This Week in the Metaverse (W41.2022)
Announcements from Meta Connect; More brands are joining the Roblox ecosystem; Ready Player Me launches API for avatar interoperability
Welcome to Letters - commentary, analysis and ideas from Into The Metaverse.
Here are the 3 items that captured my attention This Week in the Metaverse.
Announcements from Meta Connect
More brands are joining the Roblox ecosystem
Ready Player Me launches API for avatar interoperability
Let’s dig in!
(1) Announcements from Meta Connect
At its Connect event (full keynote here), Meta announced the Meta Quest Pro (full download on the tech and offering by The Verge). Mark Zuckerberg said:
“This is the highest-end VR device — for enthusiasts, the prosumer, the sort of people who are trying to get work done”
Meta also announced a partnership with Microsoft to deliver immersive experiences for the future of work and play, including integration of Microsoft Teams on Meta Quest device + future integration of Xbox Cloud. In an interview with Stratechery, Satya Nadella (Microsoft’s CEO) said about the enterprise use case:
“One of the things during the pandemic we learned a lot is what I’ll say the first line worker scenarios which is, if I look at even what happened with HoloLens, in the enterprise, a lot of the use cases around remote training or remote field service, all of those things became pretty mainstream use cases. Similarly, right now the use cases around knowledge work I think can absolutely happen in the VR headset”
The Platformer reported that $1.5 billion has been spent so far on games and apps inside the Quest store with 400 experiences registering $1 million or more in sales and 33 experiences that have generated more than $10 million.
Why It Matters
Skepticism around Meta’s efforts to help build an inclusive, open metaverse is growing, especially in Wall Street circles. Given how nascent the business is when compared to the investment made to-date (~$15 billion), the skepticism is not unreasonable. That being said, regardless of who will be become a market leader in the space, to help build a new computing platform and a new world of virtual possibilities, billions of dollars will continue to be spend by companies like Meta. Zuckerberg is going all in and he understands that in order to become a market leader in the emerging matevarese, Meta will need to create a compelling reason for developers to build experiences for its Meta Quest computing platform and inside the Horizon ecosystem. Partnerships with the likes of Microsoft are key, both for the consumer use case and the enterprise one.
It’s easy to criticize Meta for its continued investment without knowing how much capital is deployed by other players (e.g. Apple). You can complement this item with a recent letter by Into The Metaverse: “A Perspective on Meta’s Metaverse Creation Efforts”.
(2) More brands are joining the Roblox ecosystem
The avalanche of brands launching branded experiences on Roblox continued this week. After the launch of Walmart Land and iHeartRadio in recent weeks, this week we’ve seen FIFA launching FIFA World, Philips entering Roblox with their Norelco brand (actually a pretty entertaining experience), and of notice is also the concert experience launched inside Walmart of artists Yungblud, Madison Beer and Kane Brown.
Here’s a snapshot of the all-time top 10 branded games/experiences on Roblox filtered by Visits:
Why It Matters
Without getting into “performance review” of new experiences launched, The Roblox flywheel continues to perform well and expanding the growing list of now 100+ brands who launched a virtual world on Roblox. I expect more brands will continue to establish presence on the platform. At Supersocial we’re definitely seeing the momentum continues and are excited to help the most ambitious brands to enter the Roblox ecosystem with a smart and distinctive strategy, authentic to the platform and the community. It remains to be seen what are the right measures of success for brands and how to not only effectively measure ROI but also to create virtual worlds that can sustain themselves over time without continued marketing investment (i.e. evolving it into from a marketing activity to a revenue generating activity).
You can complement this item with a recent letters by Into The Metaverse - How Can Brands Enter The Metaverse + Announcements from Roblox and Why They Matter.
(3) Ready Player Me launches API for avatar interoperability
Ready Player Me has launched its Avatar API (application programming interface) that improve interoperability for cross-game avatars. The aim is to let users take their avatars with them wherever they go in the metaverse. The company believes this API is an essential piece for building cross-game avatar experiences and economies (CEO Timmu Toke will be a guest on our podcast soon).
Why It Matters
One of the key, yet under-explained, promises of the metaverse is ‘interoperability’ - well defined by analyst and author Matthew Ball in his metaverse primer:
“The tools, protocols, formats, services, and engines which serve as actual or de facto standards for interoperability, and enable the creation, operation and ongoing improvements to the Metaverse. These standards support activities such as rendering, physics, and AI, as well as asset formats and their import/export from experience to experience, forward compatibility management and updating, tooling, and authoring activities, and information management” (more in this piece).
We are in the very early stages of the emergence of the metaverse and experiments in interoperability are important, both from companies like Ready Player Me and from organizations such the Metaverse Standards Forum and the Linux Foundation-led O3DE. To truly bring to life the vision for an interoperable network of virtual worlds we will need see a scaled and well-executed collaboration between private companies and non-profit organizations, all working together to not only enable it technically, but also make sure that all stakeholders can achieve their objectives while benefiting users all over the world.
You can complement this item with a recent episode by Into The Metaverse with Royal O’Brien “Using Open Source to Power a Prosperous Metaverse”.
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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.