Neil Stevenson’s Snowcatcher, the dystopian sci-fi novel that became a legend among Silicon Valley tech brethren, predicted the coming Metaverse of the future in 1992.
Although Stevenson said he was “just kidding,” Snow Crash’s subtle and chilling predictions and worldview have long been held in high esteem by tech entrepreneurs and futurists, including Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg.
Stevenson’s amazing fantasy images of the Metaverse, filled with the neon glow of commercials, are healthier than ever as Web3 designers and marketers gear up to launch ads in the Metaverse today.
On February 23, mixed reality platform NFT Realm announced a partnership with decentralized advertising exchange Alkimi. Realm has stated that it intends to use the Alkimi platform to incentivize players to earn from ads by transparently allocating revenue from existing ad formats.
In a statement about how to avoid tech marketing dystopias like Snow Crash, Realm founder Matthew Larbi said openness is a top priority.
“Advertising is an integral part of most modern social apps, but the deal was pretty bad for both the person generating the data and the advertiser trying to control its consumption.”
“Advertising has always attracted attention, and as we see so many people spending time on Metaverses, it will quickly become a channel that advertisers want to include in their strategies,” added Ben Botley, CEO of Alkimi Exchange.
While Alkimi and Realm may strive to provide a transparent and sustainable advertising environment, other big players are venturing into the Metaverse first.
JPMorgan recently released a report declaring the Metaverse a “$1 trillion opportunity” and also stating that “[marketing] is potentially one of the largest sectors of the metaeconomy.”
British advertiser Bidstack has announced a partnership with multinational media platform Azureon. Bidstack specializes in creating “in-game” ads, where companies pay to display their products on billboards in games like Call of Duty.
In-game advertising is not a completely new concept – in 2008, Barack Obama bought in-game billboards from EA Games to increase the reach of the presidential campaign. Using geolocation features, EA was able to advertise in 10 different swing states, adorning the billboards of Madden, NBA, and even Need for Speed with Obama promotional material.
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However, the Metaverse was not created as a game, but rather as an alternate world that people will no doubt be spending more and more time in, which ultimately means advertising will be the obvious next step for most brands.
If individuals and companies are not interested in creating the kind of world people want to spend time in, the Metaverse could very well turn into something like Snow Crash, with underpaid courier drivers driving through endless virtual advertising tunnels.