since the MCU somehow swallowed up everyone’s diary, is now the time to launch an Emmerdale metaverse? Well, as a K-Drama fan myself, and considering what Hotel Del Luna did in Zepeto I am very much looking forward to hanging out with Sam Dingle. Let’s see how it works. It’s got to be better than Interpol hasn’t it?
Which VC legend is juggling a dual life of yachts, lovers and champagne whilst his partner looks at very different dull and boring instagram stories?
I did everything I could to not title this newsblast “Wedding Bellends” such is the overwhelming cringe I feel about this story.
Having opened a wedding chapel in the metaverse last August to very little fanfare, Taco bloody Bell have upped the ante this Friday 24 February 2023, to bring two avatars together for a kiss and a wedding. This is a bit like when your pet dog takes a liking to your friend's dog and you stage a wedding in the back garden of your house. Your Frenchie wore a bowtie (and an in-bred breathing problem) and the bride, a Yorkshire Terrier, wore a tutu (and a stomach full of grass). You drink, they pee on your topiary then mount each other, and everyone goes home.
I’m being mean. Because what I really love about this is the hubris of it all. The hubris of thinking that brand activation is something somehow new to any virtual universe have clearly never played Forza Horizon. And those who actually believe that weddings in hyperspace are new have clearly never played Runescape, World of Warcraft or EVE Online; you can't possibly know the level of stanning the game/metaverse title that leads people towards getting married inside a game universe. It’s big. But this particular campaign will be quickly forgotten and it’s really just another one in a list of brand activations, which is a term I absolutely hate. What I hate more about this is its weird, tacky, disjointed environment experience. It's just nuts really. And it typifies the attitudes of everybody inside the metaverse currently, it's laughable.
Forget lawsuits about sexual harassment, the latest buzz swirling the games industry is a different kind of harassment: farting on colleagues.
“Don't Try To Teach A Pig To Sing…”
I love, love, love Judge Judy. She makes law both entertaining and informative, gosh, I don’t even know if that’s a good thing. Would Judge Judy Sheindlin work in the metaverse though? Probably not, so say goodbye to JJ and say hello to MM: Magistrate María Victoria Quiñones Triana of the Administrative Court of Magdalena. She granted a hearing in, wait for it: Meta’s Horizon Workrooms last week and streamed it on YouTube.
I can’t get my breath over how big a flex for Meta this actually is. They are living rent-free in my head this year. And if you didn’t think the law was an ass when you were watching the live stream from the Old Bailey as various violent criminals were banged to rights, imagine how this looks on a platform where avatars have only just been modelled with legs.
Back in the 1990s, like everyone who got a free subscription to Sky BSB, we were glued to the trial of OJ Simpson starring Lance Ito, Marcia Clark, Robert Kardashian, Johnnie Cochran and more. Like all good trials pre- and post-dating this one, it will always be the public who decides the outcome of a public trial. The metaverse is no different. It’s simply another medium to practise and perform.
To prepare the Magdalena courtroom in Horizon Workrooms, the magistrate consulted the law through ChatGPT, yes, this is real, you are reading this correctly. Her honour wanted to presumably understand the jurisdiction on whether to allow the case to be held in a virtual setting. But this is a weird watershed moment for the law and just a huge flex for everyone involved except (or not) for the plaintiffs/defendants. Xiamen, China has already reportedly heard two cases in the metaverse. A Colombian judge presiding over the First Circuit Court in Cartagena said that he used ChatGPT to assist in his legal decision.
Are we at the End of Days point in human civilisation yet? Are we outsourcing our thinking now? WHY? Because if we are, let’s all ready ourselves for the second coming of President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho. I’m waiting…
Which tech CEO is still using COVID as an excuse for dipping out of troublesome meetings. Word has it that she’s had it 4 times this year alone. It’s February.
In really boring literature news, Neal Stephenson of Snow Crash fame, which in case you have been living in a hole that doesn’t have Linkedin, is a book that coined the term Metaverse. Le sigh. Well this word, or item, or god knows what, and some other stuff is going to be auctioned by Sotheby's. In a newsletter week where the flexes don’t stop, Sotheby’s has brought out an auction series called, wait for it, Infocalypse which is quite obviously made for guys. Who else would care about the continuous regurgitation of a mother crow into the mouths of her children with the word metaverse being puked back into her gullet? The snobbery of this corner of the metaverse is quite beyond anything else, this is a complete total and utter pile of self-indulgent non inclusive crap. The next person who even suggests William Gibson I will literally CAB.
Which metaverse expert delivers the same keynote at every workshop? A few corporations have started to sideline this specialist who is more interested in publicity than actual deliverables.
Is privacy in the metaverse impossible? There’s some new research in exploring this particular headache. The idea that “how little data is actually needed to uniquely identify a user in the metaverse, potentially eliminating any chance of true anonymity in virtual worlds.” is both terrifying and hilarious in equal amounts. Where I come from we would call this cack handed planning. The metaverse has always been a bit cart before horse, a victim of circumstance (the pandemic) no one really had the time to protect their necks.
Whilst I agree that we need to bring in something regulatory, I also understand that it's really difficult to create full privacy inside an open and transparent platform. If we're talking about closed platforms, then yeah, they've got to adhere to the rules of the law in the same way that we have to in video games. But in something that's open and democratised, “fiat” laws are secondary to rule engines or DAOs.
In my opinion, and this is just my take, because my university is not Berkley but the University of Data Queens: Heidi Saas, Renée Cummings and Debbie Reynolds, (please go and check them out now,) I would be looking at being able to create something that is akin to COPPA wrapped around or placed inside a transparent platform service, and of course, using the DAO as a policy administrator. The lid could go on Pandora’s Box if the will was as open and transparent as the environment.
That’s enough metaverse for this week, I’m off to Mumbai where the metaverse is still an innocent baby bird. Until I get back, why don’t you check out our extra special Spotify playlist (no NFT required) of past and present articles in the Metacrun.ch annals?