Sometimes life is all about perception, status and believing that you know what’s going on. Such as I used to buy clothes from Paul Smith in Covent Garden until I heard that then-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s favourite designer was Paul Smith and I never shopped there again.
So it was with the metaverse. Too long ago, I was a big fan of Second Life, an early online world that was at least a decade ahead of its time (even though it has been making big money for more than 20 years and still has a million subscribers).
As technology pushed online worlds to a nose-bleeding level, I had a huge interest in the new metaverses until Facebook jumped into the game, renamed itself and this type of Tony Blair meant I completely lost interest; I wasn’t going to shop there again.
However, that is all likely to change, at exactly the same time as people are obsessed with generative AI. It may be time for Metaverse 2.0 and I’m getting my shopping bags ready.
This is the time when investors make their wisest decisions. Another technology, another hype, let it all die down and then strike when people are looking elsewhere. It’s typical savvy behaviour and how smart people make real, long-tail money.
So what has changed my shopping habits? What is this alleged tipping-point? Meta’s step back from the metaverse?
No, something much more interesting, the decision of the BBC to move its globally famous brands into the metaverse, a move that would appear to be measured, well-thought out and, most importantly, perfectly timed.
The announcement this week that the BBC would be partnering with Web3 specialist Reality+ to create a metaverse experience in The Sandbox could be the start of Metaverse 2.0 where a supercharged audience will be able to interact with immersive content from their favourite brands, including Top Gear and Doctor Who, and also be part of ‘a BBC events space’.
The joint venture between BBC Studios and Reality+ is the first time the BBC will have a home in the metaverse, following a careful roll-out of brand activation experiments with metaverse platforms.
The important message from the announcement was ‘The Sandbox is a continuous shared digital space, in which players and brands can build, own, and monetise their experiences on blockchain’. Exactly right, exactly on-trend, exactly.
Tony Pearce is the co-founder of Reality+, whose company has already created the digital trading card game Doctor Who: Worlds Apart, and is now creating another type of world apart with The Sandbox.
“We’re excited to have extended our partnership with BBC Studios, not only to help them push the boundaries of what’s possible in the metaverse, but for the opportunity to deliver exciting new experiences for the fans of these world-renowned TV shows”, he said.
BBC Studios joins more than 400 other entertainment brands who have entered The Sandbox to date, including Warner Music Group, Ubisoft, Gucci Vault, The Walking Dead, and Adidas.
Sebastien Borget, COO and Co-Founder at The Sandbox was equally effusive:, “We’re proud that BBC Studios chose Reality+, a certified metaverse agency partner working on The Sandbox platform, to enter the metaverse.
“The BBC has a history of pioneering content that leverages the latest technology and putting it into mainstream households. We think this venture is an important step to bringing British culture and fans into virtual worlds,” he said.
BBC Studios’ metaverse space in The Sandbox will launch later this year and further details will be released in due course.
This is a game-changer and one that will be worth watching, inside or outside of any accessible Tardis or Top Gear racetrack. The whole world will be watching.