(16:20) Matthew Ball updates our understanding of the metaverse. Not only is private industry fully aware of the potential of the Metaverse, it probably has the most aggressive conviction in this future, not to mention the most cash (at least when it comes from a willingness to fund Metaverse R&D), the best engineering talent, and greatest desire for conquest. Those who have the greatest reach and participation right now are leading the way to a future in which they will have a large share in the Metaverse. Any thoughts, comments, disagreements, additions, ideas - please email me at mb at matthewball dot vc and I will make updates. To this end, part of the reason that the battle royale genre is only recently popular in video games now is because it’s only recently possible to play live with so many other users. And here, the tech/media conglomerate Tencent (which also publishes most of the Western games released in China, as well as those of Japan’s Nintendo and Square Enix), is an obvious anchor. Ultimately, you’ll find many of the same items in the offices of Big Tech CEOs. 23 Dec 20. However, they did not do so together. Matthew Ball & Jacob Navok 5/18/20 Matthew Ball & Jacob Navok 5/18/20. And so, it’s helpful to return to the (lengthy) creation of the World Wide Web. Matt Ball - The Future of Media: Movies, the Metaverse, and More - [Invest Like the Best, EP.185] By Patrick O'Shaughnessy. The Metaverse We'd be remiss if we didn't discuss Unity's role as a "founder" of the Metaverse, a term coined in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash , and further popularized by media analyst Matthew Ball. But please ask that question again in 12 months. In addition, the distribution of engagement will have a very long tail. Although the full vision for the Metaverse remains hard to define, seemingly fantastical, and decades away, the pieces have started to feel very real. In fact, I can't think of another author whose work I read as quickly once a new essay drops. The Metaverse is Coming Join Philip Rosedale of High Fidelity, Matthew Ball of Epyllion Industries, Raph Koster of Playable Worlds, Frederic Descamps of Manticore … And while Microsoft clearly foresaw mobile, it misread the role of the operating system and too much of the hardware, hence the rise of iOS and Android globally (and Microsoft’s shift from the OS layer to the app/services one). Although some games with highest concurrencies have existed for more than twenty years, such as Second Life or Warcraft, they essentially spoofed the experience by “sharding” and splitting users into different “worlds” and servers. President Eisenhower said it about the military-industrial complex. God, in other words, doesn’t create and design the world as though it were a miniature model, but enables one to grow across a mostly blank tableau etc.). Will we know the future when we see it? In truth, there were more than 100,000 instances of the Marshmello concert, all of which were slightly out of sync and capped at 100 players per instance. This does happen from time to time (e.g. Patrick O'Shaughnessy (00:01:42): My guest today, Matthew Ball, is a long time coming. At the same time, Facebook has a very troubled track record as a platform for where third-party developers/companies can build sustainable businesses, as a ringleader in a consortium (e.g. Read his latest on the past and future of Nintendo and you’ll see why. However, such examples have rapidly expanded since. More broadly, the two most dominant cases of the early Internet were instant messaging and email, and yet the importance of social apps/networks was still unexpected until the late 2000s. (16:20) Matthew Ball updates our understanding of the metaverse. Receive every essay via email; day of release, explicitly referenced in the opening moments, 10-hour sci-fi story that spans multiple dimensions and timelines, this means that there are now three ways to create in Unreal, which allows developers to monetize not just their games. Because there’s one thing that can be said for sure about the future: it’s on its way. Few consumers were clamoring for greater fragmentation of digital content, and most were reasonably happy with market leader Steam. Two months later, he was even more explicit: “The amount of power possessed by Google and Facebook. The acquisition of media conglomerate Time Warner by landline internet giant AOL was set in 2000 based on the idea media and tech/distribution needed to converge, but was unwound in 2009 after it failed to produce much benefit. Key Takeaway from Matthew Ball’s Metaverse: The Metaverse will transform the modern economy and represents a next-generation opportunity akin … As I outlined in February of 2019, it is the express goal of Epic Games, maker of the Unreal Engine and Fortnite. What we see are brands taking a…. Instead, they talk about school, movies, sports, news, boys, girls and more. The company also has a lengthy history in content and monetization innovation (it was the first to experiment at scale with AAA free-to-play games and with player-to-player marketplaces). The similarly named Singularity6 is building a virtual world that, unlike Fortnite, is intended to develop into a Metaverse from day one. In 1945 Vannevar Bush described what he-called the “Memex”, a single device that would store all books, records and communications, and mechanically link them together by association. This is like saying is ‘World of Warcraft’, the iPhone, or Google is the Internet. The company was/is focused not on VFX engineers or game designers, but on offering intuitive, icon-based software that enables “architecture, construction, urban planning and landscaping professionals” to produce realistic, immersive digital environments based in Unreal “in seconds”. Columbia Venture Community is pleased to invite you to a virtual panel on the Metaverse, the next stage of the internet (and a key investment focus of Big Tech and beyond), with Matthew Ball and Jacob Navok. We are already transacting at scale for purely digital items for purely digital activities via purely digital marketplaces. The tens of billions that will be spent on cloud gaming over the next decade, too, is based on the belief that such technologies will underpin our online-offline future. iOS or Amazon or Google Play) are not just usurious, they prevent the creation of a real digital world economy. Fortnite creative director at game awards says the goal is “to create a metaverse, a place where all IP can live together, where all kinds of experiences can happen” - @DonaldMustard cc @ballmatthew pic.twitter.com/eSwVnnzfZk. Over time, the sophistication of Epic’s gaming engine has grown so significant it now powers a variety of traditional media experiences. Sense of presence in a digital world doesn’t make a Metaverse. However, we can identify core attributes. “That doesn’t require any belief in the multiverse or the Metaverse … And it would revolutionize not just the infrastructure layer of the digital world, but also much of the physical one, as well as all the services and platforms atop them, how they work, and what they sell. The best example of Fortnite’s potential is demonstrated by its ability to persuade many supposed competitors into cooperation (or early “interoperability”) with one another. Nine years later, it was then bought by mobile internet giant AT&T under the same premise. Matthew Ball (OOO) @ballmatthew. Here’s a look at Ball’s musings on what the Metaverse really is, why it matters, what it’s going to take to build, who’s trying to build it, and what that means for your business. A cool note is the emergence of CGI-tech that "de-ages" the actors so they can play themselves in the younger years. Matthew Ball (@ballmatthew). In addition to operating Fortnite — which was in theory a side project — Epic Games also owns the second largest independent gaming engine, Unreal. Even though the company is enormously valuable, any would-be acquirer has to keep Unity fully platform-agnostic in order to preserve its market share, developer support, and influence (e.g. Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, many of those in the technology community have imagined a future state of, if not quasi-successor to, the Internet – called the “Metaverse”. Accordingly, when you access content from another user, you’re really just pulling the latest information that Facebook is giving you. Although the Metaverse has the potential to succeed the Internet as a computing platform, its underlying development process is likely to share little in common with its antecedent. Individuals currently have multiple identity profiles online, between Google, Apple, Facebook, and more. While the establishments of standards usually involve actual meetings, negotiations, and debates, the standards for the Metaverse won’t be established upfront. However, they tend not to have high levels of concurrency: most video chat programs max out beyond a few people, and once you hit 50, you tend to need to “live stream” a broadcast to your viewers, rather than share a two-way connection. Microsoft is a good example. Patrick O’Shaughnessy’s conversation with Matthew Ball (read his excellent essays) is quite dense with insights on all types of medias and the coming metaverse. Take posture, for example. Also, that is indeed my Fortnite outfit at the top. A simpler way to think about it is to think about HTML - the building blocks that make the internet do what we understand it to do. These sales were typically to higher-income players in the West. But what’s important is to recognize the Metaverse isn’t a game, a piece of hardware, or an online experience. And this still worked because the gameplay dynamic was based on predominantly large-scale, pre-planned ship-based combat. where the roads are, schools are, utility capacity, etc.). A “digital and virtual economy” – These, too, already exist. The Metaverse isn’t about scaling what we have, it’s about connecting everything we have together. Sarah Lamb and Matthew Ball in the Royal Ballet's production of Wayne McGregor's Multiverse at The Royal Opera House Covent Garden on November 10, 2016 in London, England. While this lacks several of the key attributes of the Metaverse today, such as individual “presence”, it begins amassing enormous volumes of “players” into fully shared virtual environments that aren’t currently possible via cloud or locally-rendered gaming. Most obviously, it will always want to be the primary place in which we buy ‘stuff.’ Whether that’s bought inside a game engine, a virtual world, or web browser is irrelevant (it already sells inside Twitch). Sitting at a keyboard, locked in position for hours and focusing on a fixed screen is a recipe for a range of physical complaints, from sore necks to … Venture capitalist and former Amazon executive Matthew Ball wrote this year “just as it was hard to envision in 1982 what the Internet of 2020 would be, we don’t really know how to describe the metaverse”. Regardless, the Metaverse should produce the same diversity of opportunity as we saw with the web – new companies, products and services will emerge to manage everything from payment processing to identity verification, hiring, ad delivery, content creation, security, and so forth. To this end, Epic acquired the company Twinmotion in April of last year. As with Facebook, the Metaverse needs to be “populated”, rather than just “populable”, and this population must then fill in this digital world with things to do and content to consume. Instead, it will slowly emerge over time as different products, services, and capabilities integrate and meld together. Google couldn’t make Unity exclusive to or best on Android/Chrome exclusive without losing hordes of developers). But in the game, as with real life, you can’t just “build” a 10MM person city. Matthew Ball: The Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find it, Who Will Build It, and Fortnite. Accordingly, the Metaverse is likely the only initiative that can unite all of Google’s sprawling investments to date, from edge computing on Stadia, to Project Fi, Google Street View, its extensive purchases of dark fiber, wearables, virtual assistants and more. As it grows, you build around this town, occasionally but judiciously tearing down and replacing “old” sections, sometimes only if/when a problem (insufficient supply of power) or disaster hits (a fire). More broadly, the Metaverse stands to alter how we allocate and monetize modern resources. This is why considering Fortnite as video game or interactive experience is to think too small and too immediately. This reveals Epic’s play with Online Services. This would have practical value but is probably unlikely as each of the leaders in the “Metaverse era” will still want their own identity systems. The Internet today is a product of a relatively messy process in which the open (mostly academic) internet developed in parallel with closed (mostly consumer-oriented) services that often looked to “rebuild” or “reset” open standards and protocols. All of which is to say, Apple is more likely to be the dominant way the Western world engages with Metaverse rather than the operator/driver. #Fortnite #Future #Metaverse *** Discussed in this episode: "I’ve Never Played Fortnite, But Was Forced to Attend Travis Scott’s Fortnite Concert" ... April 26, 2020 - Matthew Ball And there are many reasons why. It’s taken 40 years for technology to advance towards hosting these millions of people but for the shared, synchronous experience that Ball talks of, we now need to look to the cloud. Most of its ancillary (i.e. This organic evolution can’t be overemphasized. Some believe the definition (and success) of a Metaverse requires it to be a heavily decentralized platform built mostly upon community-based standards and protocols (like the open web) and an “open source” Metaverse OS or platform (this doesn’t mean there won’t be dominant closed platforms in the Metaverse). This doesn’t mean turning Unity into a proprietary engine can’t be strategically smart. Patrick and I went deep into topics including the Metaverse (its technical challenges, opportunities, and philosophy), IP and the role of business model and technical innovation in storytelling, the Unreal Engine, Cloud Gaming, Fortnite as a competitor to Spotify, and more. In addition, platforms such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, as well as technologies such as Bitcoin, are based around the hiring of individuals/businesses/computational power to perform virtual and digital tasks. The Internet is a mine of data and the Metaverse will have both more data and perhaps greater returns on it than today’s web. Many also debate whether a true Metaverse can have a single operator (as is the case in Ready Player One). “Town squares” emerge organically around existing infrastructure and behaviors, to fulfill existing civilian and commercial needs. “As we build up these platforms toward the Metaverse, if these platforms are locked down and controlled by these proprietary companies, they are going to have far more power over our lives, our private data, and our private interactions with other people than any platform in previous history,” Sweeney said in May 2017. At the same time, Epic is bringing far more than a plausible on-ramp to its efforts to build the Metaverse. (25:10) Kodak’s $765M loan to produce pharmaceuticals (41:50) Listen on Apple , Spotify , or Google Podcasts. This isn’t a “meta” (Greek for “beyond”) universe, just a synthetic and fictional one designed for a single purpose (a game). The band Weezer produced a bespoke island where fans could get an exclusive first listen to their new album (while dancing with other “players”. The Internet is a wide set of protocols, technology, tubes and languages, plus access devices and content and communication experiences atop them. Such moves might raise the overall value of the “digital economy”, but also weakens their hyper-valuable network effects and makes it easier for a user to move their digital lives elsewhere. Matthew Ball: The Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find it, Who Will Build It, and Fortnite. Guest on Recode Media and Invest Like the Best. That is what the Metaverse looks like beyond gaming. “Virtual reality” – VR is a way to experience a virtual world or space. He’s the former head of strategy at Amazon Studios, an investor, and probably my favorite business essayist writing today. What is the internet? Under the Metaverse, would-be laborers who choose to live outside cities will be able to participate in the “high value” economy via virtual labor. ... sometimes referred to as a metaverse… It’s a difficult question to answer. Another increasingly important part of Epic’s offering is its “Online Services” suite, which allows developers to immediately support cross-play across Sony + Microsoft + Nintendo + PC + iOS + Android and leverage Epic’s account systems/social graph (which has 1.6B player connections). Though unsuccessful, Google was first to really run after the wearable computing opportunity via Google Glass, and is making an aggressive move into digitizing the home via Google Assistant, its Nest suite of products and FitBit. Still, the Metaverse requires everyone be able to create and contribute ‘content’ and ‘experiences,’ not just well-staffed corporations and technically skilled individuals trying to make games or movies. However, as Ball notes in his piece, the idea of it being a successor to the internet means that "the Metaverse has become the newest macro-goal for many of the world’s tech giants". Politicians are communicating their message within video games. “That doesn’t require any belief in the multiverse or the Metaverse per se,” he said. The Metaverse is a bet that not only will our lives be increasingly online, but our existence and jobs will be too. As these large companies continue to scale, go digital, and integrate into greater technology and introduce social commerce functions, there’s more opportunity for major interconnectivity and interoperability. The major tech companies don’t just want to lead the Metaverse, they want to own and define it. Matthew Ball (@ballmatthew) is the former head of strategy at Amazon Studies and an investor. Libra), and in managing user data/trust. It is also the driver behind Facebook’s purchase of Oculus VR and its newly announced Horizon virtual world/meeting space, among many, many other projects, such as AR glasses and brain-to-machine communications. Valve doesn’t offer server infrastructure, but its Steamworks solution gives developers match-making and account services for free — but only for the Steam Store, Valve’s core business. This itself isn’t that unique — Microsoft spent $400MM acquiring PlayFab and millions more to support Xbox Live, while Amazon has bought both GameSparks and GameLift in order to sell services to game developers that need lots of servers and tools for their online games to work. Just imagine, for example, if credit card fees weren’t 0.5-2.5% but up to 60-20x as much; whole sectors of the physical economy wouldn’t be able to operate (such as a coffee shop or grocery store). Fulfilled by Amazon, Amazon Channels), is building what they hope will be the first major gaming/rendering engine purpose-designed for the cloud computing era, reportedly working on AR glasses, and is the leader in in-home/office digital assistants. ... Matthew Ball of Epyllion ... Ball said, the Metaverse … He openly implores Google and Apple, which generate several thousand times the revenue of Epic’s fledgling store, to match Epic’s rates. There may not be 100 players, but it’s still a battle royale. In fact, most of the FAAMG companies seem to believe that glasses will be a key gateway into our digital future and are collectively investing billions into the form factor. The most common conceptions of the Metaverse stem from science fiction. Inspiration for several characteristics of the Metaverse was taken from Matthew Ball's article: The Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find it, Who Will Build It, and Fornite. To operate, the Metaverse requires something more akin to video conferencing and video games. The Metaverse: What It Is, Where to Find it, Who Will Build It, and Fortnite No.110. Venture Capitalist and elite media analyst Matthew Ball posits that the future is already here. Over time, each option is likely to become more capable, easier to use and integrated. Technology frequently produces surprises that nobody predicts. The Metaverse will likely find and change the leading identity providers at a flash point in time. This concept was then used to formulate the idea of “hypertext” (a term coined two decades later), which in turn guided the development of the World Wide Web (developed another two decades later). So while the Metaverse is not quite here, if we are considering incremental innovations to how you can create a game, how realistic the physics are, the simulations, the economy, all of those innovations are happening right now, Ball said. A “virtual theme park or Disneyland” – Not only will the “attractions” be infinite, they will be not be centrally “designed” or programmed like Disneyland, nor will they all be about fun or entertainment. It also operates the most used operating system on earth (Android), as well as the most open of the major consumer computing platforms. We [won’t] share it, sell it, or broker access to it for advertising like so many other companies do.”. It may very well be similar in the Metaverse, although one of the theories on the Metaverse is that there will be a unified identity, which is why companies like Apple and Epic Games are fighting for control of being the de facto identity federator. This will be enormously difficult and take decades. He’s the former head of strategy at Amazon Studios, an investor, and probably my favorite business essayist writing today. However, the biggest developments are often anticipated decades in advance. 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