I’m Dr. Ed and I’m just a geek kid who is obsessed with the future.
The Metaverse Problem
You may have read recent news articles from journalists saying that the Metaverse Solves No Problems or that Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse is ‘Doomed.’ I wanted to contrast all of the negativity about Metaverses with solid examples that people actually love and break down exactly why they are successful at creating metaverses.
Metaverses with unclear objectives are boring. Players feel they are wasting their time when they don’t understand or don’t align with their purpose.
Video Game Shows for World Building
Let’s talk about two video games that have turned into Netflix series: Arcane and Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. Both of these examples are masterclasses in world-building that Metaverse architects can learn from. The environment and rules shape how players interact with each other, it defines who wins, and who loses. It motivates players to spend time towards achieving success. It creates a community that motivates you to not give up.
Metaverses with unclear objectives are boring. Players feel they are wasting their time when they don’t understand or don’t align with their purpose. The Metaverse onboarding experience needs to explain the common purpose that motivates players.
A market for weapons and armour in World of Warcraft has led to millions of paid subscriptions and the largest virtual game economy. Unique skins in Fortnite motivate players to build skills and explore the world. Creating impressive structures motivates players to collect resources in Minecraft. Fighting societal norms is the multi-billion dollar industry of counter-cultural fashion. Getting verified on Twitter, buying Bored Ape NFTs, and posting to obtain likes on Instagram all use the same gamification mechanics.
Players choose Metaverses that align with their sense of purpose, have a path toward success, and have a community that provides the needed affirmations to keep going. Even if the Metaverse is an escape from your day-to-day work, it meets a real-world need to be in meaningful communities.
My User Experience (UX) professor once argued that games had bad UX since players take extra steps to achieve a goal. He would ask “why not have one button that results in instant success?” UX researchers often measure task completion time as if this is the only thing that matters. Jim Carrey explained, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” Success is not the answer when we don’t have a clear purpose for our lives.
The struggles along the way create the stories that are the foundation of meaning and purpose in our lives. Isn’t the key to breaking bad habits the desire for a better future? Isn’t the driver for our success the affirmations of the communities that we care about? We won’t care about the Metaverse until we find purposeful communities that motivate us to keep going.
Prequels that Build the Metaverse
Zenith Ani Manga in their video https://youtu.be/JYEPp6SdiZM argues that Cyberpunk: Edgerunners works because it is a prequel to the Cyberpunk 2077 movie that doesn’t break the canon expectations of game fans. It just enhances the experience of living in the world in the same way that Arcane does.
It also argues that the value of a property like Arcane and Cyberpunk 2077 is a story world that can trust any group of characters into a meaningful story. For example, David’s mom Gloria dies because she is caught in the crossfire of street gang violence, she dies because she is overworked trying to provide for her son, she dies because she doesn’t have enough money to pay for health care. All of this shows you about the character of Night City that helps deepen your impression of the game.
Prequels are good because they allow you to create a story that can stand on it’s own without having to step on the details of passionate fans. It also allows the company to make more games that continue the canon without having to worry about syncing with the details of the video.
Free Will and Infinite Loops
Hiding in Public provides a philosophical perspective in his video https://youtu.be/HIQuWvAWa5U Do players have free will in Night City if they are always stuck in hedonistic feedback loops?
For David, inequality led to the lower caste of society feeling that the only way up the ranks was through cybernetic enhancements. But these same enhancements lead to more violence and ultimately a cyber psychotic rampage. The feeling that David is “special” and able to handle more upgrades than a typical person ultimately starts him down a loop of constant upgrades that leads to his demise and the deaths of those around him.
For Lucy, as a child serving the cyber hacking needs of Arasaka led her to desire to use her skills to escape earth to live on the moon. Trauma causes her to self-isolate and go deeper into feeling like she needs to take on the world by herself. This ultimately leads many of her friends to die trying to rescue her.
We are all players within a system and society. Basic instincts for anger, fear, and sadness can become the emotions that influence our choices in the fight or flight for survival. Emotional loops can become unconscious habits that limit our choices and take over our lives. Only an act of internal rebellion against who we are can break us free from these unconscious habits and lead us towards the improvement that we desire.
I wanted to get out of the rat race of working in a job that limited my creative potential. This required me to get out of my comfort zone to start live streaming my experiences and reflections and has led me down several paths of growth including learning about high ticket closing, high ticket copywriting, being the host of Copycademy, learning about Ai, learning about China, learning about online education, learning about home automation, and finding affordable ways to teach this to my children.