Welcome grapple fans to another fascinating instalment of “Lives of the Tech Bros” - think Sunset Beach meets Tomorrow’s World, I’m pitching it to Netflix. Can you believe that it’s only the third day of a new year, let alone a new month and already the world of the metaverse and all its bits and pieces are looking like a 1kg box of broken biscuits from Iceland. Don’t despair though, there’s a lot of hope around the corner and this year in Metacrun.ch we’ve got some awesome sauce of top guest blogs, salt-tastic articles and interviews with some of the coolest and clueless in the world of metaverse, web3, blockchain and everything. Let’s get this year started!
I don’t often open my news feeds to a WTF news entry because let’s be honest, Metacrun.ch only send me WTF news to report on. I have to say that I was more than surprised at the downturn of VR headsets over this previous quarter. What the hell is going on? I’ll tell you what, choice vs purchasing power. It’s obvious isn’t it? You’ve either got loads of dough to blow on a headset you will use twice, or you have not enough choice to suit your limited budget. VR headsets are seriously expensive and for 20-mins-at-a-time action, it’s really not cutting it is it?
I think that this emergent tech craze needs to take a long look at itself: 1. Do we need more stuff? 2. And is that stuff any better than the last wave of stuff we had? 3. What happened to AR FFS? It was supposed to be so much more than Pokémon Go. 4. And Apple glasses? Do me a favour.
The metaverse is so much more than VR. We can have one without the other and we should have more choice. Who gets to tell us that without VR we have no metaverse? The shortsightedness of these supposed tech *leaders* is not lost on me for I have been surrounded with such madness since we started using this term. Why don’t we start listening to use cases or leaders who have strong use cases in this space like Esther O'Callaghan (she’s building a metaverse for future careers) or Yahaha which is a low-code and free UGC builder — no headset required to get going, just a load of passion. That’s much more news than a 2% drop in sales.
You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)
It’s so weird that the metaverse is going through a weird Schrodinger's Cat phase. Unknown as to whether it is dead or alive, speculators are both betting on it and casting it into the sea at the same time. It’s very refreshing that one really good thing has come out of it: gamification. When I first started talking about it back in 2019/2020 my hope would be that the metaverse would be a kind of gamemeta, a world that you can live in but not exactly be forced into playing inside – a narrative construct that lives alongside the action. I had always created game worlds with the idea that the player could do both, it’s game design 101. However, lately, the metaverse being this behemoth of ego and vanity rather than what the purists believe it to be, has been a wasteland of failed ad campaigns. Why? The tragedy of the metaverse is that the ad-revenue needed way more cowbell than advertisers were willing to pay, and in the end, as Digiday states in this excellent overview, the metaverse is becoming the Leo Johnson of technology, when it should be “A safer, more understood space, where this is scale and opportunity,” says Sarah Salter, global head of innovation at the WPP agency Wavemaker. Unless developers embrace the gaming aspect that powers the metaverse (the meta for heaven’s sake) it will be an empty husk of what was once opportunity. Most brands don’t get gamification but in 2023 they will have to get with it or die trying.
A Good Year For The Broses
Living with my parents was a kind of weird Royal Tenenbaums hell until I was able to take my entire grindcore collection and myself into a small house in the middle of Mansfield. I was 19. I had tried to leave home several times before but no dice. They kept finding me. However, I was not a billionaire. I am still not a billionaire, I’m a billionaire of treasured death metal possessions but you get the picture. Darren Nguyen however, loves living at home with his folks and we love him. The 25 year old has just posted after-tax profits AU$10.41 million for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021. How did he do it? Well, he traded AU$2.98 billion worth of crypto over the 12-month period. Not too shabby, but did he tidy his bedroom? Did he sweep the drive? Did he take the dog for a walk 3 times a day, once before school and the rest on a stalking exercise to check out the hot guy with the VW beetle down the road? No. He’s a billionaire.
I still have all my Napalm Death records, but I hunger for someone to do my laundry.
I Want It Now
It’s the New Year and already there’s some thawing of this dreadful crypto winter (even if we’re stuck in a strange winter IRL). From the perspective of Metaverse and gaming tokens, it could be a kick ass year. Let me rephrase that. If I have my way it will be a massive year for game currencies.
If I tell you that APE and AXS are having a moment, it’s nice! Let’s just enjoy it. I actually half-love it, like when you say you love chocolate but you’re on your eighth bar today. To be honest, neither coins excite me massively. This type of coin or token associated with weirdness and instability can’t sustain, that’s just my opinion. But in contrast, according to this article, at least, the market cap is only up around 1.6% in the last 24 hours anyway. So what's the big deal? Well, ApeCoin recently finalised its special council elections, which was to give five people, five Willy Wonka-style golden tickets to an empire that's already like the Chocolate Factory but this ApeCoin represents the utility and governance which underpins Otherside, which is the metaverse project from those fun BAYC folks. How is that going? Meanwhile, we're all really really excited for Square Enix who have doubled right down on blockchain and web3 gaming in their annual New Year letter. A bit like when Jean-Claude Van Damme and Jean-Claude Van Damme starred together in that kickboxing flick. Square Enix’s news has got to be one of the biggest things that has happened not only in the last few days, but in the last few years. That’s not all. A bunch of incredible game studios and services are going to release all manner of tokens, currencies and joy to show these stupidheaded corporate console nutters what they are missing. Watch what Nefta.io (who was one of our Metacrun.ch 2022 winners) and Oasys do with their IP this year. Hopefully this will bear fruit enough to change gaming forever. We live in a time of hope.
I've heard recently about how people want to call NFTs by another name, like biscuits, maybe not disco biscuits. But anyway, the point is, NFTs are on dodgy ground name-wise. Thanks to all those douches who connected the scammy nature of pump and dumps to the wonder of utility driven experiences. Look, cryptocurrency was really unstable and a little bit weird last year but it’s 2023 now. People don't want to pay money for overpriced pictures of apes, and they want to use NFTs as something of use. This beautiful article in Hacker Noon is ace. What gets covered in this article is everything I harped on about for ages, however, it takes a man to tell it to us straight I guess. I have had 2 conversations about NFTs this week and it;’s only Tuesday. If you don’t know, well, I’ll tell you that as well as being Salt Cellar In Chief at Metacrun.ch, I have a great little NFT consultancy which has produced some of your most favourite collectibles of yesterday, today and tomorrow with everyone worth a shit. Do you know why? It’s because I believe in the awesome power of how NFTs can leverage everything. So let's start the year with something really beautiful, and explore the prospect of being able to earn that Dolce & Gabbana bag rather than just going out and buying it and then assuming that we're going to get the NFTs. Then, let's think a little bit further about how we can integrate those NFTs into something that's more interoperable because I think that's what's really lacking in what is being created.
Sign O' The Times
I promise that 2023 is not going to be a year of kicking Meta when it's down. But let’s be really honest: Meta had a terrible 2022, financially and in the press, it has suffered greatly as a brand. I can't pinpoint just one case of suffering. I think it’s fairly obvious to everybody. What I think is important is that Meta still has something that is really important: TECHNOLOGY. I’ve said it before and I will keep saying it.
$10bn getting wiped off your valuation doesn’t detract from 20 years of tech from platform, to ads to data, to AI and VR. Don’t be silly billies, think like business people. Meta is a mine of knowledge, not a person, but a hive of thousands. Though I don’t believe Meta can deliver an internet future worthy of our hopes and dreams, I suspect we’ll be building it on some of their technology. I would love to see Mark Zuckerberg taking some responsibility for what happened in 2022 like a good CEO. It's always a big disappointment when you over promise and under deliver. However, wake up sheeple, this is a sign of the times. Too many technology companies are doing this these days, and they're getting away with it too. Especially at VC levels of pitching. I talked about it in my final 2022 article for Metacrun.ch, and I stand by every word, so if you haven't read it, you should probably take a look at it.
It's so important these days that we don't find ourselves in a situation where we just bullshit through what it is that we have developed to try and get to the good stuff because we think that's what it is that you want. That isn't how it should be. What we should be doing is focusing on what our strengths are and doing them well. That’s how you stop haemorrhaging employees, profit and product.What Mark Zuckerberg needs right now is probably some very good advice than a good kicking.
That's enough metaverse for this week.