What could bloom in the Metaverse winter?

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What could bloom in the Metaverse winter?

It’s looking like a bad week for the metaverse.

The Walt Disney Company laid off the approximately 50 employees from his metaverse division yesterday, prompting renewed arguments over the fate of the emerging virtual world. The Dubbed Wall Street Journal it is the “Meh-taverse”.

We’ve got that covered Metaverse Winter here at DFD as the economic crisis facing the tech sector has resulted in harsh layoffs at Meta, Microsoft and other firms leading the push into VR. In the short term, it’s not surprising that the capital-intensive project of building an entirely new computing platform from the ground up—and requiring flimsy, expensive new hardware—was bound to suffer a major setback.

But is it really that “meh”? There’s a case that the retreat of the corporate giants might have the problem Opposite Effect. Assuming some kind of 3D internet develops (which it is). is beautiful), it may ultimately owe its widespread acceptance to the kind of grassroots enthusiasm that drives the adoption of most new technologies (like the Internet itself!)

One of these more grassroots applications, as we have written, is is gaming. in a (n Interviewed by The Verge last weekTim Sweeney, CEO and Founder of Epic Games, reiterated his vision of an interoperable metaverse where users can freely port their virtual identities across different companies’ 3D worlds. He argued that beyond the constant headline hype, the slow, arduous process of building a true shared digital infrastructure was underway.

“There were a lot of different networks, a lot of different network protocols, and over time they went from the proprietary to standard protocols… We don’t see this as a replacement of the ecosystems of today’s game companies with new ones, but an opportunity for everyone to move into a lot.” towards a more connected future,” Sweeney said.

Meanwhile, the rule-making competition is in full swing. Right now it’s all happening in the shadow of groups like that Metaverse Standards Forum, which was launched last year to establish communication about potential technical standards for a 3D Internet and to include heavyweights such as Epic, Meta and Nvidia. The XR union has begun to throw its significant weight on the hill and help enshrine “immersive technology” as one of the “key focus areas” in last year’s CHIPS and Science Act.

And the European Commission already operates one research initiative to explore the potential regulatory frontiers of the metaverse.

With all of this early dialogue and positional wrangling happening, it means there are real risks for the corporations involved in building the metaverse.

When it comes to big corporations There is also another way to view breaking news. When companies like Disney shut down their official “Metaverse division,” it doesn’t mean they’ve given up on the technology altogether, it just means they’re using it in a different way.

“Disney’s parks have (augmented reality) and (location-based entertainment) Experiences for a few years,” Matthew Ball, author of The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything, told me via Twitter after the news broke. “We know that the Marvel and Star Wars seasons in Fortnite, made in collaboration with Marvel Studios and LucasFilm, predate Disney’s Metaverse division and Fortnite’s most successful IP integrations… We also know that (CEO Bob ) Iger is personally interested in Metaverse avatars. where Disney’s intellectual property will no doubt lead.”

Instead of venturing into the metaverse, giants like Disney might just as easily let it come to them. (Ball also noted that Disney’s Pixar created what is called the “HTML of the Metaverse,” and Industrial Light and Magic remains the world leader in visuals.) The Metaverse’s technical underpinnings are driven by dedicated techies, but its main attractions are should still be quite familiar to the “occasional users” among us.

Yonatan Raz-Fridman, co-founder and CEO of Roblox-focused gaming company Supersocial, took a similar view when I spoke to him this morning: “With a company like Disney, and Iger in particular, they understand that there are fundamental changes that are occurring.” new technologies,” he told me. “They’re just going to be more thoughtful and strategic about what that means over the next 10 or 20 years, rather than focusing on every new technology buzzword that comes out.”

With apologies to the Chief Metaverse Officers Their backbones could give you goosebumps, which could mean a massive draw on their “core strengths” for companies that have gotten on nerves in more robust economic times. And for companies, their entire right to exist builds this virtual world, the work on it goes on quickly unpredictable hit gamesstrange AI integrationsAnd shaky digital framework That will actually make it functional and livable.

POLITICO’s Morning Money needed one Take a closer look today on how the fast-paced venture capital ecosystem helped spark the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.

Speaking of Senator JD Vance (R-Ohio) – himself a former VC – blew up the bank during a hearing on Tuesday, POLITICO’s Sam Sutton described how the SVB’s unusually high exposure to venture-backed companies made the bank particularly special vulnerable made die macroeconomic forces that took it over the edge.

“Most venture-backed companies fail — sometimes even after fundraising rounds that push their valuations into the billions, at least on paper,” Sam wrote. “If the value of those stocks goes down — which is more likely to happen as interest rates rise and investors become less willing to invest — those loans can become a problem.”

Tyler Gellasch, a former SEC official who now heads investor advocacy Healthy Markets Association, told him, “It’s clear that Silicon Valley Bank has been extraordinarily unique in its willingness to offer customized solutions to entrepreneurs, capitalizing on its enormous… to profit from private reviews.” without being paid off positively.”

Having gone its own way from the European Union, The United Kingdom is also pursuing its own regulatory approach to AI.

in one Strategy paper published today Secretary of the country’s Department of Science, Innovation and Technology, Michelle Donelan, describes a “flexible” approach somewhere between the EU’s impressive AI law and the US’s more cautious approach.

“We have no initial intention of introducing new laws,” Donelan writes. “If we legislate too early, we risk imposing undue burdens on companies. But not only are we giving regulators the opportunity to lead, we are also setting expectations.”

What exactly are these expectations? The five principles the paper lays out as a foundation will be fairly familiar to anyone interested in setting standards for AI around the world: “safety and robustness, adequate transparency and explainability, fairness, accountability and governance” and “challengeability”. . and redress.” More notable is the country’s professed two-stage plan for their implementation: first in non-statutory ways by existing agencies, and then, after an unspecified feedback period, Parliament “introduces a statutory duty for regulators , which requires them to give due consideration to these.” the Principles.”