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Microsoft Buys Activision Blizzard for $68.7 Billion

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Microsoft is headed for the metaverse. On Tuesday the multinational tech company agreed to buy Activision Blizzard, the legendary video game studio behind Call of Duty, Overwatch, Candy Crush, and more for $68.7 billion in cash.

The deal comes as numerous tech and media companies — most notably Meta — race to become frontrunners of the metaverse, the fabled next iteration of the internet. When the transaction closes, Microsoft will become the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue.

While web3 and the metaverse have both become hot topics in the last year, they still remain concepts yet to be fully actualized through contemporary technology. With this latest acquisition — the largest in Microsoft history — the tech giant seems to be betting on the future of gaming, and itself becoming a major role in the next evolution of the VR and AR gaming experience.

“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 CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella in a statement. “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.”

In gaining Activision’s nearly 400 million monthly users, only time will tell how Microsoft plans to expand into the metaverse. Yet, with the convergence of Activision’s industry-leading game technology and Microsoft’s groundbreaking artificial intelligence, we may very well see the lines between science fiction and reality continue to be blurred as this new gaming monolith develops.

Photos courtesy of Microsoft.



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How World of Women is Bringing Diversity and Representation to NFTs

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NFTs are taking the world by storm, we’ve said it time and time again. But some projects — especially ones that were early to the scene — have taken the lead, cementing their position as leaders in the space.World of Women (WoW), a first-of-its-kind collection featuring 10,000 artworks of diverse and powerful women, is one such project.

Yam Karkai is the incredibly talented founder and artist behind the collection. In March 2022, she further expanded the idea “to a new dimension” with the launch of World of Women Galaxy — 22,222 WoWs from the first collection, who “traveled through a portal to join the Galaxy,” transforming and multiplying along the way.

As one of the foremost women-led projects in the space, the work Karkai is doing is important for bringing women into the Web3 community, as well as diversifying the space and pushing it forward. This representation matters. Fans all over the world have found themselves in her artwork, including Reese Witherspoon, Thalia, Eva Mendez, and countless others.

We were able to sit down with Karkai to chat about the World of Women universe and what’s next

World of Women
World of Women

Tell us a little bit about your background.

Before launching World of Women, I was already in the NFT and Web3 space, creating 1:1 NFT art. From the very beginning, I’ve always focused on creating colorful, vibrant pieces that celebrate women and diversity. It’s always been what I enjoy drawing the most (and really the only thing I draw about).

How did you decide to get into Web3? 

I heard about NFTs for the very first time randomly! It was through a job interview my partner Raph had. He had no clue what it was and I immediately got super interested in figuring it out. So I started digging deep into NFT [and Web3] Twitter and soaked up all the information I could find. I was so excited to find such a new and unique opportunity and path for artists to showcase their work, promote themselves, and actually get paid for their craft!

What kind of response did you think World of Women would generate? 

I knew that I wasn’t the only one feeling and seeing that women and minorities were under-represented in this space, so I was hopeful that it would attract people like me and people that share the same thoughts and values.

With the co-founding team, we already had great ambitions from the start, but we never expected it to grow this fast and become such a major collection and company. Even though you dream it, and you hope for it, there’s always a part of you that tones it down. It has been an incredible journey to witness the growth of World of Women. Very excited to keep on building.

You’ve gained a lot of prominence in the space and have a lot of celebrity holders. What has it been like to have that kind of interest and support?

Shocking, mind-blowing, and incredible! Women I’ve looked up to, or grown up watching on the screen buying my art… I still have to pinch myself sometimes to realize that this is really happening.

Has anyone responded negatively to the project? Any detractors? 

Whatever you do, when you gain visibility, you also get haters. We’re lucky to have an incredibly benevolent community, so we don’t get many detractors, but from time to time they do remind us that they exist. We don’t have anything major to point out though.

World of Women
World of Women

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration for the art itself and how you came up with the traits and the lore. 

As I said previously, I’ve always enjoyed creating colorful pieces centered around women. I’ve also always known I wanted to make a difference.

Seeing the underrepresentation in the NFT space and Web3, and seeing how this super new industry was already mimicking the inequality and the same issues we face in the world, just made it obvious to me that a collection of powerful and diverse women was the way to go in order to have an impact. And it seems like it did!

What do you hope people will take away from your work? 

I hope that World of Women will keep bringing more diversity to the space, make minorities, women and non-binary people feel comfortable and welcome, and put the spotlight and bring forward more incredible artists and creators from this space.

What has been one of your favorite things about being involved with the project?

I wish people to feel connected to it, see themselves (or a loved one) in it, and see the values they stand for in it. I try to tell a story, show and celebrate things that are important to me or that I love and cherish. I hope people can feel that. I want my work to matter and to keep on making a difference.

How do you plan on continuing to evolve the WoW universe, any exciting secrets you can reveal? 

Oh, there are so many things…

Making a change through diverse art and the charities we’ve been able to support and partner with has been unbelievable. It is an indescribable feeling to be able to help on such a scale and witness that what you are doing is improving and changing lives around the world. Giving visibility and the spotlight to so many amazing artists has been wonderful, meeting our community members, getting to know people I’ve admired for a long time, working with a fantastic team of fun and talented members, and I could go on!



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How NFTs Could Increase Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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Despite incremental progress over the last few years, most creative industries are still controlled by white men. And for one reason or another, the artists that these gatekeepers choose to promote also tend to be white men. This has created a cycle of inequality, one which largely excludes women, people of color, and members of other underrepresented communities. In fact, in museums in the United States, 85 percent of the artists who are featured are white and 87 percent are men, according to research published in PLoS One.

However, Web3 technologies are helping individuals break that cycle, shifting the paradigm away from centralized gatekeepers. 

More transparent and inclusive economic models

Instead of relying on a publisher, producer, auction house, or other third-party authority for promotion, creators can use non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain technologies to sell their work independently. This enables artists to bypass gatekeepers and tap directly into their existing audiences, all while retaining their intellectual property (IP) rights and creative control. Additionally, thanks to the features embedded in smart contracts, creatives can receive a secondary royalty each time their work switches hands in the open marketplace.

Nea Simone, Founder of NFT Atlanta Con, commented on the significance of this royalty structure in an interview with nft now. “The ability for content creators to receive royalty payouts and to create nonfungible tokens resets the table for the first time in favor of the creator,” she said.

Simone noted that the technologies also increase transparency, which leads to increased financial gains for creators across demographics. “Blockchain technology and NFTs present an unparalleled opportunity for creatives, and disrupt the barrier of gatekeepers through universal transparency amongst all parties,” she said, clarifying that the technologies “remove the undesirable execution of payments through an intermediary that holds and determines payouts.” 

In this respect, NFTs are finally doing away with the starving artist stereotype. For the first time in history, creatives of all backgrounds are beginning to have the opportunity to really make a living off their work. As Farah Allen, Founder of The Labz, stated in an interview with nft now, “Creativity has always been a valuable asset within diverse communities, but the monetization of creativity was limited to standard system chain models. NFT and Blockchain technology provides creators with a new, powerful, and potentially life-changing monetization model.”

In addition to creating new opportunities for monetization, NFTs also positively impact wealth distribution. In fact, Simone explains that NFTs are already being used to redistribute wealth to underrepresented individuals and communities. “There are many projects that contribute a portion of their primary sales and royalties to entities that represent their identities and values. This approach to charity enhances the distribution of wealth and thereby diversity, equity, and inclusion,” she said. 

By enabling anyone to invest in and sell fine art and collectibles, NFTs also democratize investment in wealth-generating asset classes that underrepresented groups previously had difficulty accessing. And we’re not done yet…

Empowering communities

When it comes to creativity and communities, NFTs have served as catalysts for expression and education around various cultures and movements. 

Despite its digital roots, few things are more important to members of the NFT ecosystem than the real sense of connection it provides, especially for underrepresented communities. Over the last few years, during times of isolation, civil turmoil, and social injustice, NFTs have often provided a strong sense of community for those who felt lost without one. They have helped uplift those in need and shine light on those who are often excluded

What’s more, mission-based collections uplifting all races, religions, and genders have been introduced to the world thanks to NFTs. Perhaps none is more notable than World of Women. It’s a collection of 10,000 diverse and powerful NFTs featuring women. Its goal is to celebrate representation, inclusivity, and equal opportunities for all. A historic project in the space, World of Women recently signed a deal with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine to expand into movies, TV, and educational events. 

But that’s not to say that there isn’t progress to be made. Far from it. But the NFT community still has work to do

The work we still need

Despite more underrepresented communities being heard, the Web3 space is still dominated by white males. To truly make Web3 as inclusive as it needs to be, there’s a lot of work to be done by all parties. Simone articulates the problem clearly, noting that, when it comes to NFTs and Web3 “broad outreach, engagement, and education are all needed to encourage mass adoption in historically underserved and underrepresented communities.”

Ultimately, Simone created NFT Atlanta Con to try and solve this problem. With the event, she hopes to close some of the gaps and bring additional attention to important topics regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). “The reason we launched NFT Atlanta Con is to initiate a much-needed dialogue that DEI is intrinsic to the success of Web3” she said. Simone continued by outlining exactly how the event will help solve the issues that still persist, saying,  “We needed to spotlight visionaries, entrepreneurs, SMEs, thought leaders, and creators that are diverse. We decided not to wait for an invitation, but to host our own party and extend invitations. We are far past the time to be othered, we are here to introduce the multifaceted prism of DEI in Web3.”  

NFT Atlanta Con is Georgia’s first-ever NFT conference, bringing together blockchain developers, gamers, artists, investors, companies, and fans to exchange ideas and further the adoption of Web3. The event will take place May 24 – 26, 2022. The inaugural event features a world-class panel of over 50 speakers. Through workshops, pitch competitions, and creative installations that include NFTs and other immersive art, creators are able to spread their art far and wide to brand new audiences. 

To see the full speaker lineup, head over to the official NFT Atlanta Con Website, and you can get a discount on tickets here.



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Win Grand Prizes in the Latest Decentraland Game Jam Contest!

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Get those creative juices flowing, Decentraland returns with one of its coveted Game Jam contests, providing all-comers the chance to win exceptional prizes for their prowess in metaverse game design.

This latest competition sees Decentraland partner up with metaverse engineer, Meta Game Hub Dao (MGH). Together, challenging the finest developers in the virtual realm to build the most entertaining Decentraland experience humanly possible.

Utilizing all of the tools available, including the MGH developed DCL Edit application, keen builders must take a turn for the interactive, drawing on all their immersive knowhow to produce an engaging and rewarding Decentraland gem for the ages.

Two tiers of prize-winners will take home the spoils. As such, the Decentraland Foundation will reward the top 20 entrants with prime real-estate and $MANA prizes. The top contender will walk away with two plots of land and 5k in $MANA, while an additional pool will see MGH reward the top 20 entrants utilizing its DCL Edit tool, with a windfall of $5k in MGH tokens for the best in show.

A grand team of experienced judges will rate each design on its individual merit. Taking into consideration the overall idea, game design, interactivity, creativity, and ‘wow factor’. Once the dust has settled, and the winners declared, Decentraland will then deploy the top experiences to its own land in the metaverse.

So, get designing and show the virtual world what you’ve got!

Find out more >> Here

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*All investment/financial opinions expressed by NFT Plazas are from the personal research and experience of our site moderators and are intended as educational material only. Individuals are required to fully research any product prior to making any kind of investment.





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