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Sony readies for metaverse revolution with cross-platform push

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TOKYO, May 18 (Reuters) – Japanese conglomerate Sony Group Corp (6758.T) said it is well-positioned to play a leading role in the metaverse, or immersive virtual worlds, which commentators speculate will massively disrupt industries and establish new powerhouses.

The metaverse is a vague term encapsulating the idea that consumers will spend more time in online simulated environments. While the concept is evolving, it has become a buzzword in briefings and a driver of industry dealmaking.

“The metaverse is at the same time a social space and live network space where games, music, movies and anime intersect,” Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida said at a strategy briefing on Wednesday, pointing to the use of free-to-play battle royale title Fortnite from Epic Games as an online social space.

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Sony’s game, music and movie units contributed two-thirds of operating income in the year ended March, underscoring the group’s transformation from consumer electronics maker into a metaverse-ready entertainment juggernaut under Yoshida and predecessor Kazuo Hirai.

The firm is a gaming gatekeeper with its PlayStation 5 console, however observers point to the risk presented by the growth of cross-platform, cloud-based titles and their potential to reduce the influence of proprietary platforms.

Sony has been adjusting its approach, enabling cross-play in Fortnite in 2018. This week, Epic said in-game “V-Bucks” currency purchased on PlayStation would be usable on other platforms.

“PlayStation has played a huge role in the social gaming revolution that’s nurturing the growth of the metaverse as a new entertainment medium,” Epic’s CEO Tim Sweeney said on Twitter.

Sony has also taken steps to expand beyond its focus on single-player titles such as “Spider-Man: Miles Morales”, with a deal announced in January to buy Bungie, the developer of online multi-player shooter “Destiny”.

“We believe it will be a catalyst to enhance our live service game capabilities… (It) represents a major step forward in becoming multi-platform,” Yoshida said.

Sony already licences its content to other platforms, profiting from the value to streamers of content such as popular U.S. sitcom “Seinfeld”. Though the firm owns the Crunchyroll anime streaming service, it has not pushed as aggressively into operating its own video platforms as rivals such as Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) with its Disney+ service.

Beyond the metaverse, Yoshida also staked out Sony’s claim in mobility, with the conglomerate developing an electric vehicle with Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T).

Sony created a new lifestyle in 1979 with the launch of the Walkman, Yoshida said.

“We are aiming to turn the mobility space into a new entertainment space… We believe mobility will be the next megatrend,” he said.

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Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Christopher Cushing

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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Metaverse

Metaverse at Cannes—marketers show off virtual worlds on the Croisette

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The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity may be in person this year for the first time since 2019, but that hasn’t stopped brands and agencies from thinking virtual. Not only are some marketers making Cannes sessions available in virtual real estate platforms, but parties and activities outside of the normal programming are also being offered in the metaverse. 

A common theme running through many of these activations is democratizing what has hitherto been an inaccessible event for many in the industry. The ticket price for Cannes is steep, not to mention fees for transportation and a hotel. But through virtual experiences, which can be accessed from anywhere using only a desktop or sometimes a mobile phone, more of adland can celebrate creativity in the industry.

Of course, not all the metaverse activations at Cannes are designed specifically with this goal in mind, yet the democratizing effect is still there. Marketers may be realizing that the virtual tools they use to reach consumers can also help them reach each other.

Here are some of the ways that marketers are activating in the metaverse during Cannes.



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Cap Off Pride Month with the Metaverse Pride Parade and Drag Queen Bingo | News

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Certified LGBT Owned Business, Fun Team Events, Co-hosts one of the first Metaverse Pride Parades and Drag Queen Bingo Events on Thursday, June 30th, 2022 in Virbela’s New Metaverse Campus

ATLANTA, June 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Fun Team Events is set to co-host one of the first metaverse Pride Parades and Drag Queen Bingo Events in Virbela’s new open campus on Thursday, June 30th, 2022 at 2PM ET. This event is open to all and gives individuals the opportunity to celebrate Pride Month and check out the metaverse space. Participants can also learn about notable stories and resources related to LGBTQ+ experiences through Virbela’s Pride Month exhibit.

“Virbela builds engaging experiences to inspire our community and drive education around important topics,” said Sarah Segrest, VP of Community at Virbela. “Our Pride Month exhibit highlights the positive and celebrates success, while acknowledging the difficulties of past and present. We’re excited to partner with Fun Team Events to bring this Pride Parade to life in the metaverse.”

“As a certified LGBT-owned business, Pride Month is such a special time for us. We’re thrilled to partner with Virbela on this Pride Month celebration. Our team loves hosting events in the metaverse and we can’t wait to share this fun experience with others in the community,” said AJ Seliga, CEO, Fun Team Events.

Everyone is welcome and newcomers can enter the metaverse earlier to get acclimated to the space and dress up their avatar ahead of the Virbela Pride Parade. There will be prizes for the “Most Fun and Fabulous” avatar and bingo game winners. San Francisco-based Drag Queen, Pollo Del Mar, will be the Grand Marshall for the Parade and will emcee the Pride Bingo Event on the Virbela beach after the parade.

Sign up and get more information about the event here: https://future.virbela.com/metaverse-pride-parade

About Fun Team Events: Fun Team Events (https://www.funteamevents.com/) hosts custom virtual and metaverse events for corporate clients and non-profit organizations. These events include Team Trivia, Drag Queen Bingo, Office Olympics, and much more. Fun Team Events’ U.S. clients are Amazon, Google, EY, Home Depot, Anthem, Johnson & Johnson and many more including many up-and-coming tech startups. Fun Team Events is a certified LGBT-owned business with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and a proud member of the OUT Georgia Business Alliance.

Fun Team Events Media Contact:

AJ Seliga, CEO | 339424@email4pr.com  | 415-519-5222

Cision View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cap-off-pride-month-with-the-metaverse-pride-parade-and-drag-queen-bingo-301573647.html

SOURCE Fun Team Events





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Here’s why a multi-million toy business is venturing into the metaverse

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When Jackson Aw was introduced to blockchain technology in 2018, he “didn’t get it at all.”

“Can someone dumb it down even further for me? Like, can you just tell me what I can get as a consumer?” 

That was four years ago. Today, Aw, seems to have the answer to that question. 

The 32-year-old Singaporean, who runs Mighty Jaxx — a multi-million dollar toy company that produces collectibles and lifestyle products — has incorporated blockchain into his products. 

A blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that records every transaction that has taken place. It also cannot be tampered with or changed retroactively.

CNBC Make It finds out why it “makes sense” for the collectibles empire to tap into blockchain capabilities, and bet on the metaverse.

Unique certificates 

Mighty Jaxx, which was founded in 2012, has partnered with some of the biggest global brands and visual artists, producing trendy collectibles that incorporate pop culture and design. 

Aw said the company has since sold millions of toy collectibles to people in more than 80 countries.

Mighty Jaxx’s limited-edition collectibles can cost up to $1,200 on its website, but in the secondary marketplace they can fetch “five to ten times” more than its original value, said Aw.

Jackson Aw’s advice for young entrepreneurs? “Fear will always exist. But the question is, what do you make of that?”

Eli Lo

But there is one problem.

“When you want to sell the product, the number one question everywhere is ‘Is it authentic?'”

Aw added: “For collectibles, what [sellers] do is that they take photos of the figurine and post it on Facebook groups, asking people to do an authenticity check.”

However, Aw was not satisfied with this method of authentication. 

“Whose word is it on? Where’s the provenance of it? So we thought, okay, that’s what we need.”

Mighty Jaxx designed a Near-Field Communication chip, that is embedded into each toy. “With our app, you can [scan the chip], register your ownership of the item,” said the company’s founder Jackson Aw.

Eli Lo

Mighty Jaxx designed a near-field communication chip and embedded one into each toy. NFC technology enables short-range, wireless communication between two devices. 

“With our app, you can [scan the chip], register your ownership of the item [to show] it’s an authentic Mighty Jaxx product,” Aw said.

Powered by blockchain, the platform issues and validates unique, tamperproof certificates for every product. It also provides a digital footprint when ownership of an item changes.

…content and intellectual property is key, because without any of this [visual] representation, that technology does nothing

Jackson Aw

Founder, Mighty Jaxx

“If Jay Chou or JJ Lin owned that figurine prior to you, that is definitely far more valuable than me owning it,” Aw jokes. Jay Chou and JJ Lin are popular Mandarin pop singers. 

Providing reliable authentication through blockchain technology is just “the beginning” for Mighty Jaxx.

A ‘phygital’ edge 

Metaverse expansion 

“We launched 6,000 units, within … two seconds, they were just sold out,” Aw said.

Mighty Jaxx got its big break with DC Comics by scoring a licensing partnership in 2015, allowing it to “restyle” the creative intellectual property. 

Since then, it has partnered with renowned brands to reach fandoms all around the world, from Adidas, Hasbro and Nickelodeon, to Formula 1, Sesame Street and Netflix

Aw says “there’s a lot more work to be done,” with plans to expand its IP collaborations into the metaverse as well. 

The metaverse is a set of virtual worlds where people live, work and play.

Mighty Jaxx’s first collection of NFT trading cards were sold out within “2 seconds,” said Jackson Aw.

Mighty Jaxx



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