Next Metaverses — Gaming Edition
As Metaverse hype goes, a few big changes are also shaping the gaming landscape. Let’s check out what Netflix, Amazon, Roblox, Lego, Epic & Sony are up to.
Primes of entertainment
Netflix is on a path to become “A Prime of entertainment”. Today, Netflix Games is available on Android & iPhone. This March, it is adding more popular games, e.g. A True Story, Shatter Remastered, and Into The Dead 2: Unleashed. At the same time, Netflix is also acquiring Boss Fight Entertainment to create more exclusive games. It’s increasingly more attractive than Apple Arcade. Also, it makes Netflix more “fun” than other video streaming services: Disney+, YouTub, TikTok, etc. Psst! Each service may be still pretty good, and even a better fit for certain user contexts. Nevertheless, each user only has 24 hours a day. So why not one subscription to rule them all for entertainment?
Business goes on after big bangs
I was too naive to guess “this time may be different” because of the smash hit of Amazon’s New World AAA game. I forgot how tempting it can be to launch prematurely and try to “fake it till make it” by throwing big marketing bucks. Such big bang failure is a common “curse” of big companies, especially in tackling big, hairy & audacious opportunities. Nevertheless, I still believe a long play may be the only way to build the next generation gaming platform & ecosystem. With Mike Frazzini, Amazon Games Studio Head stepping down according to Bloomberg on Mar. 25, what Amazon’ll do with Amazon Games Studio is a real test of its long-term ownership principle. BTW, check out The Cold Start Problem, if you want to know more about big bang failures & how to avoid them.
“After many failures and setbacks in gaming we have a success. So proud of the team for the persistence. View setbacks as helpful obstacles that drive learning. Whatever your goals are, don’t give up no matter how hard it gets.” — Jeff Bezos twitted on 2021 on the smash hit of Amazon’s New World game.
Metaverse - online or streaming
Roblox is similar to Minecraft in the style & open-world mechanics, but more. Instead of a sandbox game, Roblox is a sandbox game platform where players can create characters, play games, created by 3rd party creators, and chatting their friends around the world. Roblox is free to play, and mainly monetized by Robux, its virtual currency to purchase in-game items. Even Minecraft is the best-selling game with 238M copies sold. Roblox is the most popular Metaverse platform with 55.1M Daily Active Users in Feb. 2022. Bonus: top 5 players on Chipotle Boorito Maze leaderboard by each day 4/7–4/13 win free burritos for a year. What else can you do in the Metaverse?
As Metaverse hype goes, Lego & Epic Games also team up to build a metaverse for kids. Where they can meet, play, work, learn and interact in a virtual 3D world. This sounds like “the Minecraft model”, and Lego & Epic may get what they wish for. However, their universe will be much smaller than Roblox’s. I hope Lego & Epic will pick their path wisely.
This summer, Sony will finally make PlayStation Plus subscription sweeter by combining a game streaming service and access to 700 games. With 48M current Plus subscribers and 3.2M Now subscribers, PlayStation Plus may be a high-value user base for Metaverse. The streaming service will make games more accessible, which will increase engagement. Looking forward how Sony may make PlayStation Plus Metaverse a place worth staying.
The opinions stated here are my own, not those of my company. They are mostly extrapolations from public information. I don’t have insider knowledge of those companies, nor a whatever expert.