What are the big questions of the week? Mostly, “what the hell is wrong with the UK economy”, “are we wearing masks again” and “what are we having for tea?” but in the metaverse it’s much more about which way we’re all gonna jump. The problems you have with the nomenclature of whether or not to call something NFT or metaverse are laughable in certain corners of the globe where these magical words are a passport to innovation. Speaking of passports…
Immutable wants to change the game in 2023 They've created a passport system for web3 games. I'm a really big fan of Immutable, who like my fam at Nefta, knows exactly what they’re doing in this space. Yes, Immutable has created a noncustodial secure digital wallet that can be used for NFT powered games, but what about NFTs that aren’t games? What about assets outside of Immutable? I’m looking for interoperability in 2023, but not between just web3 games - I need interoperability in EVERYTHING. If it isn’t focused on everything from digital transactions (nope), to MFA and recovery (nope) then my problem with it is that I will need to get yet another wallet to do those things.
What Immutable should be thinking about is what their users do when they aren’t playing games. One thing I can tell you is what those users will do very soon. They will take their games and assets (which should be 100% interoperable) and their digital transaction information everywhere with them, and they need a fully robust and agile solution for all experiences that they don’t currently have. Hang around in passportland if you like fellas, but your user base will vote with their wallets.
Q: Which advancing age game dev CEO recently married his 23-year old secretary? It’s one way to show up to meetings on time, I guess.
Hype Hype, Hurray!
You know that I love to give Meta a kicking as and when I can. Today is maybe not that day, since it’s not fair that one day after their 19th birthday I would still be calling them Facebook. However, as I am starting to see a few clouds clear off the back of their recent $4.28 billion operating loss in the fourth quarter of 2022, I’m coming around to Meta(, but not the Zucc). We love it when a business overvalues themselves because we never think it will happen to us. Remember this nonsense from last year? Well, here’s an interesting take from Meta because what seems to be happening is a proof of the pivot. What do pivots cost? MONEY! $13.4bn to be exact. They cost money for anyone, regardless of the business size. If you want to pivot out of something and into something else, it’s gonna cost a few bob. As is quite rightly pointed out in this article Meta is still an online ad company. So as it pivots from one little bit or corner of the marketplace to another, it's going to record an operating loss. What isn't clear here is exactly what any of the gains are, from Meta over a period of time, which I suspect is probably more indicative of the marketplace than what their actual losses are from the perspective of, for example, sales of VR headsets. It would be interesting to get more information about what Meta is doing here. Because buybacks aside, it looks like this Silicon Valley bro is not done yet (though we wish he was).
Overheard in Davos: “Look around you. This is not the future, this is the Bilderberg group… with booze.”
Will you take $2 for it?
When eBay acquired NFT marketplace Known Origin, we all took a collective deep breath. eBay was the OG of e-commerce at a time when Amazon was still selling books. With just a year between the two companies in age since founding, it’s interesting to see that eBay is looking at the future of e-commerce where Amazon is looking at the tech toolkit side of the business. From the perspective of this news story, in particular, which is focused on hiring key web3 roles since they acquired Known Origin last June, roles listed include “crypto counsel, Head of Community, marketing executive and others”. Is this another story of a pivot? eBay has always cornered the marketplace in community and community driven e-commerce, I mean, where else can you buy a Jason Statham blow up doll? So this new vision for eBay should be a cinch right? How they're focused on transitioning from traditional web2 community marketplace into the specifics of web3 will be an awesome insight, especially because they can’t fail at this. My take on this is that NFTs are coming back in a really big way; due mostly to their transformative appeal from physical to digital. NFTs when done properly carry a great deal of incredibly rich utility the like of which we've really only just scratched the surface of. Watch this space.
Q: Which web3 hardman likes to be tucked up in bed by midnight? In one of his most recent soirees, all exclusive invitees were kicked out at 10.30pm on the dot.
Give me a break
The idea that a company calls themselves Limit Break at first made me cry because anybody who knows me knows I'm MASSIVE Final Fantasy VII fangirl and limit breaks are very important to me and Cloud. Limit Break is a blockchain-based game developer who incorporates NFTs into free to play models, and this time they're making history by securing an ad during the Superbowl. It's the first time that NFT developers secure have done anything of the kind during the most watched televised programme in the United States. The developers will then mint a limited number of their Dragon NFTs in one of the “most iconic minting events” (I’m pretty sure me minting orgasms has been a close second if not a tie for most iconic, but ok, I’m listening). Viewers who scan a QR code will be “able to access one of the 40,000 NFTss in the giveaway”. What I want to know is what do you get when Limit Break mints their NFTs? See my previous story on eBay/Known Origin. I want to know what you're getting. If you're getting something with inbuilt utility for a game, all well and good. If you're getting utility that is interoperable, well that would be a dream. But I’m scared Daddy. My feeling is this is just really focused on the Super Bowl and I don't know a damn thing about the Super Bowl LVII NFT Dragon initiative, but this sounds like bro code for “you missed the whitelist” and therefore it’s a huge flex. I hate huge flexes that are baseless. What they're suggesting is that doing this advert is an innovative way for investors in the crypto community to become part of the Limit Break community and you know the small print about that stuff. There are a great many other ways that they could have achieved community, but obviously these folks are in a rush, and the moment that you start to suggest that somebody's in a rush is the moment that I start to think ah, what have you actually got looks like it’s not a lot. So enjoy that Super Bowl AD campaign. But remember that NFTs are not just for the Super Bowl, they are life (or until you resell or forget you have them).
Q: Which tech company is on the hunt for a new lead following an embarrassing trouser soiling incident in the boardroom? Smells like bean spirit.
It’s Never Easy Being Cheesy
Gather around, kids under 13: there's going to be a virtual Super Bowl concert inside Roblox during the um, Super Bowl weekend, event thing. If you want 10-year olds to connect with your offering, you got it! There’s millions of them. Back in the day when there were some really cool guerilla marketing organisations for mainly toy companies everything felt controlled didn’t it? Contrived perhaps. I get that. In 2023, these tactics seem really unnecessary when you think about Minecraft, Roblox, Zepeto etc. If you build it, they will come. I know quite a lot of 10-year olds lately because they're usually members of my family, and they don't have any money unless me or their parents give it to them. So I'm really struggling to understand what the uplift here is apart from brand awareness about Warner Music Group because I don’t know much about Pretty Bitch Music but I’m not sure that 10 year olds need to fast track to bitch, do they?
Overheard in a Teams call this week: “Wait a minute, I need my wife’s finger to open me up on this page.”
“I am not one of your fans”
You know how much I absolutely hate metallic wings in digital fashion? Well, somebody saw my hate and decided to up the ante. The direction of travel that they've gone in is into banal weird virtual jewellery, from “cascading headpieces to golden crusted eyewear”. By the way, gold doesn't exist inside the metaverse and the specularity of which is going to be fairly difficult to render in a mobile space unless you're using Unity tools, which I can guarantee that quite a lot of these people will not be doing anyway. They've just basically decided that they want to create rando jewellery that you can wear on your head and look like you're in The Fifth Element without actually thinking carefully about the quality levels (which I can see in this god awful gallery in the article).
I guess it’s time to go through yet another boring stage of stupid accessories that people will wear in their ridiculous girly games and virtual platforms, just like we had with metallic bloody wings. A physical industry worth “$292 billion by 2025” suggests to me that the standards of virtual development in this area are gonna have to up their game substantially to make even 1% of that market in this space. Though there are strong contenders for creating a solid sector to support the virtual fashion industry. One of my faves is Diana Broussard who literally kills it for Carolina Herrera.
Instead of thinking about peacocking your dreadfully cheap crap through the fashion pages, why don’t you work on creating impactful accessory statements (like Diana does) and working on the digital product lifecycle management process, going from the atelier to the end user and back again, with very minimal waste? Because it’s too easy to change the world with one item when you can drag your priapic designs through every damn fashion-centric website. Keep feeding on the me-me-me energy, stylistas.
That’s quite enough Metaverse for this week. I’m off to poke fun at some crazy pitches (I said pitches) for next week’s juicy bits.