The DeanBeat: great moments at our metaverse event

Thank you all for coming to our second annual GamesBeat and Facebook Gaming Summit and our GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse 2 online event this week. I hope you watch the opening speech I made about the choices we face — the blue shirt or the red shirt — about the metaverse. I’ve also written a piece on how I think gaming will lead us into the metaverse.

We scheduled 3,500 registrants for the three-day event and we got over 5,800. woohoo! Over three days we had 49 sessions with 130 speakers. And 50% of them were of different origin. I look forward to starting speaker recruitment for our GamesBeat Summit 2022 hybrid event in Los Angeles/online on April 26-28.

You can offer your own feedback for the event here. I thought I’d spend this column pointing out some fun moments at our event. Our VentureBeat team has produced a special issue on the metaverse, featuring pieces such as Kyle Wiggers’ story about the environmental impact of the metaverse.

As for some of the highlights of the event, here it goes.


Three top investment professionals tell you what it takes to get your video game funded.

Watch on request

IO is a simulated person built with Epic Games’ MetaHuman Creator.

Jason Rubin, head of content at Meta, kicked off the metaverse discussions on day one with an empowering comment that gaming will lead the way in the metaverse. He noted that the game engine will be crucial to building the metaverse, and he said those most familiar with using it are game developers. Rick Kelley of Facebook Gaming pointed out how gaming is getting sober after Apple’s privacy changes and post-pandemic behavior slows down a bit in 2021.

Kim Libreri, the quick-talking find of knowledge and chief technology officer at Epic Games, received many compliments from the entire GamesBeat writing team. He told us we’re about five years away, maybe a new console generation, away from perfect graphics for a realistic metaverse. He dreams of a simultaneous concert with a live physical performance and a mo-capped performance in the metaverse. And he thinks that one of the most difficult problems to solve is the “sniper in the metaverse.”

Is this the real Kim Libreri (left)? If so, he is the CTO of Epic Games.

Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki held a live talk where he talked about how we are remaking social in the metaverse and how it will be very difficult to achieve interoperability in the metaverse. Whatever happens to the walled garden or open metaverse, he expects the path the creators favor to be the best.

Brendan Greene, creator of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and director of PlayerUnknown’s Productions, talked about his plans to build a massive digital world called Artemis. And he believes machine learning will be the key to automatically generating graphics for the world.

Kate Edwards, CEO of Geogrify and Executive Director of the Global Game Jam, moderated a very interesting panel on the ethics of the metaverse. The panel included Kent Bye, Voices of VR; Micaela Mantegna, Berkman Klein Center affiliate at Harvard University and co-founder of Women in Gaming Argentina; and Jules Urbach, CEO of Otoy. They all warned of the dangers of the immersive metaverse when it comes to privacy issues. They worry that new biometric tracking technologies like the Brain Computer Interface could lead to horrifying surveillance capitalism, and they proposed new governance policies around the world to contain the threat.

Riz Virk discusses our views on reality in The Simulated Multiverse.

Another panel – with Chris Hewish, president of Xsolla; James Gatto, Shepherd Mullin, Co-Head of Blockchain and Games Team; and Emily Stonehouse, Linden Lab/Tilia – warned about the precepts of the metaverse.

Things got a little weird with Rizwan Virk, head of the MIT Gamelab and author of the book The Simulated Multiverse. He believes that within decades we will complete the ten-step journey to build a simulation around us that we cannot distinguish from reality. Virk has studied the sci-fi question, “Are we living in a simulation?” and he went into all the different theories that have developed over time.

Randy Pitchford is CEO of Gearbox Entertainment.

He had a very philosophical discussion in our Q&A room with Herman Narula, CEO of Improbable. Narula noted that humans have been creating artificial realities for a long time. He cited the example of sports teams, which are like a substitute for warfare. We create this senseless rivalry between cities that are completely artificial for the sake of a football match, but they retain tremendous value because we care about them so much. We will accomplish these things, and we will do the same with the metaverse. It has value because we want it.

Narula also said he had a solution to the sniper problem that Libreri raised. Improbable’s Morpheus software will be able to put 10,000 people in one place, with 300 million network operations per second.

Three of our speakers, including Narula, Cathy Hackl and the Upland team, and Matthew Ball are all writing metaverse books. And Reality+ author David Chalmers just published a title on the metaverse.

We’ve delved deep into whether the road to the metaverse is paved with nonfungible tokens (NFTs). Randy Pitchford, CEO of Gearbox Entertainment, gave a not-so-subtle warning. He said that games as a hobby should be more important than games as a service, as gaming should be just about fun and not so transaction-oriented. Chris Akhavan, chief business officer at Forte, led a talk on how blockchain gaming can go mainstream.

Open Meta’s Ryan Gill, Qglobe’s Sarah Austin, and DAO expert Chase Chapman talked about how decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) could be the wave of the future that will bring us the open metaverse. And William King of Subspace and Kumail Jaffer of Gather talked about making the metaverse a real-time service.

Benjamin Charbit of Darewise talked about how not everyone has to be a hero in the metaverse, and why it’s okay to take on other roles.

Andrea Rene from What’s Good Games leads our third Women in Gaming breakfast.

And Raph Koster, CEO of Playable Worlds and a 25-year veteran of online games, brought us an amazingly concise 13-minute talk about things we’ve already learned about online worlds that we shouldn’t forget. He noted that interoperability will be very difficult to do, and he noted that Unreal Engine and the Unity Engine do not agree that the Y axis means in computer graphics. Koster has a wealth of material on his websiteand he highly commends the works of Edward Castronovaa new book by Richard Bartlea about How to be a god, and a video Koster did on what AR/VR can learn from MMOs.

Our Women in Gaming Breakfast featured a panel moderated by Andrea Rene of What’s Good Games, with speakers Tiffany Xingyu Wang of Spectrum Labs and Oasis Consortium, Debbie Bestwick of Team17 and Laura Sturr of Amazon Games. Thanks to our room moderators Joanie Kraut, Swatee Surve and Serena Robar. Our newest GamesBeat writer Rachel Kaser was in attendance and she later moderated a session on fighting toxicity in the metaverse with Rachel Franklin of EA, Tiffany Xingyu Wang and Laura Higgins of Roblox.

We closed the event with a fun podcast from the GamesBeat team featuring me, Rachel Kaser, Jeff Grubb and Mike Minotti. Our poll for the favorite GamesBeat writer also had results in that order. Sorry Mike, but Jeff more or less sent the public to vote for him in an election violation.

Our next event on April 26-28 should also feature another Women in Gaming breakfast, as well as our annual GamesBeat Visionary Awards. If you’d like to sign up as an advisor or help out, let me know via DM on Twitter at Deantak. And female speakers can keep doing that Add here. Thanks again for coming and see you in April.

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