Dear Metacrun.chers, I'll try and keep it short this week because I know how busy you are (what am I saying?) But I've got to be honest with you, the metaverse, for the idiots of tech and investment, is literally fighting for its life, and for the rest of us, it’s living its best life. Believe who you want to believe, we’ve never been busier. The Metaverse truly is the future of everything internet, so LFG with this week's news roundup.
Our old friends Microsoft must have really sore bums from constantly sitting on the web3 and blockchain fence. Picture the scene - Thursday of last week, Microsoft and a mixed bag of web2 tech companies looking for relevance alongside web3 bright young things decided to go green on our asses. It’s been COP27, don't you know? Well, they decided that one forum was not enough to try and control the decision-making of the tech masses, that they now want to get heavily involved in the decision-makers of climate change using language such as “opportunity to assist” in basically obfuscating the Ethereum carbon-footprint problem by making everything clearer and easier to implement. Bear in mind that this chapter of Ethereum started in 2015, it’s 2022 now. What took you all so long?
This Bilderberg of blockchain appears to be a gathering of incentivized groups to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, by delivering positive environmental and social impact. Everyone from Consensys to w3bcloud to Polygon, basically, the whole gang is in.
As far as I’m concerned, this looks like a bit of PR mining to show that the world of web3 is caring and supportive of climate change goals. Who would blame them? This kind of opportunity for a quorum of the intelligencia, obviously not led by a massive tech giant, to explore the opportunities that climate protection within this space is a direct response to the entire process of building web3, blockchain, minting, NFTs etc. These poor rich heavily invested businesses are having a terrible time of it lately. Guys, you didn’t need to go to Egypt or virtual Egypt for good PR though. Reach out frens. I got u.
Any fool knows that I am a huge robot fan: I worked on the ultimate robot franchise, and in 2016 I wrote a book about a robot doctor in the NHS. Please go read it. I could totally do with the 20p that Amazon gives me for every book sold. But seriously, I am a geeky super fan of every single automaton. But this whole idea about having a robot as a CEO, how far away is this from what we already have? I've been working in the games industry for years, and all my CEOs have been either robots or psychopaths. So, you know, trying to create something that Netdragon are doing seems to be a bit more like a hype story about a use case for ML and AI. This Chinese firm is betting on a Metaverse workplace, and that makes total sense, but I can't help but feel that we’re still trying to build avatars that are from 15+ years ago. The CEO in question is a weird Oddcast homage. By the way, I still really love Oddcast. But I love Netdragon, as cheesy as what they are attempting, I think what they're doing is really pushing the boundaries of what we can expect to see in the metaverse. It's not just about creating a 3D world, and it's not about creating VR and AR either. It's about everything else that plugs into it, whether it's virtual avatars, or volumetric capture, devices and other hardware or digital wallets. Did they take that into account as well as the hype? I don’t see it. I don't want to be cynical about it, but I have to be slightly cynical. The Robot CEO, called Tang Yu, operates as a real-time data hub. It reminds me of a battery-operated device I bought from Ann Summers that I lovingly call Skynet, why? Because it knows all my secrets. It knows when I work, it knows what I say, it knows where the bodies are buried. Ok, that bit is a pure troll. But do we want to revisit the philosophy of Terminator? I’m not ready, not for Terminator or Total Recall. To me, this feels a little bit like the ROBEO (see what I did there) is actively doing the work that no one else is doing instead of leading and guiding the business towards success. I call that a virtual assistant, not a ROBEO.
Winner, Winner, Blockchain Dinner
There's a new gaming award in town. BAFTA? No! Pocket Gamer? No! GDC? No! Web3 Gaming Awards, are you there? Come and get your, er, award thing to add to all of the other gaming events, awards, things that we have in our diary every year. I am told that this one's different, I don’t see how. Maybe it’s virtual, maybe it’s a bro-tie dinner, but it is happening on December 15th. Listen, I’m into it. Everyone worth their salt in the events space has pitifully added web3 gaming to its awards schedule over the course of the last few years, so it’s refreshing to see something truly standalone. It’s asserting web3 gaming as being something that's here to stay and not something that's just some kind of flash in the pan. We have to remember that blockchain games and metaverse projects have raised $1.3 billion in the third quarter of 2022, according to Dapp Radar, and that provides gaming activity for almost half of all blockchain activity that's been tracked through networks and through 912,000 Daily Active wallets interacting with game smart contracts in September 2022. That's not too shabby for an industry that has been lambasted by everybody else for not being real. Is it too soon to see the beginning of the end of game’s great walled gardens? Gaming consoles: we're looking at you.
Everything Must Go
What not to wear this quarter seems to be more focused on the platform it’s built on than the garment itself. But these things are not mutually exclusive, and it’s scary to think that there are folks in the fashion world at this very moment being silly sheep and deciding on what to buy based on currency, not quality. This is why we can’t have nice things I guess.
The collapse of nutjob decentralised currency exchange FTX seemed somehow to be the sole culprit for why the digital fashion world is slowly collapsing. Crypto holders feel damaged. But more importantly, fashion brands have spent some time experimenting in this space and now, according to this article, at least, calling in or calling foul over the metaverse narrative, and how it's not working for them. Education, education, education - shame on you for not doing your homework.
Not all is lost my dear Fashionistas: here's a little bit of advice I found dealing with digital fashion, and that is - you can have digital fashion and wearables without web3. Wow! Really? Yes. There are loads of different ways to on-ramp and off-ramp when dealing with blockchain, decentralised, digital or crypto-driven fashion. I think the most important thing here is to not bother your ass worrying about whether blockchain platforms or cryptocurrencies which have failed are the actual buzzkill. I think the buzzkill here is the inability of people to diversify and pivot around cryptocurrency until it's much more stable and more dependable, reliable and approachable. Perhaps if we focus on digital objects or digital fashion items themselves, then we won't find ourselves in a situation where we're eternally embarrassed by what may or may not have happened in this last financial quarter of cryptocurrency shenanigans.
Keep focusing on fashion and the rest will fall into place. If fashion only focuses on how they’re going to make a return on their initial investment, instead of the quality of the object being committed to the inventory or wallet; then they’re really not understanding what this space and these ecosystems are about at all.
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Everyone wants into the metaverse. I feel like I’m in a really select group of amazingly talented and skilled individuals who are crafting imagination into view like alchemists. So it’s no surprise that two talented and skilled professionals who bring every single media consumable and charitable organisation to the fore are looking for a piece of the metaverse action.
Step forward the Duke and Duchess of Sussex: podcasts, books, United Nations, World Wildlife Fund, She Can, inner-city violence programmes, soup kitchens, and now Pax World, whatever that is. I say whatever that is because, as a huge cheerleader for the metaverse, I will keep banging the drum for going to places where the people are first. How much work are you going to get done in a space with a small amount of daily active users? If you have a message and you need to get it out there, be smart, no, smarter.
It’s vital that we have role models who represent these kinds of areas, and the Sussexes may not be messing around here. They know their worth, they have a personal brand, and they want to go fully global. Now they have been enabled by the metaverse, will this make their voice stronger, or will it dilute their brand entirely? I’m not entirely sure this first foray into the metaverse will make meta of the Duke and Duchess of Success, but I’m ready to be proved wrong.
What Meta Did Next
Another week where Meta tries to make themselves relevant, and this time they're using National Treasure of the United Kingdom and the World Sir David Attenborough. I just hope the universe can forgive us.
Together with Alchemy Immersive and Meta’s Immersive Learning division, they've once again created something that we never asked for using a hardware device that we can’t afford. Conquest of the Skies VR - hey schools, are you paying attention? If you are in the UK, it will be available from 29th November to the 4th December, at Westfield White City using Meta Quest Headsets. Wait. That's a physical real-world location, with a virtual experience, le sigh. Listen, what is the actual point of this? The point of this is, obviously, a promo, or more importantly, a transmedia connection to Meta Quest TV’s new show of the same name, which I’m guessing you can watch in your expensive headset for hopefully 20 minutes at a time. These three episodes will show viewers how insects, reptiles and birds have evolved to fly.
Am I going mad? Do we actually need this? Can we afford it? What the hell are we trying to achieve by creating an experience in an expensive tool, for something we can only do in short bursts to protect our eyes and central nervous systems? My feeling is that Meta doesn’t actually need a VR headset to experience this. Why aren't they using AR? Why aren't they creating a virtual rainforest? Or a Foxtrail? I think these interesting opportunities to create a digital version of real-life experiences do not need a VR headset. Fix the poverty gap instead - it’s not that hard to make a change - just stop being selfish.
He's So Shy
There's a really quiet, unassuming footballer called Cristiano Ronaldo, who you may have never heard of. He currently plays for Manchester United, kind of, or maybe he doesn’t anymore, he just never speaks about it. He's very quiet and unassuming. Not many people know about him. But I'm here to tell you that there is a huge global ad campaign about to begin which puts this shy young man front and centre of the spotlight thanks to his love of NFTs. This relationship between football and finance comes at a time when we are trying to figure out why the FA can’t be bothered to stand up for the principles of its association against the might of FIFA. Money, I don’t hate it. But I hate it when the making of money is so badly thought through. So what are these NFTs? Well, Binance is the big king of this campaign, and they have promised an auction of 45 of the highest value NFTs which will be available for auction for 24 hours with bidding prices for the rarest 5 NFTs starting at 10,000 BUSDs (their US dollar-pegged stablecoin). My beef is the utility. It’s woeful. A personal message from Ronaldo himself? I can get that anywhere and pay less. Autographed merchandise? Is it really 1998? I'm not really sure whether people fully embrace or understand what utility means, but it certainly isn't getting a personal message from Ronaldo, I'm just saying this is really boring stuff and I’m actually in this industry.
Sometimes Your Words Just Metaverse Me
If you know me, and a lot of people reading this do, you will know that I am a very big hip-hop fan. In fact, I'm such a big hip-hop fan that I rap. It’s cringe. It’s mostly cringe because, along with my sneakerhead creds, I am an almost 50-year-old woman trying to be down with the kids. Someone else who would have been turning 50 this year (last May) was the incredible Notorious B.I.G Christopher George Latore Wallace. We will always love Big Poppa, and we don't have to miss him anymore, because he's going to be performing a concert hosted by Meta (yes, Meta) on December 16th in Horizon Worlds: WOW.
In non-hip hop news, I went to see The Cure last week, and I have to say it was pretty boring. 10,000 annoying dicks shoved into an arena that I paid $80 to experience in all its dreadful glory. I was very, very cheesed off indeed. But I love Robert Smith, and when The Cure played Burn, all I could think about was this: Why can’t I watch this concert in The Crow? I can watch Medicine perform in that film, but here I was in a dark arena filled with people, I was unable to get a drink or a hot dog because I couldn’t leave my spot for fear of losing it. This is a direct throwdown to my good friends at Dimension Studio, you remember Dimension don’t you? They are the ones who brought us the 4 Madonnas for the Billboard Awards. So if Meta wants to do anything to save face from their bizarre takeover they want to do with their devices and software and general zeal to make themselves relevant, perhaps this is the thing that they've been looking for. I want to see more concerts in the metaverse space, and I'm not talking about just watching Ariana Grande. I'm talking about going and seeing the greats. I'm talking about seeing Elvis and Tupac, INXS and A Tribe Called Quest. I want to see The Prodigy with Keith, I want to see Madonna. Please make this happen. Stop thinking about utilising your services as Metaverse developers to a platform with no users: go and create something really beautiful for us. And if you can't, you are losing out on a massive amount of the population that really needs you. Guess that's why you’re broke, and we’re so paid.
That’s enough Metaverse for this week. Do give us feedback and thoughts!
Until next week folks!