The hype around the metaverse as a booster for innovative content creation pipelines and a holistic virtual identity. Powered by Imagination & Real-time 3D.
Who or what is the Metaverse when it grows up? Will the definition stick to Horizon, Roblox, Decentraland, Cryptovoxels, Sandbox & Co or is this just the gateway drug for first movers, early adopters and investors? Hopefully second, but in the end also secondary. Because, the hype around the metaverse, the focus on immersive spaces, experiences and 3D assets, offer the perfect springboard to enter a new era of holistic content production.
The euphoria turned into expensive lethargy.
“We” must not make the same mistake again as at the beginning of the social media era: choosing the comfortable path too quickly and taking the “first best” metaverse as the final destination. Back then, people were guided by virals, organic reach and the sheer endless possibilities of open social media platforms. Euphoria turned into dearly paid lethargy. With more and more advertising media and formats, every creation gets lost in adaptation battles and narrowly defined guard rails of the platforms. Creative development is only possible to a very limited extent. And viral effects can only be found in shitstorms.
Therefore: A showcase on Decentraland and a few NFT fashion items are an exciting approach, but hopefully not a blueprint. Individual gaming worlds that become festival stages, socializing platforms, and showrooms, while aiming to sell in-game items, may also only be a part of the story and not become accepted as the definition for the metaverse. After all, a lot of time will pass before the much-cited interoperability between these platforms really takes hold, mutates into open space and allows native transformation. And until then, we run the risk of once again becoming too dependent and placing the vision in the hands of a few at an early stage.
But what to do to prevent the next Metaverse Walled Garden?
Moreover, there were events of pop-up shopping, fashion streets, fashion Be bold! And add a decisive factor to the marketing DNA: A real virtual brand identity and smart assets that transport this identity. Out of the previous content silos and into an experience content production pipeline that is not determined by the medium or the channel, but by the creators and brands who shape the virtual world themselves with their ideas, stories and ultimately their assets.
And these assets should be conceived and designed from the start so that they can be used universally and across disciplines. Across a wide range of media and requirements. The boundaries between AR, VR, gaming, website, virtual production, VFX, video production, showroom, shopping, etc. need to become much more fluid, through a holistic approach. If this succeeds, time and money can flow into the creation of the truly new worlds and experiences, less into narrowly defined format corsets and media budgets.
An interdisciplinary approach will make the difference
An interdisciplinary approach can and will make the difference. Self-contained business models will act like a walled garden and prevent innovation. Access to these worlds must not be elitist. Only in this way will virtual worlds, in whatever form, be able to be diverse and open. Here, it is important to learn from each other and not to be directed from above. And not to be blinded by big showcases and brands, but to find your own way and your own identity. The possibilities are endless, but also endlessly individual.
And why right now?
Because we are immersed in a real-time era. Real-time in the sense of user behavior and expectations. And in the sense of the fast pace of our society. Real-time in terms of the attention spans of users.
But above all, real-time in the sense of three-dimensional rendering technologies. The transformation of gaming engines, towards realtime engines, is a crucial piece of the puzzle that we have lacked in the past to think in a truly interdisciplinary and holistic way. It lacked connectivity and open access. This technological bridge now exists and is being developed further under full load. Nothing is perfect yet, but the direction is clear. This therefore already puts us in a position to tread completely new paths. In order to be able to tread these paths, however, there has to be a rethink in the way we deal with assets and their production. This starts at the very beginning with strategy and conception.
Many suitable assets already exist
Many suitable assets already exist today – 3D objects, AR filters and virtual rooms are not the innovative ones. But now it’s a matter of bundling the assets, both existing and new, and thinking about them holistically in order to deal with them sustainably, both ecologically and economically. Out of the social media era, in which two-dimensional content has degenerated into a disposable commodity, into an era of experience-oriented and tangible engagement, independent of platform and media. And always using the same universal assets as fuel for good stories and flexible production pipelines.
Social media platforms and UGC (UserGeneratedContent) will logically continue to exist. And these will certainly remain an important component in the marketing mix and communication. But in the best case only as a gateway and shopping channel, not as a brand stage. And world of experience. These worlds now need to be decoupled and designed, on their own and as boldly as is somehow possible. Because these new worlds are not only an experience space. But above all a content machine that is as flexible and scalable as any classic production pipeline has ever been.
In addition, there is a change in viewing habits and aesthetic user expectations. While the “user-generated look” has been very present in brand communication in recent years, synthetic CGI worlds have recently become more and more prevalent. Due to the visual “market readiness” of Esports and gaming on all channels, and the first show and PR cases in the “metaverse” of Gucci, Nike & Co, we are getting more and more used to synthetic worlds and avatars. Even in classic social feeds.
Digital Twin becomes Digital Spin
The photorealistic claim increasingly recedes and story & unseen visuality come to the fore. The aim is to be loud and crazy, not dreary and too close to the sometimes dreary reality. Digital Twin becomes Digital Spin, the development of new visual realities, not the mere copying of the real world. In addition, photorealistic renderings are becoming more performant on the part of real-time engines. This creates a promising attraction between the two poles of “photorealistic” and “synthetic” look and feel. And thus creates further visual approaches that were previously inconceivable and unimaginable in realtime. Anyone looking for errors here will find them. But the development speaks for itself, and many problems and hurdles that may still exist today may be solved tomorrow.
And now? Conclusion!
Innovation & technology are only the fast lane, the car has to drive by itself.
Everything immediately new and different will not work. And would be rushed. But digital marketing and the demands on content and media are becoming increasingly complex and multi-layered. Transporting a core idea and storytelling without loss and distributing it in an adapted way is the big challenge. The more channels, media and individual addresses are needed, the more important it will be to have a stable and efficient production foundation and asset management on which all this is based and from which it can be flexibly drawn. In the long term, this can only work on an interdisciplinary basis with smart and universal assets.
We communicate with audiovisual media
Because at the end of the day, we communicate with audiovisual media, in different spaces, feeds and channels. Sometimes real, sometimes synthetic, and sometimes both. If that content is not flexible and cross-media in its production, if the content production pipelines do not move with the times and are too static and closed, then this complex world will not be playable and manageable.
Therefore, now is the time to analyze the status quo of content production pipelines and to see where and how new pipelines can be docked and transferred into a virtual reality.
A transparent exchange and pointing out the possibilities, but also the limits, is certainly the first and most important step. And then, as always, it’s all about the good idea, trust and iteration. Because innovation & technology are only the fast lane, the car has to drive by itself.
In this spirit: See you in real time!
About the author
In addition to his work, he is a member of the Helvetica fan club, which has not yet been founded, and a sports enthusiast. His heart beats for all ball sports, especially soccer and tennis, both active as well as passively.
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