Starburst opens Juicyverse experience at Metaverse Mall
Starburst launched its Juicyverse experience in the Metaverse mall called The malland is accessible from any device on the internet.
The Starburst Juicyverse allows people to visit the virtual mall and engage in virtual entertainment by leveraging the MetaVRse Engine 2.0, which allows people to connect from any device using a web browser.
Alan Smithson and Julie Smithson MetaVRse The company has been working on TheMall for eight years, but the most recent work on the mall’s core infrastructure happened last year. It’s been open for about a week and there’s hardly any advertising.
The first major brand partner is Mars-Wrigley and has introduced the Starburst Juicyverse on the second floor of the mall. In an interview with GamesBeat, Alan Smithson said his company wants to build a 100-story mall with about a million square feet of space on each floor.
As it is in the Juicyverse
The Juicyverse features a virtual starburst store where a QR code draws guests into the virtual experience. I had the experience with Alan Smithson. I signed up through my desktop computer and was engaged in the experience in about 30 seconds. No download was required. I had to sign up for a few things, register my avatar name, and then create my avatar, which took about another minute.
Then we visited the Starburst Juicyverse by going into a rotating vortex. Once inside, I used my keyboard and mouse to navigate through the experience. An animation and Juicyverse logos ran on the wall. Visitors can collect a free virtual starburst t-shirt to wear on their avatars. I chose a red shirt for my avatar and it ended up matching Alan Smithson’s outfit.
We first went to the Starcade experience on the left of three available experiences. It was a kind of disco with music coming from buttons on the walls. You can go to a photo booth and take your picture. On mobile devices, you can share the image via social networks.
You can then embark on a 3D scavenger hunt for a non-fungible loyalty token (NFT). When you get this, you’ll receive a coupon for an instant discount, which you can use to buy candy at real stores, including Walmarts. The NFTs are minted on the Hedera blockchain.
Alan Smithson said that the MetaVRse Engine 2.0 renders 3D objects with better quality than in the past, although it moves a bit sluggishly in my opinion. The goal is to engage millions of guests on any device for the experience, with visitors entering the real world via the QR codes.
It uses BambuMeta’s NFT system to access NFTs via an Apple or Google wallet. Guests can receive the loyalty NFT through the wallet they already have and trust on the phone. MetaVRse tried out this experience at the South by Southwest event in Austin, Texas in March and is now opening it on the second floor of the mall.
“You have the world’s first IRL voucher from an NFT in your mobile wallet,” he said. “We believe this will be the next level in loyalty programs.”
In the next part of the experience we went to the gallery. There is a game, Lost in Space, in which you try to find a missing alien, duck or other various objects in a sea of asteroids. Navigation was a bit slow, so I backed out.
In addition, there is a Studio feature in the Juicyverse that allows developers to create their own 3D model from Starburst candies in a 20 x 20 x 20 cm space. In this experience, you lay down Lego-like bricks and use your mouse to change the direction of the line. It’s a bit like a sketch in 3D.
Once you’re done with your creation, you can share it as your own user-generated content. Alan Smithson hopes that the Starburst Juicyverse will open new frontiers in the world of marketing and retail. The winner of the art competition can win a prize. And the winner can have the artwork embossed as an NFT. Alan Smithson said he spent four hours building a Star Wars Tie Fighter.
Take a seat in TheMall
The first floor of the mall will consist of a range of stores from different companies, while the levels above will feature bespoke Metaverse experiences from brands. Alan Smithson said that this floor will likely be accessible without prior registration as there is a significant drop in asking people to register directly upon entering the experience.
“We’ll deal with that when we open the first floor of the mall,” he said. “We let people walk around before they have to register because I think it’s only fair that people can try it first.
The company sold the first five floors for about $250,000 each. That gave the company some money to get started. Eventually, each floor will cost about $1 million for a million square feet, although enabling Starburst takes up about 200,000 square feet of virtual space. You can also rent smaller shops for an annual fee.
How will it go on?
When Alan Smithson announced the project a year ago, TheMall’s project was unveiled at the height of the Metaverse madness, with consultants predicting the market would be worth trillions. But since then, the crypto market has collapsed several times and an economic downturn has taken hold. The scams surrounding the metaverse and blockchain were highlighted and put some people off the ideas.
The TheMall project itself caused quite a stir, and some snickered at people who wondered if he could trick people into paying $1 million for virtual properties that could be reproduced indefinitely. Those who faulted it said it made the mistake of importing the shopping experience from the physical world and reproducing it in the digital world, even though what’s fun in real life isn’t always fun in digital life.
The NFTs and the Metaverse have taken a hit lately, with Insider recently declaring, “The Metaverse is dead.” That’s debatable, but Alan Smithson says he’s in it for the long haul.
“We focused on winning the first few brands,” Smithson said. “We see it as a way to finance this infinite virtual world. We’re not really interested in quick money. We are not a crypto company. We are not trying to inflate the coin price or anything like that. It will be more of a loyalty program than a crypto coin. We didn’t spend seven years building something to scam people.”
In its current state, it wasn’t particularly impressive in terms of Metaverse experiences, as one could see much better experiences in Second Life’s aging virtual world. The avatars are lifeless, the experience is pretty basic, and the movement is a bit slow.
Hardcore gamers like me won’t spend much time here. But the question is if one day the experience will be so good that I’d rather spend time here than on Amazon.com.
It was interesting to see that everything was accessible through a web browser without a lengthy download. The question is whether this technology will advance fast enough to make virtual mall shopping a snappy and seamless experience. Something like this might work for casual people.
Alan Smithson has faith in it.
“Let me remind you that this only runs in one browser and works equally well on all devices,” Alan Smithson said.
He added: “To critics who say shopping in a digital mall is not fun, I would say they are right. Current e-commerce platforms don’t shop. They’re ruthless sourcing and no one ever says, ‘Hey, let’s go Amazon shopping together’.”
Smithson said he’s trying to build a new kind of social retail that will allow billions of gamers around the world to come together and explore brands virtually.
“We work closely with brands to avoid being just another e-commerce site and instead an experience center for social fun and exploration,” said Smithson. “I have to agree that unless you’re a big brand or investor and have the money to create something of value for guests, spending money on virtual real estate is probably foolish. For this reason, we only sell properties in TheMall to accredited investors and reputable brands.”
Structure of TheMall
By combining the physical and virtual worlds, brands can now create immersive experiences that engage customers in more meaningful ways. Using blockchain technology in this enablement not only provides a secure and transparent way to manage loyalty programs, but also opens up new revenue streams through the creation and sale of NFTs, he said.
TheMall is powered by MetaVRse Engine 2.0, a low-code 3D creation platform on the web. The ability to deliver a seamless 3D multiplayer experience in the virtual world across devices without the need for app downloads is a game changer, said Alan Smithson.
This accessibility ensures that brands can connect with consumers worldwide without the need for technical expertise on the part of the consumer.
Finally, visitors can set up their own private rooms and send each other links so they can video chat. But in the main Juicyverse, you can’t communicate with other avatars. This is an acknowledgment of the trust and security issues with Metaverse experiences.
The launch of TheMall will allow multiple brand partners to come together and create a connected virtual shopping experience. MetaVRse.com collaborated with Starburst and Mars, as well as The Mars Agency, BambuMeta and Hedera.
The mall accepts fiat currency (US dollars) and cryptocurrency payments and is Khronos 3D compatible. It connects to back-end systems and has real-time analytics and photorealistic graphics.
Over time, TheMall will likely host concerts, comedy shows, clubs, billboards, conventions, and influencer drops.
Alan Smithson said the company is working on a deal to bring 1,400 brands to the mall. They won’t come all at once as it takes a while to build up the experiences. The company has about half a dozen templates that brands can use. The company has already established an electronics business. There will be virtual vehicle configurations and medical device simulators.
“It’s super, super cool,” he said. “You will love it.”
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