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Hashtag Trending Jan. 14 – Buying property in the metaverse; right-to-repair for cars; Reselling Tesla’s Cyberquad

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Today’s Hashtag Trending script was prepared by Samira Balsara.

The metaverse hits the real estate industry, carmakers are arguing against the right-to-repair law, and Tesla’s Cyberquad is being re-sold much higher than the original price.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Friday, January 14, and I’m your host, Tom Li.

It was only a matter of time before non-tech sectors started diving into the metaverse, and now, investors are paying millions of dollars for plots of virtual land. Real estate in the metaverse is starting to take off where land is located online. According to a CNBC article, prices for plots have soared as much as 500% in the last few months ever since Facebook announced it was going all-in on virtual reality. The most expensive locations are prime spots, often where lots of users congregate. For example, someone recently paid $450,000 to be Snoop Dogg’s neighbour in a virtual world called the Sandbox. However, experts are warning people on how risky these types of investments can be as it’s easy to lose money.

Car companies are arguing that the right-to-repair law is unconstitutional. While customers in Massachusetts supported the new right-to-repair legislation for cars in 2020, automotive manufacturers are doing whatever they can to delay the implementation of the new law. The law was supposed to take effect in 2022, but new legislation filed in the Massachusetts Legislature could push that date back to 2025. The issue is whether car owners and independent repair shops should have access to the telemetric data generated by their cars. Access to that data has usually been withheld by automakers to stop people from repairing their cars themselves. As of now, the lawsuit results are still pending.

After Tesla’s Cyberquad car for kids sold out in December, some resellers on eBay are listing the product for as much as $4000. Back in December, Tesla launched the quad bike and listed it for $1,900 on its website. The product sold out within a week. The ATV is marketed for children eight and up and has a top speed of 10 miles per hour. As of this week, there were over 40 listings on eBay for the ATV with prices ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. According to Business Insider, over 60 Cyberquads appear to have already been sold, including several for over $3,000.

And now for something a little bit different. If you wear glasses, you’re probably aware of how annoying switching between sunglasses, reading glasses, and regular glasses can be. However, a technology from Deep Optics, revealed at CES this year, may solve that hassle. The adaptive focus shades from Deep Optics can adapt their focus with a simple swipe of the finger across the frames’ temple piece. The lens itself can adjust to the user’s prescription and the app that comes with it can toggle between magnifications. The app can even test vision to see if the users’ prescriptions might need tweaking.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, if you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Tom Li.

Author: Tom Li

Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom’s main beats at Channel Daily News. He loves to talk about Canada’s network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You’ll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you’re ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.





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Microsoft strengthens gaming, esports and metaverse push with US$68.7bn Activision Blizzard takeover

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  • Deal is expected to close in 2023
  • Activision Blizzard has 400 million active players
  • Microsoft acquires Major League Gaming

Microsoft is buying video game publisher Activision Blizzard for US$68.7 billion, bringing some of the world’s biggest esports titles under its control and expanding its plans for the metaverse.

The deal is the largest ever acquisition in the gaming industry, dwarfing even the headline-grabbing US$7.5 billion deal Microsoft reached with ZeniMax Media in 2021.

Upon completion, Microsoft will become the world’s third largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.

Activision owns some of the biggest video game properties in the world, including World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Call of Duty, while it also publishes the hugely popular Overwatch and Starcraft games. It also bought esports organisation Major League Gaming (MLG) back in 2016.

In recent years, Activision has established the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League professional esports competitions, both of which have attracted investment from high-profile figures who own franchises in traditional sports.

Activision claims to have 400 million active players in 190 countries and Microsoft plans to bring as many titles as possible to its Game Pass subscription service, which is available on PC, Xbox, and on mobile devices via the cloud. Furthermore, it is almost certain that any future console and PC titles made by Activision will be exclusive to Microsoft’s platforms.

This user base represents a huge potential market for expansion while Activision’s library will be a huge driver of subscriptions that will tie customers into Microsoft’s ecosystem. In a single swoop, Microsoft has not only strengthened its gaming business but also its esports credentials and its plans for a metaverse that will encompass multiple technologies and business divisions. On top of that, Microsoft immediately becomes a major player in mobile gaming via Activision’s King Studios, the developers of Candy Crush.

“Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” said Satya Nadella, chairman and chief executive, Microsoft. “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all.”

“Players everywhere love Activision Blizzard games, and we believe the creative teams have their best work in front of them,” added Phil Spencer, chief executive of Microsoft Gaming. “Together we will build a future where people can play the games they want, virtually anywhere they want.”

The deal is expected to close in 2023, after which Activision would report to Spencer as a division of Microsoft Gaming.



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Walmart signals metaverse plans with trademark applications around virtual goods, NFTs

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Dive Brief:

  • Walmart filed a series of trademark applications late last month that indicate the retailer has bigger plans for the metaverse, including through the development of cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs). CNBC first spotted the batch of documents that were submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Dec. 30.
  • The applications, of which there are seven in total, encompass concepts like “virtual goods” across product categories such as furniture, toys and sporting gear, along with downloadable software for managing cryptocurrency portfolios or establishing an electronic wallet.
  • Games and other services powered by augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology also make appearances. The news suggests the metaverse could play a significant role in Walmart’s strategy as the big-box brand centers more of its business around the digital world.

Dive Insight:

Walmart isn’t the first marketer to show budding interest in the metaverse, but a potentially substantial push to build out its offerings could go a long way in sparking more mainstream adoption of technologies that are foundational to the channel, including cryptocurrencies. The big-box store is the largest retailer in the world, reaching a massive audience of shoppers, and rivals may follow Walmart’s lead in ramping up their bets lest they lose an early-mover advantage in a market some view as the next evolution of the internet.

That said, many metaverse-related technologies like NFTs haven’t served a purpose in marketing beyond one-off stunts or generating some headlines. But the broader vision of what the metaverse could eventually become is appealing to companies like Walmart, with shared virtual realms acting as a venue for customers to try out experiences and products and eventually make purchases of digital goods as they look to customize their online avatars and living spaces. Though businesses clearly smell an opportunity, consumers haven’t quite come around to the idea, even as categories like gaming provide a loose sense of what’s possible in the metaverse.

Some groundwork has already been laid for Walmart’s metaverse approach. Last year, it began seeking a digital currency and cryptocurrency product lead, following in Amazon’s footsteps. Recent executive changes point to a possible strategy switch-up. Longtime merchandising chief Scott McCall is retiring, Bloomberg reported, while Chief Customer Officer Janey Whiteside — a key player in rounding out Walmart’s e-commerce playbook — will depart in March.

Walmart dipping its toes in the metaverse could support other ventures that are important to staying competitive in retail. In 2020, it introduced its long-awaited Walmart+ e-commerce portal meant to tackle the growing threat of Amazon Prime. Several of the trademark applications were also made under Walmart Connect, the marketer’s fledgling advertising business. Walmart has quickly built out the unit as the demand for retail media soars during the pandemic and packaged goods brands seek alternative targeting methods to cookies, which are being phased out next year.

Other marketers are more firmly planting their metaverse flags. Nike in December acquired RTFKT, a digital studio that designs virtual collectibles like NFTs. The sportswear marketer also recently established Nikeland, an interactive experience inside the Roblox gaming platform that lets visitors participate in activities like dodgeball and trying on virtual apparel.



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Is the Metaverse Ready for a Metaphysical ART CLUB?

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Public Mint opens at the price of 0.333 Ethereum. The project has opened an Early Mint Allow List with Limited Spots available, which allows minting 1 day early on January 22, 2022.  Registration is Required for Early Mint. Registration can be found at: https://456collectorsclub.com/public-mint-early-access-registration

Zevi G is a prolific and steadfast artist who uses his studio to bring unanticipated creations to life. In a world where love, unity and kindness have become a scarce commodity, Zevi is determined to make a change using his art and many compelling characters to spread this powerful message.

The 456 Collector’s Club by Zevi G is a collection of 4,560 unique algorithmically created NFTs featuring characters from Zevi G’s signature series “456 Land”. Holders become members of an exclusive Art Club and continually unlock redeemable artwork in intervals as the community grows, get access to future community events, and digital experiences.

Zevi G was never intimidated by his underprivileged and very orthodox upbringing, on the contrary, that became the very essence of his strength and will, to turn his life around and reach others with positive and relevant messages. Each 456 Land sculpture comes with its own personality and features different traits such as the angel with its thin legs and wings, or the soldier with its buff chest. The childlike characters with eyes full of wonder appear as a musician, a roofer, a jeweler, a guitarist; a world of references and emotional memories that is personal and reflects on the artist’s past.

456 Club holders get Utility. After holding for 1-month owners can claim a 1×1 print of the exact NFT they own. After holding for 4-months holders will be able to redeem a 7 in. by 7 in. Namaste Sculpture in the corresponding color of their NFT. There are 10 different colors available with some colors more limited than others. Each sculpture will feature an NFC chip that provides the owner with continual digital experiences and helps pair the physical item with the NFT.

Anyone who mints 3 or more NFTs is entered into a raffle for a 5 ft. Diamond Hands Bronze Sculpture valued at $175,000.

Each NFT is a raffle ticket to win a 26-inch Diamond Hands Resin sculpture valued at $10,000 – 5 winners total (3 white, 2 Blue).

Join the conversation on Discord to learn more about additional giveaways!

Mint a 456 Collectors Club NFT to join the club and become a member is the first community to dedicate its purpose to spreading the message of love and unity through physical and digital art. Register for Early Access.

Related Links

Website: http://456collectorsclub.com
OpenSea: https://opensea.io/collection/456-collectors-club-v2
Twitter: http://twitter.com/456_club
Instagram: http://instagram.com/zevigart
456 Land: http://zevigart.com
Discord: https://discord.com/invite/456collectorsclub

SOURCE 456 Collector’s Club





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