It’s 2022. You no longer need to be governed by physical constraints. Today, you can enter the metaverse, inhabit a virtual body, live in a virtual home, and interact with other avatars in a world of make-believe. If you’re a developer, you can also create new “worlds” that attract visitors and investors ready to spend real money.
According to KUVE-Austin, after spending $1.2 million of his own money on technology infrastructure, serial entrepreneur Adam Hollander launched White Sands, a tropical island getaway in the metaverse. The new world consists of 3,000 NFT plots of land where users can build their own empires via Minecraft.
White Sands sold out of the 3,000 NFT plots of land in just 24 hours, raising $4.4 million without accepting money from a single investor. The new game will now offer 250 pre-built luxury villas available only to current White Sands plot owners in the next few weeks. Or investors can build their own from one of the six templates available in the game.
Agencies Are Also Building Virtual Spaces
In related news, Ad Age took a look at 11 agencies that have made investments in creating virtual office-like spaces.
The space has been used to onboard new employees to experience orientation in a more “personal way,” according to a statement by Accenture. This year, 150,000 new hires are working from the metaverse on their first day.
Why Agencies Play Games
I respect that Accenture and others are seeking solutions to real business problems inside the so-called metaverse. I admit that it’s a bit harder for me (as someone who does not game) to understand the appeal of virtual real estate.
Tom Goodwin on Twitter wonders aloud if “we are this cynical, this desperate, or this naive?”
I vote for all of the above. Goodwin also suggests that agencies want to be part of the hype and they may hope to get a few client suckers to pay $250k for a one-off project while getting some tiny PR about how fast they “get the future.”
This ever-present need to appear knowledgeable is an obsession across marketing, media, and advertising. It’s not necessarily the best look. Curiosity is good. But it’s better when checked by common sense.
Let’s Do A Hallway Test
Let’s hear from some SXSW 2022 attendees on NFTs, blockchain, and the metaverse.
My takeaway from the SXSW segment is there’s no shame in not knowing. In fact, Keza MacDonald, a veteran journalist in the gaming space, writing for The Guardian, says:
Ask 50 people what the metaverse means, right now, and you’ll get 50 different answers. If a metaverse is where the real and virtual worlds collide, then Instagram is a metaverse: you create an avatar, curate your image, and use it to interact with other people. What everyone seems to agree on, however, is that it’s worth money.
Will Practical Voices Prevail?
MacDonald is big on common sense, and as someone looking for answers, I appreciate this in her reporting. She’s also a philosopher and I appreciate this even more.
The current NFT gold rush proves that people will pay tens of thousands of dollars for links to jpegs of monkeys generated by a computer, and honestly it is eroding my faith in humanity. What gaping deficiency are we living with that makes us feel the need to spend serious money on tokens that prove ownership of a procedurally generated image, just to feel part of something?
What gaping deficiency, indeed?
What hole is it that gets filled by a non-fungible token?