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This Week in the Metaverse: EP.14
Pacsun’s Partnership with Miquela, Unity’s Board Rejects AppLovin’s Proposal, and Meta’s Recent Glitch with Horizon Worlds
Welcome to episode 14 of This Week in the Metaverse! We’ve got three awesome items to cover this week:
First, we talked about the new partnership between the virtual influencer, Miquela, and teen retailer brand, Pacsun. This is an interesting partnership which ties to many conversations we had on the podcast about avatars, expression and the convergence of virtual and physical.
Then, we closed the loop on the unsolicited acquisition proposal from AppLovin to acquire Unity which resulted in Unity’s board rejecting it and staying committed to the merger with ironSource.
We finished the episode with the surprising continuation of Meta’s disappointing way in which the company, and Zuckerberg, share the evolution of its Horizon Worlds.
Teen retailer Pacsun has announced a multi-season partnership with virtual creator Miquela in a bid to continue its exploration of identity in and around the metaverse, as reported by Vogue Business: “Miquela (formerly Lil Miquela) will feature across Pacsun’s back-to-school and holiday campaigns to promote customers’ navigation of their virtual and physical selves, according to the brand. It builds on Pacsun’s entry into the metaverse with Pacworld, the Roblox space where it sold virtual goods like beanies, as well as its previous NFT projects.”
There are couple of interesting things here: (1) a retail brand that is experimenting with virtual worlds on Roblox and also with virtual influencers in a bid to position itself as an innovator and trailblazer among its core audience. I am asked many times by brands about the possibilities of building multi-platform experiences and my point of view is that experiments like this one, from Pacsun, are the type of bets that brands should consider as they explore and experiment with Metaverse-related experience.
As been discussed on our podcast, we are seeing a growing adoption of brands, mainstream and luxury alike, of new modalities of experiences, be it avatar items, persistent virtual worlds, and now also activations such as this. Expression is fundamentally a core human behavior which is why we see unique brand experiences coming to life, such as NARS Color Quest on Roblox (disclaimer: I’m the CEO of Supersocial, the company that developed and published the experience).
I believe we are witnessing the beginning of a new wave of brand experiments in different Metaverse-related modalities.
Moving on to our second item for today, closing the loop on the unsolicited acquisition proposal from AppLovin to acquire Unity which resulted in Unity’s board rejecting it and staying committed to the merger with ironSource
As stated in Unity’s press release: “Unity announced that its Board of Directors has completed a thorough financial and strategic evaluation of the unsolicited proposal from AppLovin and has unanimously determined that it is not in the best interests of Unity shareholders and would not reasonably be expected to result in a “Superior Proposal” as defined in Unity’s merger agreement with ironSource. The Unity Board reaffirms its recommendation to Unity’s shareholders to vote in favor of the previously announced ironSource transaction and recommends against the unsolicited AppLovin proposal. The Unity Board is committed to acting in the best interests of Unity shareholders with a focus on driving long-term sustainable value creation.”
John Riccitiello, President and Chief Executive Officer of Unity, said, “The Board continues to believe that the ironSource transaction is compelling and will deliver an opportunity to generate long-term value through the creation of a unique end-to-end platform that allows creators to develop, publish, run, monetize, and grow live games and real-time 3D content seamlessly. We remain committed to and enthusiastic about Unity’s agreement with ironSource and the substantial benefits it will create for our shareholders and Unity creators.”
We talked about this at length on the podcast in the last two weeks so I wont address in too much detail but this seems like the reasonable decision from Unity’s board. They obviously have a plan with the ironSource merger and I’d would suspect also the right chemistry between the leadership teams (which is critical). That being said, the picture is no different from what we discussed previously and that this is very much a deal that helps to take care of the present versus the future, especially in helping both companies address the challenges created by Apple privacy act and the impact on mobile advertising through the iOS ecosystem.
Lastly, with our final topic for today’s show - Meta’s Horizon Worlds has been launched in two new markets - France and Spain. The big deal about this announcement to be honest is less about Horizon’s expansion into other markets, especially as the platform is still nascent, but more about the image that captured everyone’s attention in which Mark Zuckerberg shared a VR selfie as an Avatar standing in an empty landscape populated only by a version of the Eiffel Tower and Spain’s unfinished Sagrada Familia. Forbes’ contributor Paul Tassi titled his article as: “Does Mark Zuckerberg not understand how bad his metaverse looks?”
Ok so let’s unpack what’s the issue here - Meta and Zuckerberg are investing billions into building, essentially, an open metaverse. Clearly a big part of the attraction to spend time in a virtual world is the promise and possibilities to socialize, express ourselves and look really cool while doing so. Currently that’s not the case with Horizon Worlds. As I claimed several times, while I wouldn’t underestimate one of this era’s most brilliant entrepreneurs and company builders, it does seem like Meta is struggling in elevating the appeal of Horizon Worlds and as a potential consequence will find it hard to attract developers, potentially, should the next generation of heavy Internet users, Gen Z and Gen Alpha, don’t find it cool enough.
Today's episode was edited by Alexandra Debow.
Our mission is to become the leading destination to learn about the Metaverse - what it is, why it’s important, how it will impact our lives, and what opportunities it unlocks. We are pursuing this mission by producing and publishing reliable, insightful and entertaining podcast shows that help make sense of the Metaverse.
Into The Metaverse covers companies, technologies and trends that are bringing this promise to life. Yonatan Raz-Fridman “Yon” (founder & CEO of Supersocial) interviews the brilliant minds building for, and investing in, the Metaverse.
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