Discover more from AIXR's Weekly Metaverse Business Brief
Meta 'de-hype' tech, Flying Sheep aim for the stars, & 'Death Simulator' provokes controversy.
This week...Network fee argument trips up Meta's ambitions, Animoca Brands deny major fund cut, Epic Games disclose Metaverse vision and NVIDIA and Microsoft announce operations partnership.
Good morning Metaverse Business Brief readers. Let’s jump into the most relevant news from the immersive world in our weekly roundup.
Network fees trip up Meta’s ambitions. Sources claim Meta has had to take steps to ‘de-hype’ it’s virtual world technology as the company lobbies against proposals that are being pushed by mobile network operators in Europe. The proposals seek to force content providers to pay them a fee for carrying their data and to assist in funding infrastructural upgrades. In a statement, Meta’s VP of Network Kevin Salvadori and director & head of wireless technologies Bruno Cendon Martin referred to the arguments from the networks as “nonsense”.
Animoca Brands deny reports of fund cut. In previous editions of our brief we have communicated the development of this fund, and it’s subsequent slicing from $2 billion to $1 million. In a shocking update, Animoca co-founder Yat Siu has been forced to deny reports that the fund has been cut by a further 20%, taking the target for the metaverse fund to $800 million. Siu claims that the source was wrong, and that the organisation may however revise estimations again due to concerns within the market.
Tim Sweeney further details his Metaverse vision. In a showcase at GDC 2023, Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney announced further details surrounding the ‘Unreal Editor’ for Fortnite, a development which is set to democratise metaverse building. Sweeney also spoke of his vision for an open ecosystem across the games industry, insisting that the Metaverse “can’t be another walled garden”.
NVIDIA and Microsoft announce operations partnership. The organisations have come together with a mission to bring forward the industrial metaverse and AI, as the Microsoft Azure Cloud plans to allow hundreds of millions of enterprise users to access powerful resources via cloud computing technology. Azure will host the Omniverse Cloud platform and the DGX Cloud service, with the collaboration promising to accelerate the digitisation of operations for the world’s largest companies.
Flying Sheep studios grab $1.2 million funding. The finance comes on behalf of the German government, and will go towards bringing in additional talent for the development of the the studios ‘Star Life’ metaverse MMO game. The studio was founded in 2014, and has worked with large brands like DreamWorks and Barbie.
Hadean take $5 million dollar funding. The London based deep-tech company adds the finance to an already impressive series A round that generated around £30 million. The funds will help to further boost the rapid progress in building the companies metaverse infrastructure solution.
LandVault shares strategic funding round details. The organisations latest round, led by investors like The Sandbox and Kingsway Capital, will see further capital growth for the metaverse ‘construction company’ that have built experiences for brands like Heineken and L’Oreal. The funds will go towards growing commercial operations across hubs in Dubai, US, Asia and Europe alongside investment in existing technology.
Keep an eye on
Grassroots comedians lose faith in Horizon Worlds. Two horizon worlds users felt compelled to create a world called ‘ProtestLand’ as they fought against a perceived lack of platforming on the service. Rodney Ramsey and Simon Josh Abramovitch host a regular comedy slot in a virtual venue dubbed the “Unknown Theatre”, but have found that the platform is ignoring their needs in favour of promoting bigger name brand and influencer collaborations.
Did Pico delay announcement due to Tiktok? A report from The Verge suggests that the planned release of the Pico 4 in the United States was held up due to government pressures brought on by TikTok - including a US congressional hearing. Both Pico and Tiktok are owned by Chinese parent company Bytedance. With confirmation awaited from Pico, the story remains speculative.
Controversial ‘death simulator’ exhibit opens in Australia. “The Passing Electrical Storms” exhibit by Shaun Gladwell contains a VR simulation that claims to provide the opportunity to experience death. As ‘doctors’ fail to revive the participant, the simulation then carries users through a simulated cardiac arrest and brain death. The experience has proved unsettling for some, but profound for others.
AI Pope image sparks deepfake debate. The image featuring Pope Francis adorned in a fashionable white puffer jacket confused the viral masses on social media, with many believing the false image to be real. The pictures, generated by Midjourney, have been dubbed the first “real mass-level AI misinformation case”, with fears growing as to the potential for more nefarious images to enter - deregulated - into our societies and news cycles via platforms like social media.
Events to be at
April 11 Online | Insights Live: Growth of Web3 and Retail
April 12 Laval & Online | Laval Virtual
May 09 Online | Insights Live: Human Progress and the Programmable World
June 13 Online | Insights Live: Metaverse vs Web3: A Convergence?
November 30 Rotterdam | The 7th International VR Awards
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments and your thoughts on the AI deepfake debate to firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 27 2023 Edition - Issue 12
Thanks for reading AIXR’s Substack! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.