The presentation framework of the two days streaming event on virtual beings and societies was quite original, despite being an obvious choice for this topic: the entire convention was presented on virtual multiplayer platforms. Fable Studio‘s Edward Saatchi was hopping from one social event platform to another one for individual meeting slots of about 20 minutes with everybody who is anybody in the visionary world of metaverse projections.
The medium was the message. The variety of world designs visited along this ride of conversations was impressive. From well-established popular gaming platforms like Fortnite to UGC catalysts like Roblox up to cryptocurrency promoters like Decentraland and Web3 reinforcer The Sandbox, this panoramic walk-through of currently available virtual meeting environments was a surreal, multifaceted journey in 3D, 2D or isometric 2.5D perspectives.
On his walk along the multiverse of our actual social internet, Edward Saatchi met companions from various fields of expertise, all relevant to the elaboration and monetization of an interconnected, economically viable and all encompassing evolution of virtuality. The management of virtual events was discussed, as well as NFT success stories, legal issues with virtual goods, social gaming perspectives, user-generated content models, new workspaces or digital identities.
From time to time, the stroll stopped by for virtual character appearances, presenting the latest advancements in performance animation, chatbot technologies and diversified avatar design. While the virtual idols served as illustrations of communication embodiment and individualized promotion campaigns, the continuous flow of conversations made it difficult to get hold of key takeaways the longer the journey lasted and the more repetitive the environments became. The medium became a massage.
This holds even more for overarching topics like the metaverse container, a current claim for socio-economical completeness based on vagueness and scattered application scenarios in peripheral borderlands. The summit had its best moments when focusing on these enthusiast micro operations. Some of them may contribute to less corrupted monetization models in economies of scale. But the potential of turning playgrounds into marketplaces is rather limited, unless you propel fetishism with gambling, child labor and drug addiction for the sake of SPACulations. When it comes to universal appeal, this medium is a mirage.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Virtual Beings and Societies Summit with Edward Saatchi and his companions. It was a pleasant stay in virtual surroundings with prospective performance stagings. But the succession of specialities does not yet sum up to a consistent common ground, not to speak of a universe or a meta level. It reminds me of another well-known ride along the crossroads of puppetry and globalization: it’s a small world after all.