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Entertainment January 13, 2023

Manchester City Football Club Enters Metaverse

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Manchester City Football Club Enters Metaverse through Sony Partnership

Manchester City Football Club, an association football team based in the United Kingdom are in process of launching a virtual fan engagement platform in the metaverse, according to a Proof of Concept (PoC) video shown at CES 2023. 

CES is the most influential technology event in the world and it showcases the work of companies which includes developers, suppliers, and manufacturers of content, consumer technology hardware, and technology delivery systems. 

Also read: The Challenges Facing Chinese Generative AI

The PoC video showed a group of avatars interacting in a virtual version of Manchester City’s home ground called Etihad Stadium. Sony’s Hawk-Eye Innovations which includes creative graphic technologies, video review, vision processing, and optical tracking that has made sports safer, more engaging, and fairer was also shown as part of the PoC. 

With fans of the clubs and visitors across the footballing landscape having access to the creation of avatars of their own, Sony’s Hawk-Eye Innovations will distribute live three (3)-dimensional (3D) video for them to see the players of the Manchester-based football club in a 3D metaverse space. 

Sony’s Toshimoto Mitomo, the Officer responsible for Intellectual Property (IP) and Business Incubation Platform made it known that the company will support the club to significantly increase the value of its content as well as its engagement with fans in the country and across the globe. 

Manchester City Football Club’s metaverse appearance was in the works 

Sony’s latest development with the current champions of the English Premier League comes 14 months after it announced in November 2021 that it had become the official virtual fan engagement partner of Manchester City. At the time, Sony said it was going to combine its technologies with the club’s content to help develop a new digital fan experience.   

Football organizations are making use of the metaverse

Due to the enormous opportunity, the metaverse provides in the form of immersive experiences and the production of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which can add more sales volume to projects, many football institutions have joined the emerging sector. 

Serie A, the highest league in Italy broadcasted a live football game between A.C. Milan and Fiorentina in May 2022. The match was made available to viewers in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Aside from Serie A, La Liga, the top-tier league in Spain entered the metaverse via strategic partnerships with Vegas City Limited and Stadioplus to offer part of its operations in the metaverse through the Ethereum-based platform Decentraland in September 2022. 

Manchester City is active in fan token sales 

While the club continues to make gains in the metaverse, it is among the most active football organizations in terms of fan token sales. As of 12 Jan. 2023, Manchester City fan token sales had surpassed more than $4 billion with token price trading between $4 and $5. 

Other football clubs with high fan token sales include, but are not limited to, Paris Saint Germain (France), Santos FC (Brazil), Lazio (Italy), FC Porto (Portugal), and Atletico Madrid (Spain).

Manchester City Football Club Enters Metaverse

Source: CryptoSlam

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AI

Nick Cave Is Very Upset with ChatGPT Song

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Nick Cave

Musician Nick Cave has eviscerated a song that ChatGPT wrote in the style of Nick Cave, calling the effort “a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human” and “replication as travesty.”

The song was sent to him by a fan in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Cave didn’t attempt to bottle up his emotions for his response.

Cave, not by Cave

In his newsletter, The Red Hand Files, Cave gave his unfavorable reaction to ChatGPT’s efforts which he bluntly described as “bullshit.”

Had the song been objectively better in Cave’s eyes, his reaction would likely have been no more sympathetic. As Cave describes it the horror of artificial intelligence (AI) and large language models (LLM) lies not only in its current limitations and lack of quality but in the prospect of its continual progression and improvement.

“I understand that ChatGPT is in its infancy but perhaps that is the emerging horror of AI – that it will forever be in its infancy, as it will always have further to go,” said Cave.

Even with the forever improvement of machine intelligence Cave sees no merit in the process of mutation and replication.

“What makes a great song great is not its close resemblance to a recognizable work,” said Cave. “Writing a good song is not mimicry, or replication, or pastiche, it is the opposite. It is an act of self-murder that destroys all one has strived to produce in the past.”

Cave then offered his thoughts on whether steadily improving chatbots and AI will lead to an idealized utopian future, or a dystopian disaster. 

According to the singer and songwriter, “The apocalypse is well on its way. This song sucks.”

ChatGPT’s (not actually) Nick Cave song

The song written by ChatGPT in the style of Cave is full of biblical allusions and labored oxymorons. Saints, sinners, devils, and angels all feature in the formerly nameless piece.

To make its future identification easier MetaNews asked ChatGPT what the name of the song should be. ChatGPT offered a numbered of options including “Siren’s Lament,” “The Line Between,” and “The Devil’s Game.”

Verse 1:

In the depths of the night, I hear a call

A voice that echoes, through the hall

It’s a siren’s song, that pulls me in

Takes me to a place, where I can’t begin

Chorus:

I am the sinner, I am the saint

I am the darkness, I am the light

I am the hunter, I am the prey

I am the devil, I am the savior

Verse 2:

I walk the streets, with my head held high

I’ve got my demons, but I’ll make them fly

I’ll dance with the devil, and I’ll play his game

I’ll be the one, to call his name

Chorus:

I am the sinner, I am the saint

I am the darkness, I am the light

I am the hunter, I am the prey

I am the devil, I am the savior

Bridge:

I’ve got the blood of angels, on my hands

I’ve got the fire of hell, in my eyes

I’m the king of the abyss, I’m the ruler of the dark

I’m the one that they fear, in the shadows they hark

Chorus:

I am the sinner, I am the saint

I am the darkness, I am the light

I am the hunter, I am the prey

I am the devil, I am the savior

Outro:

So come with me, to the edge of the night

Where the darkness and the light collide

We’ll walk the line, between the good and the bad

And we’ll see, who comes out on top in the end.

Taking it personally

With his invective close to complete Cave acknowledged his profoundly negative reaction.

“It may sound like I’m taking all this a little too personally, but I’m a songwriter who is engaged, at this very moment, in the process of songwriting. It’s a blood and guts business, here at my desk, that requires something of me to initiate the new and fresh idea. It requires my humanness,” said Cave.

The songwriter’s reaction is not wholly unique, although it does seem to be in the minority. The launch of ChatGPT in December has been met with a wave of positivity which Cave describes as “algorithmic awe” but not everyone feels the same.

The encroachment of machines into what was once considered human-only domains provokes a strongly negative emotional reaction in some users. 

Koko, a mental health non-profit, recently encountered a similar phenomenon when they attempted to use ChatGPT to co-author mental health advice and support.

These voices seem to be in the minority, but that minority becomes increasingly vocal when AI forces us to question the very nature of what makes us human.

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Business

TikTok Streamers Halt Google And Meta Advertising Dominance

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TikTok Streamers Halt Google And Meta Advertising Dominance
TikTok dominates the charts.

TikTok has diluted the dominance of the two largest online advertising platforms – Google and Meta, as the incumbents no longer rake in the majority of U.S. advertising money.

Insiders in the industry expect the trend to continue in the foreseeable future as brands now prefer TikTok as well as Netflix advertising.

According to estimates by a research firm Insider Intelligence Inc, Google and Facebook’s parent firm Meta accounted for a cumulative 48.4% of the total U.S. advertising spending in 2022.

Also read: Amazon Begins Same-Day Drone Delivery in the United States

The two have for nearly a decade maintained dominance, accounting for no less than 50% of total market share in the US.

Intelligence Inc however projects the old behemoths’ market shares to continue on a downward spiral and end this year at 44.9% while TikTok continues to boom.

TikTok Streamers Halt Google And Meta Advertising Dominance

TikTok streamers challenge Meta and YouTube.

Rise of TikTok advertising

Other research by Omidia projects TikTok’s popularity will continue to rise with its advertising revenue surpassing that of Meta and YouTube combined by 2027. Its latest survey puts Meta and YouTube’s market share at a combined 31% and expects it to further shrink to 12% apiece.

The firm says TikTok’s revenue will surge 238% to $44 billion by 2027 from $13 billion in 2022 while TikTok Douyin – its app in China – will reach $76 billion in 2027 from $28 billion last year.

According to Omidia, this means TikTok will account for 37% of the generated revenue from online video advertising. This will be significantly greater than Meta and YouTube that together are expected to account for 24% of the total revenue by that time, according to projections.

Total Gen Z appeal

Marketers have been focusing their attention on Generation Z (Gen Z) as they enter the job market in their early adulthood. They have realized putting too much money on platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram will not cut it for Gen Z.

They have now added TikTok to the mix and the trend is expected to continue in 2023 and going forward, according to marketers MetaNews have spoken with.

TikTok is becoming more popular by the day.

“Advertisers are beginning to move away from Meta and YouTube and towards TikTok to reach their vast follower base,” said Maria Rua Aguete, senior director at Omidia’s Media and Entertainment practice group in a statement.

According to Digiday’s The 2023 Notebook, Gen Z has shifted from publishing content on Instagram to TikTok, spending more time on the latter app.

Instead of merely liking and commenting or be passive observers, Gen Z wants to participate on social media.

Breeding ground for viral content

With an estimated 1 billion monthly users and expected to keep growing, marketers may ignore TikTok at their own risk.

The app has been downloaded over 2 billion times. It allows brands to drive exposure by using tools like hashtags with popular hashtags typically getting significant views.

According to the Entrepreneur, the most used hashtag last year was “fyp” (referring to TikTok’s “For You Page”) which amassed over 18 trillion views.

Global technology advisory and investment firm GP Bullhound, in its 2023 trends says to watch says TikTok as it remains poised to take significant market share from incumbents like Facebook and YouTube.

The global firm however warns TikTok to prepare for US regulations, which may burst their bubble.

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Business

China Softens Up on Foreign Video Games Licensing

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China Softens Up on Foreign Video Games Licensing

The video games regulator in China has given a nod for release of 44 foreign video games as the country’s tough stance on the gaming industry starts to thaw. Since August 2021, China has been rigid on the gaming industry.

The latest development will see 44 foreign games including 7 from South Korea released in the country. The approval for importation of games marks the end to China’s crackdown on the industry.

According to a separate list released last Wednesday, the regulator also approved 84 domestic games for December.

Among the imported games approved by the National Press and Publication Administration are 5, which will be published by Tencent Holdings, including Pokémon Unite by Nintendo and Valorant by Riot Games, according to the regulator’s list.

Following announcement by Chinese gaming industry regulator on the licensing, South Korean gaming stocks including Netmarble Corp, NCSOFT, Krafton, Kakao Games and Devsisters, rose by 2% to 17%.

Also read: Singapore Facing Shortage of Talent for ‘Phygital’ Metaverse

China Softens Up on Foreign Video Games Licensing

China and its tough stance on video games

During a year end meeting, Tencent founder Pony Ma said the company has to get used to the country’s tight licensing landscape, adding the number of new games that China approves will remain limited in the long run.

Unlike in other countries, video games need license from regulators before their release in China.

Its tough stance on gaming industry had a knock on effect on tech companies like Tencent and NetEase Inc that derive a significant chunk of revenue from publishing self-developed games as well as imported ones.

Since August 2021, China went after the country’s tech giants, which are among the world’s top gaming industry players with some estimated annual sales of $44 billion.

The crackdown on the industry is believed to have wiped more than $1 trillion off the value of the Chinese tech companies.

The South China Post reported that the crackdown also resulted in about 14 000 gaming related companies and studios going out of business.

Among the allegations levelled against the tech companies were abuse of monopolistic power and misuse of data.

Chinese authorities also argued the rules were to “effectively protect the physical and mental health of minors” while children under the age of 18 would be allowed to play online games between 8pm and 9pm.

China Softens Up on Foreign Video Games Licensing

Authorities soften up on the industry

In April last year, regulators started issuing licenses to homegrown games and approval of foreign games was seen as the last hurdle to be removed.

The world’s largest gaming company – Tencent was granted a total of 6 licenses according to sources with knowledge who spoke to Reuters.

Tencent received its first commercial license in November last year since August 2021 when the country got tough on the gaming industry.

Other imported games that were approved include CD Projekt’s CDR.WA “Gwent: The Witcher Card Game” and Klei Entertainment’s “Don’t Starve.”

Apart from Tencent, NetEase, ByteDance, XD Inc and iDreamSky also received game approvals in December. Shares of these companies – excluding NetEase – have recorded gains of between 0.8% and 5.2% in Hong Kong while Japan’s Nintendo rose 0.2%.

Big business

In 2021, China approved 76 imported games compared to 456 approved in 2017.China is referred to as the capital of gaming industry accounting for 25% of the global video game industry.

According to INTENTADIGITAL, gamers in China spend more time playing video games compared to any other activity.

There are over 685 million gamers in China, which is almost half its population.

At least 80% of gamers watch live streamlining while 70% of gamers play esports. Of the gamers, 48% are female.

In 2021, Chinese video game revenue was estimated to be around $46 billion, which was a slowdown from 2020 after authorities imposed strict play limits for under 18s and froze game license approvals.

On a global scale, the gaming industry is projected to continue growing towards 2025 with nearly 3.2 billion people estimated to have played games in 2022 alone, spending about $196.8 billion according to a global games market report.

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