Meta's Folly vs. Epic Games' Revolution

Meta's Folly vs. Epic Games' Revolution

Say what you want about Fortnite’s graphics, but the characters/avatars have always had legs.

Legs are apparently a big point of struggle Meta, as it looks to bring its vision of the Metaverse to life,according to Insider.

"So, the greatest development of burning $10 billion of cash flow on this endeavor is legs?" wrote analyst Neil Campling, head of research at Mirabaud.

Ouch. That story, in which Mirabaud also referred to Meta as “desparate,” comes of the heels of

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!

Actually, there’s no reason to. I’ve written before about just how massive and influential Fortite is for kids of a certain age. I don’t think I’ve fully grasped how impressive parent company’s technology is until this past week.

During an eye-popping presentation at the IAB Brand Disruption Summit, Ryan Moore, Global Chief Revenue Officer at Epic Games’ SuperAwesome, laid out his fairly straightforward definition of the Metaverse as being: real time, 3D, and giving users a “sense of presence.”

Maybe Fortite falls slightly short on the “sense of presence” thing compared a fully immersive VR world , since you play it/hang out in in using controllers and screens rather than clunky headsets. But the thing Fortnite has going for it is that millions of people actually play it/hang out in it - every day.

But as Epic’s Moore explained to the IAB crowd, the company isn’t just about Fortnite of course. Epic’sUnreal Enginetech powers game franchises like Final Fantasy and Gears of War, and is open, which has allowed tons of talented codes to build digital experiences, none of which are owned or build by Epic, said Moore.

Gamers and film geeks know this stuff, but I’m still not sure the masses know what a ‘game engine’ is.

Whatever Unreal Engine game or experience you want to point to - no one seems very concerned that these products aren’t techincally ‘web 3,’ as in decentralized and built on the blockchain or whatever purist nonsense enthusiasts are insisting upon in their Metaverse definitions. (BTW, anyone who’s ever owned.a co-op in New York City knows that you don’t want to co-own anything, with anyone, ever. Why do people thing anyone wants things decentralized exactly?)

Anyway, its one thing to use Unreal Engine to build game-like experiences. It’s another thing to radically change how films, TV shows and ads are created.

That’s the promise of creating images using UE4 (Unreal Engine version 4), as Richard Glasson CEO at Hogarth Worldwide, explained.

At the IAB’s event, Fowler showed off two images of a Diet Coke bottle that were from all intensive purposes identical. One was a real photo, one that was entirely rendered by U4. He then showed an image of a ‘person’ drinking the Diet Coke. This person looked very real, but was also purely born of code.

I’m not saying fake humans drinking fake soda is going to be as big as Fortnite, but boy does it threaten to shake up advertising and media.

“Don’t underestimate how big a change this will be for brands,” Glasson said. “This will lead to a revolution for how works gets produced.”

Indeed, if you’re an actor, or production team specializing in on-location shoots, or an actor looking to break into commercials, it’s officially time to get worried. Fowler also showcased how Epic’s Unreal Engine is being used to create thousands of versions of the same video featuring a single actor, and using robot dogs to collect imagery from remote locations - which actors can then be ‘placed in’ digitally. It’s the same technology being used for “The Mandalorian.” The possibilities seem endless - provided the costs come down, I assume.

Back to the Metaverse - I’m not saying Epic is going to start rolling out the same Unreal Engine/Mando tech for us to use at home. I’m just noting that the guys from Lucasfilm don’t seem to be calling Mark Zuckerberg for help.

So my question is, why would we bet on Meta to build the Metaverse, when Epic is already there?

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