Bored though I am sure you are of the latest and greatest blowing smoke up the arses of everything irrelevant to you - you don’t need a brand new god, do you? You need something a bit more focused and covered as well as backed by an actual need rather than something that just showed up via press release to some hack’s inbox. Here are a few of my big predictions for 2023.
Everything internet is forming a critical mass of primordial sludge, don’t you think? From Amazon to Alibaba, there’s much choice and not a lot of substance, eh? Everyone worth a shit is going off to do their own thing leaving Jeff and Jack fueled with stodge. These marketplaces are like one big product coma.
20 years ago when life was paced by the sounds of Linkin Park and the last vestiges of Two Guys and a Girl (whatever happened to Ryan Reynolds?)—e-commerce was the god of all things. Fast forward to 2023 and we’re frankly embarrassed by having to scroll through screens and screens to fill our shopping carts with utter gubbins. I always bemoan that I can spend an hour reading Vogue and nothing happens but adverts until page 100-and something and yet I can play COD4 for like 8 hours and no one sells me anything.
I think that's going to really change this year.
Weird digital only dress design aside for a moment (because no one cares about metallic wings) it’s true that e-commerce is trying to put more investment into 3D images than the Reader’s Wives' grainy and intangible images of yore, but it’s not enough.
G-Commerce is coming to change your lives. I talked about her before, but Rinat Homossany Perry is the vanguard of game commerce, even inventing the term G-Commerce. Her company Nak3d is revolutionising how we buy products by creating a solution of not only deep learning but also physical-digital-physical full-cycle product listing and sales. She believes this is the future of products not just for sale but also for development “this is going to change the way we buy forever, but also how we sell: brands have been lazy and gen z aren’t into that style of infinite scrolling to get to the good stuff. Why go to a webstore when you can buy in-game. In ALL games all at the same time?” It’s hard to argue with sense.
Direct-To-Avatar through companies such as Ready Player Me has been mooted for a while now, but it’s still so limited because items and avatars are not as interoperable as they could be. And let’s be honest, Jeff and Jack are still doing fine, save for a massive 2023 layoff sesh over at Amazon; they don’t need next gen ideas to make a mil do they?
The Dégustation Destination
My next prediction is food, and drink! Because we eat with our eyes, we need to get a little bit closer to what it is we're buying. We went through a situation in the pandemic where we're living off bags of rice and whatever was in the cupboard, and we were ordering things online and we were getting them delivered to us only for us to waste those things. Lifestyle is so big in 2023 that I’m not sure this tiddly article will cover everything happening.
During the pandemic, which is where you think food and drink would have been massive, was really, really clunky. No one knew what to do. A few big thinkers that I spoke to last year in the Wine in Web3 podcast had managed to keep their heads above water by doing online or Zoom tasting. It was a revolution for its time but it has evolved! Massively.
Picture the scene, you are in the metaverse, you can visit a winery or vineyard and watch your wine being made, virtually of course. Or, you can go to a bar, select a wine that you like the look and description of and BAM! It’s delivered to your door as a sample, along with an NFT or delivered to your wallet to redeem the real thing. You can socialise and discuss without the divide and conquer of whatever metaverse you should be on. We, the consumers will choose.
That’s not all. Supermarkets are getting into the metaverse too. Yeah, yeah, that Walmart thing was cool, but what I told you that you could examine digital twins of your fave foods before you put them in your basket? And if you could do that without leaving your desk, or scrolling through endless grocery lists and categories, what if it was more organic than that?
Look out for Edeka, Tesco and Whole Foods as just three food giants who will take the mantle of lifestyle-to-technology in a big way from this year.
Why have we put up with a complete shower of crypto bellends for so long? Following the rules of a bunch of same-faced twits has been a total drain on everything we have done since Satoshi was a mere lad. We don't know who they are, so why have we bought into everything that they are doing? Where’s the choice? Where are all the women?
Guys, guys, it’s 2023. Can we please start to look to a future where wallets are becoming a bit more synonymous with who we are, rather than who or what we aspire to be? 2023 might indeed be the year of the fully integrated wallet. I’m banking on it, and you should too.
Has anybody tried Metamask? Barf! It's absolutely dreadful (that’s just my opinion, I know). I'm not just an early adopter, I'm actually a user of things and I absorb and use things like you wouldn't believe; so the more you design for someone like me or even my mum, the better chance you have of someone like me being loyal to you. Oh loyalty! Loyalty points, coffee stamps, Shein login rewards: those types of things are really important to me. I want to be able to consolidate everything, whether it's my NFTs, or my foreign currency, crypto or gil balances or whatever. If you’re anything like me, you should probably keep your eye on the next 12 months because there are some killer products coming onto the marketplace to satisfy everything wallet-related. Solo Wallet is the mother of all wallets. I spoke to Andrew Deeley about why he thinks we need this everything-wallet. “Wallets aren’t made for people like you and me, they’re complicated, insecure, unstable and code bloated. We designed something for our mums and sisters, something that will take us through life rather than through next week. Think of the wallet as a passport, to everything.”
Lockdown (no, not that)
My next prediction for 2023 is cybersecurity.
God we’re lazy aren’t we? No one can be arsed to use passwords anymore and yet, every hacker worth a shit has all your details in their watertight database ready to send you penis-enlargement emails until the end of time.
When we have been rushing towards getting to a place where people can adopt whatever it is that has been created to make our lives easier: but we’ve missed some crucial steps because we are idiots. And now we've an opportunity, but not necessarily a breather, to refine some of those things from the perspective of protecting ourselves and people online. Some very serious laws that are coming into operation over the course of the next couple of years and as techmakers, we have to get our collective houses in order. We can't go around like we have been for the past few years with this devil may care attitude in the metaverse. The catastrophe over at Epic/Fortnite has taught us that we have to actually care about the types of people that are on our servers: who is in our worlds? How are we protecting and looking after them? So I think cybersecurity is going to be a really big prediction for 2023 or so.
Don’t Call It A Comeback
My final prediction is the return of the NFT. What’s that you say? It never went away? Yeah I agree. But some folks are snobs. They don’t want to call non-fungible tokens, non-fungible tokens any more for fear of being cast into the world of those beastly crypto bros.
The word to your mother at CES is metaverse, and at the WEF last year it was NFT so how about we call the comeback a digital collectible? Maybe. But certainly it is coming back with one sure-fire demand: it has to have UTILITY or it is nothing. Utility, the state of being useful, profitable or beneficial; that’s what it means. Even Donald Trump knows that.
NFTs/digital collectibles/tokens/whatever will start to permeate literally everything that we do, and not just metaverse anymore. If the metaverse is becoming something that's more of a service tool (talk to Verse Digital), I predict NFTs are going to be more of a utility tool. So if I go to the cinema to watch the next Avengers movie, then perhaps I get an animated, digital collectible from that meeting, then, viewing that I can trade or gain more utility from as time goes on. It feels very 2022 doesn’t it? I mean, I developed a perfect standard for that which is still being used back in 2021, and yet, people are still trading jpegs.
This year is going to be filled with new stuff, a rebrand of some old stuff and more importantly: a lot of us. Because it’s us that makes this stuff survive. The more we use it, the more we want it, and the more we need it, that thing becomes a part of us, and that means great design—it’s a good rule of thumb for any prediction—if we can’t live without it, or we forgot about we used to do things before it, that makes for a pretty good product.