You might be forgiven for thinking that absolutely nothing is happening in the metaverse this week. You would be WRONG! As I fiddle around with sticky bits of code hanging off the edges of my digital gift box and glug the last remnant of this batch of Glögg (as opposed to glog), there's a load of stuff happening this week, and it’s all stitched up like a snuggly patchwork quilt (you’ll see). So like that scene in Pretty Woman where Richard Gere opens that box of Harry Winston diamonds for Julia Roberts, I'm excited to trap my fingers in the metaverse and giggle.
Location, Location, Vocation
Hear ye, hear ye! Crypto is cool…. All of a sudden. Trusted publication The Motley Fool wants to take us on a weird journey through the investable bits of the metaverse.
Most investors, it appears, are turning to the passive income opportunities of letting digital real estate in Decentraland to make a few bob. Mmm. But, MANA though. It’s taken a bit of a kicking of late - why should we care about this?
Well, who doesn’t love passive income? Since the early days of FarmVille and its subsequent siblings, there is nothing finer than making money whilst doing nothing at all. Especially if you’re a game developer. But this is 2022, and the game developer is not as savvy as they once were. In fact, metaverse builders (but not all of them) and even UGC creators are the new gods. McKinsey reckons that the metaverse will be worth $1 trillion in terms of market opportunity within a few years. I definitely believe that it will be, and I'm very excited by quite a lot of stuff that's happening inside this space at the moment.
So if you have digital land ownership in DCL or any of the other metaverses, you can rejoice, and start making some sweet sweet MANA (or whatever) by letting it out to folks who want to set up a short-term presence. Noice!
Side note: I have a little spot in Spatial that I created for Thinking Heads to host speaking events and mixers, so I get the idea - I’ve made literally no money from it to date.
Festivals, product launches, or community events all spell massive passive income opportunities for owners of land parcels, but can I be a bit salty too? Because MANA has tanked this month (and last). Could it be that this massive passive income opportunity gives DCL a much needed end of year glow-up? No? It’s just me then. I'm not entirely sure whether it's a good idea to invest anything into any of these metaverses whilst they're behaving like silly children. More on that later this week.
The Metaverse For Dummies
I’ll keep this short. CustomerThink, which is a website, took great pleasure this week in inviting us to their time machine and taking us for a spin back to 2019/2020 to explain to us what the differences are between VR and the Metaverse. When I read this “story” the first time around, I was like ok, people are still excited about the possibilities, but then after a second read, I thought, wtf is the point of explaining or should I say bizsplaining something which happened 3 + years ago? This article sucks worse than my writing about it. Dear CustomerThink, please stop filling worldwide servers up with your weird Business Insider drivel, I want to fill servers worldwide up with all the NFTs that I can’t sell, kthxbye.
Imagine a world where anything is possible. Bieber, Madonna, Serena Williams! WOW! I could really be somebody - should I write a book? About the metaverse? I can’t be bothered, perhaps I could get into a secret club by buying NFTs?
Look kids, we know that for the most part, the metaverse is unregulated and for web3 everything should be open. So how is it that Yuga Labs, better known as the Bored Ape Yacht Club creators, are being sued?
According to the allegation and claim, investors in (presumably) BAYC accuse Yuga Labs and manager-to-the-stars Guy Oseary (and MoonPay) of failing to register celebrity endorsements and brand alignment to upsell BAYC with the SEC. They state: “The unique selling point of Yuga Labs' NFT collection, called the Bored Ape Yacht Club, is that NFT owners become members of an exclusive "club" that included these celebrities.”
Plaintiffs Adonis Real and Adam Titcher have cited the SEC element possibly orthogonally because, “any celebrity or other individual who promotes a virtual token or coin that is a security must disclose the nature, scope, and amount of compensation received in exchange for the promotion” a recent ruling which caught Kim Kardashian out. However, this is more about whether or not the celebrities are in the Bored Ape Yacht Club, a club that doesn’t exist in anything but the minds of elitists who want to repeat the Leonardo DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby meme a million times over.
Holodeck Inn, Shoreditch
You don't have to be a mega forward-thinking futurist to discover that there are opportunities through the power of web3 and digital twins to be able to create a whole new bunch of different innovations inside the space that we call the metaverse. Well, you know, McKinsey has said that this area can generate up to $5 trillion in value by 2030. $5 trillion in value? But didn’t we just read that they also said $1 trillion in a few years just a few news snippets ago?
So what do we think about the hotel, hospitality, and events sector? I know a few folks from this vertical who were absolutely destroyed by the pandemic. It was sad to look at an industry we rely upon for expos, holidays, and fancy meals to discover that they literally had no innovative muscle to pivot towards a grounded client base. The hotels and events sector is worth $1.25 in the physical space. 33% of all hotel revenue generated through events has also risen to 75% in sector-specific hotels.
What I know is true is that investment into the metaverse space is big. So let's think about where the potential of the metaverse can level up the hotel offerings. If any of you have ever read my book Prince of Tokyo (a Christmas stocking filler plug), you will note that I created a holodeck inside the Holiday Inn in Shoreditch. So it is definitely relevant that we're having a conversation right now, about meta events inside hotel spaces. I mentioned my Spatial bureau that I developed for Thinking Heads, but more than that, for hotels, this is about conversion.
Walking around a meta hotel or being inside a meta event may create good opportunities with or without a pandemic, for hospitality businesses to go that extra mile and create small experiences inside metaverses. What do I always say? Go where the people are. Show ‘em what you’ve got. It might not result in a conversion every time, but like the Guccis or the Balenciagas of the world, they’re not looking to sell an item of luxury, they’re banking on brand awareness to sustain a community.
Finally, I would say that this is a much cheaper alternative because you can take millions of people on servers, and you can get a limited number of visitors to a land property. I love testing products live, and this is a wonderful way to test the holodeck hypothesis. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Fish Of The Day
Another week in Meta means another dig from The Guardian. Is Meta ok hun? Suggesting a #fail is a big mood here because failure is a fairly relative concept when we’re talking about billions of dollars. Meta, one of the biggest tech companies in the world, has been suffering from a massive identity crisis since it changed its name by deed poll to something that it could hide inside of. But the thing with hiding in plain sight is that everyone can actually see you. Do you feel seen?
Poor third-quarter results: check! Share price wiping value: check! But let’s be honest, it’s not gonna go down without a fight. This company still has a heck of a lot more value than your local Chip Shop, and that is a place where loads of people congregate. It’s social but nowhere near as social as Meta in terms of numbers. So if you think 10 people chatting in the queue for some battered Skate is representative of people in the metaverse and on social media, Mark Zuckerberg is still frying tonight (and every night).
The titans of the metaverse might well go to rescue him, they might also run for the Santa Cruz mountains; but I'm thinking to myself that it’s not a bad thing that's happening here and now. Meta is going through a bit of a dip, Meta has speculated poorly. And now Meta, or Mark, is naturally ill-prepared to be able to give that up. If I had $1 for every time I worked for a CEO who refused to give up on a crap idea, I certainly wouldn’t be pouring my heart out in Metacrun.ch.
Here’s the why of this particular issue - we’re not in the pandemic anymore. Everyone is either in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis or out on their yacht living their best lives. People need or want to do IRL things. Meta and quite a few other tech platforms understand this, but they have a board to serve. Whatever was promised back then still has to be followed through. An expensive VR headset and legless avatars in virtual meeting rooms are no fun for anybody who has Teams, Zoom, and Meet. Give us something to do that behaves like Facebook then! The Zucc is missing something really important about what he’s doing and has done with Facebook and Meta; and that my friends, is tech. Meta does tech really well. I am the type of person who does not believe that just because a piece of technology is not perfectly profitable, it should therefore be consigned to the bin. Instead, what I see is technologies and platforms as tools. And just because my mum, the Facebook aficionado, hates Horizon Worlds, it doesn’t mean that the 3D motion and audio tools or plugins that have been used in Meta aren't usable in other places. In fact, in order to draw back some of that loss that Zuckerberg has made; now would be a really fantastic time to start licensing products for third-party use. I think that's the only way for him to be able to get out of this shit show that he's found himself in at the moment.
Meanwhile, rivals such as Minecraft, which has 170 million users per month, Roblox, which allegedly has more than 200 million visitors a month, and Fortnite, which has 250 million active players, are actually doing way better and kind of less social than that which we might consider as the OG of social. Social has changed. A lot. Even VRChat is doing amazing, which actually does require you to have a headset in order to be able to have a conversation with people. It is perfectly possible that people just do not see the social connection between Facebook and Meta because it’s not there anymore.
Have you checked the Metacrun.ch top 10 metaverses yet? Each week we select the latest and greatest of everything metaverse for you to dive into and explore. Note that this chart changes - weekly! So keep checking back to find your fave.
That's enough Metaverse for this week. I’ve set up a tripwire wire in front of a vat of Sherry.