3 Oct 2022

Metaquette #VirtualCommunity #BuildingCommunity #Metaverse Q20

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with...Pooky Amsterdam

It is chance that makes us family, but choice that makes us friends. When we find others who like the same stuff as we do it can create a kind of clanship. We find things in common with others and form bonds, friendships. Sometimes they can be casual, or deeper, but our group, our community gives us strength, support and fun. Can we find this where we mainly see an avatar expression of who we are?

Q: How can I build Community in my new virtual hangout in The Metaverse?

As I look to Autumn and tidying up the garden, I noticed there are burrs which attach themselves to clothing. These burrs have multiple fuzzy and sticky sides to them, which allow an attachment point from any angle, and they immediately made me think about stickiness, which led me to think about community, and how we grow community.

It can be from just one singular attachment point, let's say you find someone else who loves a streaming series as you do and you bond over talking about the various characters and plot points. If you like their opinion on the show, then you might be open also to a recommendation they make on another series or even a new beverage or product. The one attachment point of the show can lead to others till you find you have formed multiple bonds, or multiple attachment points. If there are enough of them, this new person might even become part of your broader friendship group or community over time. If not then the friendship is limited as is the interaction on shared topics.

The Metaverse would love for people to be part of their community, and there are some which have tremendous ones already. There is a powerful community of educators on Roblox and Minecraft, there are Furry communities on VRChat, there are communities of people who have grown together over the years through the American Cancer Society Relay For Life on Second Life. Just because our identities are incorporating an avatar doesn't mean our predilections, preferences and tastes stop at our cartoon fingers. They don't and we will bring our likes, dislikes etc to wherever those fingers take us with whatever handheld devices we are holding.

The question is how to build community. And community is built around something beyond just existing on an earthly platform or one where the makeup of your persona and property are stored on the same servers. We share the experiences of being human, but are we bonded to all other humans? It is the same in The Metaverse. What makes for that bond? Those multiple attachments which define the meaning of friendship with one and others? 

Sometimes it is instant, sometimes it takes a long time and sometimes it doesn't happen. What The Metaverse does great is bring people together around a variety of reasons and then lets Fate pollinate.  People enter the same space and find themselves in a virtual destination with a complete stranger / strangers, they get to talking, maybe a bond is formed and the seeds of relationships begin. Forming groups within The Metaverse encourages the users to build community within them. Allowing the creation of groups can be a "Premium" offering too, and forms contracts with the users. It is a mutual investment and that can build a strong base for the future.

Last week it was announced that Walmart had opened a place in Roblox where all who entered could become Walmartians. Not really but they are keen on building their branded experience to "Create a new community of shoppers."  There are 230 million active members, and 40 million games. Aimed at a young demographic that reaches this market here, which is a good application.  I understand that meeting someone in the appliance aisle of Walmart would probably be more fun, colorful and interesting in Roblox, but will this extend to the kind virtual lunchroom moments which lead to building a community with friends? Because friends will keep someone coming back to a place to find them again.

Companies hope we buy their stuff and find that immediate gratification in a virtual world, until we want a new toy, and buy some new stuff. Shopping in the metaverse might be considered the "new toy" on the block. Unfortunately unhappy people make better consumers, and there is no market force  which supports emotional happiness perse, only the happiness you receive after your purchase is completed. If there was Freedom from Want let's face it the trillion dollar advertising industry would collapse. And I personally do not think that whoever dies with the biggest virtual inventory wins.  

We don't want freedom from play or freedom from friends and being a part of the Metaverse means you can find new friends and community. How many communities have spawned around playing games can't even be counted really, there are so many. It all comes down to not how much money we spend, but how much time we spend, because you can't buy friends ( yet, though I'm sure AI is working on that right now). One can only build community, build friends with the investment of time and energy which comes from a desire to know more about the community and the people. 

I had a great afternoon in Spatial hosted by Daniel van der Waals who runs a really happening group called Metaverse Explorers. He recently hosted a Music In The Metaverse event. Building community is something that Musicians, and I would think creative people want to be connected around, musicians want their music to be heard, artists want their artwork to be seen, and what better than having a group of folks following and even looking forward to your next great piece? Plus being able to access it anywhere, anytime and meeting others who dig the same thing too.

Sometimes digging the same too can create community for one group of people and calamity for others. This recent Wall Street Journal podcast part 2 on the early days of Second Life is chock full of this and there are lessons to be learned here for those building it so we will come.

We want to belong to community built around shared experience, but just like that burr with its multiple attachment points, the more ways "we" connect means the more ways we will "stick" together in The Metaverse.  There have to be multiple reasons for going there, staying there and building community with others, a community we want to keep alive and thriving.

If you have a question please email info@pookymedia.com with the subject of Metaquette, and it will be answered.

23 Sept 2022

Metaquette #VirtualEntertainment #GameShow #GameShows Q19.5 #Metaverse #MetaverseEntertainment

Weekly Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse.........with Pooky Amsterdam 

                                                In The Metaverse: Game Shows For The Win!!

The Metaverse is many things to many people but it is an entertainment platform to me. After writing, producing and hosting over 250 real-time viewer log in game shows, attended by people from all over the world, I know what a powerful medium it is for global enjoyment. A lot of the recent focus in new Metaverses are around real estate, blockchain technology, NFTs and other bright shiny objects, yet the fact there are real people behind the avatars which inhabit these worlds means to me that fun is what will last over time. Fun user experience which is unique to the medium as well.

Q: Is the Metaverse a good place for Game Shows and other real-time, unscripted TV - Like programming?

I was part of a WonderWomanTech event where I gave a presentation on how valuable a product this kind of content can and should be as The Metaverse becomes bigger than it was. I invite you to check out my talk, if you are interested in how this very cool future application of this space is possible.

Delivering content is what I am all about, and being able to wrangle a great panel which will generate fun, upbeat and timely shows that are ready for player you, is the way to go. There are a multitude of ways a show can be tailored to a brand or a sponsor, game shows are a very familiar way of engaging people, and prototyping them in the Metaverse is both fun and very cost effective. 

There are more than a few moving parts to developing a successful enterprise of this sort, so please feel free to contact me, as the nearly 2 decades of experience I have in this genre will be very useful to you. Because the time is right for people to Enter the Metaverse for Entertainment that will keep them returning, that will be broadcast out, that will have recognizable sponsorship and that will grow a user fan base.

I have been writing about the incredible potential of Virtual World TV-Like experience and authoring it for a very long time - Here is a blog from January of 2010 to prove it. Worth a read because so many of these tenants still work today and should be explored now that our metaverse awareness, tools and options have exponentially grown.

Here are some highlights from "yesteryears blog"

I have developed these game shows for many reasons:

1- Real-time interaction is something that enriches, enthralls and offers value.

2- The Metaverse has unique tools for this including scripting for buzzers, game boards and the ability to build with low costs.

3- It gives a great and localized population intelligent, savvy and dynamic excitement.

4- Location, Location, Location - being able to play right along at our favorite place, the computer.

5- It is very cost effective to produce on this platform. Traditionally game shows are less expensive to put on than  dramas or comedies. A real life game show costs roughly $100,000 - in The Metaverse this is a fraction of that cost.

6- The opportunities to try new new elements in game show development are endless, and the ability to broadcast out using youtube, discord, and other forms of Social media provide additional tools for engagement.

7- Product placement/ brand sponsorship / real-time commercials that are built into the program are all ways to monetize this.

8- Avatar based entertainment will grow as these virtual platforms grow. The investment in The Metaverse is becoming so great that they will easily be able to host a viable show within them.

You bet Metaverse Game Shows for the WIN! Contact me to make it happen.

If you have a question please email info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the subject line and it will be answered.

12 Sept 2022

Mettaquette #GameShows #VirtualEntertainment #FTW #Q19

 Tips & Tricks for Negotiating The Metaverse with......Pooky Amsterdam

Early Metaquette this week as I would like to invite you to watch my presentation at the WonderWomanTech Event which is running for 3 days September 13th - 15th. Physically is happens in Long Beach,Virtually I am on with a killer PowerPoint and delivering a lot of information about the importance of Metaverse Entertainment and how specifically game shows can be a part of that amazing experience. See below, arrow marks the slot.

Q: How can The Metaverse be more fun, encourage stickiness and become a destination for entertainment?

Producing over 250 game shows in the Metaverse has imparted me incredibly unique knowledge of how to get an interactive multi-player game show mounted where the user base will watch, play, share and come again for the fun. 

If you want to upgrade what a member of your Metaverse has on offer, or if you are a brand wanting to reach further than digital clothing or an NFT, let me can show you how the prize can be the chance to be a part of your show.

In The Metaverse: Game Shows For The Win!

If you follow this link you will be able to find out first hand -> Immersive Tech & Hybrid Summit. WonderWomanTech is an awesome organization and their Speaker line-up is tremendously deep and diverse. As it is a summit, there are tickets - It is $25.00 for this series, worth it.

My talk is scheduled for 9:15 AM Pacific / 12:15 PM Eastern  / 5:15 PM UK and I hope you can attend!

Then, if you have a question, email info@pookymedia.com with Game Shows in the Subject, and you will get a response.

8 Sept 2022

Metaquette #VirtualEducation Q18

Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse......with Pooky Amsterdam

We enter the Metaverse for fun, fame and fortune! Well, most of us...some of us use it for Educational purposes which have proven highly successful. While recent lockdowns introduced new ways of going to classes, virtual worlds have played a great part and will play a greater part, I think moving forward over the next years. There are many ways to incorporate a kind of learning which reinforces lessons with additional context in a simulated environment. Deeper roads can be made here.

Q: Can The Metaverse make you smarter?

Although "Metaverse" is defined differently than Whyville, which launched in 1997 by a Caltech professor, Whyville users were rewarded  with inworld currency (clams) for educational game play which they then used to buy fun face parts. That was a cool Play2Learn model. Today educational investment in The Metaverse and hours spent by students has exploded.  From just this past June the figures for Roblox's 200 million unique users, show people between the ages of 15 - 25 create more messages there than on WhatsApp. 

Where kids go in The Metaverse, education follows, and that demographics engagement also makes Roblox Education a powerhouse in the field with 11.3 Billion hours of spent in that for the first six months of 2022, bringing all sorts of games for educators and students.

Minecraft is another big site for educators used in over 100 countries with a lot of support for the teaching community and over 500+ lesson plans available for download. The Metaverse is a natural place for kids to learn, as the familiarity of games is embraced under the learning is fun concept.

Decentraland University hasn't really taken off yet but TheSandboxEDU seems vital with an emphasis on lots of science and art skills designed for kids 6 - 12. Learning about states of matter, operational ecosystems and functional electronics can be much more fun in a bright and colorful world, than in the classroom. Why not go there? Will future Metaverses have more of an emphasis on educational games? That seems a good probability, as the need for smarter content grows.

Spatial thinking is highly prized, but there is no formal edu consortium on Spatial The Metaverse yet, but with cool graphics and a more laid back community VRChat has a language learning going on in VRlanguage Exchange. Learning a foreign language in the Metaverse is really great because the visuals are reinforcing the content in an immersive way, plus it is a livelier way to engage a community of students around the grammar and vocabulary they need to learn. 

Here is a guided tour of Nefertitti's tomb in Somnium Space while Brookings has a great post on the Metaverse showing how history including Ancient Greece can be made much more vibrant by bringing it alive and allowing the student to enter a timeline. Building an ancient city can be a very illuminating hands on learning experience, more vivid than reading a book in our screen enhanced world.

The US Army is building a synthetic universe for training, which will enable educational deployment as an avatar, but not perhaps specifically to train medical professionals. Doctors and health professionals are receiving training in virtual environments. Johnson & Johnson built the Innovation room in Mexico with sophisticated medical devices to allow doctors and other medical professionals to rehearse in a virtual environment. 

One of my all time favorite stories of immersive education comes from 2007, when Loyalist University on the US / Canadian border did a virtual training to see if that improved test scores. It did, critical skills tests improved 53% to 95% as people's avatars trained amongst virtual border tolls, cars et al in this recreation.  

In 2012 Metaverse universities had a heyday when Second Life recorded 159 university sims including Princeton, plus NASA, NOAH and the JPL on their grid. It got even better watching the landing of the Mars Rover there, while sitting in Virtual Martian landscape while a huge media board played the inside of the NASA control room, courtesy of someone who was attached to their SL project at the time. 

There are opportunities to learn so much in The Metaverse, from more traditional kinds of lessons for children, to professional and teacher training, to a vast range of higher educational topics and areas.

With the very many different metaverses now there should be an educational community that works across platforms. Such as is represented at the Educational content heavy VWBPE going into its 15th year which has a very vibrant community and presentations from many Metaverses already mentioned. Over the years I have taken part in a virtual fire in the triangle shirtwaist factory, learned about Heiroglyphics and helped solve the puzzles of ocean pollution over the years. In the coming years there will be more of them attached, I'm sure.

The VWEC (Virtual World Educational Consortium) has an event October 5th bringing educators together., if interested it is open ot the public.The Metaverse can help people grow through the community of avatars which band together around shared interests as well, while lifelong learning is a highlight of The Metaverse. And Caltech always a frontrunner in learning technology, has a presence again on SL, VIRTech where teachers can train.

Virtual spaces provide so many ways for us to understand through inhabiting the moment, and being part of it. It can even help us understand our development into other phases of life as with InMind2 utilising Lovheims cube of emotion. You can learn how to beat over-thinking within the Metaverse!

And I do believe the best is yet to come.

I am personally waiting for an Allosphere to be built, and be able in the very surrounding Metaverse and see the inside of our minds, cellular structures and systems to learn increasingly more about them. 

For some very good reasons 14 to be exact from a University in Spain, here is why the Metaverse is great for Education. yes, you can get smarter in the Metaverse. What do you want to learn?

If you have a question, send an email to info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the subject, and it will be answered.

1 Sept 2022

Metaquette Q17 #Metaverse #WorldOfWarcraft #WoW #HughHancock #OculusRift #QA

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with.....Pooky Amsterdam

In May of 2014, I had the pleasure to interview Hugh Hancock who had a great influence in Metaverse Entertainment & Game Engine film.  Hugh originated the term Machinima, which means cinema done on machine. We have come a long way since then.

The MTV Movie Awards just had their first Metaverse category. While many Metaverses have not only their own film tutorials, but tremendous content, it is well worth a look back at this exciting field! (MacInnes Studio has open today the new Real-Time Movie challenge which uses a game engine for filmmaking.)

Recently I ran across this interview and for his work on the virtual plane I am reproducing it now, as his work on this earthly one is finished. In reading this again 8 years after, Hugh predicted Meta from Facebook and much more! A real futurist!

Using game engines for filmmaking has grown tremendously over the years, this is worth a read for both content and context.

Here's to you Mr. Hancock, wherever you are!!

Q & A with Hugh Hancock


From the mind of the Machinima Man himself: HUGH HANCOCK

What happens when a portmanteau you are credited with becomes the next step in indie animation? You become quite recognized for your contribution to the medium and much more. Leading the way for so many of us in his field is Hugh Hancock of Stange Company, someone who has never taken his eyes off the future or the present possibilities with this game engine medium. I was lucky enough to catch him after he finished Part 1 of his epic new achievement: Death Knight Love Story. Here are some wonderful and, of course, incredibly insightful answers to the questions that Machinima minds and virtual world production people want to know!

Q: You go way back in Machinima as an entertainment and art form. When you started in 1997, did you see some of what the future would hold? Or were you at the time simply very excited to have this original outlet for your deep creativity?

HH: It's been a fascinating journey since that time!

Honestly, false modesty aside, I'd say that a lot of how Machinima has developed has been true to the version of it that Gordon McDonald, I and other Machinima pioneers had way back when it started out. A lot of things, including intellectual property issues, have conspired to mean that Machinima's development has in some ways been slower than we expected, with pioneering projects hitting unexpected roadblocks. However, with every year that passes, Machinima and similar techniques are coming closer to fulfilling the core dream of film as a truly democratic art form, rather than one whose scope is primarily dictated by available budget.

Q: At what point did you see the crossover from playing games in real time to capturing game engine film in real time?

HH: I must confess I didn't understand the potential of virtual worlds as a film-making tool until it was demonstrated by the Quake Movies, however, once I saw them and once I started with them myself, it was immediately obvious just how much potential this new approach to filmmaking had.

In retrospect, it's pretty obvious - games are world and action creation tools, and evoking a world is one of the hardest and most expensive parts of filmmaking. A tool that creates virtual worlds is incredibly powerful - and more importantly, incredibly freeing - for any filmmaker.

Q: Your recent film Death Knight Love Story is clearly a breakthrough in many ways. How difficult or easy was it to get people like Joanna Lumley and Brian Blessed on board?

HH: I was actually surprised at how open and interested both our casting director, Gail Stevens, and our stars were to this weird computer game-based project! Joanna put it best I think: "As an actor, you have to stay in the boat."

With the entire world of show business changing so fast right now, it makes sense that the people at the top of the industry are more, not less interested than most in exploring new ideas!

Having said that, none of this would have happened if I hadn't decided to contact people who I thought would be far too busy to be interested in a strange little machinima film. That's something I'd like to see more of in the virtual world and machinima communities - reaching out to people who would be interested in collaborating, featuring, or investigating our projects.

Q: Why did you chose World of Warcraft as your game engine choice for DKLS?

HH: I've played WoW for years, and have a deep fondness for the background and story of the world of Azeroth. It's a wonderful backdrop for all sorts of stories, as other Machinima creators before me have shown. In addition the fact that Blizzard were one of the first companies to put out a public Machinima license meant that I was very interested in supporting them in that, and seeing what could be done in the world of WoW.

The fact that the license existed was also a major plus point for me, as the legal uncertainties of other Machinima projects in other games have become a bit wearing in the past! It was nice to know where we stood with regards to the intellectual property we were building upon (at least until some last-minute unexpected changes to Blizzard's license!)

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges in using Wow? And successes?

HH: The success of using WoW was definitely the sheer scope it afforded us. Over the years, Azeroth has grown to be such a massive "backlot" from a movie-maker's point of view that we hardly ever failed to find a location that was perfect for the scene, or a prop or character who would fit into the story.

The fact that most of the team working on DKLS were also familiar with WoW was a big help too - that intimate familiarity meant we could immediately identify parts of the world which would work for the story we wanted to tell, and it saved us a lot of time location scouting.

The main challenges of the project were definitely pushing WoW to do something that it doesn't normally do. Death Knight Love Story turned out to be a quite subtext-heavy, very understated story that demanded a wide range of emotion from our characters, and the Wow graphics are very bold and brash - they aren't exactly known for their subtle expressiveness.

As a result, we ended up commissioning quite a bit of custom art for our lead characters, and fitting that into the overall WoW world and art style was a challenge, and possibly one we didn't fully meet.

Q: What virtual worlds, if any, do you have a personal avatar presence in? Why/Why not...please comment. When you are not filmmaking, are there any other activities you enjoy?

HH: I've got a presence in Second Life, but not a very active one. By preference my usual virtual community hangouts are very old-school and textural - Hacker News and Reddit, primarily!

In terms of non-filmmaking interests, I've had a lifelong interest in martial arts and I'm currently just starting to study Krav Maga, the Israeli self-defense technique. Real-life martial arts have always felt surprisingly similar to virtual world gaming to me - the extreme twitch reactions and spatial awareness of games like Quake are very similar to offline sparring.

I'm also a keen cook- hence my cookery show, Kamikaze Cookery - as well as a coffee and food enthusiast. And I still play offline, pen & paper roleplaying games as well as conventional computer games. Currently I'm playing through The Witcher 2, which I'm finding a very enjoyable story experience!

Q: Do you think virtual worlds and/or synthetic environments are a legitimate place for the co-opting of more traditional forms of entertainment? Such as a talk or a game show?

HH: I think that This Spartan Life has already well and truly proved that a virtual world talk show can work very well indeed! And of course, the huge rise in e-sports are as watchable and enjoyable as physical-equivalent sports. With the rise of virtual reality in particular, I think we will be seeing more and more physical world entertainment move to the virtual world.

Q: Many of the shows which are created in VWTV are often an offshoot of what we already participate in (with some stunning exceptions such as The Giant Snail races). Do you think people are limited by their actual experiences, or why do you think that folks with the ability to create "anything" often chose what is familiar?

HH: Innovation is often overrated, at least in terms of creating content which will attract an audience. people tend to like things that are similar to other things they've already enjoyed. We can see that on TV, with the endless police procedurals and medical dramas, and the same applies just as much to virtual entertainment.

Having said that, the shows that become massive hits are usually innovators in some way. I'm not surprised that most virtual world shows are similar to existing media, but I'd expect the breakout ones to be startlingly different.

Q: What are your thoughts on new interfaces like the Oculus Rift in virtual worlds?

HH: Well, the recent acquisition of the Oculus Rift by Facebook pretty much confirms that we're going to see a metaverse-like virtual world within virtual reality very soon. Mark Zuckerberg's making a big play here, and I don't think anyone who has thought about the situation really believes he just intends to put Facebook ads on an Oculus Rift - he's making a play for the next big frontier of technology, and it's very credible to believe that's going ot be VR. 


(The above links to Hugh doing a Riftjam Game Demo Video: Eye Of The Tower)

VR still isn't 100% proven. There are serious challenges facing people - including me- who are pioneering VR experiences, from "VR Sickness" to having to design an entirely new user interface. But the potential of VR is completely unmatched right now. if anything's going to bring virtual worlds into the mainstream, it's being able to step into them completely through a VR headset.

And it seems Mr. Zuckerberg thinks the same....

Q: Could you see doing a weekly show broadcast from a virtual world? And if so, what kind of show would you like to see or be part of?

HH: Absolutely-there's no reason to believe that's not entirely possible. i have long held backburner ideas for a political satire show made in virtual space, as it happens - a successor of sorts to the UK's infamous puppet satire show Spitting Image. I'm honestly surprised that no-one I'm aware of has tried political satire in virtual film yet!

Q: What are the biggest challenges you are finding with audiences who aren't familiar with WoW or Virtual environments in screening DKLS? Are you finding any resistance to the look and feel?

HH: Interestingly, most of the resistance we've faced from viewers of DKLS has come from people who *are* familiar with wow! Because we stepped away from the conventional aesthetic of WoW to create higher-resolution characters, that seem to be quite a jarring experience for people familiar with WoW.

In addition, we faced "Uncanny Valley" problems with DKLS's much higher visual fidelity than previous projects we've worked on. Figuring out a way round or over the infamous Uncanny Valley is pretty much my top priority right now.

Q: Anything more you would like to add? Free space!

HH: The next few years are going to be truly fascinating for people who are interested in virtual worlds. What has for along time been a niche interest appears to be going mainstream, fast!!


If you wish to read the interview on the Virtual Worlds Television blog, please click here, and feel free to explore past interviews.

If you have a question please email info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the Subject, and it will be answered.

24 Aug 2022

Metaquette #AI #MyBestFriendIsARobot Q16

 Weekly Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with............Pooky Amsterdam

In 1971 George Lucas made his feature film directorial debut with the brilliant THX-1138, a science fiction masterpiece. Of the many memorable parts of this film, my favorite was a scene where Robert Duval's character needs solace and goes into a booth to speak with what I can only describe as an AI Saviour. The creators of the world Duval inhabited recognized the importance of this kind of conversation, this kind of encounter to alleviate emotional pain because the confessional for the soul is that important. By allowing for even this limited interaction of speaking with a thinking and feeling AI, that world was made a more hospitable place to live. 

Q: Can AI in The Metaverse help us level up as Human Beings?

What if we could enter the Metaverse and find companionship, interesting conversation and good ideas to help us function on not only this new virtual plane, but in all others? If being an avatar and meeting others wasn't dependent on finding another human being to interact with, but something that made us feel better about ourselves and gave us hope for the world we actually live in? With the announcement of Inworld receiving $50million to populate games with  Smart characters, we are these many steps closer to that reality. 

John Gaeta, who is one of the driving forces behind this interestingly enough, has worked at LucasFilm, but it is this comment from the article linked above which intrigues me, " ...What I want is for something to be unconditionally caring for me. The only way this is going to be really interesting is if it brings joy and is fun, and is not laborious or harmful."  When we ask ourselves what we want out of life, perhaps fun is certainly one of life's rewards. And fun which also contains a certain amount of accomplishment can be gained in increments, gained by building towards something. What if we are rewarded by AI in the games which we play to have a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world?

Something else which crossed my spectrum this week is Will Wright's new endeavor. Gallium Studios, which looks to mine our memories and, in some way, make them more tangible and perhaps even tradeable. Memories are unique to ourselves and the moment they were created in can also color so much. It will use blockchain technology, and these will exist virtually in the way that we can now begin to unpack so much online, so it is a new form of creation tool, and one which might be able to bring us together more as a species.

I am forever a fan of Will Wright because he was moved to help people create rather than kill. I am talking about his revelations around the first video game he invented, Raid on Bungeling Bay, please look at Legacy in this Wikipedia entry. While a 2D shooter game, he found that over time, there were people who were as committed to saving those who were wounded, to rebuilding hospitals, to saving other people and to building instead of destroying. And there were enough of them to open his eyes to the greater joy that people find in creation, and in helping one another. This epiphany led him to invent The Sims. There is something to be found in up-building rather than destruction. 

I hope that AI can feed this human need to be productive, rather than the opposite. I hope that AI will help us to find rewards within character building, in its traditional sense of building one's character, not just making a cool avatar. (Though cool avatars are amazing to inhabit!) 

In the quest to find the substantive grail of the human spirit, partially empathy which is seeing things from another's perspective, I am hopeful that AI will give us greater insight towards this goal.

That we can level-up ourselves by helping others less fortunate, and not just ourselves in that nanosecond of time we are inhabiting.

That AI helps us find out winning means being kind, having valor and honor, not just the fastest trigger finger around.

That AI gives prizes for stopping bullying, and extra points for spending time trying to help bullies figure things out for the better, so they don't try to intimidate through fear again.

That tokens are granted for longer term decision making which takes into account better goals instead of just rewarding immediate gratification.

And that AI will help us blend and accumulate positive social behaviors towards one another.

Perhaps this seems like a lot. Right now with news of the $50M in a new AI populace, there are people who are salivating at the thought of Salesbots / Spambots in the Metaverse being able to advertise product, maybe in a new AI kind of WOMMA. The thought struck me that they might try to sell to one another and fail spectacularly. But I am convinced AI can have a higher calling, and that will not take away any of the fun. In fact, it will add to the whole equation because as we feel about ourselves and the world, so as it is.

If you have a question, please email info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the Subject and it will be answered.

17 Aug 2022

Metaquette #DigitalLife #Cartoonification #VirtualCartoon Q15

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse with.....Pooky Amsterdam

Real life has its limitations, we all know that. Cartoons however can do anything from Superhero to Super Mario and more recently Super AI programs mean that animation is increasingly becoming the key language we all respond to. It is a universal language as well.

Q: Can becoming a cartoon improve my real life?

Science & Technology are entwined with animation and visual magic. In 1936 Walt Disney patented the Art of Animation - using Multiplane Camera in a way that allowed animators to reuse backgrounds and other unchanged portions of an animated film. This improved the quality of the finished film and cut costs in terms of money & time.

In 1938 while watching a Mickey Mouse cartoon, belief became suspended, as that B & W image is nothing like the life one has when the lights went up and it was time to get back to the real world. We embraced Mickey Mouse and all his friends.

in 1970 Lillian Schwartz debuted Pixillation one of the first digitally created films to be shown as a work of art. She worked early in her career with Bell Labs, developing mixtures of sound, video and art.

In 1978 Mickey would get his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

In 1988 Spielberg would give Disney a shot in the arm with "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"

Ask anyone you know who their favorite cartoon character is and they will have an answer for you, maybe even more than one. Cartoons and animation are a part of our lives, our visual entertainment, our early identities and frames of reference.

In 2001, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences introduced a new Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

The rise of animation has also entered our homes in full force with the video games we play. At no time more so than now, do people get behind an avatar, literally and figuratively to spend hours inhabiting a character. With the rise of the Metaverse, this will only increase. People who play video games embrace that Universal joy of playing, and in the 2022 Essential Facts about the Game Industry, 97% of all Americans now see the benefits of playing video games and 88% of players say video games can bring together different types of people. In a world of discord, getting together as compelling animated figures, might save the day! The ability to be in the cartoon and run the action has become a mode for many, all you need to earn that passport is an avatar, as we embody them, giving them greater powers than we have on the other side of the small screen, we are being "cartoonified" to join in that activity.

The rise of inexpensive to produce engines allows new technology to give rise to animation at the press of a button. AI has become a formidable way for this form to produce immediate breathtaking results. Recently (Hat-tip to Remco Sikkema) I have seen some incredibly far out stuff being produced, from an AI gameplay demo  to the totally trippy DUMAGUETE  to a DiscoDiffusion post from Karen X. Cheng which seem to be AI panels  which can alter your appearance by looking through them on the street! It might be AR, but this kind of thing will give us the ability to change our appearance, perhaps to ward off attackers. If I am walking down the street and a potential assailant sees a 9 foot dinosaur instead of a slim woman, they might think twice about perpetuating a crime. 

Cartoons are more than flat screen nowadays, we enter the animated or pixelated Metaverse and can imbue these visual characteristics in many many ways, helping us feel entertained, empowered and larger than life. Game engine platforms of video games and Metaverses allow a 360 degree view of various and more diverse environments. They are ones we are becoming more adept in, and active in through our time there. As these scenes and environments move into the forefront of commercial activity, virtual assets whether human or AI generated are growing, and it allows personal and business enterprises to take chances and offer something very special for smaller costs.  Game engine graphics have more than come of age, and we are becoming the cartoon characters of our dreams. Now to be the Superheroes we always wanted to be.

If you have a question, please email info@pookymedia.com with the subject of Metaquette and you will have an answer in an upcoming blog!

11 Aug 2022

Metaquette #Immersion #VirtualHealth #VirtualReality #VR Q14


Weekly Tips And Tricks on negotiating The Metaverse with.....Pooky Amsterdam

Immersion is the state of being deeply engaged, it is what we achieve as humans when we are fully involved with that which is before us. Sometimes in a movie theater, in the collective dark we suspend our belief and fully buy into what is presented before our eyes. We believe what we see, and hear. New technology allows us, through the use of VR headsets to enter digital experiences in new ways, which grab our attention and commit us to the moment more than ever before.

Q: Can we become healthier using virtual reality and The Metaverse?

How often have you been amazed at the amount of time which has flown by while you were on Facebook or Instagram or Youtube? Social media platforms are terrifically engaging and watching what others have created has become somewhat addictive, a form of visual recreation. We watch a lot, but Virtual Reality allows us to participate in a fuller way. Virtual Reality and the Metaverse allows us to be in the game, where sit back and relax becomes lean forward and engage. And as VR has moved into our homes and out of the "arcade" its usefulness to our mental, physical and emotional well-being has grown as developers see the great opportunities in engaging us where we live.

Loneliness, inactivity, loss, pain and emotional scars are increasingly being alleviated with the use of profound Virtual Reality applications. With The Metaverse comes other people and lots of activities so that with a VR headset and with The Metaverse no one has to feel alone anymore. Increasingly VR is becoming recognized as a way for people to improve the quality of their lives. Imagine a Metaverse for health where people can go from the privacy of their own bathrobes, to seek a better way of being and feeling. For how we feel is how we are. For the elderly, being able to experience reminiscence therapy, often means less medication and a re-entry into more meaningful lives.

One incredibly real way of lessening pain, even chronic pain, is with the use of VR. EaseVRx was approved as a treatment by the FDA last November. For more on this and other health related uses, in a breathtakingly in depth article recently,  Maddie Bender cites the figures that the "market for VR healthcare will jump 350% to $9.7 billion by 2027."Utilizing the ability of the mind to distract itself by moving towards what is pleasurable, beautiful and healing, VR because of its absolute wrap around the senses effect, is the future of how we can heal ourselves. 

Different from video games, but the concept of this healing has been around for a long while. I remember being incredibly impressed with the game developed by HopeLab and released in 2006 called Re-Mission,  a cancer fighting game for young people which has had tremendous results. We can actively fight disease using our thoughts, and training ourselves to do so is vastly empowering as well.

What VR gives us is the power to harness our greatest resource, our beautiful minds, in the fight against just about anything. Even being able to help us overcome what barriers we feel, personality conflicts and negative thought processes which often hamper our development, creation and feeling of community. Just last week, MIT published an article on how VR is equivalent to a dose of LSD in helping with "ego-death" - talk about losing yourself to find yourself! Called Isness-D it allows us to transcend the barriers of our own skins and merge with others. 

More and more VR is being used as a tool to help our mental and physical health. I am looking forward to the use of a VR Headset in the dentist's office so that the pain and fear associated with dentistry falls away in a waterfall of healing mist. We are only scratching the surface of how deeply we can go with using our greatest asset, our brains to expand our abilities to heal ourselves.

I fully embrace using Virtual Reality, Virtual Worlds and The Metaverse to help us become healthier human beings, feeling less threatened, sick and alone. This can also be a basis for people to form greater bonds in their communities. These virtual journeys affect our real world mindsets, our mental health affects our bodies. Sometimes I think we have been stimulating our amygdala region of fear to such an extent that we need this relief now, as fear is not a friend of mental health. Thank goodness for VR, casting light into negative emotions which destroy ourselves, our bodies and our communities.

If you have a question please email info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the subject line.

3 Aug 2022

Metaquette #VirtualMusic #DigitalBand Q13

Nominees for first Metaverse Performance Category at the MTV Movie Awards

Weekly Tips & Tricks on negotiating The Metaverse with.....Pooky Amsterdam

"Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything"  ~Plato 428 - 348 BC

While the above quote came from someone who was not born with any knowledge of The Metaverse, or even the electric guitar, his quote resonates as music gives soul, flight and life to us still. Music is defining one of the great applications for The Metaverse as well, and in a more profound way because it is a shared immersive experience. People are transported through VR or other headsets to the sound the collective light occupies, where all aspects of the music seem amplified.

Q: I want to see how far The Metaverse can take music.  Any suggestions?

Picture a place where people from all over the world can hang out, listen to music and dance while not leaving the comfort of their home, or chair for that matter. Where the sound of music is so real, you and the music are one. Where every sensation around runs through your body. It doesn't get farther than that, but how to get it that far is the question, how to get people to the place where your music is playing? And can it be a more casual gig at a virtual club every week? Or does it have to be a concert recorded for something big, or bigger?

The increasingly large events in The Metaverse are exploding with important cultural milestones.  In June, Samsung Superstar Galaxy had Robloxians living their Charli XCX pop star dream by performing, dancing and creating there. The top users got to actually be part of the stage in the virtual concert finale with her. And Her performance became one of The 1st Best Metaverse Performance nominations at The Video Music Awards! That is an absolute new bar which has been reached, a new era. And you can vote for your favorite here.

Warner Music and The Sandbox will play live in that Metaverse, most likely gaining plenty of new accounts through all kinds of advertising. Hearing a favorite artist with thousands of fans from everywhere on the globe, dancing, jumping, being part of the Live Moment and you are in your pajamas, but looking A-Mazing? Count me in! How about being able to send a text message to the Beib? Even if he never reads it you can text something in his proximity. Proximity is what the platform of the Metaverse allows in a way real life does not. 

One that also involves a different and broader kind of fan base. People don't have to travel, get dressed to go out nor get a babysitter for the kids. Fans of course will come out for a performance anywhere, yet there is nothing more local than your preferred internet connection, and logging in to become completely engrossed will increasingly strike the right chord.  People are taking part in events remembered like any in the physical world, with their musical heroes,  larger than life and sometimes virtually on fire. These major recording artists while not actually onstage too are probably in their inner sanctum, focused, as in a live performance yet within the comfort of home studios.

Focus is another thing The Metaverse delivers, and intensifies in the delivery of music. Virtually we have entered this place with eyes and ears wide open and are not distracted by the usual suspects. We are there to take part in the experience. Our senses are employed in VR with both presence and what is presented right in front of us. It feels surrounded and moving, wrapped around our heads and wrapped around our eyes. We are "there" and the music fills us up going deep to our receptors. 

Nightclubs are ubiquitous in virtual world environments. VRChat has Night City , there's Sugar Club in Dentraland and The Nightclub in AltspaceVR. Second Life has 376 listings for music venues, or build a private one around a video game like Club Qu with the right people of course. If the Metaverse you are in doesn't have one or one you like, perhaps you'll start one yourself. All it takes is a place to go, and of course music.

Then there's doing a set yourself for an audience of virtual friends / strangers, which can be really fulfilling and fun. If you do not have a million-dollar record contract, or just want a lower key musical evening, The Metaverse can provide that too. What do you want to do? With the right equipment put on a show of your favorite music? Want a Led Zep tribute concert? Get your Robert Plant look on and sing along in another form of Karaoke where you can become the singer while you present your own Stairway to Heaven.  

If you have original songs or a set list, maybe you can get a playing gig by text messaging the venue owner of a location you have visited, and then sending them a link to demo. The Metaverse provides a way to reach people who might not otherwise have heard you playing at your kitchen table. It's a way of reaching a wide audience when not able to travel very far in real life. 

You do have to have real chops, beyond a vanity appearance, becoming a real virtual artist with a following takes real talent. There is insane word of mouth inworld, if you are good, you can build a real following that can have legs.

There is incredibly beautiful music being made all the time, and more to come, finding those who are there to listen. That is a bonding feeling which strengthens our ties to one another, because you are moving people in such a direct manner. We are incredibly receptive to sound in a virtual environment.

The opportunity for accompanying visuals to augment your music with video is profound. The Metaverse is so rich a platform visually that it is an excellent place for making your own Music Video, which might not go to the VMAs but will be incredibly fun to do. You can post it on tiktok, snap, Instagram, youtube and / or Facebook. Using the platform of your chosen Metaverse allows you to be creative in so many ways, using resources that are available, some free like a dancing animation that comes with your avatar, and some for purchase from the in-Metaverse catalog. And it's a cool way to meet folks if you need some additional avatar actors too.

I even got to record my theme song in between two shows I was running weekly back in the day, and it still sounds and looks great. I'm Too Busy To Date Your Avatar was a whirlwind to make, populated with sets, friends and textures around me, plus I was fortunate to work with Bernard Draxtor on this classic. The Metaverse is a place where Kismet happens, and this is a testimony to that. It is possible and it is waiting for you. I can't wait to watch the VMA's this year, and haven't been this excited to see them ever!

If you have a question, please email info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the subject line.

27 Jul 2022

Metaquette #VirtualBrand Q12


                                                                         Beer Break

Weekly Tips & Tricks on negotiating The Metaverse with Pooky Amsterdam

"Through the past, smartly" could be the title of this weeks blog as News from Decentraland was caught up in my brain blender with a very fun video that we did a while back, and fits perfectly with the Question of the Week. 

Q: Is it possible to build good brand relations in The Metaverse?

This weeks jaw-dropping events calendar from Decentraland is amazing! Cuervo with a MetaDistellery and Christian LaCroix 35th Anniversary is full on happening but what caught my eye was the new Netflix original, The Grey Man. Netflix is behind an 8 Day quest, where players are helped by knowledge of this movie. The prizes are digital facial, and other hair plus a level of wearables unknown from any movie before. Yes, it is more than possible to build good brand relations in The Metaverse, it can be imperative. Part of the fun and excitement of being in The Metaverse is the fun you can have. Why not with a brand?

The way of The Metaverse is to engage the end user, it is the same goal of engaging a customer with a brand. About 15 years ago JWT CEO Bob Jeffrey was quoted as saying, "Time is the new currency. The better the idea, the more time people spend with it." How much time people spend in one Metaverse is the key to its value. Engagement metrics should become time-based measures rather than impression based, for what percentage of a person's time is spent in a world, and why is vitally important.  I find the Netflix investment in Decentraland fascinating as those who will go to find where the fountain is in the maze thus retrieving the virtual USB stick will be spending time with The Grey Man. I do believe those who do will watch it on Netflix. I'll be curious to see how it all goes down beginning this Friday.

So Beer Break is here to illustrate how in a virtual world, community could be built around a brand, and building out that shared experience. In this video it's about surfers; it was to be a world wide virtual surfing competition for The Beer with the winner getting a trip to the Baja peninsula and of course a year's supply of the beverage. Here there would be targeted reasons to go into a world, using both video, a quest, activity, sponsored competition that allows the community to build up around it. People would have had their avatars in a program, virtual reality TV if you will, that comes with a TOS understanding that by attending your avatar could be part of the series/show/event/program. Advertisers will gain by allowing their customers real opportunities to interact with their brand, not just throwing a lot of stuff up to see what will stick.

With live events taking place on a regular basis, and at specific times, people know to tune in or to go to these events in what becomes "Appointment Internet". This will build consumer loyalty to the event which will translate into customer loyalty in the product. The Metaverse is rapidly becoming a professional marketing environment, like living within the world of these virtual goods and services. There should be ongoing compelling reasons to return, that attract more and more potential customers with engagement, and rewards for that engagement. Though not every company may want to hand out fake moustaches, or the ubiquitous NFT.

How about this example? Let's say you were a Heineken drinker all your life, but there was a great game in Somnium Space called Bowling for Budweisers which was fun to play virtually, in a retro bowling alley where you could win a cool customized digital bowling shirt. Upon going, you meet people there, you bring people there and you begin to play and have fun, appearing on the leaderboard for everyone to see, taking pictures of that and your virtual buddies for your social media pages too. You are having fun with the product!! I don't care if you have been a Heineken drinker all your life, at some point you will eventually pick up a Budweiser because it has become part of your life through your chosen playtime, and you associate it with having fun.

And let's say there was a web series also filmed around this in the Metaverse and the "regulars' at the bowling alley are played by known actors. Even though they are relatively safe at home, they are mingling with people from all over the world, and you or I could have a conversation with them, maybe they would even pick us for their bowling team. A scripted series filmed for a fraction of real world costs around an activity creating a live audience spending time, actively participating in the promotion of the brand is what The Metaverse is made for. No one has to travel to Universal Studios to see the show, they just have to log in and be part of the brand game. It is insanely cost effective and also encourages people to create their own user generated content around the brand if they can utilize the sets and activities for their own social media promotion.

Here is a way to engage ones customers of a brand literally and figuratively where they live and play. So indeed The Metaverse can offer an outstanding platform upon which to build brand alliance, community and engagement. And this can be piggybacked upon existing advertising, all a company has to do is include the URL of where this game or event is going to take place. In The Metaverse this means cost effective, valuable, virtual community which meets the very important requirement of time spent with the brand.

If you have a question, please email info@pookymedia.com with Metaquette in the subject line.

21 Jul 2022

Metaquette #VirtualGoods #DigitalAssets Q11

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating The Metaverse

Weekly Q & A with the Doyenne of The Metaverse.....Pooky Amsterdam

Yes! The greatness that is shopping! It can be so enjoyable. Remember when "Let's go to the mall" was a weekend thing? Being able to buy stuff is more than consumerism; it's a destination,  an economic driver, can be a social activity, an opportunity for alone time and plus it makes us feel special! We shop everywhere, anytime and increasingly online so it makes sense that we would want to shop in The Metaverse.

Q: Will shopping in the Metaverse be as much fun as it is in the physical world?

Shopping in the Metaverse can be an incredible amount of fun. It is location-time-opportunity sensitive and as you create a life for your avatar, you will want to buy it stuff, just like in the physical world. And everything plus might be available. It is certainly a big pull for companies who want to use the Metaverse to reinforce brand awareness and even make sales. 

Shopping can be along a main strip where you can visit store after store, turning your thumbs up or down on the large variety of items, these nexus can offer a hub for socializing so you spend time with their product as well as wear it. There are some worlds which offer a Demo version so you can try that hairdo on before you buy it, or that tuxedo or you can teleport to the sales destination and try out  a version of what you want to buy. See demo versions of places and builds that could be part of your home. Sometimes there can be an incredible catalogue from which to decide on your purchases. Plus in the Metaverse with digital goods there are so many opportunities for WOMMA  and avatars often ask each other "Where did you get THAT?" Quality products become known and traffic to those places which deliver quality good is high.

As certain assets for an upscaled virtual existence often cost much less than their real life counterparts, another bonus can be where one's "local" wealth is leveraged. We can buy more for less, in many categories. Although for example, The Sandbox might have some assets that are 5 and even 6 figures, it is possible to get some cool stuff for $70 an item, that would kit out your little piece of land soooo well, you think, "Heck'n why not? I want to meet the folks next door." And you have a flying drone bar with endless drinks, for under a hundro.

Digital consumption also offers aspirational purchases which allow us to "own" virtual items we would not otherwise be able to, or even imagine. Top brands have leapt into places with Nikeland in Roblox, Dolce & Gabbana in Decentraland, Gucci in TheSandbox, Balenciaga in Fortnite, Ralph Lauren in Zepetto. If these are clothing styles you think are cool, you can suit up, there for a relatively small fee, and sometimes pick up promotional goods. If you don't have room in your closet, they take up even less space in your Metaverse Inventory and no dry cleaning!

Art is something you can buy in The Metaverse, and often you can hang it in your virtual home. As well as stunning NFT creations, in places where you can import textures,  you might even be able to find a duplicate of Beeple and import it for your walls. In my own home away from home, I have an incredible collection of art, which would cost $700 million in auction at Sotheby's. In my Metaverse inventory, I also own 100+ pairs of shoes, many are 5 inch heels which I can no longer wear all day in the physical world, but my avatar can and does. The Metaverse offers that better way of life, and a way to make your desires a reality. Shopping for things you might not be able to own in your reality, like that just right virtual Airplane, is thrilling. 

Buying stuff is like going on an adventure, you don't quite know what you are going to find, but you know when you have found something you want. In the Metaverse, the search, or the surf within your own world can lead to all kinds of discoveries, and of things you didn't even know you needed. Whether it is the excitement of seeing all the listed items, or wandering down a street you can't recall discovering, it can have value. With a plethora of companies joining in, I do envision an ad for let's say Wayfair, who joined the Metaverse Standards Forum to be shot entirely within a Metaverse,  a spokesavatar touting the beauty and functionality of its design. Shopping in and advertising with the Metaverse go hand in hand, or hand in mouse. Whether they are things created by other people like you, or the Gods of the game or International companies it doesn't matter. If you enjoy it, that's what counts, and yes shopping can be incredibly fun in The Metaverse!

13 Jul 2022

Metaquette #VirtualLove Q10

 Tips & Tricks for negotiating the Metaverse

Weekly Q & A with the Doyenne of the Metaverse....Pooky Amsterdam

Life can be a singular enterprise, and while we want to be able to be alone with ourselves, or at least find our own company suitable, we seek social groups, other people and like to engage with those whom we feel good about. Some of us are shy, some of us are outgoing but it isn't always easy no matter where you are to find that special someone to share the big and small things of life. A lot of dating happens online where people answer questionnaires to get matched, or look at pictures usually taken from an old relationship, compare hobbies, email, text, F2F and maybe a real life relationship, Y/N?

Q: Is it possible to find true love in the Metaverse?

Finding love online has its challenges, which anyone who has been to an online dating site like Match.com or eHarmony knows. There should be an agony column just for Tinder, Grindr, Plenty of Fish, match.com and others. Least of all the problems I would suspect are with people not looking like their pictures. We are visual people, how one looks to you matters. Walk into a bar and see someone really attractive and spend time talking to them hoping the person will be just as attractive on the inside. What if there's only their inside because you have no idea what they really look like? And everyone is attractive or has a somewhat similar look?

When you meet someone in a virtual world or Metaverse, you don't know who they are. Yes, Voice Over Internet Protocol is widely available, but you still don't know what the other person looks like behind their avatar, whether it be male, female, humanoid or furry. And while we project onto "another" in many ways developing a relationship with someone where you are mainly hearing and paying attention to what they have to say, brings you both much closer. The same goes for you, if you are somewhat shy, there is very little social risk in a virtual world, here is a tip: People are just too concerned with what they are doing to be paying attention to your flubs and fluffs. Relax.

And what if you do find yourself in communication with someone in your vicinity that seems okay? There are no distractions like at the bar, no waiters and waitresses, no Ex about to walk in. You are both in the moment each of you in your comfort zone at home, logged into a really neat place, colorful, funny remarks flow, "Hey did you see that guy stuck upside down?" "Yes, it was me!" There are a million things to comment on and you take chances because you can. If you dont want to engage any further, all you have to do is turn around say, "BuhBye," teleport or log out/in a different region. And if you do hit it off with someone, you can talk as long as you like, travel the grid together and even meet up laters. 

It's very low-pressure and the way to gain trust is to keep it like that, developing a friendship with your maybe new bestie, you log on when you want to see them. If they are not there, maybe they missed your call, but you can always send a message because you searched for their name! Friendships are encouraged, finding the fun folks you met and want to find later is the secret sauce of these environments. A nice polite message, will get a reply. It's easier to be polite in a virtual world because there is no physical contact or judgments beyond your avatars outfit. I'd like to say there are fewer triggers for defensiveness or anger, but you can't see what anyone is doing behind the screen, yourself included. You aren't worried about how you look, smell or come across where you physically sit, everything is cool. Sometimes you talk like old friends, or you feel strange tinglings of your heart thumping and you know this is someone special.

You find what you both like, in your conversation  you can't help but talk about the world you live in with your real feet on the ground. It's very freeing talking to strangers, who become friends, who then open up a world of possibilities because they've spoken.  You think what are the chances in this entire Universe that we would be brought together? And there is Fate or Kismet or Luck, the people you meet have a destined feel sometimes. 

It moves forward if you both want the same things and a Metaverse romance means you see can see them every night, the only cost is long distance love. Sometimes time zones have to be managed, times you will both be "on" arranged, yet it often progresses to real life video calls if it's meaningful. You can find someone who understands you and knows what you are like through the time you spend together with a real closeness. Bernhard Drax did a series about it that is fascinating, here's a great example of Love Made In Second Life from a few years ago. 

Serious long term relationships also come into focus with VR as it means greater immersion and sense of being there with your partner. To see what that looks like tune in soon to a film on HBO,  We Met In Virtual Reality. You can find your sweetheart in a Virtual World as chances are you share a lot of in terms of culture and technology, but also a language that lets you cross virtual boundaries.

What about marriage? People have been getting married in Virtual Worlds for decades though for entertainment purposes only, here's a wedding package video from IMVU.  And Animal Crossing has an actual wedding season! Virtual worlds which have been around for a while have seen many marriages already, the new ones will have them too. They might include a different kind of meeting the prospective families in the MetaVenue of your choice. Can't hot air balloon together "irl?" You can do that as an avatar and even push your brother - law out of the balloon with little consequences. There are all sorts of stories about weddings, like  a couple married in a virtual environment created for their wedding in the NYT last year.

Can VR help married couples? Here I want to relate a story of a wife and husband team who were running a nightclub in Second Life. They had just had a little boy and the business was doing well, until the husband had an affair with an avatar who was working as a model. The wife had him sleeping on the couch the next day, and the marriage was over she said. Weeks passed, he remained sorry, deleted the interloper from his friends & Skype list and eventually his wife took him back. That episode gave him a lifetime perspective. He had the scare of his life to lose his family, an opportunity to work out his rebellion on a much smaller scale, he didn't get a disease, or get anyone pregnant, there was no lingering relationship and they are still married today!

An older married couple who live in a part of Ohio that is landlocked, were getting a little bored with one another, started fighting but discovered a virtual world. They decided to build an outpost in SL but pursued different things - He became a virtual sailor and she began running steampunk airship competitions while a new phase of their union blossomed.

Not only can you find love in the metaverse, it can save your marriage too.

For those who are curious, yes to virtual pregnancies and children, which will be explored at another time.

If you have a question, please email info@pookymedia.com with the subject Metaquette, and it will be answered.

29 Jun 2022

Metaquette #Metaverses Q9


Tips & Tricks for Negotiating The Metaverse

Weekly Q & A with the Doyenne of The Metaverse......Pooky Amsterdam

The Metaverse has arrived! And is arriving, and is on the way, and is being built, yet has some places which have existed for over 2 decades....but this is an entirely new phenomenon worthy of increases in share prices. The New Metaverse Days are here and you will be expected at any of 67 locations plus new ones which will add up to 138 live and in development all waiting for you! The charts in the photo are from the wonderful company headed up by the awesome Nic Mitham & Kelly Loter who run Metaversed Consulting  They have been in this space for a very long time. So has Dubit, the sponsor of these photos, as you can see on the lower right hand side. Dubit has been around since 1999.

Q: There are so many Metaverses coming out, do you think they will all survive?

Right now there is so much activity in bringing metaverses to the market, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the first time Massive Multi-Player Online Worlds have been explored. Indeed it is not, but perhaps the recent pandemic and the way we were all driven home by the Covid Effect has realized a greater ability to work collaboratively and from home.  Zoom took the brunt of our time and faces, the Metaverse offers other ways to meet and enjoy shared virtual destinations using them both for business and pleasure.

There is such intense competition for users in this area right now though that Metaverses will have to offer increasing incentives for people to become real residents, or offer niche interests that no other Metaverse can. It is hoped that these Metaverses monetize their user base with monthly dues, currency exchange and the creation of virtual goods. It will not be easy to differentiate however as most of theses metaverse offer exactly the same things.

The question then becomes, how much bandwidth do people actually have for an investment of time and energy towards building a new digital home, new virtual relationships and spending time in new places? And learning a new user interface each time as well? Even if it is from the best location we have: The internet connection right in front of us. 

Let's look at Facebook way back when they started. It has grown to include just about everyone in the world, but stock price growth is dependant on numbers growth and everyone who can be on Facebook is already on Facebook. After you max out your user base, where do you go? To Meta Horizons of course, but they enter this market not just against four places to knock out like MySpace, Google+, Orkut and Friendster, but many many more. 

Mckinsey recently released a report on the Metaverse. As of 2022 investments into infrastructure supporting the Metaverse exceeded $120B in the first few months of 2022 alone. 95% of the polled executives believe that their industry will benefit from the Metaverse, while only 15% believe that the Metaverse will represent significant portions of their margin growth in the next five years. There are tremendous dollar investments which must be recouped. how will that be done?

Mckinsey categorizes the Metaverse into five different activities: Gaming, fitness, commerce, socializing and remote learning. And according to their data, 60% of surveyed consumers preferred to perform one of these activities virtually, e-commerce being the most lucrative. (I have always wanted to go the bank dressed as a furry, or elven princess). I guess I am not alone here, because Mckinsey predicts that the value of e-commerce in the Metaverse will settle between $2T and $2.6T by 2030.  The only question is which Metaverses will take the lead? The ones with the most security i would think both in terms of data breaching and mining.

All in a Metaverse day, my friends, will this be the future? You wake up and go to Roblox, then Decentraland, then Fortnite. You will have lunch at your desk, but that isn't different from usual, maybe you will have lunch while you visit The Sandbox? Then onto Somnium Space, VRChat and Odyssey. After a quick dinner because you dont have much time, you can have fun in Epic Games New Metaverse in the making or Axie infinity or Cyrptovoxels or Spatials. Maybe you have an awesome computer rig and you can be several avatars in multiple metaverses at once! You can be in two or three or four places at once then. Something you really can not do on the Earthly plane!

That would take a lot of mental, as well as internet bandwidth, perhaps more than most people have. There will be some shakeout therefore of where users go, and that will depend on what value, both quantitative and qualitative people find for their time. Time being the new currency, and where you spend it. For younger age groups right now Roblox has 230M active users, Minecraft 165M (educators do use these places as virtual platforms for teaching and Unilever has an education effort going with Minecraft). Fortnite has 85M, Avakin Life 12.5. For older users there are Zepeto with 20M, IMVU at 7M, RecRoom with 5.5M and Second Life at 1M holding steady. Underneath those are at least 11 other virtual worlds with under a million or so active users. The first Metaverse to hit one billion members will be crowned King of The Virtual Playground, but it is too early to tell who will survive in these early days. 

As more and more people become familiar with the term Metaverse, and want to take part in these exciting new places, what will determine stickiness becomes increasingly important. Will there be Pay 2 Stay? Does a Metaverse gift the new user with a virtual pet of their choice that needs tending to like a neopet of old that had to be fed and walked with alarming regularity? Is it the wardrobe of unbelievable fabulous clothing that you either make or wear, or make and wear that calls you back? Will it be a concert or lecture series you can sign up for that takes place at intervals you must be signed in to receive?  Is it an opportunity to talk to an industry leader that you couldn't come within an arm's length of in real life, who is willing to take your private message within a virtual world? Or will it be one of a kind NFTs, with unlockable content that allows you to know something no one else does? Most often it is where you find friends and people you want to talk to again, minting those is always the greatest gift one can give oneself as the saying goes and also the most elusive thing to find.

If you have a question please email it to info@pookymedia.com with the subject line of Metaquette, and it will be answered.

22 Jun 2022

Mettaquette #VirtualTherapy #BetterWorld Q8

Weekly Q & A with the Doyenne of The metaverse.....Pooky Amsterdam 

With the explosion of the Metaverse, which does represent life on a 3D platform other than Earth,we bring our human selves to these shiny new shores.  Do we want these virtual worlds in front of us to be better than the one we have behind us? Is this even possible? Won't we be bringing all of our same traumas, fears, insecurities, greed, competitive and destructive patterns with us? Or are there ways the Metaverse can help us surpass our human limitations? 

Q7: Can the Metaverse make the world a better place?

There are imho two general ways to make the world a better place. For many people to rise up at once and realize they need to do more for their fellow humans, their children, the environment, even their country. That takes a big movement and most people are just trying to live their lives as best they can. In the checklist for avatar character traits, will you check sincere or snarky? It would be wonderful if we had a kinder and gentler Metaverse, but with so much emphasis at the moment on commercial enterprise, being a kinder and gentler avatar doesn't seem to be at the same premium level. I'm waiting for the Just Be A Good Person Metaverse, but I'm not holding my breath for that.

The other way to make the world a better place is for individuals to improve their perspective, heal their wounds so that they dont want to hurt themselves or others and find a better place within themselves. If he Metaverse can help heal or improve people's lives, and clearly it can,  the answer is yes. I have witnessed and participated in this on a first person, or first avatar basis, and yes the Metaverse has real strengths here, which I hope will be ported to the new ones. I am answering today's question from personal experience.

For example, thousands of people have passed through a sim in Second Life called Fearless Nation,  which is an avatar outpost for those surviving PTSD and other forms of abuse.  Watch the video in the link, all of the dialogue is taken from people's actual feedback on their virtual experiences there. Dr. Colleen Crary  has run it for 13 years helping thousands of people cope by providing mental health support on a beautiful pacific island with places for bonfires, gatherings and education. It is a safe space on abuse victims terms, they control it and so can rebuild their trust. 

Dr. Crary's presented her findings for her PHD thesis and found that people who had avatars and spent time in Fearless Nation gained feelings of safety and self-connectedness. Through the Proteus effect, this self awareness allowed for greater control over stressors and triggers, being an avatar in the safety of one's home environment allowed for creative experimentation. Also self-reflective processing and positive behaviors learned in the virtual worlds led to that actualization for real life behaviors. People gained interpersonal connectedness, relational engagement, and learned to socialize again!

The Metaverse offers community which does make us feel better plus community around shared loss or tragedy even, comforting us in a psychological way. Another example of this is the enormous community of cancer survivors and their families that populate the American Cancer Society's Annual Relay For Life, the ACS does improve lives. There is a virtual world outpost for this, a Relay for Life in Second Life which began in 2005 and since has raised over $3 million through micro-donations from all over the world. Because the Metaverse is a global platform, people log in from anywhere, anytime of the day or night and find those who understand what they are going through. I remember a conversation with someone who had cancer and couldn't bring herself to discuss her fears with her own family, not wanting to burden them. In Second Life she not only found people to talk to about her deepest problems, but also who helped her overcome her very real fear of needles! The Metaverse can help heal in remarkable ways, not the least because of the presence we feel in our avatars.

With the growth of VR, there is also its growth in treating PTSD and other damaging disorders and it has been one of the first areas VR has been used for. Here is a good article on VR therapy, which is immersive on another level than logging into a Metaverse or virtual world, but the tenants of being present and the identification remain very much within the same principles.

There was a great conversation with Linden Lab's Founder Philip Rosedale and it's new CEO, Oberwolf Linden that I caught yesterday. And yes Philip Rosedale did want to make the world a better place when he began that awesome platform, and still does. What he loves the most about this world he put into motion is that here people do collaborate, get along and build things together, work on things together enabling a greater experience for all. And the great ideas and camaraderie that begin in Second Life, or in the Metaverse can be exported in every one of us who has been there. Understanding ourselves, helping to heal with one another and grow in our abilities will make the world we live in a better place. 

If you have a question, please send an email to info@pookymedia.com with the subject line of Metaquette, it will be answered!