Changing the Game
Unity x MetaMask. Starbucks Levels Up. And the AI-pocalypse.
👋🏽 Hello everyone, gm gm, WELCOME BACK to another edition of the Overpriced JPEGs newsletter, where we’re catching you up on the world of web3, NFTs, and the metaverse.
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🕹 It’s Game On!
After Fortnite gaming phenom Mongraal sold the infamous Golden Key for 2x his 4-year career earnings, pressure mounted that his win would singlehandedly open the web3 floodgates to gamers. Well, he can breathe a sigh of relief because the reinforcements are here.
Unity, a cross-platform game engine with a user base of 2.7 billion, is bringing web3 gaming to the masses with new support for decentralized assets 🤯
13 web3 co’s were added as Unity’s ‘Verified Solutions Providers,’ including Immutable X, Solana, and Aptos Labs - But the inclusion of MetaMask is the biggest unlock here.
MetaMask support makes it significantly easier for devs to integrate crypto and NFTs into games and expands the potential user base far beyond the confines of web3
Unity expects the gaming industry to grow more than $300 bil over the next 5 years and wants to stay ahead of top competitors Unreal Engine and Electronic Arts (whose founder, Trip Hawkins, just started a blockchain gaming business of his own)
“You can look at the rise of Unity-based gaming over the past two decades to guesstimate that if NFT games really do break through into the mainstream in the coming years, MetaMask’s arrival in the Unity Asset Store will undoubtedly prove to have been a pivotal early catalyst in that direction.” - William M. Peaster, Bankless
🪦 Tracking the AI Apocalypse
In case you don’t have time (or the emotional fortitude) to watch folks tell us over and over again that AI is going to discriminate against us, steal our jobs, or just outright be the end of humanity as we know it - don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a roundup of this week’s most intriguing developments in AI:
Snapchat released “My AI” to paid subscribers; a fast, ‘safety-restricted’ in-app version of ChatGPT that’s designed to be more of a friend than a search bar
Global consulting firm Bain forged a massive partnership w/OpenAI and we’d expect to see big implications as they push for AI integration with their clients
Coca-Cola was Bain’s first client to sign a deal with DALL-E and ChatGPT, hinting at ‘marketing, sales, and human resources’ implementations (read: lots of lost jobs)
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☕️ Starbucks has More Brewing
Don’t look now, but wall street suits seem to be warming up to web3 👀, with Bank of America analysts crediting Starbucks for its ‘holistic’ approach and transformational on-chain loyalty program
Starbucks Odyssey kicked off its beta in December and it’s clear they’re leveraging their rewards program to build a lifestyle brand for an audience of coffeeholics eager for product and experiential benefits. And it’s working:
The program’s already seen $148k in total volume, the bulk of it generated from secondary sales of a free, limited edition holiday stamp earned by the very earliest adopters
Starbucks execs acknowledged heightened consumer engagement on the last earnings call, and CEO Howard Schultz hinted at a ‘transformative new category,’ which some think refers to the Alchemy Web3 development platform
A judge ruled that the use of these emojis —> 🚀 + 💰 + 📈 legally translates to the expectation of financial return.❓🌚 on the other hand, is still fair game
Ten prominent Japanese companies are collaborating to build the “Japan Metaverse Economic Zone”
Ethereum testnet token ‘Goerli ETH’ inadvertently monetized, some hoarders cash out while devs are concerned
Owner of mysterious crypto wallet worth $400 million either lost their keys or is just the world’s greatest HODL’er
Robinhood said it was issued a subpoena for info about crypto listings, custody, and platform operations shortly after FTX filed for bankruptcy
🌐 web3 + NFTs
One of Vincent Van Dough’s ‘Notable Pepes’ was delisted on OpenSea after a DMCA notice was received; Floor Price was hovering around 4.5 ETH prior to takedown
Polygon President Ryan Watt shared ‘5 Lessons from My First Year Working in Web3’ in Rolling Stone
The Block published an alarming exposé on CEO’s Roham Gharagozlou’s extravagant lifestyle that resulted in a toxic work environment according to the 11 employees interviewed for the piece
📈 Brands + Biz
GQ Magazine’s first NFT collection includes access to a merchandise, live events, and naturally - a subscription
Physical relics recovered from the sunken RMS Titanic will soon see new life as NFTs
Adidas exploring token-gated sneaker drops; cites bot prevention as a possible benefit
“There are interesting payments in Apecoin and some of the other coins that are coming out that could be even more surprising if Adidas was going to maybe gate exclusive drops for specific communities and specific currencies. I think that's something that might be more compelling to us."
A number of C-Suite execs are making the move from big tech to the world of web3
🤖 AI + Metaverse
Last week we featured YouTube’s web3-friendly CEO, Neal Mohan. This week he announced they’re developing generative AI tools for content creators.
Hologram brings your PFP to life via webcam so you can create content as your NFT
Startup Wist Labs builds Black Mirror-esque VR tech that allows you to ‘replay’ your memories in the exact location that they happened. IKR
Neil Stephenson famously coined the term ‘metaverse’ in his novel Snow Crash and now, a combination of digital and physical items related to the book (including the original manuscript) are being auctioned by Sotheby’s.
Carly and Hollywood veteran Jon Rogers debut Blockbuster, a new recurring deep dive into the world where entertainment meets the blockchain. In this inaugural episode, Jon tells us his thesis on NFTs and entertainment, how brands can best leverage IP licensing, and his perspectives on how some of the big studios are approaching web3.
Gavin Purcell has joined the Overpriced JPEGs team and he’s back for another lively weekly recap. They’ve got takes on Spotify, Amazon, and YouTube’s web3 integrations; the new Coinbase Layer 2; and the continuing marketplace wars.
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