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This Week in the Metaverse: virtual dog parks, Apple teases plans, LMHV CEO urges caution

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By Webb Wright | Junior Reporter

January 28, 2022 | 7 min read

Things are moving fast in the metaverse. Depending on who you speak to, this futuristic virtual world is either the next big thing in marketing or an overhyped fad. Here’s what happened this week.

A virtual dog park is coming to the metaverse. Dog wellness brand Get Joy announced this week that it has begun to develop its new ‘Get Joy dog zone,’ the world’s first metaverse-based dog park. The goal is to provide a virtual space where dog owners – especially those who live in densely populated cities – can congregate, share tips about raising dogs, visualize what a physical dog park might look like, and then (hopefully) apply all of those insights to the real world, where it will (hopefully) benefit the physical and emotional lives of their (actual) dogs.

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A virtual dog park is being built in the metaverse

“We’re really excited about creating a space that allows for communities to learn about the power of a physical dog park ... [so] they can rethink their own community,” says Get Joy’s founder and chief executive and former Facebook exec Tom Arrix. “It works both ways: we’re going to leverage the metaverse for education, but we’re also really hopeful that that bleeds backwards into their own community in real life to better the environment for these animals.” The virtual park is being built in collaboration with M3taverse.io, and will be located in Decentraland.

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Hermès sues an artist for sale of copycat virtual handbags. The French luxury brand Hermès is suing an artist for copyright infringement after he created and sold NFTs featuring digital mock-ups of the brand’s iconic handbags. The artist – Los Angeles-based Mason Rothschild – reportedly sold one of his ‘MetaBirkin’ handbag NFTs in December for $42,000. The fashion brand filed a lawsuit earlier this month and called Rothschild “a digital speculator who is seeking to get rich quick.”

Serpentine Gallery pairs up with KAWS to launch a massive virtual art show. London’s famous Serpentine Galleries has been recreated in the wildly popular gaming platform Fortnite to host ‘New Fiction,’ an exhibition from artist Brian Donnelly, also known as KAWS. On its opening day, the exhibition was touted by art fans as potentially becoming the most attended art show of all time.

The partnership between Serpentine, KAWS and Fortnite represents “a first-of-its-kind experience bridging the physical and virtual art worlds,” Fortnite developer Epic Games announced in a recent statement. The physical exhibit of ‘New Fiction’ was unveiled alongside a virtual version, which fans could access via Fortnite Creative. The exhibition ran from January 18-25 and allowed “players and art fans from all around the world to access the show from anywhere.”

Apple’s Tim Cook teases plans for the metaverse. Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook reportedly stated during a call with investors this week that his company sees “a lot of potential” in the metaverse and is “investing accordingly,” causing a flurry of investment in Apple stock.

Apple – which, valued at approximately $400bn, is now considered the wealthiest company in the world – is known for its wildly popular consumer tech products. Thus far, it doesn’t seem to have ventured too deeply into the virtual space, though some have eagerly speculated that Apple virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) products will be coming in the near future, and that when they do, Apple could quickly become one of the leaders in the race to build the metaverse. Apple was, in fact, slated to release its first AR headset in 2022, but that may now be delayed until next year, according to a report from Bloomberg.

LVMH chief executive officer delivers “a note of caution” about the metaverse. Bernard Arnault, chief executive of luxury goods giant LVMH and the third richest man in the world, is cautiously optimistic about the profit-generating potential of the metaverse. He said that the metaverse is “thought-provoking,” but he also touched on a note of caution. “We have to be wary of bubbles,” he says, per a report from CNBC. He is, of course, using the colloquial word from the investing world to describe the phenomenon that can occur when a surge of financial interest is produced by the unveiling of what appears to be a massive new market. Such bubbles often pop.

Bud Light launches NFT collection to celebrate release of zero-carb beer. In its first foray into the burgeoning NFT market, Bud Light will begin selling a collection of more than 12,000 tokens to commemorate the release of Bud Light Next, the brand’s first zero-carb beer. The brand announced on its website that token holders will “have access to exclusive benefits including voting rights on future initiatives (like brand merch), rewards and surprises.” Tokens will be available for purchase to anyone over the age of 21 beginning on February 6 2022, for $399 apiece. Bud Light Next will hit shelves the following day on February 7.

Miller Lite’s metaverse-based bar gets roasted by Stephen Colbert. Miller Lite recently announced that it would open a virtual bar in the metaverse, where it would debut its ad for this year’s Super Bowl. It will be replete with a bouncer, bathrooms and bar games.

While much of the press delighted in the stunt, Stephen Colbert had a different take: “[It’s] perfect for anyone who thought, ‘man, I love commercials, but I wish I had to work harder to access them while my avatar drinks this imaginary can of carbonated disappointment.’” Miller Lite told The Drum, “that’s late night for you!” and that it is embracing the humor — as well as the attention that has been garnered from the stunt.

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