There are a lot of big claims how much the metaverse will change the economy as it grows, adding billions of dollars capital gain or million new jobsjust like the Internet.
But a less rosy data hitting inboxes this week: job postings with “metaverse” in their title dropped over 80% from April to June according to a report by Revelio Labs and Bloomberg, victim of the awkward overlap between the global market crisis and the ambitious efforts of Big Tech to build this new virtual landscape.
During Meta’s earnings call last week – in which the company announced its first-ever revenue drop – Mark Zuckerberg put a happy face on his company’s big investment (and big pivot) saying that despite market conditions, the metaverse will earn the company “hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions” in the long run, even though it would have prepare for layoffs himself.
As everyone in the industry likes to point out, however, Meta is not the Metaverse. So outside 1 way to hackwhat does the economy of the metaverse look like right now, and how should we expect it to take shape as it grows?
At higher levels, one can think of the metaverse as a job-creation engine for well-paid developers, new Web3 consultants, and hardware designers who build the world and its technical and administrative parameters. In his metaverse job survey, Revelio Labs found that global IT and consulting firm Accenture listed the most VR-related job openings by a wide margin – more than double that of Meta, the runner-up. Non-tech-focused companies have also jumped on the hype bandwagon: Unilever, the old-fashioned consumer goods giant, has already formed a “internal Web3 collective” to build its metaverse strategy by marketing everything from deodorant to ice cream bars.
But there is another metaverse job landscape outside of corporate walls. The type of informal monetary economies that exist in gaming spaces like Roblox and Fortnite are well known and chronic at this point, just like the mega-hype market for NFT metaverse real estate. There are the money-making schemes promised by games like Axie Infinity, which inspired an economic micro-revolution in Southeast Asia, to decidedly mixed results. And like Bloomberg Notedthe metaverse has also inspired similar low-paying casual work in the real world, with metaverse gig listings more than quadrupling on the freelance marketplace app Fiverr.
The economy of the metaverse ultimately resembles the one that already exists: an upper class of highly skilled and credentialed consultants and developers, and a vast underclass of the gig economy.
Despite all the hype surrounding it, is it possible that the Metaverse simply mirrors our existing economic hierarchy? After all, the internet itself has transformed the global job market, placing communication and STEM skills at the expense of almost everything else. What could the metaverse, with its endless virtual landscapes and new forms of digital communication, do to change the kind of work that is and is not valued?
I asked this question to Yonatan Raz Fridmanfounder and CEO of metaverse game company Supersocial and co-host of Bloomberg’s “Into the Metaverse” podcast – and he said that while traditional engineering and development skills are currently in greatest demand as the metaverse is built , a truly robust existing will inspire and demand a booming economy of creative workers.
“We’re talking about a lot of content that’s going to be created,” Raz Fridman said. “We’re going to see an explosion of creators coming out of art and design, and just like people are doing now in games like Roblox, learning how to create things for this economy.”
He stressed that the demand for creative skills will not be limited to designing the objects and art that populate these virtual worlds, but the worlds themselves, which will require entirely new ways of envisioning web user experiences. which we now take for granted.
And if a 3D world is populated with objects and experiences that people potentially enjoy as much as they do in the real world, wouldn’t it be worth paying big bucks to preserve them or be guided through them?
“What does it mean if my avatar wants to go to school, or learn skills to do something in the metaverse, become independent?” asked Raz Fridman. “We are building a parallel universe of reality; it wouldn’t be so crazy to think that there could be an entire avatar-based economy and workforce.
In today’s Morning Money newsletter, POLITICO’s Sam Sutton, Kate Davidson and Aubree Eliza Weaver breakdown new legislation proposed by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) Who would place crypto regulation in the shadow of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
This is the latest salvo in the battle over whether crypto should be classified as a commodity or a security. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has aggressively pushed to make crypto his agency’s purview, and he has outright classified several currencies as securities. as part of a recent criminal investigation. If passed, this bill would shift the balance of power in favor of the CFTC, seen by many in the crypto industry as a more supportive regulator. (Blockchain Association executive director Kristin Smith called the bill, which came out of the Senate Agriculture Committee, “encouraging.”)
Sam, Kate and Aubree also note that “although the bill does not delineate any specific liability for the SEC – that is outside the jurisdiction of the Senate Ag”, it allows companies that register with the CFTC to s also register with the SEC. They point out that while the bill lacks the crypto fanfare proposed earlier this year, more radical Sens legislation. Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Lobbyists and staffers have high hopes for its eventual passage.
Good job if you can get it: In the latest of what is quickly becoming a busy VRChat pace, users of the infinitely customizable (for the moment) metaverse-like virtual world are queuing up for a limited number of jobs at Virtual K-Marts.
Users are encouraged to apply to any of the store’s many ‘departments’, from a virtual bakery to a portrait studio, although administrators warn that the virtual KMart is ‘not a real business and has no no payroll, doesn’t provide health benefits, etc” and “is simply for role-playing to keep the shopping experience alive for players” hanging around the virtual space, pretending to make tasks like stocking shelves or fighting over carts.
The stores are the brainchild of a user who was employed by the retail chain in the real world, where his locations have now shrunk to just three from this April. This puts the company in balance with its virtual counterpart, because its creator, who goes by the name “Ericirno”, has built not only a virtual replica of his own store, but a Super K-Mart and KMart Express as well.
The KMart Virtual Community Discord Channel now has nearly 3,500 users after posts about hyper-specific store details went viral. The levels of user enthusiasm displayed on virtual KMarts, including fully staffed role changes, are somewhat astonishing compared to some, well, actually functional brands. As companies start to spend a lot of money on metaverse marketing efforts, this brings to mind a lesson from another (fictional) advertising era: Nostalgia is powerful.
Keep in touch with the whole team: Ben Schreckinger ([email protected]); Derek Robertson ([email protected]); Constantin Kakaes ([email protected]); and Heidi Vogt ([email protected]). Follow us on twitter @DigitalFuture.
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