February 14, 2023

Metaverse Highlights: Week of February 14, 2023

We kick off this week’s highlights with a couple of stories related to one of the U.S.’s unofficial holidays - Super Bowl Sunday. First off, in partnership with the NFL, Reddit released themed avatars to celebrate the event. In a second story related to the Big Game, an Amdocs study  suggests that more digitally-enhanced experiences could be a way for the NFL to retain and deepen engagement with audiences, especially among younger demographics, with a quarter of viewers interested in augmented reality (AR) coverage of the game. 

Outside of the world of sports, Hermès won a lawsuit against an NFT platform that had used its designs without the firm’s agreement. We also highlight a few analytic pieces that address questions about the sector’s long-term future. How to regulate a universe that does not yet exist? How to prepare for metaverse-specific jobs? How are different countries reacting to the idea of a metaverse?


  • Super Bowl LVII has just gotten more exciting with the release of Reddit’s new American Football-themed avatars! In celebration of this year’s big game, Reddit released a range of unique avatars that users can choose to represent themselves on the platform.

  • As a social media site where millions of sports fans hang out, Reddit has always been bold in embracing big events and using them to bring its community closer together. In partnership with the NFL, releasing these themed avatars is a testament to that, and it’s sure to get fans even more excited for the Super Bowl.

  • These avatars feature iconic symbols from the two teams competing in this year’s game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Whether you’re rooting for the Buccaneers or the Chiefs, you can now show your support on Reddit by selecting the avatar that represents your team.

  • The Super Bowl is the biggest television event of the year in the US, with broadcast partners able to charge millions of dollars for a thirty-second advertising slot. Regarding viewership, last year’s Super Bowl reached an average of 112.3 million viewers on NBC, marking a 16 percent year-over-year (YoY) increase. The Los Angeles Rams' win against the Cincinnati Bengals was the most-streamed Super Bowl in history, reaching 11.2 million viewers across digital platforms.
  • An Amdocs study suggests that more digitally-enhanced experiences could be a way for the National Football League (NFL) to retain and deepen engagement with audiences, especially among younger demographics.

  • A quarter of viewers would like more interactive features during the Super Bowl. A fifth of viewers (20 percent) would be interested in augmented reality (AR) coverage of the game, with 18 percent open to virtual reality (VR).

  • After several days of deliberation, the nine-person jury in the copyright infringement trial between Hèrmes and non-fungible token (NFT) artist Mason Rothschild ruled Wednesday in favor of the French luxury brand.

  • The Hermès lawsuit involved Rothschild's MetaBirkins NFT collection. The jury awarded $133,000 in damages to Hermès, determining that Rothschild did profit off Hermès' goodwill by producing NFTs based on the design house's Birkin bags.

  • The jury also decided the NFTs were not protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as Rothschild's lawyers had argued during the trial.

  • The case sets an important precedent for NFT creators and builds the framework for intellectual property law as it relates to digital creations. Down the line, creators like Rothschild might have to be more careful in creating NFTs with other brands' IPs to avoid future trademark lawsuits.

  • The Russo-Ukrainian war has allowed stablecoins to be used as a store of illicit value and fair value for people interested in maintaining savings through crisis. A recent Chainalysis report highlights this trend, finding that the share of stablecoins’ transaction volume on primarily Russian services grew from 42% in January to 67% in March last year after the invasion and has continued to increase since. 
  • These issues have also incentivized governments to speed up their exploration of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) that can increase efficiency, decrease transaction costs and speed up settlement times. 

  • But the continued and future operation of CBDC and stablecoin networks — which will be integral to the financial system of tomorrow — will require the expansion of resilient and secure cloud-based infrastructures, no matter whether the architecture is centralized or based on a distributed ledger template.

  • How does the average person feel about the metaverse? CoinKickoff analyzed searches for the 19 most popular metaverse platforms and studied 1,662,990 global tweets mentioning the metaverse — using an AI tool to detect the sentiment in each — to find out what different countries think of virtual worlds.
  • Of all the countries, the Philippines is most interested in the metaverse, with 2,421 Google searches per 1,000 people. Grenada has the second-highest number of searches, at 1,472.

  • Support for the metaverse is highest in Southeast Asia, with five of the ten countries expressing the most positive opinions located in this region.

  • Vietnamese people are more welcoming of the metaverse than any other population, with 56.8 percent of Twitter posts analyzed from this country in favor of virtual worlds.

  • Compared with their Korean counterparts, media companies in the United States have only engaged in “light experimentation” with the metaverse, said Andrew Wallenstein, president and chief media analyst of Variety Intelligence Platform.

  • Countries like South Korea “are often looked at like a test bed for how the future is going to pan out,” Wallenstein said. “If any trend is going to move from overseas to the U.S., I would put South Korea at the front of the line in terms of who is likeliest to be that springboard.”

  • South Korea’s experiments with virtual entertainment date back at least 25 years to the brief life span of an artificial singer called Adam. A child of the ’90s, he was a pixelated creature of computer graphics with sweepy eye-covering bangs and a raspy voice that tried a bit too hard to sound sexy. Adam disappeared from the public eye after releasing an album in 1998.

  • The European Union is getting increasingly proactive about the metaverse — planning a full policy initiative this year on the topic and launching a slew of commissions along with a “citizens assembly” to establish its priorities for (eventually) regulating the nascent field.
  • But it’s a nascent field. The extensively networked, fully-3D version of online life imagined by the metaverse’s loudest boosters isn’t even close to being built yet. It’s universally agreed that the closest real-life equivalents are kid-focused virtual worlds like Minecraft and Roblox.

  • That means the EU’s efforts invite a unique, thorny question in the world of tech policy: How do you regulate something that doesn’t exist?

  • In 2022, brands like Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Gucci, and Nike showed that they were determined to be early adopters of the metaverse. Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta is already pushing the concept with its Horizon Worlds, and Made.com has focused further on its online presence by allowing customers to visualize furniture in their homes with their smartphone cameras.
  • Overall, we can look to the video game industry, which is light years ahead of other industries in selling digital upgrades. Players can buy exclusive items to enhance their look, vehicle, housing, or any other part of the experience using real and in-game currency.

  • Video games and in-vogue fashion demographics tend to skew younger. On average, they have considerably less disposable income than older generations. This begs the question: While immersive commerce looks cool and appeals to today’s teens, can it produce the necessary ROI to justify the cost?

  • KPMG is set to establish its Centre of Excellence (CoE) for metaverse and digital twins in Saudi Arabia. For this, KPMG will bring together a 'broad collective,' with Microsoft bringing its infrastructure and gaming platform, Ericsson utilizing its 5G tech and network, and Metakey as the technical partner to create three-dimensional objects, a press release shared by Zawya read.

  • The launch aims to speed up the application of metaverse and digital twins in Saudi Arabia and the wider MENA region. As per KPMG, metaverse will "position Saudi Arabia on a global stage" and create a secure landscape for facilitating the country's business and society within national policies. The CoE is expected to act as a 'foundational stepping stone' in accomplishing this larger goal.

  • As a part of the CoE, KPMG has also dedicated a co-investment fund for metaverse use cases in the country, intending to work with private and public partners to accelerate the technology for practical application.

  • There are a variety of job opportunities emerging in the metaverse as the industry continues to grow and evolve. Some of these include:
  • Game developers: Designing, building, and maintaining virtual worlds, games, and experiences within the metaverse.

  • Full-stack developer: Develop and maintain the infrastructure and systems that support the metaverse, including server-side systems, databases, and front-end interfaces.

  • Software tester: Test metaverse products and services to ensure they are stable, secure, and user-friendly.

  • Network and systems administrator: Maintain the servers, networks, and systems that support the metaverse, ensuring high availability and performance.

  • Virtual event planners: Planning and executing virtual events, concerts, and conferences within the metaverse.

  • 3D artists and animators: Creating avatars, objects, and environments for use within the metaverse.

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