This Week in the Metaverse (W04.2023)
The Big Read: Mass adoption of VR is not near; Latest on Into The Metaverse podcast: A conversation with Moritz Baier-Lentz - Partner at Lightspeed; Weekly News Roundup.
Hey, I’m Yon. Welcome to Into The Metaverse! My mission is to help you understand what is the metaverse, how it will impact our lives, and what opportunities it unlocks. If you are a marketer, entrepreneur, investor or simply a curious professional, Into The Metaverse is for you. Subscribe (free) to get access to every letter and podcast show that I publish.
Here’s what I’ve got for you this week:
The Big Read: Mass adoption of VR is not near
Latest on Into The Metaverse podcast: A conversation with Moritz Baier-Lentz - Partner at Lightspeed
Weekly news roundup
Let’s dig in!
(1) The Big Read: Mass adoption of VR is not near
In many of my conversations on the podcast about extended reality devices (XR), including VR, AR and MR (mixed reality), I have noticed a growing consensus on the premise that the metaverse is not a device; that the metaverse is not something we’ll access exclusively through a VR headset built by Meta. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that to experience a metaverse in its fullest potential, XR devices will play a key role in enabling that - a connection between the digital and physical, unlike anything that we’ve experienced to date.
In episode 39 on Into the Metaverse podcast Richard Ward (former head of metaverse at Mckinsey) referred to the metaverse as something that we’ll experience with full-body computing, which I thought is an interesting way to describe the XR devices category. Maxim Perumal, founder and CEO of Unai, describes the metaverse as an instantaneous sense of presence (an episode with Maxim will be released next week). Despite all the noise around XR devices and the investment made by Meta, Google, Apple, Sony and Snap, among others, we are clearly years away from being able to experience the metaverse in that way but progress is being made every day.
In a recent post, Why VR/AR Gets Farther Away as It Comes Into Focus, Matthew Ball writes that “In 2023, it’s difficult to say that a critical mass of consumers or businesses believe there’s a “killer” AR/VR/MR experience in market today; just familiar promises of the killer use cases that might be a few years away.” This is also aligned with a chart shared by fellow writer Joost van Dreunen in a recent post, VR Looks Expensive.
Ball writes: “Many entrepreneurs, developers, executives, and technologists still believe XR is the future (I do). In particular, these groups believe in AR glasses that will eventually replace most of our personal computers and TV screens. And history does show that over time, these devices get closer to our face, while also more natural and immersive in interface, leading to increased usage too. But why is this future so far behind? Where is the money going? What progress is being made? And most importantly, how many XR winters must come and go before a spring actually leads to summer?”
I join the assertion is XR will play a big part of the future in which technology blurs the line between the real and the unreal.
(2) Latest on Into The Metaverse podcast: A conversation with Moritz Baier-Lentz - Partner at Lightspeed
In episode 42 I hosted Moritz who’s a Partner and the Head of Gaming at Lightspeed Venture Partners, a venture capital firm with over $18 billion in capital under management and more than 500 investments across the U.S., Europe, and Asia—including Epic Games, Stability AI, and Snap.
We cover in detail Moritz and Lightspeed’s approach to investing in gaming, how Moritz think about the metaverse and adjacent technologies and trends, what’s his wider hypothesis on the category, and what are some of the key areas he’s focusing on. Really enjoyed hearing Moritz’s thoughtful perspectives, bringing his experience in gaming and an understanding on how emerging technology is unlocking new ways of building next-generation games and experiences.
Listen to the episode on: Apple / Spotify / Anchor.
(3) Weekly news roundup
Platforms & Technologies
Disney Built an Ad Engine for Streaming's Future and Maybe the Metaverse's Too (link)
Mythical Games acquires DMarket blockchain gaming marketplace (link)
The Sandbox Alpha Season 3 reached 17M visits, a threefold increase over Season 2 (link)
Niantic launches NBA All-World location-based basketball game (link)
Apple will reportedly let anyone make apps for its mixed reality headset using Siri (link)
ChatGPT ushered a whole new level of excitement for AI applications. This is only getting bigger with Microsoft multi-billion dollar partnership with OpenAI (creator of ChatGPT). We’re at a very nascent stage of the technology but clearly generative AI will have an impact on the evolution of the metaverse and what it actually looks like.
Microsoft is sunsetting social VR pioneer AltspaceVR (link)
Columbia Records launches two experience with Epic Games - one on Fortnite and one on Rocket League (link)
Gucci brings footballer Jack Grealish to Roblox’s Gucci Town (link)
Voldex announces new funding round for its user-generated content (link)
Gemba, a corporate VR training platform used by Coca-Cola and Pfizer, raises $18M (link)
Emperia is helping brands like Bloomingdales build shopping experiences in VR (link)
Metaverse-Focused Blockchain Lamina1 Promotes Rebecca Barkin to CEO (link)
Roblox taps former Google Play VP for creator role (link)
Why Microsoft Thinks ChatGPT (and not the metaverse) is its future (link)
Why the AI Explosion Has Huge Implications for the Metaverse (link)
Can video games change people’s minds about the climate crisis? (link)
Will the Metaverse Be Entertaining? Ask South Korea. (link)
The metaverse is creating a new virtual marketplace for retail brands (link)
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