Metaverse was a hot topic last year, and Fortnite creator, Epic Games together with Lego want to ignite interest again in the concept, which they say has been overtaken by generative AI in 2023.
The launch of OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT shifted focus from metaverse to generative AI with some companies going silent about their commitment towards developing metaverse projects, while others called it dead.
But Epic Games and Lego have announced a metaverse based project that they will develop which is expected to revive the concept again.
Metaverse still alive
The two companies took to the stage during the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, where they rebuked the idea that metaverse was a goner.
According to Fast Company, Lego chief marketing officer, Julia Goldin and Epic Games president Adam Sussman told the crowd that the two companies shared a vision, which would see the development of metaverse products that could span into both digital and real world.
“I know the metaverse feels like it was yesterday because today everyone is talking about generative AI,” said Goldin.
“But we want to not just talk, we want to do something about it.”
The two companies are resolute on building a platform that’s attractive to everyone.
“Part of what we wanted to land in our conversation today is to share our vision of what the metaverse is, which is really about this open door to everyone being a part of it and not being tied to a specific piece of hardware or a specific mobile platform or a specific gaming device,” Sussman told Fast Company after the presentation.
“It really is something where we want to build an ecosystem that can invite everyone to be part of it.” added Sussman.
An environment friendly for all
While Lego and Epic games create products that appeal mostly to the younger generation, the need to create a platform that is child friendly has also become crucial. It is estimated that over 70 million people played Fortnite in May alone, creating scope for a safe and secure environment for the whole family including children.
“The LEGO Group has captivated the imagination of children and adults through creative play for nearly a century, and we are excited to come together to build a space in the metaverse that’s fun, entertaining, and made for kids and families,” Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said in a statement.
But safety standards first
While their partnership provides vast metaverse opportunities, the two brands have one big challenge, which is upholding standards. Last November, Nvidia rooted for Universal Scene description (USD) which allows animators in different studios, using different software to effectively interact.
The company said it would employ it on its Omniverse saying that the “USD should serve as the HTML of the metaverse.”
So, Lego and Epic have also agreed on setting standards that make the metaverse a safe place for families including children.
While making the announcement last Thursday Goldin stressed the importance of regulations that guide how children interact with their content. This should ensure parents have the satisfaction of knowing their kids are safe and exposed to safe content.
As such, both brands have committed to collaborate with other industry players in setting up safety standards including VR and AR headsets as well as mobile operating systems.
“That’s why we were pushing so much on elevating safety standards with the industry,” she said.
Earlier this year Meta faced a backlash after announcing plans to allow 13 – 17 years olds onto their reality social network Horizon Worlds. The move faced severe backlash from concerned citizens who criticized Mark Zuckerberg, calling for the company to cancel their plan to allow minors onto the platform.
Lego has already stepped up its game into the metaverse by employing Epic’s Unreal Engine to design a digital twin for more than 10 000 Lego building pieces, to allow its community to build and rebuild structures and experience the digital playground.