This Week in the Metaverse (W09.2023)
Weekly news roundup + Spotlighting a previous episode on Into The Metaverse podcast: A conversation with Tami Bhaumik (VP Civility & Partnerships at Roblox) - Building a Safe & Resilient Metaverse
Hey, Yon here! 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 to get access to every letter and podcast show that I publish.
Here’s what I’ve got for you this week:
Weekly News Roundup
Spotlighting a previous episode on Into The Metaverse podcast: A conversation with Tami Bhaumik (VP Civility & Partnerships at Roblox) - Building a Safe & Resilient Metaverse
Let’s dig in!
(1) Weekly News Roundup
Roblox, Meta, The Sandbox, VR/AR, Fortnite, Virtual Worlds
In early 2021 Roblox became a publicly-traded company Roblox and ushered a new era for its growth but it was still considered as an “app/game for kids” (which I described quite differently). With Roblox now “anointed” among the world’s most innovative companies by Fast Company, it is clearly no longer just child’s play.
This week we also saw The Home Depot launching virtual kids workshops on Roblox, celebrating the women of Roblox who are on a mission to make gaming a force for good, and saw Cathie Wood's Ark Invest purchase $7.2 million of Roblox stock.
While Roblox continues to forge ahead, Fortnite Creative 2.0 is coming soon, Epic Games confirms, and on VentureBeat Rec Room shares how it is looking at the metaverse opportunity. We’re keeping a tab on Meta’s efforts and The Verge published Meta’s AR/VR hardware roadmap for the next four years. Xiaomi in the meantime unveiled its new wireless AR glasses.
Unity introduces new asset store category for Decentralized technologies in gaming (read more on here). Here’s what to expect at Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week 2023, and The Sandbox acquired Germany’s Sviper to add metaverse gaming talent to its capabilities (and its COO thinks that the metaverse needs to be 'open' unlike Fortnite and Roblox). We also saw Alo Yoga launching digital fashion collection in The Sandbox.
A new report showing that sexual predators are contacting kids in the Metaverse is not helping companies like Meta (and others) as senators urge Zuckerberg to keep teens out of the metaverse. Good timing to address the matter as the World Economic Forum published an essay that reinforces the immense opportunity of the metaverse and why it must be built on trust and safety.
After investing billions of dollars on the metaverse initiative, Mark Zuckerberg's launched a 'top-level' team at Meta to develop AI products for WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram. He’s now not only going after OpenAI’s ChatGPT but also “accompanied” by Elon Musk who’s pursuing his own efforts. This happens while Apple pumps the brakes on artificial intelligence.
Snapchat is releasing its own AI chatbot powered by ChatGPT → The ‘My AI’ bot will initially only be available to paying Snapchat Plus subscribers. CEO Evan Spiegel says it’s just the beginning for the company’s generative AI plans, while YouTube’s new leader teases AI tools that can virtually swap creators’ outfits and locations + says he'll balance generative AI's creativity With responsibility.
OpenAI introduced ChatGPT and Whisper APIs → Developers can now integrate ChatGPT and Whisper models into their apps and products through OpenAI’s API. They also released a paper on how they are planning for AGI and beyond. I recommend also reading a new paper published by Stanford University’s Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence institute - Generative AI: Perspectives.
Speaking of OpenAI, MIT Tech Review published the inside story of how ChatGPT was built from the people who made it. Alongside OpenAI’s meteoric rise, Bain & Company announced services alliance with OpenAI to help enterprise clients identify and realize the full potential and maximum value of AI.
More on Generative AI:
Adobe’s Scott Belsky on why generative AI won’t end up like web3
ChatGPT is a blurry JPEG of the web (New Yorker)
‘It’s fundamental’: WPP chief on how AI has revolutionized advertising
Generative AI could be an authoritarian breakthrough in brainwashing
Gaming, Media & Entertainment
Sony's new media empire
Blue Isle Studios launches Leap sci-fi shooter with Overwolf mods
Horror filmmaker Blumhouse expands into games
Sotheby’s to auction Neal Stepheson’s ‘Snow Crash’ manuscript and digital collectibles → more about the announcement here
Funding, People & Events
Avalon raises $13M to build an interoperable digital universe
Inside the metaverse hype train at MWC 2023
Government, Policy & Regulation
Metaverse competition issues need addressing, EU Antitrust Chief says
UAE announces creation of free-zone for digital and virtual asset companies
(2) Spotlighting a previous episode on Into The Metaverse podcast: A conversation with Tami Bhaumik (VP Civility & Partnerships at Roblox) - Building a Safe & Resilient Metaverse
Tami Bhaumik is the Vice President of Civility and Partnerships at Roblox. We cover in detail why safety and civility is critical not only to ensure that young people can safely play, explore and socialize on Roblox, but how can we nurture a resilient community as the metaverse emerges.
In her role at Roblox, Tami spearheads the platform's digital civility initiative. To establish healthy and safe communities, Tami is focused on providing kids, teens, parents, and caregivers with skills needed to create positive online experiences, in partnership with leading global safety and industry organizations. With over 25 years of experience, she has successfully fostered supportive communities in a variety of industries through leading the growth of multiple Silicon Valley startups and is an active board member at leading safety institutions.
Listen to the episode on: Spotify / Google / Anchor
Thank you for subscribing to Into The Metaverse. We grow when readers who appreciate our work spread the word.