Five things on Friday #335
Things of note for the week ending Saturday August 6th, 2022
I was reminded yesterday (by the lovely Wadds, hello Wadds) that I used to take two months off - August and December - each year from this newsletter. And I thought ‘yeah, actually - taking the summer off FTOF would be nice, wouldn’t it?’
But it’s funny.
Committing to not writing it is sometimes just as hard as committing to writing it. I never really know week by week what I’m going to see or write about; what will make me want to boot up Substack and start collecting thoughts and links together; or whether or not I’ll even find the time to do it (example: it’s 0955 on Saturday morning as I start this edition, I highly doubt it’ll go out this morning, let alone today; we’ll see how we get on).
Point is: the writing comes when it comes (and it goes when it goes). So while the words are in my head, I’m going to keep letting them out as and when I can.
Thanks for reading, thanks for subscribing, and just thanks - it’s nice having people to speak to week in and week out. You’re all lovely.
Shall we crack on?
1. LIONESSES ROAR
Metaverse BS getting a bump to number two this week thanks to… well…
These incredible women.
To make this about the work for a minute, Alex Scott said it perfectly in the post-match analysis when she said:
“I’m not begging corporates to get involved because if you’re not already you’ve missed the bus”
And I thought yeah, she’s right. There’ll be a special layer of brands that get to be the headliners for the years to come and you know what - all credit to them.
Companies such as LinkedIn, VISA, Nike, EA… all of them have found their own ways to shine light on the women’s game over the years.
And they were there first. All credit to them. And of course, to the AMAZING winning England team (because they all read this and will be well happy to get a mention).
PS. Who else did I miss? Hit reply and tell me.
2. AND NOW IT’S TIME FOR THIS WEEK’S DOSE OF METAVERSE BS (SORRY ABOUT THE SMELL)
Sitting comfortably? Got a cuppa to hand? OK, let’s get into some stuff.
Earlier in the week, I found this ‘research’ from Bain & Co, entitled ‘Young Gamers and the Metaverse: How the Rules of Success Are Changing’ - and it’s all such rubbish.
For example, ‘Younger gamers expect to spend more time in the metaverse’
‘Metaverse-style games’ are not ‘the metaverse’ - by your own definition, Bain, you utter ball bags. That may sound harsh but this is the same Bain that also this week was told it was now barred from UK state contracts over ‘grave misconduct’ in South Africa.
Cool. Cool. So your data is bad AND you’re corrupt AF? GREAT JOB, GANG!
How about some more meaningless metaverse stats?!
This time from ‘Talkdesk’.
You can read the 14-slide PDF right here (as per, these stats were reported with no interrogation whatsoever). And, because I actually read the report, I can tell you that there isn’t a single mention of how the metaverse was defined for the survey anywhere in the whole document.
So I asked.
‘I can't find the metaverse definition used for this survey. It's not in the methodology, are you able to share it please?’
To their credit, they replied:
‘For the purposes of the survey, we define the metaverse as the new frontier of merging physical and digital worlds, including today’s proto-metaverse platforms.’
So… literally not ‘the metaverse’ then? For. Crying. Out. Loud.
We move on. Again.
The delightful (and now once more back in the UK) being known as Matt Muir put this on my radar earlier this week.
Which, y’know should be kind of telling?
So say we all.
A few more things to tell you:
Through a good mutual (and the mutual love of debunking modern metaverse terms as simply ‘gaming’), I’ve got to know JD Stringfield a little bit. He is very good on this topic. Not only has a new book out (mine is in the post) but also recently given a pretty good good interview with Digiday which is worth a read.
Dior have released a skin for Gran Turismo 7. Vogue seems to think this is the metaverse. It isn’t.
Tinder is reportedly ‘stepping back’ from its metaverse plans.
I found the below tweet from the CEO of The Sandbox last week, challenging/addressing the recently reported DAU number (a little over 1100ish).
Good to know.
20-30k DAUs during special events is both highly conditional AND still not exactly record breaking (the whole thread is worth clicking through and reading, for additional context). If someone is pitching you an activation in The Sandbox, I ask again: who would it be for?
If you’ve been following me for a decent amount of time then you probably know I like an experiment. I’ve tried podcasting, Spotify radio, Slideshares, and Linkedin - I’ve built Google Assistant add-ons, and Messenger bots… I like to tinker and play.
It helps me understand.
Anyway, that’s a very long way to say (and thanks to relatively popular* demand) I’ve been dicking about on TikTok.
*like, three people.
3. THIS WEEK IN… GAMING
Your weekly gaming news bulletin.
Twitch. At the time of writing (Wednesday, August 3rd), Twitchcon has declared Twitch Con San Diego a mask-free zone. Which, I dunno, seems kind of insane?
Minecraft. I grew up not too far from Hadleigh Castle (my school was literally called ‘Castle View’), and I would love to see a Minecraft version of that built in the same way as this fantastic National Trust x Mojang tie up for Corfe Castle. Hashtag castle envy.
Two Point Campus is out next week. My lovely lot at Diva did the CG launch trailer (and we’re dead happy with it). Also: Two Point are great :) Watch the trailer.
2022 is a dry year for AAA games. Here’s a few reasons why that might be.
Bungie on why its taking the nuclear (read: legal) approach to weeding out toxicity in its community. Calling it a ‘strategic push. This is bar setting for the industry - I hope others follow.
Generation Alpha. “What Gen Alpha’s habits tell us about the future of gaming” - this is generall v good, and is worth filing/revisiting later. Key data point: demand for building/creating tools has climbed by 7% since 2021, which is the highest increase across the board (Epic/Lego taking note).
Hollywood. This is a great long read on how to approach gaming adaptions for the screen. Fascinating stuff. Backed up with data. A decent Sunday scroll.
Playtime-wise, I had a dip into Fortnite with some friends last night - that was fun. And, thanks to the only Final Fantasy game I’ve ever played being Crystal Chronicles on the GameCube, I’ve downloaded FFVII (original) and I’m having a run at that.
Because why not?
4. ANONYMOUS CV TOOL
This is an outstanding piece of work from my old lot at Digitas UK.
“After developing its own CV anonymization tool to weed out bias in recruitment, Digitas quickly saved over 500 hours in the drawn out recruitment process. It's now made the tech free to use for any company, including its agency rivals…”
It’s free to use.
And it’s bloody great.
Great job, Digitas fam. As important as it is impressive.
Let’s just all take a moment’s silence and pour one out for Batgirl.
Variety has the best analysis.
Bets now open on how long it takes for this to leak.
Side: Batgirl is a playable character in the upcoming Gotham Knights. So if you’re really missing out, maybe give this a go (it’s giving me solid Arkham vibes). IGN has a 16mins of Batgirl gameplay to show you.
THIS IS THE BONUS SECTION. BONUS LINKS THAT BUMP US OVER FIVE THINGS BUT DUE TO TIMING AND SELF-IMPOSED WRITING RESTRICTIONS ARE LIMITED TO PITHY COMMENTARY ONLY.
Let’s kick off right away with Fred Again on Boiler Room.
My friends at Storythings are running a research project to understand how we find, use and share stories in a world that has been impacted by Covid-19. Your input would be welcome.
Andy Cato - he of Groove Armada - on regenerative farming (GOOD READ).
A completely accurate representation of ‘a customer journey’
Ellen White. How it started vs how it’s going.
The Killers, playing Mr Brightside. But in like 2002.
‘Hey James, who’s your favourite gaming creator?’ ‘Well, that’s easy. It’s D Flawless - and you should all follow him on Twitch and on Twitter’
YOU ARE REACHING THE END OF THE NEWSLETTER. MIND THE GAP.
It’s been a full-on week.
A decent/chunky project moving through the business (all being well, I’ll be telling you about it later in the year), a trip back and forth to Bristol (including an awesome agency away day/afternoon/evening), and a top secret brief for a new project delivering early next year.
All that and I sign this off to you, I’m going to dive into either SANDMAN or PREY.
Hope you’re having a glorious weekend, wherever you are.
Until next time,
Whatley out x