Into the Metaverse
By Yonatan Raz-Fridman
Intro music provided by Jeremy Marsan jeremymarsan.com/
Into the MetaverseMay 24, 2023
EP.51: Yon & Priya Talk All Things Metaverse #1
It’s a very exciting day for Into the Metaverse as Yon is joined by Priya David Clemens to launch a brand new segment of the show called This Week in the Metaverse.
Priya is the host of the Emmy-award winning news discussion program, KQED Newsroom, and a longtime network news anchor and reporter who has most recently begun to focus her journalistic eye on emerging technology.
Every week she will be joining Yon to discuss the most important and interesting news stories related to the Metaverse, with the goal as always of helping you better understand what the Metaverse is, how it will impact your life, and what opportunities it may unlock.
In this inaugural episode of This Week in the Metaverse, Yon & Priya cover the imminent release of Apple’s new VR goggles, whether we should be calling the Metaverse by a different name, confront the narrative that the Metaverse is dead, and much more.
Introducing New Weekly Show with Priya (00:00)
Apple’s New VR Goggles Set for Release (05:00)
Is Apple Bringing Any New Experiences to the Space (10:40)
Why VR and the Metaverse are Different Things (15:40)
Should We Be Calling the Metaverse Something Else (19:45)
Confronting the Narrative that the Metaverse is Dead (23:11)
Technology Developments in China (26:25)
Final Thoughts for the Week (31:05)
Learn more about Into the Metaverse and Yon by visiting the website.
Follow Yon: LinkedIn | Twitter
Learn more about Supersocial by visiting the website.
Learn more about Priya David Clemens by visiting her website.
EP.50: Into the Metaverse with Justin Hochberg - CEO, Virtual Brand Group
Joining me today as we celebrate our 50th episode of Into the Metaverse is Justin Hochberg, founder and CEO of Virtual Brand Group.
Justin is a metaverse brand builder focused on IP and fashion. He has had a multi-national career as a senior executive in technology and entertainment companies, with a proven track record in creating and leveraging content, IP, brands, and industry insights into new revenue streams through emerging technologies and partnerships.
We cover in detail what are the right objectives that brands should pursue when entering next generation social platforms, connecting virtual identity to real life identity, the value of building a persistent presence, the future of decentralized platforms, the need for consumer friendliness to gain mass adoption, and much more.
Learn more about Virtual Brand Group by visiting their website.
Follow Justin on LinkedIn.
Introducing Justin (00:00)
Defining the metaverse (01:45)
Role of 3D avatars in virtual worlds (03:30)
Connecting virtual identity to real life identity (06:05)
Brand objectives within next gen platforms (10:43)
Best path to a persistent presence for a brand (17:20)
Value of and potential adoption of decentralized platforms (22:55)
The need for consumer friendliness and platform interoperability (36:57)
The metaverse is the future (39:15)
Learn more about Into the Metaverse and Yon by visiting the website.
Follow Yon: LinkedIn | Twitter
Learn more about Supersocial by visiting the website.
EP.49: Into The Metaverse with Timoni West - VP & GM, Digital Twins at Unity
Joining me on this episode is Timoni West, VP & GM of Digital Twins at Unity, in what is likely one of the most fascinating conversations I had on the podcast.
Timoni is responsible for Unity’s cloud apps and services in industrial, automotive, commercial, and business markets, delivering value for customers moving into real time, simulation, reconstruction, and rendering. She runs a P&L with a team of 230+ people. Prior to this role, she was vice president of emerging tools and augmented and virtual reality, among other roles.
Timoni and I had a wide ranging conversation about virtual worlds, digital twins, ambient computing, artificial intelligence, predictive manufacturing, the future of industry, and why we’re only at the very beginning of a computing era that is smarter and more capable than we imagine.
On the metaverse:
"what we're really seeing here is that we're able to ingest massive amounts of data, often real time data, and then be able to record it, visualize it, or use it to power another device. And I think this has all kind of gotten swept up into what we're calling the metaverse today, but the old school, 1970s term was contextual computing where computers are able to take in contextual information from the world around them and able to do something cool.
On digital twins:
“with the Tyndall Air Force base, the large part of what they used our technology to do was to figure out how to make sure it did not get, Knocked down by a hurricane again because it was knocked down by a hurricane once. And hurricanes are also dangerous. So being able to not only take in the real-time information on the building site as they were building it out, but also be able to use historical data to figure out how to build the right thing in the future is I think a pretty great example of a digital twin.
EP.48: Into The Metaverse with Michael Kennedy - Microsoft. On metaverse, modern work and immersive workplaces.
Joining me today is Michael Kennedy, an advisor and public speaker on rapidly evolving metaverse and modern / hybrid work technologies and best practices. His focus is transforming the workplace to deliver increased productivity and business outcomes while improving organizational culture to attract and retain the best employees.
"the way I define the metaverse is really around the enterprise metaverse - an evolving set of enabling capabilities. To create more immersive employee, customer, and industry experiences to foster engagement, inclusivity, collaboration, and digital integration helping people and organizations achieve more."
EP.47: Into The Metaverse with Frédéric Chesnais - founder & CEO, Crypto Blockchain Industries (ex CEO, Atari)
Joining me today is Frédéric Chesnais - founder & CEO, Crypto Blockchain Industries, and the former CEO of Atari. Crypto Blockchain Industries is a company listed on Euronext and focusing on investments in blockchain and technology.
Fred has decades of experience in executive production, budgeting, financing and management of intellectual property rights. From 2001 to 2007, and then again from 2013 to 2021, he was part of the management team of the Atari Group, the iconic technology and entertainment company. In 2007, he left Atari to create his own executive production company, I2G, which he sold in 2012.
“Most of the last 20 years of my professional life has been spent with video games. So first and foremost, for me and for this company that I've created, the Metaverse is a video game. It's an open world. Some may say, you know what, you can have a metaverse in 2D, but as far as we are concerned and given my background, I do focus on the consumer experience, and for me, it's definitely a 3D open world, and then you add on top of that, we add the blockchain layer for transactions.”
EP.46: Into The Metaverse with Gilad Talmon - CEO, YOOM. Bringing real humans into the digital world with cutting-edge volumetric technology
Joining me today is Gilad Talmon, CEO of YOOM - a leading volumetric video technology company making the next wave of content creation accessible to creators and brands, providing them a direct path into the virtual worlds and beyond through a proprietary technology.
With over 16 years of senior management experience across various technology sectors in both the startup and corporate space, Gilad previously served as the Programs & Business Development Director at Elbit Systems Aerospace Ltd. in Israel, where he was intimately involved with AR.
We cover in detail the role of advanced technologies like the one YOOM is building on enabling an ever-expanded and accessible content creation to populate virtual worlds by both professional developers and individual creators. We also discuss why digital avatars are already playing an instrumental role in the way young people socialize and express themselves and why this trend will only accelerate as virtual and gaming continue to emerge as a next-generation mass media."when I refer to the metaverse, it's a range between augmented reality, superimposed on the real world through mixed reality and flat screen immersive environments, gaming environments on the flat screen, and then all the way to virtual reality… The human beings and human interactions will play a very big role, but it's only attainable if you can create these at scale, and creating them at scale means that they need to be compatible with all of these engines that can update them automatically. So artificial intelligence of text demotion and conversational AI. Their motion looks good and you can create them relatively easy. That's where we wanna be. We want to be an enabler to create these digital humans for you to use however you want, whether it's leaving messages or virtual helpers in the street, or virtual tourism, or in game or in training for enterprise.”
EP.45: Into The Metaverse with Matias Rodriguez - SVP of Technology - Games & Metaverse Studios at Globant
Joining me today is Matias Rodriguez, SVP of Technology - Games & Metaverse Studios at Globant - a global IT software development company operating.
As SVP of Technology at Globant’s Metaverse and Gaming Studios, Matías leads a worldwide multidisciplinary team of more than 1,500 people to build products for clients. For the Metaverse Studio, he is leading the journey of helping companies create and operate new virtual spaces where they can extend their brand presence.
We cover in detail the practice that Matias leads at Globant and the work they do with clients on metaverse-related initiatives, the opportunities and challenges for engaging with consumers and customers through next generation digital experiences, both in the consumer and industrial sectors, and especially why there’s so much potential for industrial and healthcare companies as a new category of platforms emerge.
EP.44: Into The Metaverse with Sandy Carter - Senior Vice President at Unstoppable Domains
Sandy Carter is Senior Vice President and Channel Chief at Unstoppable Domains. The company, which recently raised $65M Series A led by Pantera Capital at a $1B valuation, creates NFT domains that give people control of their data. Each Unstoppable domain is a cryptocurrency address which serves as the user’s login to the decentralized web, and in a sense can act as a user’s universal username. Sandy and her team are responsible for driving new partnerships and integrations.
Previously Sandy was Vice President for Strategic Partnerships and Channel Chief at Amazon Web Services, and prior to that was the General Manager of Ecosystems and Startups at IBM.
We cover in detail digital identity and its importance according to Sandy, how Unstoppable Domains educates and informs people on how they can establish a next generation online identity, Sandy’s journey from IBM to Amazon Web Services to Unstoppable Domains and why it is so important that we have en ever growing diversity in the teams that are building the future of the Internet.
EP.43: Into The Metaverse with Maxim Perumal - founder and CEO of Unai
Maxim Perumal is the founder of Unai, a stealth startup company that makes a VR headset and Virtual World dedicated to making human interactions look, feel, and sound like they do in real life. Unai is funded by NFX, Stride, Y Combinator and David Helgason (founder of Unity Engine), among others. Previously Maxim built Relativty, a popular open-source VR headset when he was 15 years old. He open-sourced it after Meta (then Facebook) invited him to meet with Oculus' Chief Architect.
We cover in detail the story of building an open-source VR headset which led Maxim to drop out of high school and begin his journey to build next generation VR platform with Unai, which while is still in stealth mode, spark interest from leading investors who are backing Maxim in his quest to build a truly user-focused VR headset and experience. We also discuss the key pillars that are crucial to providing an enjoyable user experience and what the wider competitive landscape looks like, including Maxim’s point of view on Meta and Apple’s efforts in the space.
“An Instantaneous sense of presence” is how Maxim described the essence of how the metaverse will make people feel.
EP.42: Into The Metaverse with Moritz Baier-Lentz - Partner at Lightspeed
Moritz is 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. Previously, Moritz was a partner and management team member at BITKRAFT Ventures where he led investments into Inworld AI, Theorycraft Games, Raid Base, Lightforge Games, and Horizon Blockchain Games among others.
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.
EP.41: Into The Metaverse with Charles Hambro - CEO, GEEIQ
In episode 41 I host Charles Hambro, co-founder and CEO of GEEIQ (pronounced "Geek") - a data company that helps brands figure out their approach to entering metaverse platforms.
The first time I came across GEEIQ is when I read an article that covered NARS Color Quest, the experience that my company Supersocial created on Roblox with NARS Cosmetics, and I was curious about Charles’ work and hence the connection made.
We cover in detail what brands are looking for as we kickoff 2023 and why data and measurement are going to play a key role in shaping the way in which brands engage in the metaverse.
EP.40: Into The Metaverse with Steve May (CTO, Pixar Animation Studios)
Steve May is the Chief Technology Officer of Pixar, the iconic animation studio behind movies such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters, among so many others. We cover in detail Steve’s perspectives on the metaverse and why the metaverse is important as well as what next generation storytelling might look like.
EP.39: Into The Metaverse with Richard Ward, former Head of Metaverse at McKinsey
Richard Ward is the former Head of Metaverse at McKinsey, the leading management consulting firm, where he focuses on advising clients on metaverse and web3 strategy, as well as providing expertise on the role of augmented reality and virtual reality.
In a fascinating conversation, Richard and I we discuss in detail the stage we’re at with the evolution of the metaverse; what is full-body computing and why it matters to truly grasp how the metaverse should “feel”; what should decision makers consider when making investment decisions on metaverse-related experiments; and how web3 fits in (if at all).
Notes and links can be found here: https://www.intometamedia.com/
EP.38: 2022 Year in Review with Yonatan Raz-Fridman and Jane Bernhard
This is our finale episode for 2022. We recap where we were at the beginning of 2022 and where we are at the conclusion of the year.
S2E37: Into The Metaverse with Jay Lee - CEO, US at Naver Z (Zepeto)
Jay Lee is the CEO of Naver Z US. Naver is the South Korean Internet giant which among other things owns and operate Zepeto. We cover in detail why Zepeto is unique in the metaverse landscape and how its avatar platform is shaping youth culture and what are the opportunities for creators and brands to build experiences and connect with young female audiences.
S2E36: Into The Metaverse with Matt Edelman - Chief Commercial Officer, Super League Gaming
Matt Edelman is Chief Commercial Officer at Super League Gaming. We cover in detail the early learnings from partnering with brands as they look to establish presence and advertise in metaverse-type platforms, and what are some of the challenges and opportunities ahead.
S2E35: Into The Metaverse with Shahar Sorek (Overwolf) & Mishi McDuff (House of Blueberry)
Joining me today are Shahar Sorek, CMO of Overwolf and Mishi McDuff, founder and CEO of Blueberry. We cover in detail the role of user-generated content in fueling the metaverse with content and experiences that help shape the future of the Internet, and how digital fashion fits in.
S2E34: Into The Metaverse with Neil Trevett - VP Developer Ecosystems at NVIDIA & Chair of Metaverse Standards Forum
Neil Trevett is the Vice President of Developer Ecosystems at NVIDIA, President of Khronos Group and Chair of the Metaverse Standards Forum. He joined me in a conversation in which we cover in detail why standards how vital for the metaverse to emerge and what could happen in its absence
At Nvidia, Neil is responsible for enabling and encouraging advanced applications to use GPU acceleration. At the Khronos Group Neil created and chaired the working group that defined the industry standard for 3D graphics on mobile devices. At Khronos he also chairs a working group for portable, parallel heterogeneous computing, and helped initiate the WebGL standard that is bringing interactive 3D graphics to the Web. He’s now working to help formulate standards for vision and neural network inferencing. Previously, as Vice President of 3Dlabs, Neil was at the forefront of the silicon revolution bringing interactive 3D to the PC, and he established the embedded graphics division of 3Dlabs to bring advanced visual processing to a wide-range of non-PC platforms. Neil was elected President for eight consecutive years of the Web3D Consortium dedicated to creating open standards for communicating real-time 3D on the Internet.
S2E33: Into The Metaverse with Esther Wojcicki - Raising a Generation of Super Children
Special episode for thanksgiving with the wonderful Esther Wojcicki!
Esther is a journalist, educator, and vice chair of the Creative Commons advisory council. She is the founder of the Palo Alto High School Media Arts Program in Palo Alto, CA. and the Co-Founder of Tract Learning, which publishes the web app Tract, a peer to peer, project-based, gamified learning platform for kids 8 years and over. Esther’s book, How To Raise Successful People, is a best seller!
We cover in detail how technology is rapidly changing every aspect of our lives and what the future of workplace looks like, but at the same time the education system lags behind and continues to struggle with these rapid changes and preparing children for the future.
S2E32: Marketing in the Metaverse with Candice Beck - Director of Social, Influencer and Web3 at Chipotle
As Director of Social and Influencer at Chipotle, Candice Beck drives the brand's strategic, rapidly growing social media marketing program. Candice strategizes first-to-market social and digital programs that drive brand buzz and amplify awareness for Chipotle's global campaigns. Candice is responsible for leading award-winning activations, partnering with cross-functional leaders to maintain Chipotle's relevance with fans of all ages. In addition to her focus on social media content, Candice oversees the brand's metaverse strategy, collaborations, and influencer program. Driven by cultural insights, obsessed with the customer journey, and immersed in digital media, Candice is constantly tracking what's new and trending while remaining rooted in Chipotle's values and purpose to Cultivate a Better World. Candice's focus on authenticity, innovation, transparency, and analytics has proven to be a winning combo for Chipotle. Prior to Chipotle, Candice worked in marketing and events at Abercrombie & Fitch. Candice attended The Ohio State University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts and Science Degree. Candice was named one of QSR's '35 young leaders to watch'.
We cover in detail how Chipotle seeks to create authentic experiences that give consumers tangible value, the way Chipotle experiences within Roblox merge the physical and digital worlds, and the massive opportunities for brands in this new frontier.
S2E31: Joost van Dreunen (Author & Entrepreneur) - Gaming’s Role in the Emerging Metaverse
Joost van Dreunen is an entrepreneur and author. He teaches the business of video games at NYU Stern School of Business and wrote a book called ONE UP: Creativity, Competition, and the Global Business of Video Games. He spent the last two decades as an industry analyst working with all of the major firms on strategy. After selling SuperData Research, a games research firm he co-founded, to Nielsen in 2018, he’s now investing and advising data companies and game makers. We cover in detail the growing role of gaming in helping to realize the metaverse and why “video games” are a key pillar in the paradigm shift of human experience on the Internet.
S2E30: Louis Rosenberg (Unanimous AI) - Building a Non-Exploitative Metaverse
Louis Rosenberg is a pioneer in fields of augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. He earned his PhD from Stanford, has been awarded over 300 patents for VR, AR, and AI technologies, and founded a number of successful companies including Unanimous AI, Immersion Corporation, Microscribe, and Outland Research. We cover in detail the important aspects for how we build a metaverse that we can trust and believe in.
S2E29: Yonatan Raz Fridman (Supersocial) - Why the Metaverse Should Matter to Brands
Yon is Founder and CEO of Supersocial, a metaverse company that develops, publishes and operates cutting-edge virtual worlds on Roblox and other emerging platforms. Its business platform – which includes a development studio and publishing services, enables world-class brands and IP owners, as well as its owned IP, to enter the metaverse through bold creativity and unmatched product quality. Yon is also the creator, publisher and host of Into The Metaverse, a leading podcast and newsletter where anyone can learn about the metaverse.
We cover in detail why brands are entering the metaverse, how Supersocial and Nars Color Quest are at the cutting edge of innovation in the space, and how marketers can add value to their communities through next generation experiences.
S2E28: MiniToon (Piggy on Roblox) - Building Metaverse-Native Game Franchises
MiniToon is the creator of Piggy, one of the most successful games ever created on the Roblox platform, with 11 billion+ play sessions, and a cult of followers that propelled Piggy to a sensation status already in the first year of the game. We cover in detail the power of the Roblox platform and the opportunity for creators to build next generation game franchises starting on emerging platforms. MiniToon has nearly 700,000 followers on Twitter, more than 900,000 subscribers on YouTube, and Piggy has more than 240,000 members on Discord.
S2E27: Timmu Toke (Ready Player Me) - Why Avatars Will be a Big Deal in the Metaverse
Timmu Toke is the co-founder and CEO of Ready Player Me. We cover in detail the role that 3D avatars play in enabling new forms of expression, exploration and socialization in the next era of the Internet, and what are some of the use cases that are already showing promise today.
S2E26: Samuel Huber (LandVault) - Why Virtual Land in the Metaverse Matters
Samuel Huber is the CEO of LandVault, a company that helps brands establish presence in Blockchain-based, metaverse-type platforms such as Sandbox and Decentraland. We cover in detail why virtual land matters in the metaverse and what are the challenges ahead for mass adoption.
S2E25: Royal O’Brien (Linux Foundation) - Using Open Source to Power a Prosperous Metaverse
Royal O'Brien is the General Manager of Digital Media and Games at the Linux Foundation. We cover in detail the role of open source technologies in enabling the emergence of a metaverse we can all believe in and get excited about.
S2E24: Piers Ridyard (RDX Works) - Building a Scaled Blockchain for a User-Owned Metaverse
Piers Ridyard is the CEO of RDX Works - a core developer of the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) protocol, Radix. We cover in detail the challenges in building a scaled blockchain for a user-owned metaverse and what are key use cases to emerge in the near future.
S2E23: Jake Brukhman (CoinFund) - Investing in the Builders of a New Internet
Jake Brukhman is the founder and CEO of CoinFund, a web3 and crypto-focused investment firm. We cover in detail web3 investing, how does it intertwines with the metaverse, and what are some of his lessons learned from investing in the space, especially web3, for the past 8 years.
S2E22: Rev Lebaredian (NVIDIA) - Powering a Different Kind of Metaverse
Rev Lebaredian is Vice President of Omniverse & Simulation Technology at NVIDIA. We cover in detail the next-generation technology platform that NVIDIA is building, its Omniverse that promises to power an industrial metaverse and what it all means for creators, brands and businesses.
We also cover special announcements coming out of NVIDIA’S GTC conference - Omniverse Cloud, an infrastructure service powered by a planetary-scaled system, and a partnership with Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national railroads operator and the largest rail network in Western Europe. The partnership focused on building an AI-enabled digital twin to develop Deutsche Bahn’s future railway system.
For those who are less familiar, since its founding in 1993, NVIDIA has been a pioneer in accelerated computing. The company’s invention of the GPU in 1999 sparked the growth of the PC gaming market, redefined computer graphics and ignited the era of modern AI. NVIDIA is now a full-stack computing company with data-center-scale offerings that are reshaping multiple industries. As we speak, NVIDIA’s market value is over $300 billion.
In his role the Vice President of Omniverse and Simulation Technology at NVIDIA, Rev leads the Omniverse product, engineering, and research teams. From the dawn of the computer graphics revolution to the present day, Rev has always been at its cutting edge. For the last five years at NVIDIA, Rev and his teams have been combining the rendering, physics simulation, and AI technologies pioneered by NVIDIA into a single platform for creating and simulating physically accurate virtual worlds: NVIDIA Omniverse. Prior to NVIDIA, Rev spent his career in Warner Brothers Digital, Disney Dream Quest Images and his own venture, Steamboat Software.
S2E21: Tami Bhaumik (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.
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. Tami graduated with a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.
S2E20: Michael Auerbach (Subversive Capital) - Using ETFs to Help Enable an Ethical Metaverse
Michael Auerbach is founder & General Partner at Subversive Capital, an investment firm, and SVP at Albright Stonebridge Group. We cover in detail what the metaverse means to him and his firm, the opportunities ahead, and the notorious PUNK ETF which shorts Meta Platforms.
This Week in the Metaverse: EP.16 - Nvidia’s CEO is bullish on the metaverse more than ever; Snap restructures and doubles down on augmented reality; and Meta’s VP of Horizon is departing
Welcome to episode 16 of This Week in the Metaverse, our weekly show in which Yon and a guest co-host provide commentary on three metaverse-related news items.
Joining Yon today as guest co-host is Mario Stefanidis, Vice President of Research at Roundhill Investments, a thematic ETF sponsor who’s behind the Metaverse ETF alongside Ball Metaverse Research Partners. Mario is responsible for Roundhill’s research activities within the digital media and entertainment sector and serving on the firm's investment committee, helping oversee Roundhill's investment activities across all sponsored ETFs and other vehicles.
Our three topics for the past week:
First, Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, was interviewed by Dean Takahashi from VentureBeat (who was a guest on our podcast a few months ago). What really captured our attention is Huang’s bullishness on the industrial metaverse and the prospect of Nvidia’s Omniverse to play a key role in realizing that vision.
Then, we talk about the changes at Snap who’s shutting down Snap Originals, an in-house production studio of scripted and documentary-style programming and double down on its core priorities, including augmented reality.
And we finish with more news from Meta Platforms, as Meta’s VP of Horizon is leaving the company, adding more uncertainty on where its metaverse project is heading.
S2E19 - Unmasking Web3 With MetaMask’s Taylor Monahan
The concepts of digital identity and empowering individuals are core tenets of the social movement driving the development of the metaverse. Taylor Monahan from MetaMask joins us to break down philosophically how they view building in web3, the wallet as the potential gateway to your digital identity, bridging the needs and desires of a broad range of potential consumers in web3 and the outlook for regulation of the crypto sector.
This Week in the Metaverse: EP.15 - Venture investments in avatar technology companies; Xbox and game consoles interoperability; and a new season of experiences in The Sandbox.
Welcome to episode 15 of This Week in the Metaverse, a weekly show in which I provide commentary on three news items with fantastic guest co-hosts.
Joining me today as guest co-host is Jonathan Stringfield, whom we recently hosted on our podcast! Jonathan is currently the VP of global business research and marketing at Activision Blizzard and recently published a new book - Get In The Game.
Our three topics for the past week:
First, we talk about investments into avatar-focused ventures and this week we’ve seen announcements on two deals that are noteworthy: the first one is Inworld AI which raised $50M to populate games and the metaverse with smart characters. the second one is Ready Player Me, a cross-game metaverse avatar platform that allows users to explore virtual worlds with one consistent identity, has closed a $56 million funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z).
Then, we talk about Bloomberg’s conversation with Xbox’s chief Phil Spencer as hopes for fewer exclusive titles by Xbox and would like to see more interoperability among consoles in the future.
We finish with news from The Sandbox, the blockchain-based platform of virtual worlds that aspires to become an open metaverse launched this week its alpha season 3 with 90 metaverse experiences and 100 hours of gameplay that’s available for users.
S2E18 - The Ethos of Decentraland With Marja Konttinen
Building an open, decentralized, democratic Internet is the aim of many web3 metaverse platforms, seeking to create a better future for our digital lives than the one controlled by walled gardens fueled by personal data. Marja Konttinen, the marketing director of Decentraland, joins us to break down the ethos of their platform, how they view the metaverse as a public good, just how nascent the development cycle of web3 metaverse platforms is and the challenges on educating new entrants into the metaverse on its potential.
TWIM 14: Pacsun’s Partnership with Miquela, Unity’s Board Rejects AppLovin’s Proposal, and Meta’s Recent Glitch with Horizon Worlds
On episode 14 of This Week in the Metaverse, Yon talks about the new partnership between the virtual influencer, Miquela, and teen retailer brand, Pacsun, and why it’s an interesting experiment. Then he closes 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. He finishes the episode yet another disappointing way in which Meta shares with the public the evolution of its Horizon Worlds.
S2E17 - Second Life’s Second Life in the Metaverse Era With Philip Rosedale
Second Life was one of the first examples of a proto-metaverse gaming platform, a persistent, shared, virtual world where individuals could socialize, play and learn together. We were delighted to have a wide-reaching conversation with Philip Rosedale, the the founder and creator of Second Life, where we dive into Second Life’s renaissance in the last few years, the push of large technology companies into the metaverse and what that means for its development, the prospects for more live entertainment to move into metaverse platforms and empowering creators with more real-time 3D development tools.
TWIM 13: Roblox Earnings & Growth Trajectory, Unity’s China Partners & AppLovin Approach, SIGGRAPH Highlights
On the 13th episode of This Week In the Metaverse, Yon and Matthew dive into a few key topics and circle back to ones from recent weeks with additional color and updates. First, we look at Roblox’s financial results for the second quarter of 2022, look at some of the key numbers for a strong July and look ahead to the platform’s future prospects. Yon also gives a good overview of what, as someone building a business on Roblox, he is most keen to track. Then, we circle back to Unity to discuss the company’s China joint venture partners and what that means for its development in the country. Next, we dive into AppLovin’s unsolicited takeover offer for Unity. And then lastly, we discuss announcements in and around SIGGRAPH including Unity partnering with Microsoft Azure, Unity winning a new government contract and Nvidia’s Omniverse Avatar Cloud Engine.
S2E16 - Onboarding the First Billion Gamers to Web3 With Wildcard's Paul Bettner
Wildcard is an ambitious blockchain-powered game from Playful Studios, looking to leverage blockchain in a unique and novel way to create new social connections within a AAA-quality experience. Paul Bettner, the CEO of Playful Studios, joins us to break down the ambitious Wildcard projec,t how social interactions are key in the metaverse, building great web3 games to attract the billions of global gamers and how Roblox and other UGC platforms are changing the game of game development as we enter the metaverse era.
TWIM Episode 12: Unity China Spin-Off, Tencent-Ubisoft Stake & Lots of Earnings Reports
On the 12th episode of This Week in the Metaverse, we dive into three topics that are relevant to the development of the metaverse and on which we believe we can provide unique expertise and insight given our experiences and backgrounds. First, we look at a Reuters report that Unity is considering spinning off its China business. Then, we discuss another Reuters article that suggests Tencent is interested in increasing its stake in Ubisoft. And lastly, we discuss earnings reports from Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Sony and Nintendo and look ahead to reports from Roblox and Take-Two.
S2E15: Building Web3 Applications for the Masses With Skale Labs’ Christine Renee Perry
A common thread in our conversations on Into the Metaverse around all things crypto, blockchain and web3 is making the user experience of these applications easier to use for those that don’t fall into the category of crypto-natives. Christine Renee Perry of Skale Labs joined us to discuss how developers are trying to ease the on-ramp to web3, how Skale is positioning itself in a fast-growing web3 ecosystem and what it’s like building web3 infrastructure in crypto winter.
TWIM Episode 11: Meta’s Earnings & New Products, Roblox Economics and Supersocial’s Big News
On this 11th episode of This Week in the Metaverse, Yon and Matthew once again break down three key items that we deem influential to the development of the metaverse and on which we believe we can provide a unique perspective. First, we dive into Meta’s earnings and new product announcements, including news that a web-based version of Horizon and the mixed reality Cambria headset are coming out this year. Second, we discuss developer economics of Roblox after Naavik published a great article on the subject. And lastly, we discuss Supersocial’s new experience launch with Nars Cosmetics and the future of branded experiences on the platform.
S2E14 - Gaming’s Lead to the Metaverse With Activision Blizzard’s Jonathan Stringfield, PhD
A lot of the discussion around the metaverse is just about what already exists today in online games and elevating those experiences to the next level. Jonathan Stringfield, PhD, the VP of global business research and marketing at Activision Blizzard, joins us to breakdown why gaming is at the forefront of the metaverse development cycle, the influx of capital into the sector and what esports looks like in the metaverse era. And make sure to check out his new book, “Get in the Game: How to Level Up Your Business with Gaming, Esports, and Emerging Technologies” out today.
TWIM Episode 10: Minecraft Bans NFT’s, Dubai’s Metaverse Aim, Otherside’s Demo
On the latest episode of This Week in the Metaverse, Yon and Matthew once again break down three key items that are influential in shaping the development of the metaverse and on which we believe we can provide unique insight and expertise. First, we look at the announcement from Mojang that they are banning all NFT’s in Minecraft. Then, we discuss Dubai’s goal to create 40,000 blockchain and metaverse jobs over the next five years. Lastly, we look at Yuga Labs’ new tech demo for its Otherside metaverse and discuss what it means for the future of the company and for PFP NFT’s.
S2E13: Dean Takahashi on Gaming’s Next Era in the Metaverse
The metaverse is emerging from interactive entertainment, most notably the gaming sector, and there’s no better authority on everything happening in gaming than VentureBeat and GamesBeat’s Dean Takahashi. We discussed a range of topics about all things gaming and the metaverse including the evolution of gaming in the metaverse era, how that compare and contrasts with Meta Platforms’ view of the metaverse, the impact of gaming consolidation and the role crypto may play in all of this.
TWIM Episode 9: Unity Buys ironSource, Polygon Joins Disney Accelerator & Metaverse Fashion
On the ninth episode of This Week in the Metaverse (not the eighth as mistakingly said on the recording), Yon and Matthew break down Unity’s $4.4 billion announced acquisition of ironSource and what it means for Unity’s near-term and longer-term prospects as a metaverse infrastructure company. We also look at the impact of Disney accepting Polygon into its Accelerator program to develop AR, NFT and AI experiences and supermodel Karlie Kloss’ pop-up fashion boutiques in Roblox.
S2E12 - the Rise of the Metaverse with Tim O’Reilly
As the metaverse emerges, some applications and experiences today are already giving us a taste of what the ultimate end state of the metaverse may look like. Tim O’Reilly, CEO and Chairman of O’Reilly Media, a partner at early stage venture firm O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and the man who helped popularize the term Web 2.0 in the aftermath of dotcom crash, joins us to discuss the future of interactive, social, web-based experiences, where we are in the development cycle towards building the true metaverse vision, the role governments should play in shaping the metaverse’s development and how crypto and blockchain technologies fit into his view of the metaverse.
TWIM Episode 8: To Blockchain or Not, Meta’s Hiring Cuts, Soba’s UGC Ambitions
On the eighth episode of This Week in the Metaverse, Yon is still on vacation so Matthew is joined by Aaron Bush, the co-founder of Naavik. We broke down three news items that we thought were influential to the development of the metaverse and on which we believe we can provide unique expertise and analysis. First, we debate the need for blockchain in the metaverse and what role the technology can and will play over time. Then, we dive into reports that Meta is slowing its hiring pace substantially. And lastly, we discuss the boom in user-generated content platforms after Soba raised a $13.5 million seed round.
S2E11 - The Father of the Metaverse Neal Stephenson & Peter Vessenes of Lamina1
The man who coined the term “Metaverse” over 30 years ago, esteemed author and technology advisor, Neal Stephenson and his new business partner Peter Vessenes, the CEO, Chairman and Exec Founder of CoinLab and co-founder of the Bitcoin Foundation, join Yon and Matthew to have a wide-ranging discussion about all things metaverse and their new venture Lamina1. We dove into many amazing topics including how Neal’s definition of the metaverse has evolved over the years, how blockchain technology will be a key enabler for creators to monetize their work in the metaverse and how Lamina1 is positioning itself to provide the economic guardrails to power this creative boom.
TWIM Episode 7: Meta’s Headset Cuts, Fortnite’s Creative Mode, Solana’s Phone?
On the seventh episode of This Week in the Metaverse, Yon is on vacation so Matthew is joined by Mario Stefanidis, the Vice President of Research at Roundhill Investments and one of our esteemed season 1 guests. We broke down three news items that we thought were influential to the development of the metaverse and on which we believe we can provide unique expertise and analysis. First, we look at TF Securities’ analyst Ming-Chi Kuo cutting his shipment forecast for Meta’s VR headsets. Second, we discuss the rapid growth of Fortnite Creative mode and assess the competitive threat to Roblox. And last, we break down the news that Solana is launching a smartphone and a software stack to help build blockchain phones.+1780
S2E10 - China’s Parallel Metaverse With Alex Xu and Nina Xiang
China’s metaverse is set to evolve on a separate, parallel path to the rest of the world given consumption, regulatory and geopolitical differences. Alex Xu, the CEO of MultiMetaverse Inc, a leading animation company in China and formerly the CEO of games company Leyou Technologies, and Nina Xiang, a renowned author, award-winning journalist, and an expert on the Chinese venture capital and technology sector, join us to discuss China’s burgeoning metaverse, its parallel path to the rest of the world and empowering creators to export content to a global audience.
TWIM Episode 6: Tencent XR, Metaverse Open Standards, Core’s NFTs
On the sixth episode of This Week in the Metaverse, Matthew and Yon break down three news items that are influential to the development of the metaverse and on which we can provide unique perspective and expertise. First, we dive into Tencent’s creation of a new XR unit to focus on building hardware and software for the metaverse. Next, we look at the creation of a new open standards setting body led by the Khronos Group for the metaverse. And lastly, we discuss the implications of Manticore enabling ethereum NFTs into its Core platform.
S2E9 - Building a Democratic Metaverse with Prof. Udi Shapiro
As large technology companies invest heavily to emerge as leaders in the metaverse, the risk remains that walled gardens extend from the social-mobile era of the Internet into the metaverse era. On this episode, we chat with Professor Udi Shapiro, an interdisciplinary scientist, Internet pioneer, artist, and proponent of e-democracy. He has been with the Weizmann Institute of Science since completing his PhD at Yale University in 1982. Udi provides great insight into his work on e-democracy and building an egalitarian, democratic metaverse and empowering communities with grass-roots cryptocurrencies.
Check out all of Udi's research here: https://arxiv.org/search/?query=Shapiro%2C+Ehud&searchtype=author&order=&size=50
TWIM Episode 5: Sandberg Departs Meta, Neal Stephenson Enters the Metaverse, Playful Studios Funding
On the fifth episode of This Week in the Metaverse, Matthew and Yon break down three news items that are influential to the development of the metaverse and on which we can provide unique perspective and expertise. First, we discuss the departure of COO Sheryl Sandberg from her role at Meta Platforms (nee Facebook) and what it means for the company’s growth in the metaverse. Next, we dive into the announcement that Neal Stephenson, the father of the metaverse and author of Snow Crash in which he coined the term, is launching LAMINA1. And lastly, we discuss Playful Studios’ $43 Million funding round and their ambitious plans for the Wildcard Alliance.
S2E8: Into the Sutuverse With Sutu, the Creator of Neonz
Creators are flourishing with the proliferation of non-fungible tokens and web3 technologies, empowering them with new tools to better connect with fans and collectors. We were happy to be joined by Sutu who uses art and technology in new ways to tell stories including his latest project, Neonz, which explores the full potential of an AR Metaverse. We had a wide-ranging conversation with Sutu about many topics including the empowerment of creators in the metaverse era, how intellectual property takes shape in the web3 era and at the end of the conversation, an exclusive about an upcoming project from Sutu.
This Week in the Metaverse Episode 4: Sky Mavis’ UGC Games, Animoca’s Results, Grit on Epic Games Store
On the fourth episode of This Week in the Metaverse, Matthew and Yon break down three news items that are influential to the development of the metaverse and on which we can provide unique perspective and expertise. First, we look at the announcement of new UGC games from Sky Mavis from its Builders Program. Then, we dive into the financial results of Animoca Brands, the parent company of the Sandbox. And lastly, we discuss the announcement that Gala Games’ Grit will be available on the Epic Games Store.
S2E7 - Investing in the Metaverse With Signum Growth Capital's Angela Dalton
This Week in the Metaverse Episode 3: Roblox's New Hire, Apple's RealityOS & VC Seed Funding Strength
On the third episode of This Week in the Metaverse, Yon is back and he and Matthew break down three news items from the last week that are influential to the development of the metaverse. First, we look at Roblox’s hire of former Zynga CTO Nick Tornow as VP of Engineering for its Developer Team. Then, we dive into the rumors swirling about Apple’s upcoming RealityOS for a potential mixed reality headset and what this means for its metaverse aspirations. And lastly, we discuss the seed funding environment for metaverse startups after Crunchbase reported that metaverse was one of five strong themes in seed venture funding so far in 2022 despite broader market turbulence.
S2E6 – Bringing Real-Time 3d Everywhere in the Metaverse With Unity’s Marc Whitten
Unity is one of the few companies with advanced real-time 3d capabilities that is positioned to help usher in the metaverse era. Marc Whitten, the Senior Vice President of Create at Unity, joins the podcast to breakdown Unity’s growth in the metaverse, how Unity plans to unleash the creator economy by democratizing real-time 3d development tools, platform interoperability and the potential of web3 technologies as we build towards a collective vision of the metaverse.
This Week in the Metaverse Episode 2: a16z Funds, Electronic Arts M&A Rumors and Earnings With Brian Peganoff
On the second episode of This Week in the Metaverse, Matthew is joined by Brian Peganoff, an advisor to several games companies and previously the Senior Director of Corporate Development & Strategy at Glu Mobile, to break down three news items and how they impacting the development of the metaverse. They look at a16z’s new $600 million Games Fund One and $4.5 billion Crypto Fund Four, the M&A rumors swirling around Electronic Arts and the games industry as a whole and earnings takeaways from Roblox, Unity and Nvidia.
This Week in the Metaverse Episode 1: Turbulent Markets, Fortnite's Unreal Editor & Roblox's Q1 2022
On this new sub-series of Into the Metaverse called This Week In the Metaverse, Matthew and Yon give a brief rundown of some of the biggest news and events in the broader metaverse space. This week, we discuss the turbulence in financial and crypto markets and their impact on the metaverse; Epic Games announcing their competitor to Roblox and how that fits into their strategy to conquer the metaverse; and Roblox’s first quarter 2022 financial results.
S2E5: Building the Decentralized Metaverse With Alien Worlds’ Saro McKenna
Decentralization is a key trend in the metaverse, empowering users and creators and seeking to break down the walled gardens of current Internet platforms. Saro McKenna, the CEO of Dacoco, the creator of the largest NFT metaverse Alien Worlds, joins us to discuss the power of decentralized organizations, making web3 technologies more accessible to more users, building through the crypto market turmoil and building a diverse metaverse for people of all walks of life.
S2E4 Building a Game Company in the Metaverse & Web3 Era With Joseph Kim
What’s it like starting a gaming company in the metaverse and web3 era? We chat with Joseph Kim, the CEO of LILA Games, about his outlook on the metaverse and web3 in gaming and how these megatrends influence product and team decisions in starting a new mobile game company. We also discuss why now may be the right time to start a gaming company based in India amid a flurry of tech growth and venture investment in the country.
S2E3 Venture Investing in the Metaverse and Web3 With Jarrod Dicker
The metaverse and web3 technologies are setting the creator economy into hyperdrive, creating myriad new investment opportunities, particularly in venture-stage companies. In this great episode of Into the Metaverse, Yon and Matthew speak with Jarrod Dicker, a Partner at TCG, about venture investing in the metaverse and web3, empowering creators and building communities.
S2E2: Cryptogaming and Blockchain-Powered Virtual Worlds With Polygon Studios’ CEO Ryan Wyatt
As the metaverse emerges, it’s becoming increasingly evident that many are seeking to tackle some of the key technical challenges of the new platform with cryptocurrencies, blockchain and associated web3 technologies. Ryan Wyatt, the CEO of Polygon Studios, joins Mathew and Yon to discuss the future of web3 in the metaverse and gaming, how Polygon plans to invest more deeply in partnerships with creators and developers and easing the onramp to crypto games and worlds for a more casual audience.
S2E1 - The Metaverse, Web3, Nvidia’s GTC and Bored Apes
Welcome to season 2 of Into the Metaverse. Yon and Matthew are back after a short hiatus and taking the temperature of the metaverse and discussing some interesting new developments from the last few weeks. We discuss the intersection of web 3 technologies and the metaverse, the case for interoperability and just where we are in the metaverse development cycle. We also break down Nvidia’s Omniverse announcements from its GTC conference and dive into the metaverse implications of Bored Ape Yacht Club parent Yuga Labs’ big funding round.