thinking about the metaverse courtesy of ryan broderick's garbage day
…d social media partner programs. People are spending a lot of money to express themselves online and most of what they’re paying for is basically the digital equivalent of an emo kid’s backpack covered in Hot Topic pins, random little digital artifacts that bely some kind of personal identity. And looked at one-by-one, it ju…
Bear with me for a second because I’ve yet to get through the VC blog series, partially owing to my desperate desire to not have to listen to VC opinions, but…
One thing I think a lot about is how the potential for actual expressiveness online is very tied to the technical potential for jankiness. Myspace profiles were genuinely expressive, and that was tied to how people could load up their pages with bunch of crap that would break the layout, create huge loading time, etc. A creator of a project I’m following talked explicitly about this concept in their dev log.
That has implications for “the Metaverse”. Even if you have cool community asset infrastructure, technical limitations on user-driven creativity are going to have to exist in order to keep the experience smooth enough – poly count, texture resolution, whatever. This will have to be enforced at some level. The level that does the enforcement will have an incentive to monetize exceptions, so the Official Universal Studios Minions Skin can look smoother and better than the community knock-off. People will always notice that the corner of the world where the garden has been walled off just runs more smoothly than the open part they like. Sure, there might be some protocol level of Wow It’s Interoperable, but the Facebook-compatible avatar standard necessary to access the Zuckerworld AR metalayer will have an awful weight. And every engineer saying it’s just a hard technical limit in order to make the AR function or whatever will be right at the same time as it all boils the frog into garbage megaplatform experiences for the benefit of corporate bottom lines.
Cool stuff is only going to come from subcultures so unpalatable to the mainstream that they can’t be coopted while they’re still incubating the tech and practices. The furries that made Four Seasons Total Landscaping or hold VR conventions seem the most promising. How do I know that they’re way ahead of the rest of us?
As the day went on some trolls got word that there was a furry convention happening in VRChat. There seems to be this weird underbelly of people that will go into VRChat worlds and intentionally ruin other people’s fun by using avatars that spawn a bajillionty particles to crash the game.
That smells like the future.