Connect with us

Entertainment February 17, 2023

Roblox Stock Rises by 24% After Strong Q4 Report



Popular open-world gaming platform Roblox saw its stock pump this week, after fourth-quarter results were deemed better than expected. The VR project published Q4 results on Wednesday, revealing year-over-year growth of 21% when controlled for inflation.

Even when uncontrolled, the YoY jump was 17%, with bookings now totalling $889.4 million. This and other metrics caused the RBLX stock to rally by 24.8%, with Daily Active Users (DAUs) reaching 58.8 million during the fourth quarter, up 19% versus the same period in 2021. 

Also read: 23 Best Metaverse Crypto Projects to Look out for in 2023

Another metric, hours engaged with, surged by 18% to hit 12.8 billion, a sure sign of the game’s appeal among a mostly younger audience.

As well as spending more time on Roblox, paying users are spending more of their hard-earned coin (pocket money is hard-earned, right?), with a 3% increase on the 2021 figure. 

Roblox Invests Heavily in VR Vision

These results did not happen by accident: Roblox has invested heavily in its immersive platform, as the report itself demonstrates. 

Not only did the company’s expenses for R&D and sales and marketing jump by 43.1% and 7.1% respectively, but administrative costs have also risen 34.2% year-over-year. Overall operational costs, meanwhile, have surged by 117% and now stand at $302 million.

At the end of 2022, the report shows that Roblox held cash and cash equivalents totalling $2.97 billion, as the platform gears up for another busy year.

“Bookings accelerated meaningfully in December and January, with year-over-year growth exceeding 20% in both months,” noted Michael Guthrie, the company’s Chief Financial Officer.

“Growth was strong across all geographies and age groups with particular strength among users above 17 years old.”

Roblox is planning to phase out monthly reports following its expected release in March. “By April 2023, we will have published monthly metrics over our first eight quarters as a public company. 

“While we think that has provided incremental information to investors regarding the seasonality of the business, we have decided to cease providing monthly metrics to align our reporting cadence with our value of taking the long view,” the report stated.

Quarterly disclosures will continue to give investors an insight into Roblox’s performance.

In other Roblox news, its fantastical game Creatures of Sonaria is set to be adapted for the big screen. The project, a collaboration between Wind Sun Sky Entertainment (WSS) and Productivity Media, will be overseen by ex-Lucasfilm executive Catherine Wilder.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.


Disney Dismisses Metaverse Division, Polygon Feels the Heat

Avatar photo



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. 

Disney Dismisses Metaverse Division, Polygon Feels the Heat


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.

Disney Dismisses Metaverse Division, Polygon Feels the Heat


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.

Continue Reading


AI Revolution in Music Production: Kanye West and Beyond



AI Revolution in Music Production Kanye West and Beyond

AI has the potential to reshape the music industry with users now able to replicate popular artists’ music, including the voice of Kanye West. The industry has undergone significant transformations over the years, thanks to advances in technology.

In the digital age, we have seen the rise of streaming services, virtual concerts, and music production software that have made it easier for both professionals and amateurs to create and distribute their work.

But perhaps the most groundbreaking development in recent times is the integration of AI into music production, and one of the most remarkable examples is the ability to replicate the voice and style of popular artists like Kanye West.

Machine-made artistry

AI-powered music creation platforms are making waves, allowing users to generate music and vocals that mimic the sound and style of their favorite musicians. This technology is not only democratizing music production but also raising questions about creativity, originality, and the future of the music industry.

One such platform gaining attention is OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4, a powerful AI model that can generate human-like text, music lyrics, and vocals based on a vast dataset.

With ChatGPT-4, anyone can write lyrics, suggest melodies, and have the AI model produce vocals resembling the voice of famous artists. This has led to a surge of AI-generated music and content that blurs the line between human and machine-made artistry.

Using AI tools, one can write lyrics and record vocals, uploading them to the AI tool and having a model that’s already trained using sample voices from an artist to alter how the song sounds, so it matches the artist chosen.

An AI Kanye

AI enthusiast Roberto Nickson posted on his Twitter feed the process by which he produced a song that sounds like Kanye West using AI. After writing “8 bars” and using a West-style beat from YouTube, Nickson transforms his own vocals to sound just like Yeezy.

“I found this Kanye-style beat on YouTube, I wrote eight bars, I’m gonna record them now and then I’m gonna have AI Kanye replace me,” says Nickson on the video.

In his composition, Nickson includes these lines: “I attacked a whole religion all because of my ignorance. What was I thinking? That was some b***s***. I lost Adidas but I’m still Yeezy.”

Anyone could easily believe it’s Kanye, with the lyrics referring to his controversial comments about Jewish people and the end to his partnership with Adidas.

This isn’t the first time we are witnessing this technology; recently ElevenLabs released a better version of its Prime Voice AI platform, allowing one to input text and choose a voice to turn the text into audio.

Things will move fast

The implications of AI music production are far-reaching. On the one hand, it democratizes music production, empowering creators who may lack formal training or resources to generate professional-quality music.

Aspiring artists can use AI-generated vocals to create demo tracks or experiment with various styles without the need for expensive studio time or collaborations.

Moreover, AI-generated music has the potential to revolutionize the way musicians and producers work, facilitating creative collaboration between human and AI.

Artists can input specific parameters, such as tempo, key, and genre, and have the AI model generate unique compositions, which they can then refine and personalize. This collaborative process can lead to innovative, never-before-heard sounds and styles.

Nickson himself predicts “things will move very fast in the next two years,” while others contend the technology is “insane.”

Another user could not hide their excitement at Nickson’s video and commented:

“This is absolutely mind-blowing. I mean I knew it was possible, but to hear it like this in action, is a whole other ball game. Great work on your end too, bars were fire.”

Unresolved questions

However, this technology also raises ethical and legal concerns. As AI-generated music becomes more prevalent, it challenges our notions of copyright, ownership, and artistic integrity.

Should AI-generated music that replicates a popular artist’s style be considered copyright infringement? Who owns the rights to AI-generated music, the AI creator or the user who provides the input?

These questions remain unresolved and will likely be the subject of ongoing debate and legislation in the coming years.

Furthermore, the ability to replicate popular artists’ voices and styles may lead to an oversaturation of content, making it difficult for original work to stand out.

The music industry could become inundated with AI-generated music that mimics successful artists, potentially stifling creativity and undermining the value of human-generated art.

Mixed feedback

Responding to Nickson’s tweets, CVV Entertainment said: “My prediction: This type of AI feature will eventually be governed by piracy & copyright infringement laws. Remember back in the day with Napster, etc., that evolution of implementing piracy laws. Same concept here. Give it 5 years, laws go live. Not a catch all of course.”

Another user commented “I’m all for AI but Jesus Christ this freaks me out.”

Markus Karner thinks the development is “repugnant” and authorities should quickly move in to protect artists’ “unique voice.”

Despite these concerns, AI-generated music is gaining traction and will likely continue to play a significant role in the future of music production.

To navigate this new landscape, artists, producers, and industry professionals may have to adapt and embrace the potential of AI while addressing the ethical and legal challenges it presents.

Continue Reading


Taco Bell’s Metaverse Wedding Actually Happened



Taco Bell's Metaverse Wedding Actually Happened

Last year, fast food chain Taco Bell claimed to have found a couple that would marry in its eponymous metaverse. Months went by without further updates from the outlet, but now it appears that the unusual wedding actually went ahead.

The lucky couple from California had the ceremony in February of this year, and details of the event have now become public.

Taco Bell wedding

The happy couple marry in the Taco Bell metaverse (Screenshot: Decentraland)

The Taco wedding bells

In August of 2022, Taco Bell ran a competition to find a couple it said would be married in its metaverse. The setting would be virtual but it was promised that the wedding would be real.

Sheel and Amruta from California were the lucky couple. To keep in theme with the high-tech nature of the metaverse event, Sheel said he wrote his vows with help from ChatGPT.

“I promise to always keep your phone charged,” Sheel said at the virtual altar.

“I promise to help you look for your AirPods every single morning… I promise to be your human gravity blanket whenever you ask for it. I promise to laugh at your jokes… I promise to never let our love become stale, and to always keep everything spicy and exciting. I will cherish and adore you for all eternity and spend all my days with you by my side.”

As it turned out, the Taco Bell metaverse was actually hosted within Decentraland, an open 3D virtual environment in which the land itself is owned by users. Unlike the common public perception of a metaverse that is accessed via headsets, Decentraland is browser-based, making the environment easy for anyone to enter.

Guests included people near and dear to the couple, but random Decentraland users were also apparently able to gatecrash.

A Twitch streamer going by the handle Legiqn recorded his attendance at the celebration to preserve the evening for posterity. As Legiqn pointed out, the couple had a long history with the fast food chain.

“Their first date was at a Taco Bell,” said the influencer. “I don’t think it gets anymore romantic than that.”

This takes the cake

Besides being Taco Bell-themed, the wedding also conformed to Indian traditions that the couple and their family wished to be respected.

Actor Kal Penn, known for the Harold & Kumar film series, was among those in attendance.

On conclusion of the wedding, when the couple were pronounced husband and wife, Penn interviewed the happy pair to see how they felt about their Taco Bell wedding experience.

 “I’m super stoked,” Sheel said.

“It’s real,” Amruta added. “We’re married.”

From there the guests headed to the reception so the pair could have their first dance as a married couple. That was not the end of the highlights, however; there was still the small matter of who might be the next lucky person to be married in the Taco Bell metaverse.

Twitch streamer Legiqn was determined to catch the bouquet when the bride threw it over her shoulder.

“Yes, bouquet time, this is what I’ve been most excited for,” said Legiqn as he prepped himself to ‘grab’ the flowers. “This is where my gamer skills come in,” he announced to his followers as the big moment arrived. Unfortunately for Legiqn those gamers skills did him little good, as a user named Bleace caught them instead.

With the formalities over, guests danced on the virtual dancefloor to celebrate the unforgettable occasion, as a QR code flashed on the screen so they could all order Taco Bell. If that’s not a happy ending, I don’t know what is.

Continue Reading

News Feed

Advertise With Us

Unlock a wide range of advertising
opportunities with MetaNews to reach the
fast-paced meta world.

Publish Your PR

Share your press release with
MetaNews’s growing global audience,
fans, and followers.

Subscribe for Email Updates

* indicates required

Copyright © 1997 – 2023 MetaNews All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 1997 - 2023 MetaNews All Rights Reserved