Industry News [Week of July 6th]

This is the weekly links post relating to topics in gaming, audio, machine learning, or anything else that piques my interest. Comments always welcome!

The metaverse is coming [Forbes]

Forbes certainly isn’t the first to cover the idea of the metaverse (nor will they be the last), but it’s always interesting to see how the discussion of these ideas expands outside of the gaming sphere. In particular, I think the Forbes article does a good job in emphasizing that the metaverse is not primarily a gaming ecosystem but rather is a new platform for everyday interactions like commerce and socialization, but I also worry that they may be limiting themselves by drawing such direct analogies. One of the beauties of a virtual world is that it allows for new kinds of environments – worlds that defy physics, segmentation of data to certain areas, etc – so while it’s true to e.g. say that brands will need to think about how they advertise in this new world, I think there are likely even larger considerations – such as the new kinds of jobs and products which will be created for the first time within the metaverse, and even the companies which might only exist inside the virtual world.

Ninja transitions to Youtube following the Mixer shutdown

Not too much to say here yet, it and it remains unclear if Ninja will use Youtube exclusively or if he’ll be using multiple platforms (though to my understanding it’s not just that the news isn’t out, but that at least so far he has not signed any platform deals.) But it certainly is interesting to note that he didn’t return to Twitch (at least not immediately), which suggests that he may have transitioned away from Twitch as much as towards Mixer originally. No special insight on any of this, but certainly something I’ll be keeping an eye on, especially as the remaining ex-Mixer streamers settle into their new platforms as well.

Sony invests $250m in Epic Games

Sony and Epic have always had a strong relationship, best exemplified in the recent PS5/Unreal Engine demo. And both organizations have extremely compatible competencies – Sony brings ownership and expertise around hardware platforms as well as deep access to IP, while Epic controls some of the premiere social and development platforms out there. So it’s little wonder to me that both companies find a lot of value in working together increasingly closely as they endeavor to set the stage for the true next-generation of online experiences. (Oh, and by the way, this deal values Epic Games at nearly $18B alone, a figure which I expect to continue to balloon especially if Epic’s work on fleshing out their game store and publishing arms are successful at capturing more of the distribution in the industry.)

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