Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Dec. 22, 2021]

Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Dec. 22, 2021]

Created 7mo ago, last updated 7mo ago

CoinMarketCap takes a look at some of the latest happenings in the metaverse — from Adidas Originals' NFT launch raking in $60 million under a week, to a violation on Meta's Horizon Worlds.

Weekly Wrap: What's Happening in the Metaverse This Week? [Dec. 22, 2021]

Table of Contents

Big tech and global brands are dominating the metaverse scenes. From Intel to Adidas, these corporate behemoths are in a race to grab a piece of the metaverse pie. Meanwhile, Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes India has a huge role to play in the coming of the metaverse.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most interesting metaverse news over the past week.

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India Will be Key to Building the Metaverse, Mark Zuckerberg Says

With the metaverse race strongly heating up, the CEO of Meta Platforms Inc. Mark Zuckerberg is confident that India will play a huge role in building the sector. While speaking at the Fuel for India event last week, Zuckerberg said that India has a huge talent pool of developers and a strong entrepreneurial drive.

“When we're thinking about what the next generation is going to look like in terms of where all these creators and developers [are] going to come from, who are going to really build the foundation of the metaverse I think it's just obvious that India is going to be a huge part of that.”

According to him, the south Asian nation was on track to have the largest app developer base in the world by 2024. India’s online gaming sector is booming heavily and it has one of the largest spark AR developer communities.

"I am really excited about the role that India will play in building this future. India’s talent pool — the engineers, developers and creators, and your whole vibrant start-up ecosystem are playing a huge role in shaping the future.”
Recall that Facebook rebranded to Meta Platforms Inc. in October 2021, a bold step to becoming more than a social media giant. Zuckerberg’s dream for the metaverse is to build virtual environments where people can meet and communicate.

Intel Wants to Work on the Software Part of the Metaverse

While several big organizations are working on VR headsets, building virtual spaces, and generally, the hardware aspect of the metaverse, Intel is taking a totally different approach to the metaverse frenzy. In its first public comments about the metaverse, executives of Intel Corp. revealed that the firm is working on software that will pool computing power from multiple devices, including those from its rivals.

Speaking at a news conference on metaverse technologies last week, Intel’s head of accelerated computing systems and graphics group Raja Koduri said that the company’s first steps into the metaverse will be software that will allow devices to harness already existing and unused computing power.

"The way we are architecting all the layers is that it is going to work with everybody's hardware, as long as they are on industry-standard specifications. There'll be a lot of open-sourcing involved with everything that we build."

In its argument, Intel states that the metaverse trend will need vastly more computing power.

Nike Acquires Virtual Sneakers Startup RTFKT

In a bid to boost its foray into the metaverse, Nike has acquired a company that makes virtual sneakers.

RTFKT, a blockchain startup, was snapped up by the American footwear and sport apparel giant for an undisclosed sum.

The startup, which was founded just last year and recorded massive success and has been praised for "leveraging the latest in-game engines, NFTs, blockchain authentication and augmented reality to create one-of-a-kind virtual products and experiences."

RTFKT leverages blockchain authentication, NFTs, game engines, and augmented reality to create virtual products. Earlier this year, a collaboration between the startup and an 18-year-old Seattle artist, generated over $3 million in less than ten minutes from yet-to-be-released NFT sneakers.

Nike’s CEO John Donahoe is hopeful that the acquisition will extend his company’s digital footprint. He said:

"This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike's digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture."
Nike has been slowly entering the metaverse space. As reported by CoinMarketCap Alexandria, the company launched its own virtual world dubbed “NIKELAND” last month.

Google Posts Job Ad for AR Developers

Last week, CoinMarketCap reported that U.S. tech giant Apple was looking for new professionals to support its AR and VR framework. Google Inc. is also looking for new talents to join its metaverse push.
The search engine giant has begun its search for a team of developers to build its “Augmented Reality OS” for an upcoming “innovative AR device.”

Mark Lucovsky, the Senior Director of Engineering, Operation Systems and AR for Google, said that he was looking for fresh talent after becoming a ‘Noogler’ for the second time. He previously worked at Oculus as a General Manager for Operating Systems for four years. Between 2004 and 2009, he worked at Google as an Engineering Director.

‘Noogle’ is a combination of the words ‘new’ and ‘Google.’ It refers to new hires for the Mountain View-based company.

According to the job post, the new talents will be required to “develop the next-generation technologies that change how billions of users connect, explore, and interact with information and one another.” Developers are also expected to “bring fresh ideas from all areas,” including artificial intelligence, data retrieval, natural language processing and cybersecurity.

Google’s latest job posting echoes similar moves by other big tech firms such as Meta and Apple.

Meta and VictoryXR to Launch 10 Virtual Campuses for Metaverse Education

VictoryXR, a VR and AR curriculum company building the education metaverse, has partnered with Meta Platforms Inc. to launch ten virtual university campuses across the U.S. by 2022.

A Tuesday announcement from the Iowa-based firm stated that it was “working with Meta Immersive Learning to launch digital twin campuses, replicas of existing campuses constructed in fully spatial 3D, at colleges and universities in the United States in 2022.”

Students will be able to explore the campuses, socialize, learn and compete in activities, as well as participate in live classes remotely using Meta Quest 2. Commenting on the plan, Steve Grubbs, CEO of VictoryXR, said:

“Universities are looking for better ways to deliver labs and learning for remote students. Beyond the capabilities of 2D screens, VR can help enhance the learning experience for students studying biology, chemistry, history, and other subjects by offering a more immersive learning environment […] We are adding precious historical sites like King Chapel and the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center. This is a transformational experience for students, faculty, staff, and administration.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Muhsinah Morris, director of Morehouse in the Metaverse, remarked:

“Our digital twin campus is integral in making the metaverse come to life for Morehouse. We are adding precious historical sites like King Chapel and the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center. This is a transformational experience for students, faculty, staff, and administration.”

VictoryXR already worked with Morehouse College to deploy its first digital twin “metaversity” in spring. Students collect a headset at the beginning of the semester and return it at the end. Following the success of the pilot program, the college has since doubled down on its metaverse education and is looking to onboard more classes.

Adidas Originals Joins the Metaverse Party with BAYC, Gmoney and PUNKS Comic Collab

Titled Into the Metaverse, Adidas Originals has dropped its debut NFT collection, confirming its interest in the budding sector. The collection is a mix of both digital and physical items and was created in partnership with some of the most well-known personalities in NFT space — Bored Ape Yacht Club, gmoney and the Punks Comic creators.

Adidas is using the launch as a way to engage with fans and join the “forefront of creativity.” The vice president of Adidas Originals marketing and communications Erika Wykes-Sneyd said:

"As part of our ambition to celebrate ideas that are defining a new age of originality, we've landed at the forefront of creativity, which is the open metaverse […] The foundation we are building with Web3 [a blockchain-based vision of the internet] will lead to new creative opportunities for partnerships, engagement through digital goods, and a path towards a more inclusive future.”

The NFTs went on sale on Dec. 17, 2021, and are priced at 0.2 ETH apiece. The collection will grant owners exclusive access to various Adidas Originals products and experiences, including digital wearables for the blockchain-based gaming world — The Sandbox, in 2022. Physical products include a tracksuit, hoodie and gmoney’s orange beanie.

The collaborations raked in $43 million in 72 hours and so far has amassed over $60 million, at the time of writing. It is also currently ranked first amongst the top collections on OpenSea. This was not Adidas Orginals first involvement with the space. On Dec. 2, 2021, they tweeted a picture of their new profile pic — BAYC #8774.

Early Tester of Meta’s Horizon Worlds Groped by a Stranger on the Metaverse

Could you be sexually harassed on the metaverse? The answer is yes.

A virtual world will not suddenly eliminate perverts as one early tester of Meta’s Horizon Worlds app recently found out. According to the unnamed woman, her avatar was groped by a stranger on the metaverse.

The incident, which has been acknowledged and investigated by Meta, reportedly happened on Nov. 26, 2021, and was first reported by The Verge on December 9.
“Not only was I groped last night, but there were other people there who supported this behavior which made me feel isolated.”

The incident has raised concerns about the safety of the highly-praised metaverse. However, Meta in its defense, said that the woman had not yet turned on a safety feature called ‘Safe Zone’ that prevents harassment.

Safe Zone initiates a protective bubble that prevents others from touching, interacting, or talking with a particular user. Meta spokesperson Kristina Milian said:

“We want everyone in Horizon Worlds to have a positive experience with safety tools that are easy to find – and it’s never a user's fault if they don’t use all the features we offer. We will continue to improve our UI and to better understand how people use our tools so that users are able to report things easily and reliably.”

Surprisingly, this is not the first time that someone is being sexually harassed in VR. In 2016, a gamer called Jordan Belamire said she was groped in Quivr, a zombie-killing VR game.

In an open letter published on Medium, Belamire described her experience of being virtually harassed. She explained that a user’s ‘floating hand’ approached her and started virtually rubbing her chest. However, her demand for the other gamer to stop only goaded him one.

“Emboldened, he even shoved his hand toward my virtual crotch and began rubbing. There I was, being virtually groped in a snowy fortress with my brother-in-law and husband watching.”

The designer of the fame Aaron Stanton later apologized and provided an in-game fix that allowed users to push offenders away.

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