Metaverse June 6, 2022
Neopets gets into metaverse sponsorship
With its latest endeavor, Neopets Metaverse, the popular online service that has inspired hundreds of millions of wide-eyed internet surfers for over two decades through its virtual pets, small games, and community forums makes its Metaverse debut at one of New York’s largest NFT events.
The Neopets Metaverse team will be at the 4th annual NFT.NYC event from June 20 to June 23, where they will do meet and greets, give away Neopets items, and show a sneak peek demo of a Metaverse mini-game.
The Neopets Metaverse team will be offering a branded Neopets snack bar with classic Neopian goodies as an NFT.NYC Silver Sponsor. In addition, they will raffle out event-only goodie bags containing both digital and physical Neopets items.
Carlin West, founder and CEO of Carlin West Agency LLC, and official licensing partner of the Neopets IP, will give a presentation on the Neopets Metaverse and why nostalgia is so important in today’s NFT market during the event.
“Many passions are fueled by nostalgia,” West explains. “One of the main principles behind the Neopets Metaverse project is to capture how nostalgia connects so strongly with artists, gamers, and the NFT community, and we’re delighted to interact with Neopets fans and attendees at NFT.NYC to foster an open discourse around its position in this arena.”
This will be the company’s first time attending and sponsoring an industry-recognized NFT event in person
“Neopets is such a cherished and iconic brand,” stated Jim Czulewicz, President and CEO of JumpStart Games Inc., the Neopets IP’s owner. “While we will continue to improve, expand, and update the Neopets Classic site, we are also excited about the opportunities that the metaverse presents in bringing engagement to our classic, thriving IP while also providing players with a choice in the next generation of gaming technology,” says the company.
The Chief Metaverse Officer, Dominic Law, adds, “This sponsorship with NFT.NYC provides us with a fantastic opportunity to spread the word about our initiative to the Neopets and NFT communities. Not only for Neopets Metaverse, but also for the entire genre of games and nostalgia culture inside the world of NFTs, the future seems bright.”
Government-Backed NFT Scrapped By UK Treasury
Government-backed non-fungible tokens (NFTs) were in the news last April, after the UK made a bold move to create digital collectibles to foster the country’s commitment to tech. While this was seen as a positive one year ago, a statement released on March 27 has thrown the once-innovative idea into complete disarray.
The Treasury of the UK has nixed the idea of releasing a government-backed NFT which would have placed the country ahead of other crypto-friendly nations as a leading global crypto hub.
Economic uncertainty across the entire decentralized finance (DeFi) sector due to a muddied regulatory picture was cited as one of the main concerns leading to the scrapping of the token. That’s according to statements made by Harriet Baldwin, Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, to the BBC.
Current British PM proposed idea last year
Last April, John Glen, the minister and economic secretary to the Treasury, told an audience at the Innovative Finance Global Summit that then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the current Prime Minister, petitioned Royal Mint to make an NFT before the end of summer 2022.
According to Glen, the whole idea was part of the UK’s forward-looking approach towards utilizing the latest technology in the country’s development.
Brutal for NFTs/online worlds and it's not even 8am: Disney has folded down its metaverse team and Rishi Sunak's dream of a UK government issued NFT has ended…. sad!
— Lucy HM (@LHM1) March 28, 2023
While a government-backed “NFT for Britain” now appears off the table, economic secretary Andrew Griffith has made it known that the proposal will remain under review.
Shadow city minister Tulip Siddiq was quick to put the boot in, saying: “I’m glad the Royal Mint has finally made the Conservatives see sense, but we’ve been calling on the chancellor to drop this crypto gimmick for months.”
Global NFT market soars past $50bn in sales
Despite the negative market sentiment occasioned by the UK Treasury’s decision, the digital collectibles market remains the most profitable in the crypto-economy after the deepening of bearishness in the second half of 2022 due to the collapse of Terra and FTX.
Global NFT sales in the past 24 hours stood at $41 million from the activities of 74,786 users involved in more than 180,000 transactions. Lifetime sales volume, meanwhile, has surpassed $50 billion.
Popular NFT project CryptoPunks holds the record for the four highest-selling individual NFTs, Axie Infinity remains the number one NFT collection by all-time sales volume with $4.2 billion, and Vitalik Buterin’s Ethereum remains the biggest NFT blockchain by all-time sales volume of about $38 billion.
NFT users are spread throughout the globe, with the majority hailing from the United States, Thailand, Brazil, China, Vietnam, India, Canada, Indonesia, Germany, and South Africa
Disney Dismisses Metaverse Division, Polygon Feels the Heat
Disney has announced that it is abandoning plans to explore the metaverse, and the news has vibrated through many parts of the Web3 industry including cryptocurrencies.
The animator, together with major fashion brands (Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Rolex, Yves Saint Laurent and Nike), automotive companies Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and fellow media company Warner Brothers, are the pioneer companies that have filed for NFT and metaverse trademarks with the United States Postal and Trademark Office (USPTO).
According to the Wall Street Journal, around 50 employees in Disney’s metaverse division have been dismissed. The layoff in the AR and VR-powered division represents a modest fraction of the company’s downsizing that will see about 7,000 lose their jobs.
While the mass media, multinational, and entertainment conglomerate has been experimenting with several technologies under the metaverse banner, including producing AR films, creating virtual stores, and integrating blockchain technology, the slow adoption of the virtual world has made the sector largely unprofitable for Disney and other firms.
The latest development has not just affected Disney employees. Stakeholders of the crypto economy, particularly Polygon (MATIC) holders, have also seen a substantial reduction in their portfolios amid the layoffs.
Polygon (MATIC) is down by 12% in March
In July 2022, Polygon was selected along with Red 6, Obsess, Lockerverse, Inworld, and Flickplay as the six participants for Disney’s Accelerator Program.
The Program came with a vision of building the future of immersive experiences with a primary focus on artificial intelligence (AI) characters, NFTs, and ARs.
As an integral part of the NFT industry, Polygon ranks 5th on the log of blockchains by all-time NFT sales volume with approximately $764 million from 1.05 million buyers involved in over 6 million transactions.
Disney’s association with Polygon at the time led to a 94% spike in the price of MATIC after opening and closing the month with trading prices of $0.4781 and $0.9283 respectively.
The opposite reaction has been felt in MATIC’s price due to the layoffs. MATIC is down by 12% in March after opening the month strongly at $1.1952 and declining to $1.0470, as of 09:30 UTC on March 28.
NFT and metaverse trademarks continue to be filed
According to USPTO data shared by licensed attorney Mike Kondoudis, a large number of companies have filed NFT and metaverse trademarks.
At a glance, these include Wynn Resorts, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, FUJITSU, Nissan, Fallout, Lucasfilm, Samsung, Shutterstock AI, Grammarly, Amazon, Lacoste, and General Motors (GM).
Other firms to have explored opportunities via trademarks are Walmart, Sports Illustrated, Death Row Records, American Music Awards, and Disney. The latter’s latest application is for the new Marvel television TV show.
BAYC Owner Yuga Hosts Second Otherside Metaverse Experience
This past weekend Yuga Labs, the owner of popular NFT collection Bored Ape Yacht Club, hosted the ‘Second Trip’ to its Otherside metaverse, with thousands of users taking part.
The maiden journey to the Otherside metaverse took place last July and Yuga Labs have sold over $1 billion worth of NFTs to digital land prospectors known in its ecosystem as Voyagers. So there was a good bit of hype ahead of this second voyage.
According to Otherside, some 7,200 users participated in the Second Trip and many more watched along on the official live stream. This compares to 4,500 for the First Trip, with refinements having been made to the 3D visuals and audio thanks to software partner Improbable.
Take a Walk on the Otherside
The Second Trip was an opportunity for Voyagers – holders of NFTs from supported projects – to explore the Otherside realm, complete challenges, and receive airdropped prizes. After joining from a web link, participants were divided into four groups led by influencers Jimmy Wong, Champ Medici, Brycent and Lowbellie.
After gathering in the game’s lobby Infinity Space, day-trippers were compelled to collect golden blobs for giant toads to win points for their squads – Jimmy Wong’s crew, Team Glacia, came in first and received Winged helmets as a reward. Later, voyagers were teleported into another mystic realm and given a tour by BAYC mascots Curtis and Blue.
Thanks to every one of the 7,200+ concurrent Voyagers who joined us for 2nd Trip, anyone who watched along on our official live stream, and @jfwong, @brycent_, @champmedici, and @lowbellie for leading their teams through the Trip. We hope you enjoyed your time in Otherside. pic.twitter.com/BOfKhnGPPg
— Othersidemeta (@OthersideMeta) March 25, 2023
Feedback has been rolling in for the experience.
VentureBeat writer Dean Takahashi, who participated in Second Trip, observed that it was “almost more like a virtual concert, a shared experience where you could marvel at how many people were there.”
He added: “We did busy-body tasks and sped around the environment. It was an accessible game where everybody got to contribute and it was akin to a kind of Subway Surfers experience in an open world… But it was a pretty amazing technical achievement, and it shows the kind of experiences that will come when the metaverse finally gets here.”
Ross Macdonald, CEO of web3 marketing company Focus Web3, said it was “a level up from the first trip” and commended “the smooth operation from my Mac mini M1” and the “special [sic] audio.”
Brent Bushnell, co-founder of LA-based experiential entertainment firm Two Bit Circus, was equally impressed, saying “Otherside might combine the organic landscape of Burning Man, the multiplayer collab of Warcraft, the questing richness of Breathe of the Wild, and the cross platform competition of Fortnite.”
Not all responses were positive, though. One user commented, “To be frank, I expected something better for the second trip. Yes it had us divided in 4 teams and gathering stuff, but after that many months, I think people expected more. A lot more.”
WTF is this thing?!?!?@OthersideMeta #Otherside2ndTrip pic.twitter.com/euSAtYTiFL
— pm0721 (@pm07211) March 25, 2023
Showcasing metaverse potential
One person who seemed satisfied with Second Trip was Improbable CEO Herman Narula, who stated his belief that Second Trip was the “highest ccu (concurrently connected users) event in one spot with real humans in any game ever.”
A virtual world developed as a massively multiplayer online game linked to the Bored Ape Yacht Club ecosystem, Otherside remains under development and big things are expected given Miami-based Yuga Labs’ mammoth $450 million raise last March.
One of the investors was doomed exchange platform FTX, which subsequently went up in smoke after evidence of dodgy dealings emerged. BAYC Co-founder Garga, meanwhile, assured the community that Yuga Labs does not have any funds on FTX.
Whatever one’s thoughts are on the Second Trip, it definitely showcases the possibilities of bringing a large number of users together in a virtual space, at the same time. Given the aforementioned raise, of course, backers will want more than a showcase as they seek a return on their investments.
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