Five things on Friday #333
Things of note for the week ending Friday, July 22nd 2022
My philosophy on life has changed significantly over the past five or so years. It’s funny. Two rounds of therapy, a suicide attempt, and a pandemic will do that - I guess.
I found the above image (source) a couple of months ago and I just keep coming back to it. We are here for such a short time. Against the backdrop of the amusing, enlightening, and inspiring JWST perspective from last week (link again in case you missed it), I just wanted to reiterate: nothing matters - and that’s ok - so if you can, please, find some ways to enjoy yourself.
Take a breath, think about what’s important, hug the people you love (and include yourself in that), and smile into the rest of your day.
How we spend our days is how we spend our lives, right?
Do the thing. Make the leap. Tell that person you love them. And if it doesn’t work out, you tried. Trying and failing is infinitely better than doing nothing at all.
OK. So. That was quite the primer! I did not see that coming. Shall we crack on with THE THINGS?
OK, LET’S GO.
1. YOUR WEEKLY METAVERSE BS
Because honestly, between butt-hurt metaverse gurus on Linkedin and the ridiculous excuse of regurgitated PR that is the [occasional] excuse for industry/trade “journalism” (we’ll come back to that), we are still calling this ridiculousness out.
In the past few days, a couple of people tagged me in this:
“The metaverse is a new canvas for creativity, but the hyped up trend wave could snuff all the incredible out of a good thing. We must see past the hype and build the future. Blinded by a shiny new thing, a nearsighted pursuit of rapid innovation can lead to a misuse of technology. With flashy acts that don’t contribute to overall brand business objectives, the fun is over before it ever even really begins.”
And I honestly don’t know where to start with the levels of disinformation contained within. To put that quote on the same page as the above image is such a phenomenal self-own, I can’t quite believe it’s still live.
These are not metaverse ‘worlds’. The names mentioned are either desolate website wastelands OR video games or VR platforms.
‘Metaverse worlds’ is an oxymoron, ya moron. Any background reading or literally any serious attempt at a definition of what ‘the metaverse’ might be one day, clearly delineates that this space will be persistent, interoperable, and singular. In short, you’ll be in one metaverse and move between them seamlessly. You can’t just back-pedal a metaverse ‘worlds’ definition onto video games because you’ve woken up soiled in Web3.
The sizing of the ‘infographic’ is WAY off. Fortnite’s numbers next to Decentraland’s make no sense. ‘Here’s a K! Here’s an M! - they’re the same!’ they are not.
The MAUs are as incorrect as they are misleading (google it).
For some unknown reason ‘Fearless Girl’ is in there too, is it because she is an NFT now? My dudes (because a pound to a penny this was signed off by dudes), NFTs ≠ the metaverse.
She’s right, y’know.
Because I had 15mins between meetings on Wednesday and - to be quite honest - I still find it utterly baffling that people pay buffoons to mutter the likes of Sandbox and Decentraland in the same sentence as Fortnite and Roblox, I made a few charts.
The first one was taking the MAUs supplied by this ‘map’ at face value, combining it with the DAU data I could find, and then representing what that data looks like with a bit more meaning (and by ‘a bit more’ I mean ‘more than zero’).
If you can see it, then it’s a video game.
If you can’t see it, then thems those clothes the emperor has been wanging on about so much lately.
Check this out: someone made a live user counter for Decentraland. It’s amazing! Click, scroll down to the bottom, and you’ll see.
As I write to you the number says ‘Total Users: 750’.
And yet clients are giving up their marketing dollars to pay for this horse manure.
Anyway. I rewrote the ‘map’.
Updated with DAU actuals across the board (aside from Horizon - telling that Facebook doesn’t publish this figure) and updated definitions (video games, websites, etc), this is a slightly more realistic version of the ‘metaverse map’.
Realistic insofar that it shows real numbers. The interoperability, persistence, and random addition of NFTs in the middle of it all were just too much to bother about.
My goodness, this stuff makes me cross.
You can tweet it or post it on LinkedIn or whatever, or just print it and stick it above your desk at work or at home. Hell, laminate it if you want.
The point is: if you see the original repurposed anywhere, hit reply with the updated stats or just send them this way.
We make no changes unless we collectively work to prevent this disease from spreading across our industry.
UPDATE: since drafting this section, S4 has issued a profit warning, slicing £30m off EBITDA forecasts and stating spiraling staff costs as a problem:
“The staff costs issue, it clarified, is concentrated in its content practice. It still expects its data and digital media practice and technology services practice to deliver “healthy” EBITDA margins for the full year.” -
It is a difficult year for everyone. Maybe let’s stop selling things that aren’t real to clients that don’t need them and then maybe people can keep their jobs?
I mentioned PR as trade ‘journalism’ earlier.
This isn’t rocket science. This is reading.
I clicked on the link and it said:
“The artists were briefed on the project and told to “showcase an electrified interpretation of how the Nissan Ariya is a ‘ray of hope’ within each of their cities”.
Each artwork is influenced by the Japanese-inspired design of the Ariya but the artists were encouraged to use their own personal style and story in their pieces.
The images will be shown in digital and on large-format outdoor sites while also presenting consumers with a QR code.”
Guess where the QR code takes them. Go on guess.
“You can literally step into it with a Meta Quest headset for a fully immersive experience or explore it in 3D on your mobile or computer.”
“Car lovers will be able to enter the metaverse using the QR code and experience the artwork in a truly immersive way.”
I have a question.
Sorry to be a dick about it but out of curiosity how many people passing ‘large-format outdoor sites’ will be carrying their Meta Quest headsets in their bags?
Oh, and while we’re at it: Meta Quest is not the metaverse.
It’s a self-contained VR platform made by Facebook.
Also! Exploring a ‘3D website’ on your mobile or computer is not the metaverse.
It’s just a website! Oy.
OK, I think we’re done here.
If you are a brand or a client and you’re still unsure about this, hit reply to this email - I just want to talk. If you’re looking at your 2023 planning briefs at the moment and you’ve got a couple of slides near the back with the words ‘the metaverse is coming’ on them, then take a good long hard look at yourself and ask ‘Why is this here?’
Have you had too many free breakfasts at the Facebook offices? Has your media agency been told it has to find extra money in the budget because they bent over backwards to win your business last year? Or are you putting it in the deck because you think if you don’t then you might not be seen as ‘innovative’?
Whatever it is, stop. It is dangerous - for your budget, for your ROI, for your job - and it will deliver zero brand growth.
2. THE WHALE DYING ON THE MOUNTAIN
We don’t have long.
3. THIS WEEK IN… GAMING
This week I’m playing: Neon White with my colleagues in Bristol, new Hot Wheels DLC for Forza Horizon 5 (it’s ridic) and, hopefully, I’ll get a chance later today to dive into the latest FREE update to No Man’s Sky, ‘Endurance’ - which has been described as ‘Captaining it up like Picard’ - in.
Some quick links for you:
STRAY aka ‘The Cat Game’ has been reviewing incredibly well. I haven’t bought it yet because, well, see above. But if you’re a PlayStation Plus Extra subscriber (I am not - a longer story for another day about me banking too much Plus for years ahead) you get it as part of your sub. Nice! I’ll probably pick it up once I’m done with Horizon Forbidden West (still yet to finish that).
This week I learnt: Xbox uses blockchain tech to help game creators check royalties and profits. New tech that is useful! Hooray!
A long long time ago, I wrote an article about how the advertising industry’s self-governing body, the ASA, needed to get tougher with industry-based social media rule-breakers or else the government would step in and do it for them. A few years later, the CMA stepped in to do just that. Reading this piece about how the DCMS has stopped short of banning loot boxes, it feels like we are in a similar space. Who will move first? The industry or the government.
And finally, my agency - Diva - is a sponsor of the ongoing thought pieces ‘Playable Futures’ on GamesIndustry.biz. The latest is an interview with the always fantastic Anna Rafferty from Lego. Her thoughts on ‘Rubber Safety Mulch’ give me even more confidence in Lego’s partnership with Epic. I can’t wait to see more.
4. THE TALL BENCHES OF COPENHAGEN
10 benches in Copenhagen have been raised by 1 meter (3.28 feet) and set up in prominent areas of the city. A copper plate on each bench reads:
“Flooding will become part of our everyday life unless we start doing something about our climate. According to the latest UN Climate Report sea levels are expected to rise by up to 1 meter before 2100 if global warming continues.”
A haunting way to illustrate an impending problem.
5. ‘I WANT YOUR INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT’
First came the threatening texts, followed by the SWAT teams. Then someone wound up dead.
BONUS LINK CHROME TAB COMBO BREAKER INCOMING - THIS WEEK SOURCED FROM TWITTER LIKES AND LINKEDIN COMMENTS BECAUSE WHY NOT
Elle McCarthy on incredible form re: RvW (warning: this is a hard read).
QR codes in OOH. The good, the bad, and the (usually) ugly.
Thor Love and Thunder spoiler (but if you’ve seen it, this is lovely).
A good long read with Mark Manson on the subtle art of not giving a…
If, like me, you find yourself in a Premier Inn from time to time, here’s how to reset and retune the Samsung TVs within. Magic.
Instagram: TikTok is coming! Quick! Do Something!
Everyone keeps asking me what I think of Matthew Ball’s new book ‘The Metaverse’ - I will read it (I haven’t - I’ve ordered it). In the short term, I have read his piece in TIME magazine and listened to his appearance on Decoder. Both are excellent. For what it’s worth, someone challenged me about the definition of Metaverse re: Snowcrash and I realised I hadn’t read that either. So Snowcrash first, then Metaverse. OK? OK.
YOU ARE REACHING THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER. MIND THE GAP.
Thanks for reading.
If you liked this week’s newsletter, please forward it to someone. I’m edging towards 3000 subs and it’d be nice to hit that number for no other reason than vanity x
I love you 3000,
Whatley out x
PS. Are you going to Gamescom? Hit reply and say hi.