There are many big claims about how much the metaverse will change the economy as it grows, by adding trillions of dollars of added value or Millions of new jobsjust like the internet.
But a piece of less rosy data hit inboxes this week: job postings with “Metaverse” in the title plummeted by more than 80 percent from April to June, according to a report by Revelio Labs and Bloomberg, a victim of the awkward timing overlap between the general market slump and Big Tech’s ambitious efforts to build this new virtual landscape.
During Meta’s earnings call last week — during which the company announced its first revenue decline — Mark Zuckerberg put a happy face on his company’s big investment (and big pivot) and said the Metaverse kept the company going despite the market conditions will make “hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions,” in the long run, it says preparing for layoffs even.
However, as everyone else in the industry likes to point out, meta is not the metaverse. I know outside 1 hacking waywhat does the metaverse economy currently look like and how should we expect it to take shape as it grows?
On the upper levels one can think of the metaverse as a job creation engine for the highly paid developers, newly minted 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 by far the most VR-related job postings – more than twice as many as Meta, the runner-up. Non-tech companies have also got on the hype train: Unilever, the old-school consumer goods giant, already has a “in-house Web3 collective“To build his Metaverse strategy to market everything from deodorant to ice cream bars.
But there’s a different landscape of Metaverse jobs outside of the company’s walls. The kind of informal cash economies that exist in gaming spaces like Roblox and Fortnite are known and chronicled at this point, as does the mega-hyped NFT-based market Metaverse Real Estate. There are the money-making schemes promised by play-to-earn games like Axie Infinity, which inspired an economic micro-revolution in Southeast Asia decidedly mixed results. And as Bloomberg written downThe Metaverse has inspired similarly low-paid, informal work in the real world as well, with listings for Metaverse appearances on freelance marketplace app Fiverr more than quadrupling.
The metaverse economy ultimately looks similar to the one that already exists: an upper class of highly skilled and skilled consultants and developers, and a huge gig economy underclass.
With all the hype around it, is it possible that the Metaverse simply reflects our existing economic hierarchy? Finally, the internet itself has transformed the global job market, emphasizing communication and STEM skills at the expense of almost everything else. What could the metaverse, with its endlessly sprawling virtual landscapes and new forms of digital communication, do to change what kind of work is valued and what isn’t?
I asked this question to Yonatan Raz FridmanFounder and CEO of Metaverse games company Supersocial and co-host of Bloomberg’s “Into the Metaverse” podcast – and he said that traditional engineering and development skills are most in demand right now if the Metaverse is built, a truly robust existing one it will be do inspire and require a booming economy of creative workers.
“We’re talking about a lot of content being created,” said Raz Fridman. “We’re going to see an explosion of creators in art and design, and just like people are doing now in games like Roblox, teaching themselves to create items for this economy.”
He pointed out that the demand for creative skills will not be limited to the design of the objects and artworks that fill these virtual worlds, but to the worlds themselves, requiring entirely new ways of looking at web user experiences that we are now embracing granted.
And if a 3D world is filled with objects and experiences that people might appreciate just as much as they do in the real world, wouldn’t it be worth paying good money to keep them or be guided by them?
“What does it mean if my avatar wants to go to school or learn skills to do something in the metaverse to become a freelancer?” asked Raz Fridman. “We are building a parallel universe of reality; It wouldn’t be so crazy to think there could be an entire avatar based economy and workforce.
In today’s Morning Money Newsletter, Politicians Sam Sutton, Kate Davidson and Aubree Eliza Weaver break down New legislation proposed by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) That would place crypto regulation directly under the penumbra of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
It’s the latest salvo in the fight over whether crypto should be classified as a commodity or a security. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler has aggressively pushed for bringing crypto under his agency’s purview, outright classifying several currencies as securities as part of a recent criminal investigations. If passed, this law would shift the balance of power in favor of the CFTC, which is seen by many in the crypto industry as a more favorable regulator. (The Executive Director of the Blockchain Association, Kristin Smith, called the bill, which came out of the Senate Agriculture Committee, “encouraging.”)
Sam, Kate and Aubree also note that “while the bill does not establish specific responsibilities for the SEC — that’s outside of Senate Ag’s purview,” companies that register with the CFTC also register with the SEC. They report that while the bill lacks the fanfare of this year’s earlier, broader crypto proposal Legislation by Sens. 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 beat, users of the endlessly customizable (for now) Metaverse-like virtual worlds are up for a limited number of jobs virtual K marts.
Users are instructed to apply to one of the store’s many “departments,” from a virtual bakery to a portrait studio, although admins warn that the virtual KMart “is not a real company and doesn’t have payroll, doesn’t offer healthcare, etc .” and “is easy for roleplaying to keep the shopping experience alive for players” hanging around in virtual space pretending to complete tasks like restocking shelves or maneuvering carts.
The stores are the brainchild of a user who was employed by the real-world retail chain, where their locations have now shrunk only three from this April. That brings the company into balance with its virtual counterpart, as its creator, who goes by the username “Ericirno,” not only built a virtual replica of his own store, but a Super KMart and KMart Express also.
The virtual KMart community Discord Channel now has nearly 3500 users after posts about the hyper specific details of the deals went viral. The level of user excitement displayed in the virtual KMarts, including fully staffed RPG layers, is somewhat astounding compared to that around some, well, actual working brands. As companies begin to spend heavily on metaverse marketing efforts, this brings to mind a lesson from another (fictional) advertising era: Nostalgia is strong.
Keep in touch with the whole team: Ben Schreckinger ([email protected]); Derek Robertson ([email protected]); Konstantin Kakaes ([email protected]); and Heidi Vogt ([email protected]). Follow us on Twitter @DigitalFuture.
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