Newsletter #92 - Metaverse and future of social media

In a 1.5-hour-long keynote last Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook's rebrand to Meta and unveiled plans for the metaverse—a radically new way to experience how we work, live and play through virtual reality.

In that presentation, he pointed out the impact it can make on lives, from working better to exercising and education. But he also at one point touched on a serious issue and said Facebook, or Meta rather, must build the metaverse responsibly.

With the recent bad press and political battles that Facebook has to face, what would it take for Meta to dominate the metaverse? And if we look further into the future, what opportunities (and risks) does the metaverse bring for us and businesses, or is this just hype?

Diving into the meta rabbit hole,
Team NC

🥽 Into the metaverse: future of social media, life, work & play

#TRENDS

Is the metaverse Mark Zuckerberg’s escape hatch? [NYT]

What's pushing Facebook's rebrand? - A successful metaverse pivot could help solve four big, thorny problems for Facebook. The first two have to do with user retention (that it could lose younger users to platforms like TikTok) and the platform risk (that Facebook's app is on Apple and Google, whose priorities can change to blow out Facebook's ad business).

The other two lie with regulatory risks and bad reputation as a result of Facebook's many missteps, scandals and more recently, the whistleblowing that had cast doubt on Facebook's priority for corporate profits over public safety.

What if Meta succeeds? - If it works, Zuckerberg’s metaverse would usher in a new era of dominance—one that would extend Facebook’s influence to entirely new types of culture, communication and commerce. And if it doesn’t, it will be remembered as a desperate, costly attempt to give a futuristic face-lift to social media while steering attention away from pressing societal problems.

#BUSINESS

Inside Roblox’s metaverse opportunity [Vogue Business]

What is Roblox? - Gaming company Roblox went public early this year and is building on the metaverse concept. In Roblox, which now counts to 46 million daily active users, users can play games created by other developers for free and make in-game purchases of cosmetic items, skins or other upgrades.

Fashion's new opportunity to reach Gen Z - In the past year, brands like Gucci and Vans have created entirely customised, branded worlds on Roblox. In Gucci's case, the virtual Gucci bags even sold for more money than the actual bags. Such opportunities in the metaverse unlock access to younger customers and let brands test new designs that might be impossible in the real world and introduce a new revenue stream.

Co-creation is key to success - Many Gen Z users value virtual items more than physical goods, and they don’t want to be told what to wear—they want to be part of that process, says Christina Wootton, VP of brand partnerships at Roblox. On that note, working with designers, such as Rook Vanguard, who are familiar with the metaverse can also help brands translate items for the virtual world.

#TECH

Microsoft introduces Mesh for Teams [Yahoo!]

Meshing work into the metaverse - Microsoft laid out its latest vision for working in a post-Covid world and announced a new product called Mesh for Teams, which allows workers to take the form of avatars and navigate virtual work environments.

The software, which is built on Microsoft’s existing Mesh technology, combines “shared holographic experiences” with existing communication tools like virtual meetings, chats and shared documents. Users can use it on a smartphone, laptop or virtual reality device.

Connecting digital and real worlds - Microsoft also plans to create immersive ways for people to interact virtually with each other and the physical world, through the Internet of Things. In this way, a group of engineers, for example, scattered across the globe could meet in a virtual space and work out a problem with a piece of factory floor equipment.

🔌 Plugging into the metaverse

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