This week is an awe-inspiring mix of some of the biggest tech and entertainment companies in the world, but how will their fortunes fair in the metaverse? Let’s find out.
The Metaverse of Broadway
“When you wish upon a star”, “Chim Chim Cher-ee”, “The Siamese Cat Song”, these are just a few of the things that we grew up in the 70s with, on vinyl. Called Walt Disney's Original Soundtrack Parade, it was a double album of around 25 original songs from the movies that our parents had taken us to see at the cinema; before DVDs and streaming. Yes, we used to have to go into a building with a big projector screen and beg our parents for a choc ice at the interval which was always delivered in a state of melt.
BUT KIDS! It’s 2022. So to celebrate 100 years of music in Disney, they have collaborated with Obsess which is an ecommerce platform known for creating interactive virtual storefronts to release this new web3 experience for its Disney Music Emporium. What would Danny Kaye think? And more importantly, what should Monsieur D'Arque do? Encanto, Turning Red, and The Lion King musical are reaching even more audiences through Disney+, then add Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings being something totally new - it makes incredible sense to bring these together with Steamboat Willie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the evergreen Fantasia.
What I find fascinating though, is that Disney are not going to partner with just one company this year; they've decided the other web3 platforms that they want to connect with include Flick Play, Polygon and Lockerverse. They're also exploring QR code opportunities for users to scan inside their Disney+ app to buy merchandise directly (welcome to yesterday everyone!) For me? This all feels a little bit clunky and I will be so interested to see how this will work. Perhaps this will only work if it's part of their overall metaverse. If it's just one interactive ecommerce platform store, then it's going to be a little bit limited and that's not really web3 now is it? We'll see.
Team Metaverse: World Police
Everyone knows that I’m a bad girl. I make no apology for being rude, naughty and rebellious. And when it comes to the metaverse, I’m even worse! Perhaps I’ll be in trouble with Interpol? I hope so. At their General Assembly in New Delhi, they presented a vision of the future for the global police organisation: they have decided that they would like to create a metaverse specifically designed for law enforcement worldwide. You know, because the metaverse is a place for everybody; and that should definitely include Interpol. What they plan to do is allow registered users to tour a virtual facsimile of the Interpol General Secretariat in Lyon, without any geographical or physical boundaries, to interact with other avatars, aka police officers, and even take immersive training courses in forensic investigation. This bit is really interesting to me because I'm a person who loves a bit of CSI. What is really important, though, is that this is an opportunity for the police to enhance their awareness of threats and harness opportunities. However, what I don’t like is that phrase registered users. Sounds a bit centralised doesn’t it? But wait! In conjunction with the World Economic Forum, Interpol, Meta, Microsoft and others they have created an initiative to define and govern the metaverse. OH GOD - IS THE METAVERSE STANDARDS FORUM BACK AGAIN? My take on this is really simple. This is Second Life-ism. This is an opportunity to create something that exists in the built space, or IRL, but within a web3/digital or supposed decentralised space, which it isn’t. Like for like. Instead of opening up the conversation about policing the metaverse safely it will most definitely limit the user experience for visitors to Interpol. But if Meta is involved in it, the chances are probably only your mum is going to be there. Is that naughty enough for ya?
Playing with Apes
When someone mentions games, my Grimes’ elf ears prick up. I was only mildly interested to read that Bored Ape Yacht Club’s Otherside is making a game. Despite decrying the amount of time it takes to make a game (3 years or something - WHAT?) this supposed game will be out only in beta and in 2023. Next year. This multiplayer game is going to be similar to Roblox, (which only game lovers know isn't an actual game), but okay, let's gamify something. Yugalabs, who developed BAYC described this game as “The Persistent World”. Yes, very good. But all I could think about was how much I miss playing The Secret World, that well-known Funcom game from 2012. What do you mean I can still play it?
All I want to know about the BAYC game is this: will it be made by game developers? Because if it isn’t going to be made by game developers, then what the hell are we going to play? Axie Infinity? So I guess next year's conversation is going to be what is a game rather than what we've been talking about for the last two years, which is what is the metaverse. Watch this space? Maybe go and do something less boring instead.
Messing with the Yen
On the subject of games, the Japanese are really pissed off, and quite rightly so. Why is everybody incredibly frightened of web3 technologies like cryptocurrency? In Japan, this is costing their place as the world’s gaming capital. Now, look, we've had these conversations about NFT gaming before, sure we have. We've talked about how cryptocurrencies are helping games to be able to develop faster and seamlessly in a world that is becoming ever virtual. However, companies like Nintendo, Sega et al. want to be able to constantly change with the times. They want to be able to look at the game-fi sector and the opportunities it provides such as using crypto assets as an extension of in-game currency to develop IP way beyond games. Let's face it, we already use currencies inside games. I can't understand why everybody's losing their minds about this.
Auditing. These strict listing rules drawn up by the financial aid agency suggest that the value of game currency as a coin in Japan, might be confusing and frustrating. The great news is that Sega, Square Enix and more Japanese developers and publishers are already partnering with third-party web3 services to keep the game playing and the IP strong. Check out Oasys if you don’t know what I mean. This Korean DAAS-provider (Decentralisation As A Service) is taking the headache of setting up crypto currencies into something that is more seamless and acceptable as a package rather than baggage.
Bad Hair Day
The marriage of my mum’s fave hair dye brand (L’Oreal) and her favourite social media platform (Meta) is gonna take the (drugstore) world by storm. This time we know they’re serious because they’ve added French Business School HEC Paris to create a startup acceleration programme dedicated to creativity in the metaverse. Yeah, it makes total sense. In all seriousness, they want to do something interesting. I get it, I feel it. They want to bring together young talent and they want to create creative synergy and energy; and that is laudable, I'm sure. But I'm not entirely sure it’s not just because they own various beauty brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Lancôme, Mugler, Armani, etc, that young people are necessarily going to fall into web3, NFT and the metaverse creative swell by virtue of going to the Perfume Shop (other cut-price fragrance stores are available). But they have started using web3 language so we must listen. In the end, this feels a little like the LVMH accelerator and if you remember how awkward that virtual conversation was at this year’s VivaTech event, you should have some idea about how little young people care for watching stale old CEOs trying to harness technology.
Why the Long Face?
My mum will be pleased that WhatsApp thinks that it's moving into the metaverse by doing something really super exciting. Avatars. AVATARS. By the way, for folks just tuning in, it’s 2022. The Metaverse for everyone's information is already way more than a bunch of avatars. But I can see what they're doing here. They want to be able to take on Ready Player Me, but if so why don't they just buy in Ready Player Me? That’s what RPM is for, it’s RPM’s business model. It seems absolutely stupid that WhatsApp believes overhauling avatars will be suddenly the hot new thing to enable people to get closer to the metaverse. Please, Dad, I love you but you have to stop writing Meta’s updates for them.
That’s enough Metaverse for this week.