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This Week in the Metaverse (W40.2022)
The First MetaBeat Conference; Mythical Games Establishes a Foundation, a DAO and a Token; The Metaverse Is Not Lonely, It’s Just Not Here Yet; More Governments are Investing in Metaverse Initiatives.
Welcome to Letters - commentary, analysis and ideas from Into The Metaverse.
Here are the 4 items that captured my attention This Week in the Metaverse.
The First MetaBeat Conference Concludes
Mythical Games Establishes a Foundation, a DAO and a Token
The Metaverse Is Not Lonely, It’s Just Not Here Yet
More Governments are Investing in Metaverse Initiatives
Let’s dig in!
(1) The First MetaBeat Conference Concludes
I spent last week in San Francisco for meetings during which I had a chance to speak at MetaBeat, VentureBeat’s first dedicated conference focused on the metaverse and the enterprise, in which Into The Metaverse was a media partner. Among those conversations was my fireside chat with Marty Berman from LandVault. My friend Dean Takahashi from VentureBeat wrote a great overview of the event. Congratulations to Hayley, Lisa and the entire VentureBeat team for this wonderful first conference. Here’s to a successful repeat in 2023.
(2) Mythical Games establishes a Foundation, a DAO and a Token
Mythical Games, web3 gaming platform, publicly announced the Mythos Foundation and the Mythos DAO, collectively Mythos, an entity established to “simplify, standardize, and democratize Web3 gaming.” Mythos aims to bring players and creators into the value chain of game creation which has excluded players and creators for so long. For context, Mythical Games is the company behind web3 games such as Blankos and NFL Rivals, powered by the Mythical Platform, a full-service system for developers and publishers to build or integrate blockchain-based play-to-earn economies into their games.
According to the release, initially, the Foundation’s focus will be on five key areas of development: building an NFT infrastructure, supporting communities, developing traditional esports connections, participating in Web3, and crafting policy aligned with what gamers want and need. The DAO will operate using the MYTH governance token, which will also function as the native utility token across the growing Mythical ecosystem.
Mythical is not the first, nor the last, venture-backed company, that aims to build a blockchain-powered, web3-focused, metaverse platform, with a foundation, DAO and a token that powers its ecosystem. Notable as well on that front is the ApeCoin Foundation that was established earlier this year Yuga Labs, the company behind the blue chip NFT, BoredApe Yacht Club.
You can complement this item with three episodes from our show which cover the topic - episode 2 in which we cover with Ryan Wyatt (Polygon Studios) cryptogaming and blockchain-powered virtual worlds; episode 5 in which we cover with Saro McKenna (Alien Worlds) her DAO-focused mission; and episode 16 in which we cover with Paul Bettner (Wildcard Alliance) their mission to onboard the first billion gamers to web3.
(3) The Metaverse Is Not Lonely; It’s Just Not Here Yet
New data on daily active users inside Decentraland and The Sandbox is not surprising (each with hundreds or low several thousands daily active users) although it does raises an important question - what is happening currently in some of the metaverse-type platforms, and what does it all mean. If you’ve followed the news and the data trail and focused less on hype and press coverage, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that both of these blockchain-based platforms (and potentially others) are not exploding in daily users to say the least. And you know what, that’s ok. Irrespective of their enterprise valuation, both of these platforms serve a role, one that is tied to education, awareness and experimentation of this emerging space.
While platforms such as Roblox have gained enormous momentum and growth in the past 3 years (Roblox has nearly 60 million daily active users as of August 31), Roblox is not connected to Blockchain and doesn’t enable digital asset ownership through NFT (as of now). It is quite misleading that when there is a conversation about the “metaverse” in blockchain or crypto circles, the conversation revolves mostly around blockchain-based platforms. In my mind, that’s missing the main point which is for the metaverse to be fully realized as an interoperable, synchronous, large scale network of virtual worlds, many platforms will need to communicate with one another in a way that enables carrying my identity and digital assets with me wherever I travel in the wider virtual realm. That means that platforms like Roblox, Fortnite Creative and others, all play a role in the emerging metaverse, not just “blockchain-based platforms”.
And so, the metaverse is not lonely, it’s just not here yet. We do have enormous adoption of metaverse-type platforms by the younger audience (under 24 year olds) around the world (and again Roblox is a clear indication of the adoption of 3D virtual worlds as a primary user interface for a new generation of users), but we’re clearly scratching the surface with majority of older user demographics not yet spending considerable amount of time in said 3D virtual worlds, be it Roblox, The Sandbox and others. We remain st the very early stage of the metaverse emerging as a clearly defined iteration of a future Internet and that means some platforms will remain completely experimental and eventually will disappear, and some platforms will continue to play a key role in enabling a global-adopted 3D Internet.
You can complement this item with three episodes from our show which cover the topic - episode 12 all-time great Tim O’Reilly; episode 17 with Philip Rosedale (founder of Second Life); and episode 18 in which we cover the ethos of Decentraland with Marja Konttinen.
(4) More Governments are Investing in Metaverse Initiatives
Dubai recently announced a new economic metric (“gross metaverse product”) to measure economic activity driven by the metaverse. I was asked by Derek Robertson from Politico about this announcement, to which I responded: “What’s important here in my mind is the narrative that they seek to cement… [It’s] the story of a future-focused Dubai, a nation state that captures a technology shift early to establish itself as a trailblazer for a new virtual economy.”
Additional countries like South Korea announced investment in the space earlier this year, as well as Japan, and Saudi Arabia announced a massive $37.8 billion investment in gaming which is not directly an investment in the “metaverse” category but is definitely adjacent. Putting politics aside, I believe this trend of sovereign states investing in not only helping to inject incentives into their economy and encouraging companies to innovate in the space, but also defining economic metrics that highlight how en emerging space like the “metaverse” actually contributes to their economy.
The announcements from South Korea, Dubai, Japan and Saudi Arabia I believe are the tip of the sphere. I expect to see many more initiatives by governments and international governmental organization participating in the development and financing of metaverse initiatives that will help capture the category’s economic potential to benefits their local populations and diversifying their future income.
You can complement this item with three episodes from our show which cover the topic - episode 9 with Professor Udi Shapiro in which we discuss building a democratic metaverse; and episode 7 with Angela Dalton from Signum Growth Capital.
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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.