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By Webb Wright, NY Reporter

July 14, 2022 | 6 min read

Things are moving fast in the metaverse, and in the wider world of web3 as a whole. Depending on who you ask, this futuristic, blockchain-based space is either the next big thing for marketing – and for almost everything else – or an overhyped fad. Here’s what you need to know from this past week:

Meta releases Horizon Worlds experience based on Jordan Peele’s upcoming film Nope


Meta has unveiled a new virtual reality (VR) experience in its Horizon Worlds platform inspired by Nope, a horror film from Jordan Peele that’s slated for release later this month.

The new experience – created in collaboration with Universal Pictures and Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions – includes a virtual train ride in which visitors “can search for film Easter eggs,” per a statement from Meta. After arriving at ‘Nope World,’ visitors “can explore ... play games and enjoy other interactive elements.” Meta said in a statement that ‘Nope World’ will be followed later this summer by two more VR experiences inspired by Monkeypaw’s two previous horror films, Us and Get Out. (Here’s hoping they build a virtual recreation of the “sunken place.”)

“Through this VR experience we’ve developed with Universal and Monkeypaw, people can fully immerse themselves in Jordan Peele’s cinematic artistry,” says Katie Jones, NA studio partnerships lead at Meta. “This is a unique opportunity for moviegoers to explore this world with fellow fans, and for our partners to connect with their audiences in innovative ways.”

Tony Hawk and The Sandbox team up for ‘the biggest skatepark in the metaverse’

Celebrity skater Tony Hawk is dropping into The Sandbox with a new virtual skatepark. “You have never seen skating like this,” Hawk said in a teaser video.

This isn’t Hawk’s first foray into the world of gaming: he was the face of the wildly popular Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (THPS) video game series, which first launched in 1999. In addition to planting the seeds of lifelong musical tastes for countless millennials, the video game series projected Hawk into international superstardom. To this day he’s the one skateboarder that almost everyone can name. (Go ahead, try to think of another – and no, Justin Bieber doesn’t count.)

The teaser video for Hawk’s upcoming collaboration with The Sandbox makes it look a bit like the familiar terrain from the THPS series inhabited by, of course, The Sandbox’s characteristic voxelated characters. The launch of the virtual skatepark will reportedly be accompanied by a new collection of NFT skater avatars that are being designed by Hawk.

Shanghai unveils new plan for metaverse development


China has made its latest move toward becoming a major player in the development of the metaverse.

Last week, the government of the city of Shanghai – China’s commercial epicenter and most populous city – revealed a new plan to boost investment in the metaverse and its associated technological infrastructure.

Shanghai’s new development plan is centered on the establishment of “an industry fund, with around $1.5bn in assets, dedicated to metaverse development,” according to the South China Morning Post. The organizers of the plan also reportedly hope to “launch 100 new metaverse products and services by 2025.”

Back in December, the city government of Shanghai released a five-year plan, which emphasized the development of the metaverse for civic and commercial purposes.

Mtn Dew hosts its first-ever esports event in the metaverse


PepsiCo’s Mtn Dew is seeking to tap into the metaverse with a branded video game watch party hosted in Decentraland. Starting today and running through July 17, the soft drink brand – in partnership with PepsiCo Labs and esports brand NYXL – will host a live virtual event in which visitors can watch the New York Subliners (a gaming team) compete in the Call of Duty League Major IV competition. The new virtual experience will also include “a multi-faceted immersive event” and “a number of web3 innovations that Mtn Dew is pioneering in the consumer brand space, taking Dew Nation fan engagement to a new level,” according to a press release.

The event arrives at a time when throngs of brands are rushing to find new and innovative ways to reach gamers in the metaverse.

Karlie Kloss is launching a series of virtual pop-up shops in Roblox


Supermodel and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss is joining the fashion industry’s bandwagon into the metaverse. Kloss has partnered with Roblox to build the Fashion Klossette Designer Showcase, which will include five virtual pop-up shops and has been designed to promote the work of a handful of virtual fashion designers. “What excites me about these worlds is that you can make yourself any size, shape, color and gender,” Kloss told Bloomberg earlier this week. “I want to democratize access to the best of fashion without the limitations of one narrow idea of what is beautiful.”

With its tens of millions of daily active users, Roblox has been expanding as a commercial hub for brands looking to reach a younger audience and establish themselves as tech-savvy and forward-thinking. The popularity and profitability of virtual fashion has also been growing rapidly, drawing many designers and fashion brands to the metaverse.

NFT launch celebrates iconic Helvetica typeface


Typography and tech company Monotype has partnered with web3 creative agency Known Unknown for a new NFT series called ‘Helvetica the NFT.’ The series, designed in collaboration with “two dozen artists from around the world,” according to a press release, “is tied together by the world’s most well-known typeface” and aims to highlight “the role of typography in a digital-first world while creating new forms of expression, commerce and accessibility.” The NFT series officially launched today.

For more, sign up for The Drum’s Inside the Metaverse weekly newsletter here.

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