The metaverse dream keeps trailing blaze despite the thoughts of many that it was just a puff of smoke. Many have faulted Mark Zuckerberg for his commitment towards the metaverse project but it seems that he might be right. Here are some of the happenings this past week in the virtual world that might interest you.
Japanese Firms to Collaborate on a Metaverse Economic Zone Project Powered by Gaming
Many Japanese firms have entered into an agreement to work on creating the project known as Japan Metaverse Economic Zone. The project is aimed at improving the country’s digital economy. Some of the firms include Mizuho, Mitsubishi Corporation, Fujitsu, SMBC, and Toppan, amongst others. The agreement entails that the firms will deploy their individual expertise in building this new project which will be called RYUGUKOKU (TBD). The platform will be designed as a virtual world with elements of a role-playing game (RPG) with services illustrated as cities or vehicles in the metaverse. Users can interact with the services by roaming the virtual world in search of new experiences.
The project will glean information from users to create personalized data on health and hobbies with the additional option for scalability. They can use the proposed RPG Editor to launch their own games on the platform in addition to a “Multi Magic Passport” (MMP), an authentication certificate to serve as a payment service for users. It is hoped that the project will be expanded to make it accessible to users outside Japan Mizuho will contribute its banking expertise to provide payment functionalities on the platform, while Sumitomo will provide gamification features. Resona will handle research in next-gen ID authentication and payment, with risk analysis and expansion drive being handled by Sompo and Mitsubishi, respectively. So far, there’s no date for the official launch of the project but there’d be a media conference scheduled for early summer.
Senators Tell Zuckerberg to Stop Teens from Using Horizon Worlds Metaverse
There’s talk about Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to target teens in a bid to save his Horizon Worlds, a project that is sinking below ground zero. Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut have been criticizing his “documented track record of failure to protect children and teens,” calling on Zuckerberg to stop underaged minors from using Horizon Worlds. It’s worth knowing that Zuckerberg has invested heavily in the metaverse without returns to show for it. It has recorded a loss of no less than $26 billion since October, 2020.
The playerbase has been consistently shrinking in Horizon Worlds, most users leaving the platform after only a couple of days and never returning. At the inception of the project, Meta claimed that Horizon Worlds could attract 500,000 players, but later brought this figure down to a relatively meager 280,000. The actual playerbase never exceeded 200,000 users. Initially, access to the platform was restricted to people over 18 however, Zuckerberg is reportedly planning to relax this limitation, allowing potential players to be as young as 13 years old. Senators Markey and Blumenthal have raised concerns about the risk of exposing underage minors to online abuse, accusing Meta of exploiting young people for profit and calling on the company to stop teens from using Horizon Worlds. In their words:
“Any strategy to invite young users into a digital space rife with potential harms should not be driven by a goal to maximize profit. We call on you to immediately halt Meta’s plan to bring teen users onto Horizon Worlds. Meta has completely lost the public’s trust and this latest attempt to bring kids onto the metaverse is just another flagrant attempt to exploit young people for profit.”
As it stands, Meta is yet to respond to the concerns raised by the senators.
Shiba Inu’s SHIB: The Metaverse to Be Featured at SXSW Texas
I like to ask if Web3 and crypto enthusiasts are ready as the team behind the SHIB Token is preparing to take them on the first virtual tour around the highly-anticipated SHIB: The Metaverse. The first glimpse into the project in development with The Third Floor (TTF) will start with a panel including Marcie Jastrow, the official SHIB: The Metaverse advisor, and two members of the audiovisual studio – Connor Murphy and Chris Edwards. This will take place on March 12th, 2023, at 10 AM local time at SXSW Texas. The project will be featured as one of the Extended Reality Experience Spotlights. The SXSW Experience will continue with a metaverse musical performance and other presentations after the panel. The whole purpose is to “explore the rapidly evolving technology landscape.”
The conference will feature the revelation of the Shiba Inu’s WAGMI (We’re All Gonna Make It) Temple. Shiba Inu’s metaverse project is centered around ten different HUBs for various metaverse activities, from embracing the scenery to collaborating with community members on Shibarium-compatible projects. There’d be a free giveaway for crypto enthusiasts at the Happy Hour on 11th March in the Departure Lounge at Fairmont Austin.
SHIB: The Metaverse has been in development for two years in partnership with The Third Floor. Nothing has been revealed except the project’s conceptual artwork, as the project cannot go live without Shibarium. Many adherents of SHIB are asking for a livestream for the upcoming events, but with no response so far.