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34. Pixar of Web3, Unity ironSource Merger, Orlando Metaverse, In-Metaverse Ads
Episode 3425th July 2022 • META Business • Holodeck Media
00:00:00 00:28:42

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In this episode, we discuss Orlando striving to be the center of the metaverse, Unity merging with ironSource, Unity's CEO going off on game developers, 44% of people saying they would accept advertisements in exchange for free metaverse services, Cauldron wanting to be the "Pixar of Web3," and so much more!

Episode 34 Keywords: Orlando, metaverse, Unity, mergers, ironSource, game developers, advertisements, free metaverse services, Cauldron, "Pixar of Web3"

Transcripts

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Welcome to the metaphysics podcast. The

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Metaverse and web three are bringing about the biggest

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revolution since the internet itself. With your hosts Paul the

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prophet Dawalibi And Jeff the juice Cohen. We will be bringing

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you the latest Metaverse, business news and insight into

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what it all means. The meta business podcast starts now.

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From the boardroom to the metaverse. This is the meta

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business podcast. I am Paul the profit that will lead me. I'm

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joined today by my friend and co host, Jeff the juice Cohen. For

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those of you who are new here, welcome to the official podcast

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of the metaverse. What we do is we cover the most pressing,

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Metaverse, stories and news of the week. When we look at all of

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it through a business and C suite lens, we dissect, we

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analyze the business implications of everything

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happening in this amazing industry. For our regular

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listeners. Thank you guys for tuning in every week. Thank you

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for all the love the five star ratings and reviews I promise I

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read every single one of them. We're so humbled. Whenever you

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guys leave a five star rating rate, leave a review. It helps

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others to find the podcast but the best thing you can do is

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share the podcast with your friends with your colleagues

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with anyone you know who's interested in Metaverse, web

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three, crypto gaming, all of these things intersecting. Share

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it with someone you know, it really helps the podcast to

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grow. Jeff, how you doing this week? I'm good. Busy week, I

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just just we both actually just moved into new places. Because

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we both moved to temporary places. And now we both sort of

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moved to actual places. So we're kind of following the same

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schedule. I've just done complete opposite sides of the

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Earth, I guess. Yeah. And so if an episode or two is off by this

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usual release states, it's apologies. It's

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it's very temporary. That will, we will get back on track as we

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always have been since beginning. By the way, this is

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like we're 30 Plus episodes in the steps of 34. And I'm amazed

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I truly mean it in the intro. Like, I'm so amazed that the

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feedback we get on the podcast the reviews that people leave,

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it's been it's been very, very humbling. When people say how

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much they liked the show. We got a lot of news to cover this

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week. Jeff, we got some good news. And I think there's like a

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theme to the news this week.

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Which is interesting, right? A lot of news stories all around

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one. One particular topic, obviously other than just

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Metaverse, but let's start with something a bit lighter as we

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normally do. And this is Orlando, the city of Orlando,

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Florida in the news, and the headline here. I'll bring this

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up. The headline here is Orlando will test if a physical city can

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be the center of the metaverse. So what they're saying is

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Orlando wants to be the center of the metaverse they've teamed

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up the city has teamed up with Unity, the game engine maker to

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create a digital twin of the city so they want to recreate

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essentially a virtual Orlando in the metaverse and, and what

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they're saying is Orlando is very familiar with this, or at

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least has experienced with this because they say as the home of

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Disney World. Orlando is familiar quote with the notion

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of turning dreams into reality. So they want to become better

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known as the hub for the metaverse web three and the

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related industries which they describe as AR VR AI, gaming and

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simulation training.

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So what do you think of Orlando like a city essentially,

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throwing their hat in the metaverse ring and saying not

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only do we want to be the center of this right, create jobs and

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do all this stuff around it and bring industry here, but create

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sort of the the virtual version of Orlando in the metaverse or

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in a metaverse? Yeah. I mean, there's there's a lot to unpack

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there. I do. I love when cities, you know, take the lead and have

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initiatives like that, like I actually sat on a panel back at

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the ESTP esports Trade Association conference we both

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went to in Chicago last year, and I sat on a panel about

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cities kind of getting into esports. And yeah, I think it's

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great when cities take initiatives and try to bring

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businesses in and bring industries in that they think

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are forward facing and good for the community and good for their

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citizens. So kudos on them for that. We've seen this done in a

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lot of different areas, one that comes to mind, just right down

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the road, I guess in Florida is Miami. I know, you know, they've

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had a really big influx of crypto, the crypto community and

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they've sort of like adopted, you know,

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like their mayor has been very forward facing about kind of

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trying to make them like the city for crypto. I think it's

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it's, it's kind of work as far as I know, of your take on that.

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But, you know, so they're following that that blueprint in

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terms of creating a virtual city. I think it's like a

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virtual version of Orlando. I think it's a super cool idea. I

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mean, I don't know how exciting Orlando is as a city, but

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it's a good idea in the sense of I can think of a lot of ways

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that that's cool. You know, obviously cheap

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DEA has had a lot of success creating kind of like mini

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virtual versions of cities and people running around and being

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immersed in it and kind of seeing the places that they go,

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and then being able to do cool things that, you know, maybe

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without consequences, but then city think there's a cool angle

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to that. There's also different, you know, things that could be

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interesting, you know, in terms of like, that could help

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driverless technology, you know, their various, like more real

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world things rather than games, of city city planning, just

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throwing out a few things. So I think the idea of creating a

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virtual version of Orlando is probably pretty cool. But the

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bigger question I have from all this is like, it's great to say

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all these things, and have a conference at a press release

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that announcement, but like, what does this actually mean, in

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a short of creating, like Google Maps version of, of Orlando,

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within within Unity? Like what's next, like? And maybe the

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article dives into it a little bit more, but like, are they

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going to be giving grants like, will they be? Like, how would

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they actually foster this this team?

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Yeah, it's not, I mean, it's not laid out in detail in the

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article.

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That for me, this article was like, it was like a bit of a

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roller coaster, ironically, you know, talking about Disney

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World, there was a lot of ups and downs. And, you know, it's

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like city backing, a big futuristic play, big thumbs up,

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right? Because that's going to lead to job creation and lead to

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companies moving there. The same way. You know, Miami, I think,

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had a lot of has had and continues or Miami and Palm

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Beach has had a lot of success, attracting crypto and finance

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and like a whole bunch of industries that are now moving

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out there.

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You know, this is great for Orlando to be getting ahead of

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this and saying we want to be a part of this. And I'm assuming

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there are dollars there have to there has to your point. It

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can't just be taught there has to be dollars behind it. There

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has to be something to pull talent like human capital and

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capital capital into the city. Right. That to me is exciting.

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Then, like I keep reading the article, so I'm on this high of

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great city like getting behind this creating lots of jobs

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wanting to attract industry. And then it's like, okay, but then

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the creation of Orlando in the metaverse like, you lost me

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there, right? Like, who cares? Yeah, Disneyland is cool. And

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you know, I've been to Orlando hundreds of times, like other

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than Disney World. There's like a really cool Mexican restaurant

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that I liked that serves great tacos and fajitas. But like,

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why would you care to do anything in the Orlando

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Metaverse version of the metaverse version of Orlando

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other than go to the theme parks right, which is all really

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people in the real world go to Orlando for

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for the most part, like

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it just I am going to continue to rail against one to one

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recreations of anything real world in the metaverse. I just

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think you've missed the point, if that's what you're doing. And

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so I was on this high, and then I lost all faith in the people

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who are doing this, that they understand really the

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opportunity here. Because the first thing they're doing is

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something I think that's completely misguided, right

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doesn't make any sense at all, other than for a press release.

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And then and then the sort of got back up on the high because

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the article mentions McKinsey saying, Hey, this is going to be

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a $5 trillion industry by 2030. I'm like finally we're using

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letter T, because I think everyone has massively

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underestimated how big this is going to be. But then it

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mentions that McKinsey thinks the games piece is going to be

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smaller than enterprise markets and ecommerce in the metaverse

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and I'm like, Well, you're wrong. They're right fun is

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going to be driving all of this.

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And so like it was a tale of two cities with this article for me,

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it was like, they love that they're doing something but

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clearly they don't get to actually what it is because

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otherwise they wouldn't be doing the something they said they

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they're doing.

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But I guess somethings better than nothing, right? Because at

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least it got us talking about Orlando in the context of the

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metaverse. It's also interesting that Disney, you know, given

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we've talked so much about Disney and their Metaverse guy

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like I would have been intrigued if they had been more involved.

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You're true, just as this announcement and part of the

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strategy.

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It's a bit

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and maybe that says more about Disney's relationship with

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Florida government or something that you know, or maybe they

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just don't have a great metaphor strategy yet, but it's

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surprising that they weren't more twined into the story.

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Yeah, it's good point. I mean, you mentioned the Unity

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mentioned as one of the partners right not Disney of Orlando here

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and I think it's interesting because unity also there was

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another story this week from unity.

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Talking about the

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their merger with a company called the iron source. So

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iron source went public a year ago through a SPAC at an $11

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billion valuation. Now it's being valued at 5 billion in the

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merger. Unity has had their share price fall by over 70% in

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2022, and their market cap is under 12 billion. So not a

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merger of equals, but you know, 12 billion and 5 billion, pretty

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close in size. Now, for those who don't know, unity is the

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game engine that is powering a lot of what people are calling

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Metaverse experiences today. Iron source is in fact, I mean,

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I don't know how you would describe them, Jeff, but an ad

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network, right? They really helped a different thing. Yeah,

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it's all ad tech. I mean, they have an ad network. And then

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they do like ad mediation, as well as, like user acquisition.

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So it's all about monetize monetizing games and acquiring

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users.

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Yeah, there was a couple of things that stood out for me in

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this article one, I noticed the merchants valuing iron source at

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a pretty significant premium. Right there, their market cap is

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half of what the company is being valued in the merger.

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And, and the other the other comment, our The question I have

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for you is so what do you think of just in general, the price is

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being paid here, the value the valuations being put here? And

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to you know, is this does this imply, like is unity trying to

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solve the monetization piece of the puzzle? Here is the future

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of Metaverse, monetization all you know, in Metaverse, ads?

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Like what can we draw any conclusions from the merger?

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Because the big deal?

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Yeah, we'll have to take those one by one because I forgot some

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of them. But they're all really good questions. I mean, the

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interesting thing to me, we always talk about unity as as

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the engine, the game engine, it's sort of like the rails

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behind the metaverse, if you will, whereas this deal was very

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grounded in reality, right? Like, if you think look at what

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they're buying, I mean, it's really an advertising network,

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and a b2b software solution for for mobile GameCom. What

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ironsource does is it helps mobile game companies, you know,

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generate ad revenue and do user acquisition. So the best comp

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would be app love it. So very, like web to ground data

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acquisition. And I think a pretty good deal even though the

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the market did react fairly negative to it, I think then

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that's really driven a little bit by investor sentiment

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towards towards just unities valuation. And just to get into

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the weeds a little bit on that, right now, unity is valued more

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as like a SaaS company, their comps will be kind of like Adobe

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or Salesforce, whereas you know, now with this acquisition, more

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of their revenue will be driven by ad tech, and advertising

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versus like software and subscription. So just

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inherently, you know, your multiple will come down, you

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have that revenue mix shift. But I think strategically, you know,

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it's a very smart deal. They're trying to bring kind of combine

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creation and monetization, and bring those two parts of the

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cycle, you know, more more married. And really what they're

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trying to do is allow creators to get faster validation of

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their games and ad monetization earlier on. So you they know

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earlier in the creation process, whether a game is going to be

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successful or not. And I don't know if you caught some of the

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flack that the genre Telo got the CEO of iron, or sorry, unity

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for some of the comments he made, but I figure, there

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probably will be ones that you're interested in.

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I put a link in the private chat here. He made a comment

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basically saying, you know, any developer that's not not

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thinking about monetization early in development is an

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effing idiot, which is a little bit off the cuff. And, yeah.

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I mean,

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he's wrong. First of all, because I think game developers

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first and foremost need to be thinking about making a fun

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game. And I think thinking about monad. Like, there's no nuance

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in his comments, right. So it's impossible to know what his

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actual point was. But like, if the point was you have to think

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about monetization before anything else. That's wrong. If

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the point was, if you're not thinking about monetization at

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all, then you're making a mistake. That's sort of Right,

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right? Like he's correct there. What's interesting about all of

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this whole unity iron source thing for me is almost all the

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conversation around Metaverse publicly is that crypto web

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three tokens, NF T's all this stuff. This is the monetization

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engine of the metaverse, right? And unity, arguably one of the

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underlying platforms that will potentially power the metaverse

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future meta versus, you know, small land

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excetera

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has made a very TierPoint web to Dotto kind of by here. But they

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could have gone and bought some company doing token NFT stuff

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and like integrated that into unity so that game developers

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can monetize their games through tokens and NF T's and all this

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kind of stuff. And they instead they just bought like a an in

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game ad network with very, sort of last gen kind of technology.

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I don't know what that says about their belief in kind of,

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you know what most people are talking about in terms of

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Metaverse and web three monetization?

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It's a great point. Or maybe what it says about the markets I

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thought market hype cycle for Metaverse, because maybe I

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clearly believe that they still believe in it, but maybe when

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their share price has fallen as much as it has, they now think,

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Okay, our investors need to see us having a business model that

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kind of spans both generations, or both worlds, if you will.

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Yeah. But I personally believe today that the far more

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effective way of monetizing anything. Metaverse is in game

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or in Metaverse at, like, really, the technology that's,

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you know, much less cutting edge, right and putting up a

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banner in somewhere in a VR world that I'm navigating, right

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let's that's almost like a sign on the side of the road here in

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real life. To me feels easier and probably more effective than

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very complicated tokenomics and NF T's that not everybody loves

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and gamers rejected Right? Like there's, there's still,

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to your point earlier allows you to build a fun game first and

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foremost. And then you can have advertising whether it's, you

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know, interstitial or woven within the game. Obviously the

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tricky thing with the metaverse is you don't want to break the

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immersion. So you have to find a way to make the advertising

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native. But it makes the makes the monetization sort of second,

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which is ironic, because it's almost the opposite of Jr's of

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his comments. But yeah, I mean, I agree some of these, we've

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talked many times about played earn and kind of how it's

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financialized the entire incentive structure playing

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game. So maybe this is a step towards having that not be the

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case with Metaverse where it doesn't have to be. Every game

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has a token and you're earning things and the currency in the

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game is transferable. Maybe this is a bit more sustainable as as

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a as a monetization like.

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Yeah, and since we're on the topic of advertising and

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Metaverse, I want to bring up the next story here, which is,

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it's interesting. It's based on a research study from YouGov.

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For those who are fans of our content, we also do another show

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called the business of esports, which you should subscribe to.

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Maybe you came from there. We do a weekly new show every

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Wednesday at 2:30pm. Eastern Time, which you should come to

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it's a lot of fun, where we talk more about gaming and esports.

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But YouGov is our is our is our main sponsor there. And you guys

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actually did a study on advertising in the metaverse

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here. And this article talks about some of the findings,

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which I think are interesting, right? The headline here is 44%

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of gamers would accept advertising in exchange for free

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services in the metaverse. So this is a study from YouGov.

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They found that 44% stated they would accept advertising if it

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meant they would be given free access to apps, games and places

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within the metaverse or within the game.

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Now,

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this was eye opening to me, Jeff, because again, so much of

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the conversation is around tokens and NF T's, right? When

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essentially half of the people polled here have said even in

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play to earn games in meta verses and all these things like

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i will i am okay with traditional advertising, right

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pushing an ad to me in the traditional way. If it means I

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get something in the game.

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Were you surprised by this number? I'm honestly not that

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surprised because this is something you see in mobile

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gaming a lot like where you know, rewarded video tends to be

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a very popular feature. And that's basically where someone

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watches an ad to then get premium currency or an item.

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Essentially, you're trading your time for your money, right? So

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it's a you can either buy this for $5 or you can watch a 32nd

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ad. And it's it ends up being very popular. And actually, it's

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a form of advertising that most gamers do not like do not mind

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they actually like it because it gives them the option. You know,

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you don't have to you don't have to ever engage with if you don't

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want to. But if you do want to it's another form of way that

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you can pay for something in game. So I'm not shocked by it.

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And it to your point it is a good future monetization model

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for for the metaverse, you know, so long as you can kind of

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balance that with your maybe your premium economy as well.

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Yeah, and there's some interesting other interesting

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stats in the star

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Call.

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It says 35% of respondents said they were comfortable with

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advertising within the metal space and 25% were undecided.

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46% uncomfortable with the idea seems high like the 46% to me,

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like why would you be uncomfortable with average? It's

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like saying like, if you're uncomfortable with advertising

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the metaverse like, how is it different than advertising in

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real life? Right? Like, I'm not sure why 40 Sit unless they're

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just like, hey, it's a game. I want it to be fun. I don't want

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ads. But to me, it's like if you want the metaverse to be like an

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immersive, real world like experience, like capital and

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Metaverse, there's obviously going to be advertising and it

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may be even be advertising for things that are native to the

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metaverse, the advertising for items you purchase to consume

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within that digital world, which I think is where probably a lot

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of this is all heading. But for for for over 50% of people to

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say that they're uncomfortable with that. It almost makes me

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believe that they're not understanding the true vision of

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what the metaverse will be. Or they're just they're just

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thinking of it. Hey, a Metaverse equals game. I don't want ads in

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game, boom, I say no. Because to me, if we get to this oasis

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version of Metaverse, there's clearly going to be advertising.

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It has to be right clear, it has to be agree. I think part of it

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comes from the fact that for everything other than mobile

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games, in game advertising has never been a business model that

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really caught on, because it didn't really have to, right,

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like, people were selling plenty of $60 box copies. And then

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people were selling plenty of free to play cosmetics. And so

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there was never like a real impetus to, to, to push in game

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advertising. Now. In mobile, that's different. But I think

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that's where this data point is driven by right where there's,

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there is a big cross section of gamers who just are not used to

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this, because they have not seen it in traditional games. And if

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they think of the metaverse as some extension of games or a

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type of game, they will they will see it as uncomfortable in

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that sense.

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I think that's that changes very quickly over the next five

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years, to be honest, because I do think it will be ubiquitous

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to your point. It has to be has to be part of that equation. I

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just I want to I want to finish on one last article here, Jeff,

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where, you know, we

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the headline was, obviously very catchy. People, the way people

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describe their companies, when they're fundraising, I think is

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also very interesting.

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And this one, the headline is crypto gaming firm cauldron

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raises 6.6 million to build Pixar of web three. Now, the

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article defines this a little bit. And it's a quote from the

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CEO of the company,

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where he says a big bit missing from web three, gaming is

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storytelling, people aren't really coming back, because

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there isn't a reason to come back. If you close your eyes and

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are listening to a Pixar film, you can't see the art or

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technology but the story is still gripping you. Storytelling

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is what matters. So what do you think of this take of being the

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Pixar of web three here, Jeff? And what do you think of that

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that quote, maybe specifically? Well, I feel like plenty of

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people Pixar is a great company, and really great at what they

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do. So plenty of people have used in pitch deck, say we

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wanted to be the Pixar gaming or the Pixar of this. So I'm not

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that surprising. I are not that surprised. I think, you know, he

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breaks a great, great point about web three gaming, and

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there really is no storytelling, because it's always been, you

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know about financialization. It's not necessarily about the

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games being fun or aging. So I think that is something that's

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missing.

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I'd be interested to see what kind of game they're building

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how it monetizes. Like whether this is just lip service, right?

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Because it's one thing to say, hey, we want to build great

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stories. We're not about you know, just monetizing you. And

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it's we're trying to do this differently. But then it's like,

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oh, we just created 50 characters, and we're selling

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each of them for all this money as an NFT. It's like, okay,

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well, I almost guarantee you, I don't know this for sure,

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obviously. But I'd be willing to bet basically bet my life that

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if you ask the founders of Pixar, would you ever sell your

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characters as an ft? They would like, throw up and like, shoot

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me? You know, like, I just think that that's the way they view

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their their at their IP and their characters. So, like, you

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okay, it's kind of a dichotomy that like they're almost like

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diametrically opposed to one another. I also think it's

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interesting to kind of oppose this story to the one we covered

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a few weeks ago around I think it was either board apes or the

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other one. Yeah, they were talking about they didn't want

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to create, you know, their characters. They didn't want to,

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what was the Goliath? He said, we're not your age.

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It's interesting. It's an interesting take. It's a catchy

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headline, Pixar, what three? I mean, they raised six and a half

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million duck dollars. So like, clearly, the pitch worked. I

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just, I'm amazed at like,

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it's one step closer to where I think the plane earn, you know,

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Blockchain based web three companies, whatever gaming

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companies need to be. But yet not far enough, right? Because

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as a gamer, what I know, and I think what they don't know is,

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there are I can, I could probably think of 10 games that

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have incredible storytelling,

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incredible narratives and characters and things like that.

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But the games weren't fun, right? And maybe you played it

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once, or you got halfway through and then you gave up. Like,

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there's, there's a lot of games like that where, you know, a

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story driven game isn't necessarily a fun game. And so

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it's like, it's one step closer to being where we shouldn't be,

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because I agree, more storytelling is better than less

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storytelling, but it's like, couldn't we have just taken it

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to the logical conclusion and just said, Hey, we're gonna make

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really fun games. And that's gonna be our focus is so

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inherently opposed, because single player games are always

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known for like, you play them once? And then it's kind of it

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right? Like, yeah, it's not a live service. You don't want to

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own your character and a single player game because you play

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through, it's like reading a book. Like you read the book.

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Now, it's, maybe yes, maybe you own the physical book, but like,

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you don't own the characters. It's over the story ends. And

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that's it. So I like what is the point at what makes it web three

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that

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it's not, it's not clear to me that this is, I mean, clearly,

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it worked in the sales pitch.

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But I would bet good money, we don't see a fun game out of

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them. Like yeah, ABS, or a game that makes sense to your point

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in that web three context, which is, I think, is a great

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extension of what I was trying to say.

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I just, I'm skeptical, call me skeptical, right, until I see

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someone coming out and saying, Hey, we don't really care about

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the token, and we're not going to sell any NF T's before the

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game comes out. Like, we really want to make a fun game. And

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then we're going to figure out how to monetize with cool NF T's

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and stuff later, like until someone comes out and says it

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just like that, call me skeptical.

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But we'll see. I mean, it's an interesting one to follow. They

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raised a bunch of money at a good time, when you know,

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they can put their heads down and focus on building so we'll

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see what comes from them.

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Jeff, that brings us to the end of this week's podcast I will

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say a reminder to everyone to go subs make sure you hit subscribe

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on the podcast right wherever you listen to it. If it's on

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Spotify, it's on Apple podcasts wherever it is. Hit subscribe

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button so you get notified of our new episodes. Also, make

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sure to follow Jeff on Twitter at Jeff Cohen 23 He's always has

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cool takes hot takes him and you love the juice. If you love the

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juice, go go follow him on Twitter and and subscribe to our

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sister podcasts met a woman which highlights women working

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in the metaverse space and in the gaming space. So incredible

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interviews, and business of esports if you're interested in

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gaming in general, most of all guys, don't forget. The future

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is fun. We'll see you guys next week. Thanks for joining us here

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on meta business. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast

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everywhere you get your podcasts, leave a five star

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review and tell your friends family and colleagues all about

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us. Also, make sure to follow meta TV on all socials to get

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more of the best Metaverse content anywhere. Tune in every

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week for another episode of meta business

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