Updated: Apr 29
Earlier today, Shane Isaac (CEO, Earth2) participated in the R/GA panel at the 'Creating Metaverse Experiences in APAC' event. He discussed the Metaverse from Earth2's perspective.
Here are the key excerpts from his conversation in the panel that was hosted by Robert Sawatzky (Haymarket Media) and the participants also included - Dean Sciole (General Motors), Tuomas Peltonieme (R/GA), and Connie Ho (R/GA).
The session opened with the panel discussing how the Metaverse and underlying tech are not new, however there is now a confluence of some key emerging trends that will define the Metaverse/Web3 experience, these are - Societal shift to Virtual (accelerated by Covid), Crypto and Blockchain, and Gaming & Virtual Worlds.
Below is from what Shane said during the panel discussion -
Describing what Earth2 is:
Shane:- We are 16/17 months into building Earth 2, and its really early days. There are other platforms in the metaverse space which took years to put together and their vision is probably not as grand scale as Earth 2. We are in this for the long run so we are committed to certain things now and some in the future.
Earth 2 means different things to different people but in a nutshell Earth 2 is a geo-locational Metaverse, with direct correlation between real-world locations and the digital representation of those locations inside Earth 2. This digital representation will expand and grow over time as we roll-out future technology
Launched the MVP of Earth 2 in Nov, 2020. Ironically I launched this as a side project, but people quickly fell in love with the concept and around December we hit hyper-growth with a range of statistics that would challenge almost any start-up in history.
We released a digital grid over land that spread across the planet Earth and we split that into what we advertise as 10x10 meter plots. However, the actual size of those plots maybe larger than 10x10 meters which the players will find out pretty soon when we release the 3D version of Earth 2.
People have been able to buy, trade and slightly customize their lands. This has been at a scale where player to player trading sales have run into tens of millions of dollars. This is all in Fiat, even as we are dedicated to moving to web3.
What inspired you to build Earth2?
Shane:- To answer this I'd probably cover what 'the Metaverse' should be
Top 5 things that a Metaverse should be -
It should be big enough, you should be able to zoom out and it looks expansive.
It should feel real as much as possible, as though it truly exists. So in case of Earth 2 you can access it from any Earth 1 location to see what's happening on Earth 2 at the corresponding location. Its more like alternate reality.
Long term sustainable economy, which rewards those who are participating in it.
Decentralized as much possible, providing irrefutable ownership on key digital assets. Earth 2 is currently centralized, but we are committed to decentralize it. 'The Metaverse' in the future will be too important to be run alone by a single corporation.
Supports creativity - Means it never stops expanding. It never becomes stagnant as it supports creativity not just from players/individuals but also businesses who can can use those tools to create a presence inside the Metaverse. The platform should also reward those creations for what others need or derive happiness from.
On taking Earth 1 brands and products inside the Metaverse:
Shane:- Important to stick to your guns what you are creating and aligned with your product and brand.
There are massive opportunities for top brands to create digital assets. Brands will probably have to focus on building out teams of 3D model designers as opposed to team of people creating those goods in factories as they do on Earth 1. In the Metaverse people will have the ability to purchase these.
People are going to want to collect things, they will want rarity, things to beautify their avatars or their environment. And its important that people either purchase these or earn these items as opposed to just being given freely - so does actually have purpose inside of the platform.
On Earth 2, we'd like to create intrinsic value into everything that enters Earth 2. So there is a process to building things as opposed to just creating 3D assets themselves. There's actually an economy where you do need to mine resources you're going to be able to process into building blocks. So there's going to be players who will focus on this, much like in real world where we have factories and manufacturers that provide things for us to build real world objects.
On building inclusivity and safety inside the Metaverse:
Shane:- In any case, everyone on web3 will leave a digital footprint wherever they go or whatever they do. As such platforms can track these profiles and exercise some control or filtering. So for example, two different avatars in a particular virtual setting can potentially see different things basis their profile even at the same location - say one of them could see a beer stall while the other sees wine.
Its going to be a long term thing to build this a safe platform.
On interoperability between Metaverse platforms & NFTs:
Shane:- This is a good question, and its something people outside of the developer world don't understand, esp. in the ways NFTs have been rolled out over the past year. I don't think that most of the NFTs are going to have interoperability inside any given Metaverse.
A lot of people don't understand that to create foundations of a 3D environment/Metaverse there are different rules with different technology and different kinds of engines that are delivering different platforms.
We are not going interoperability for quite some time until either the hardware tech significantly catches up or the different metaverse platforms come together with a common consensus on this is how we are all going to build our models. However, i don't see this happening in the near future.
This is one of the reasons I did not follow through the NFT hype train inside Earth 2, that do not have any real purpose or interoperability. When we roll out our NFTs I want them to be something that you can feel and use inside the platform as opposed to something that might just sit on a wall.
We are still very early into the Metaverse:
Shane:- For example we tested who would want to advertise inside Earth 2, and we still have a database of about 10,000 people wanting to advertise. We had amazing response to this test, but we realized it was way too early for us to dive in and make a mistake, and facilitate advertising that didn't make sense or didn't properly represent what advertising should be inside of Metaverse.
I think a lot of the (Metaverse) platforms are way outside of being able to commit anything just yet.
What will accelerate the Metaverse development & experience?
Shane:- I think its obviously the progression of technology. From Earth 2's perspective, the long term goals of Earth 2 are going to be realized over several years, not the next year or even next few years, to the level we wanted to occur. There is the possibility to do this in steps and that's what we are doing here. We are being visionaries looking into the future and realizing that as the hardware and other technology catches up.
You have to just look at Nvidia, the tech they are building is absolutely amazing. There's lots of different companies around the world building different tech that is going to lead us, whether that's haptic suits or advanced VR sets, its all going to lead us into the Metaverse. At Earth 2 we are trying to create that software platform for it that will gradually expand over time and support all this upcoming technology. We are going to be partnering with and using technology as it becomes available in next couple of years and beyond.
Full video can be found at the R/GA website