Degree, the deodorant brand has teamed up with paralympian Blake Leeper and hip-hop star Fat Joe to arrange the event on the Decentraland metaverse platform as a method to encourage developers to make the metaverse’s interconnected digital worlds more accessible and welcoming to persons with disabilities.
According to a research by Wunderman Thompson cited by Degree, 60% of individuals believe virtual worlds are inaccessible and desire increased accessibility. The Metathon is intended to raise awareness about those concerns, but the organizers hope to use the momentum to fight for new inclusive tools for creating avatars, as well as audio descriptions for individuals with impaired vision and other improvements.
As an example of the modifications they are calling for, Decentraland and Degree produced an avatar catalog for the event. Participants can customize their avatars with prosthetics, running blades, or a wheelchair, allowing them to digitally represent who they are in the real world. The meta-runner will travel 26.2 virtual miles through Decentraland’s Vegas City Sports Quarter, which includes accessible architecture such as wheelchair ramps.
“I am extremely happy to participate in the Degree Metathon as a person with disabilities and a professional runner,” Leeper remarked. “I believe that seeing people in the virtual world running with blades and other prosthesis will inspire confidence in people with disabilities to participate and feel welcome in this experience, and will ultimately contribute to improved representation.”
Virtual being platforms for metaverse avatars are in high demand
The need for virtual being platforms for metaverse avatars is significant, with new brand collaborations and investment rounds occurring on a regular basis. For example, at the end of last year, Ready Player Me secured $13 million and is now collaborating with Adidas on a personality-based virtual human avatar platform. Rivals are raising money as well, with Inworld raising $10 million recently, Neosapience raising $21.5 million, and Soul Machines raising $70 million, not to mention the hyperrealistic virtual humans and creatures being developed by video game companies like Krafton.