Neal Stevenson’s Snow Crash, a techno-dystopian sci-fi novel that has become the stuff of legend among Silicon Valley’s tech brethren, predicted the rise of a future Metaverse in 1992..
Even though Stephenson said that “he only invented things”Snow Crash’s eerily accurate world-building and predictions have long been revered by tech entrepreneurs and futurists like Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg..
Now, Stephenson’s startling fictional descriptions of a Metaverse oversaturated with the neon glow of commercial advertising ring truer than ever.as Web3 designers and vendors prepare to start advertising in the Metaverse today.
On February 23, the mixed reality platform NFT Realm announced its partnership with decentralized advertising exchange Alkimi. Realm stated that it intends to use the Alkimi platform to incentivize players to win with the advertisementssharing revenue from existing ad formats transparently.
Realm co-founder Matthew Larby said in a statement that transparency is one of the main priorities to avoid a technological dystopia like Snow Crash.
“Advertising is a core part of most existing social apps, but the deal has been pretty bad for both the person creating the data and the advertiser struggling to verify their spending.”
Ben Putley, CEO of Alkimi Exchange, added to this saying: “Advertising has always followed the eyeballs and as we see the number of people spending time in the Metaverses, it will quickly become a channel that advertisers will look to include in their strategies”.
While Alkimi and Realm have their sights set on ensuring a transparent and sustainable advertising environment, other great actors are diving headfirst into the Metaverse.
JPMorgan has recently published a report stating that the metaverse is a “trillion dollar opportunity” and in which it is noted that “[el marketing] is potentially one of the largest segments of the metaeconomy”.
Bidstack, a British company dedicated to advertising within games, has announced its partnership with the multinational media platform Azerion. Bidstack specializes in creating “in-game” ads, where companies pay to have their products appear on billboards in a game like Call of Duty.
In-game advertising is not a new concept: in 2008, Barack Obama bought in-game billboards from EA to boost the reach of his presidential campaign. Thanks to the geotagging capability, EA was able to place ads in 10 different swing states, adorning billboards for Madden, NBA and even Need for Speed with Obama promotional material.
However, the metaverse is not being designed as a game, but as an alternate world in which humans will no doubt spend more and more time, which ultimately means advertising will be the obvious next step for most marks.
Unless people and businesses take some care in designing the kind of world people want to spend their time in, the metaverse could become something akin to Snow Crash, where underpaid delivery drivers drive through endless virtual advertising tunnels.
“His car is an invisible black pill, just a dark place that reflects the tunnel of franchise posters: the loglo.” – Snow Crash, page 13.
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