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A Week In 21.02.2023

It’s all gone a bit Y2K over at this week, it must be my age. There’s some strong birth-of-the-metaverse type shit along with some forgotten names hoping for something of a revival in this fertile future. I’m gonna slip on my best pair of hipsters and ready you for a muffin top and whale tail of news this week.

Hot Blocks

I just asked my other half what a collective of Shawns would be called. Or is that Shaun? Or Sean? He answered without blinking. “A Peer-to-Peer of Shawns” That’s exactly what I was thinking. When Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker launched Napster in June 1999 it soon caused more controversy than that time I was suspended during my GCSEs for satirising my 5th teachers in a worthless and frankly boring comicstrip depicting middle class twits on a crummy Nottingham council estate. Which is probably how Lars Ulrich felt when Fanning did a whole skit on it at the 2000 MTV Awards. To be fair, suing Napster was quite possibly one of the funnest things he’s done in his whole Metallica career (including that shit Carpool Karaoke that wasn’t). An-y-way, Napster is doing something which I’m a bit like *welcome-to-yesterday* about, why? Because Napster was made for web3. Even when it was web1 it was made for web3, even when that stupefied move into web2 didn’t work, it was made for web3. Now as old as most of my friend’s oldest kids, and almost as old as my first Dolce & Gabbana dress (I still have it by the way, it fits on my left shoulder) — Napster has this whole manifesto about how its newest acquisition Mint Songs will change the face of music forever. Giving something back to artists/creators is the credo of web3, this hacker-esque vibe that seems to be growing by the day seems only stoppable by one thing: corporate greed. As music and art businesses race to find their obviously male metaverse leaders, I wonder how long it will be before this flourishing outcrop of brohood finds itself nestled yet again somewhere between Mountain View Research Park and Sunset Estates Mobile Home Park. The verdict? More sexetary-era Timberlake please.

Q: Which annoying face in web3 has had a few too many nights out lately? Is it possible for someone to be more annoying? 👎

Blox Stocks

Roblox have had yet another great week building content for the kiddiwonks and awesome investment returns for the ancients. As you know my main beef with Roblox has always been that despite the 58.9m DAU, I’m not a 10 year old kid and so therefore what business do I have being in those kinds of places? It’s creepy. And, unless I’m one of the world’s top 10 Gen Z / Gen Alpha brands, what business would my brand have in there either? *Shudders*

The rumours that Roblox might do a Fortnite and go cross-platform via Meta as well as the latest AI news — it’s been a great start to the year. In the words of the Techcrunch article, they have indeed weathered a storm or two, but the biggest storms might not come from the places we’re expecting. I would spend a long time looking at how Minecraft evolved (before Microsoft) and how those storms are still raining down on Minecraft players and Microsoft. Well done Roblox, but remember when kids grow up, we all grow up.

Which alleged guru is running their business from crowdsourced valuations? The investors are not happy that there’s been no revenue in almost 18 months. 💸


Is the metaverse therefore one big survival game now? Remember the golden age of the 90s and 00s: what a time to be alive! UnReal World anyone? How about Wurm Online? No? Ok then, Silent Hill, let’s go full survival horror, Parasite Eve, Fatal Frame - yesssssss. Now let’s add web3 and some zombies and wow the survival slash is back in business (though some say it never went away). The 00s were a headache for me because as a game developer, I couldn’t be less interested in zombies, nope, not me, I wanted vampires. Anyway, it’s 2023 and is a fab little game-fi experience combining NFT and web3 with player economics - sounds ok? Well your NFTs are safe and it looks like they have some utility too “The project has had 25 in-game smart contracts successfully audited by Certik as part of a 360-degree cybersecurity strategy, which works in conjunction with its security partner RedScan — the cybersecurity division of Kroll — to deliver a safe and secure ecosystem.” That works for me. They’ve also got a bunch of other cybersec supremos looking at mechanics and tech health as the game world grows.

I must also mention on an unrelated but brilliant note that our lovely friends at secured a $5m round to develop, secure and stabilise game-fi networks on web3 systems and platforms effectively running the whole back end without any need to pull in this or that. They’re like web3 plumbers and there’s not a monkey wrench in sight. Congrats people!

Which major game franchise has lost its production branch for the 5th time in 2 years? Their employers can’t get enough of ransomcode. 🎮

Meta Crocs

We featured Vivienne Tam in our digital fashion chart this past week for good reason, she’s making a good fist of the metaverse by utilising its myriad technologies and services. Bbz, that’s what we want you to do. You know that I get a headache when some absolute plum tells me — or should I be more accurate and say mansplains me — how I should do digital fashion. Mate, it’s us girls that invented it so I’m gonna be a damn sight more discerning about the type of digital fashion on my plate, trust. I’ll be honest, as pleased as I am about the Vivienne Tam effect on New York Fashion Week, I can’t help but feel like this is just a bit too contrived for my palate. I love Charli Cohen, yes, I think what Matthew Drinkwater is doing at the LCF and beyond is nuts, I’m proud of what Nak3d has accomplished so far and guess what? None of us uplifted BAYC… except for Vivienne. Pfffft… Also, can someone please tell the fashion industry to start using game technology and stop building their own useless platforms? This is not 2021 and you are not Vogue. /Rant.

Which digital fashion outlet is stalling big time? They say “even we can’t sell crap” 👗

Shop Box

It’s all going a bit Second Life over at Decentraland lately. It feels as though Decentraland is all about brand activation (that phrase I hate as much as the word bullish) and it’s become the Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson or Anthea Turner and Grant Bovey of the metaverse. This week’s announcement that Dubai’s Majid Al Futtaim will open its “Mall of the Metaverse” just felt really butters for a sec. And because of the Second Life comparisons, I know that Decentraland don’t actually mind who uses their platform and for what ends so long as they appeal to their DAO/Foundation and tenet(s). This “mall” of the metaverse will be a virtual shopping mall and be the home of the retail giant in the Decentraland universe, think of it as a more hench version of the Trafford Centre (how is that going by the way?). Yeah there’s too much Y2K slang in here but I enjoyed that way more than this morsel of news.

Which famed tech London frenemies are more tag team than arch nemeses? Word has it that they love to fight in the boardroom, but don’t talk business in the bedroom. 🫦

Feb Rocks!

Black History month is megaaaaa! You don’t need me to tell you that. I have always loved doing black history month stuff in my job, it’s always given me a lot of joy to study amazing icons like George Africanus and Hazel Johnson-Brown. Incidentally and if you are interested, the amazing Kayleigh Oliver who is one of my all time favourite people and just a ridiculously clever CTO, launched FOBBS a couple of years ago to celebrate black British society. So imagine what a metaverse journey might look like to explore black history? Well, Time Studios' project “The March 360” does just that.

Dr Martin Luther King is presented as part of the experience in his iconic “(I Have A) Dream” speech that is about the systematic problems of the zeitgeist which remain unresolved to this day. This and “Now is the Time” are available on MetaQuest and I have to say that it’s a shame that this isn’t more inclusive on the part of Time Studios. I have been fortunate to work on some great projects with the Smithsonian and even the Museum of London where the visitor has been able to immerse themselves without a $500 headset. I would have really loved something even more educational, actionable and accessible. It’s a shame that we feel we can tell stories to people who can afford to hear them. Save your pennies and slide over to FOBBS instead. It’s an awesome insight into the world of black history and it’s a passion project for everybody.

Which games CEO recently admitted that they have a shower once a week whether they need it or not? Sounds like someone needs to switch that sweet scent of sweat for soap. 🚿

That’s enough Metaverse for this week, I’m off to burn a Panic! At the Disco and My Chemical Romance mixtape off of Limewire.


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