MetaversusWorld AMA Recap — WOLF Financial
Date: Thursday 29th September
Guest: Moray Hickes, CEO of MetaversusWorld
Host: Wolf Financial
Moray Hickes, the CEO of MetaversusWorld, was recently on an exciting Twitter Space, discussing the Metaverse, Web 3 and MetaversusWorld’s vision with Wolf Finacial, a key opinion leader organising Twitter Spaces on various themes, including the Metaverse.
MetaversusWorld is a multiverse platform offering several hyper-realistic virtual worlds built on Unreal Engine 5 and EVM, with a focus on brands and their consumers, as the go-to web3 on-ramp for existing web2 brands by offering metaverse-ready products, metaverse as a service, and an NFT marketplace made for brands.
Moray Hickes: Thanks for having me on, it’s a pleasure to be here. So my name is Moray Hickes, I am the CEO of MetaversusWorld. I’ve been in technology for about 20 years. I’ve spent the majority of my career in basically Agile software development, managing large teams, develop applications and experiences for big brands. Got into that back in about 2005/2006 when smartphones first came out before the iPhone, and O seven, when there was an app gold rush and everyone was developing for not only iOS and Android, but for Windows and for BlackBerry and all the other platforms that were out there, and no one knew how to do it, then that kind of translated into digital transformation.
I’ve worked in big corporate companies like EMC, VM Ware and Pivotal Labs, if you’ve heard of those guys, but I’ve also worked in start-up worlds as well. We’ve helped companies build applications like Garmin and Twitter, the NBA, John Hancock, United Healthcare, Scotiabank Care in Canada. These are some of the companies that I’ve helped not just build applications for and experiences, but help them digitally transform and tool themselves up internally to be able to deal with moving everybody to mobile, and now it’s moving to Web 3, which is a good segue way into what we are here. Prior to joining Metaversus, I was the director of Business Development for Huawei in Canada, helping companies move their apps onto the Huawei store. But that’s a different story.
So just to introduce Metaversus a little bit, Metaversus in it’s most simplest form is a virtual world in the metaverse, but to add a bit more colour and detail to that, we are a hyper realistic, interactive, immersive and persistent virtual multiverse. Really our goal is to fuse the worlds of traditional competitive online gaming, so the likes of Fortnite, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Tony Hawk, skateboarding for example, with the emergent world of blockchain metaverse gaming such as you See in Decentraland, Sandbox, and Roblox for etcetera.
The name Metaversus, as you might suspect, is really linked to kind of gaming, competition and rewards. But we really go a bit deeper, and the depth that we add is talking about brand participation and integration of brands into our worlds is at our very core belief. We really fully enable customizable simplified solutions for brands to come in and create exquisite customer and brand experiences. We use Unreal Engine 5 on top of the BSc blockchain, so if you’re familiar with any Unreal Engine experiences, you’ll know that as opposed to the cartoony kind of pixelated graphical user interface that we have been presented with, the likes of Sandbox and Decentraland for example, we are hyper realistic.
We really found that the current metaverse worlds and experiences don’t deliver up to expectation and don’t deliver for brands or consumers. We feel like there’s a poor representation of graphics and avatars, somewhat uninspiring virtual stores with low utility, low engagement, the usage numbers are inflated, there’s low user gratification. There’s no real long term strategic value or direction for brands and everything generally is lacklustre in the representation. We want to create this new hybrid class of ultra realistic immersive metaverse kind of exploration. We’re a new age gaming ecosystem, built with Unreal Engine on top of the BSC, and we offer a totally inclusive ecosystem optimised for brands and their communities using web 3 tech philosophy. Blockchain, crypto, decentralization and most importantly self sovereignty, security, anonymity and control over data.
Questions From The Audience
@TradeTracer: The question that I have for you guys is, is your platform really geared towards kind of like allowing communities and projects to come and work with you to build out a game? Or is it you have a game that’s already existing and it’s kind of an incentive for communities and projects to come and work with you? And then my follow up question to that would be, if there’s a project that currently exists on the Ethereum blockchain, say for example, and obviously this is on you know, the Binance blockchain. Is there any way to, I guess transact or see assets appear on the BSc blockchain as well?
Moray Hickes: Yeah, great question. So I’ll start with the first obviously. So we have our own games. Let me just explain the environment a little bit for you. In Metaversus we are what we call a virtual multiverse. The reason we say that is because it’s not just one world and it’s not one particular environment. We have multiples. We have our Meta City which is kind of like the Meta City of Grand Theft Auto if you like. We have a WildWest Verse, Fashion Verse, Skater Verse, and we have a whole other host of different worlds in our road map that we will release as we get to them and as development allows. Within all of these different worlds and all the different levels within the worlds, we have different activities. There’s a skate area within the Meta City and there’s also a dedicated Skate Verse where you can go skateboarding and BMX. In our Wild West Verse, you can ride horses, compete with other horse riders, go into a saloon, go fishing and you can go into a shooting range. Then in the Fashion Verse you can go in and buy digital assets for your avatars. Throughout all the different areas of MetaversusWorld, there are these different activities where we are encouraging our community to come in and compete in these different games and then be applied leaderboards, which will be on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis where you can win cryptocurrency, NFT’s, brand sponsored rewards and prizes etcetera.
We will also be partnering with other gaming studios and other companies within the metaverse. Like for example, we’ve already done an integration partnership with Ready Player Me. So when you come into MetaversusWorld, you can spawn yourself as your Ready Player Me avatar, you can create your own avatar with our custom avatar creator, or we also have a privacy bot in there too, it kind of looks like a Tesla bot. It’s pretty cool. Somewhere between a Tesla bot and a Power Ranger, so you can come in and and have the different varieties that you need. We will have our own games in there but it’s going to be a big mix to be honest with you. We want to be able to expand that because we’re only at our Alpha release, our closed Alpha is going to be released in the middle of next month and then we’re going to have our open Beta version which is going to come out in Q1 of next year.
Then as it relates to other blockchains, you know we are BSC, it’s EVM and so there’s a Ethereum compatible. We’re making the integration for Ethereum compatibility as we speak actually and then the first on our rub out after that is Polygon. So yeah, we we can’t do everything at once obviously, but having an open ecosystem that allows for portability of assets and the ability for us to be able to work with other companies and other projects that are on other chains is really important to us. I think one of the things that we’ve really identified within the Web 3 Metaverse marketplace is that there are a number of different puns and there’s kind of like walls between them. We’ve all heard about the wormhole attacks and all the different issues that we’ve had with different bridges, but we need to make the interoperability bigger and that’s something that’s very primary to us.
@TradeTracer: I think one of the biggest things is building network effects and being able to work with other communities. One of the downfalls that I’ve seen so far with these gaming, you know NFT companies, is that more often than not, they’re isolated to their own specific community. Being able to not only build that bridge between interoperability of blockchains, but build that bridge between other communities, I think that’s going to be extremely valuable. I think you guys are definitely on the right track and yeah, I would love to pick your brain a little more offline and see if there’s any way that I can help assist you guys.
Moray Hickes: Yeah, absolutely. I mean the big question for us is how do we get to mass adoption, how do we get to on board a billion people into Web 3?
Our take on that is to really make experiences for brands. Gaming is the entry point, right? It’s the obvious entry point because these are the early adopters that use these types of technologies. So to your average Joe, most people think, oh metaverse, oh Web 3, that’s just for gaming, when absolutely it’s not, everything you see in Web 2 right now is gonna be in Web 3 within the next 10 years. You have to kind of understand and define what the metaverse is before you move forward and strategize about how you want to create mass adoption and interoperability.
The metaverse isn’t something magical, new, or any special technology that’s fallen out of the sky. Simply put, it’s the evolution of the Internet from Web 2 to Web 3, leveraging the combination and the power, if you will, of maturing tech readiness, public ledgers, digital currency, circular economies, NFT’s, decentralisation, all of these things as core components coming to the surface. I think that way we will see the ability to really create a valuable user experience rather than, if you go into Sandbox and Decentraland, even if you go into the Tommy Hilfiger store or the Gucci shop. I’ve done it and I’m not personally a gamer, but obviously I’ve done my due diligence and entered into these worlds. It’s clunky, it’s pixelated, it’s cartoony and you kind of walk around and within honestly 5 or 10 minutes I’m bored and there’s nothing really to keep me there or most importantly to keep me coming back.
To go back to our original vision, we wanted to really use an interface that gave a superior quality and matches the expectations that people have. When people are out playing Grand Theft Auto or they’re playing Fortnite, they’re using technologies that give the same kind of look and feel for Unreal Engine 5 and if anyone’s familiar who’s listening, with Unreal Engine 5, that looks almost lifelike, these are photorealistic environments. We present that to brands and instead of going into a very pixelated, cartoony type world or store, for example, you can have a digital twin of a Tokyo based Gucci store or you can go above and beyond, just creating or recreating rather what’s in Web 2 or recreating a brick and mortar store is almost missing the point. You can go way above and beyond and really engage and immerse your audience way further.
We’ve started to work on what we’re calling metaverse as a service mass, um sounds a bit cheesy, you know, obviously it’s taken as everything is a service, starting with software as a service. We feel like we know that brands want to come and experiment in the metaverse in order to understand what their audience wants and need from such an experience. We also understand that not all brands have giant budgets to come in and spend $1,000,000 on a parcel of land, when the value is really unclear for them and quite frankly, most brands don’t even have a metaverse strategy or realise that they need one yet. So through using our metaverse as a service solution, which we feel is the right mechanism to help brands come in and explore and learn where the value lies. They can use that then as a foundation to build out their strategies whilst experimenting and delivering premium policy experiences.
Really we’ve tried to package that up into a number of pre-packaged products and solutions and frameworks to help onboard brands into the Metaverse instead of having them figure it out for themselves if you like. We’re offering them a highly premium, exquisite experience with top notch visual representation in Unreal Engine 5, but also our fully managed service for all different maturity levels across the Web 3 scope.
It’s really helping both brands transition from Web 2 into Web 3 and then having them bringing their community and their audience into the metaverse to really kind of immerse them in that. I think that’s how we will start to see the emergence of much, much bigger adoption levels when there’s much more rewarding types of experiences and value driven usage of you know, items such as NFTs.
In MetaversusWorld, we’re working with different brands so that if you come into a store then it doesn’t necessarily even need to be a clothing store. I mean that’s the obvious example that we read so much about in the press, but we’re working with some motorcycle brands where they currently have just 2D representations of their NFTS that they sell on different marketplaces like, Open Sea or Rareable. We’re actually rigging those into 3D NFTS that customers can come into their store, they can browse around the store and get a realistic look and feel of what the store is like and then take these NFT 3D versions and race them around the track, and you can apply that to to any type of industry really.
@TradeTracer: Now that Metaverse as a service concept is extremely powerful and it it’s impressive that you’re able to take, you know, a 2D render and generate a 3D version of it within your ecosystem. I’m curious, do you think that as this whole Web 3 and metaverse world gets built out there’s only going to be a couple winners or do you think there’s going to be a host of winners and it’s kind of like going to different metaverses is going to visit different cities.
Moray Hickes: It’s a really interesting question and I think everybody’s kind of asking the same thing. If you look comparatively as to where we are in terms of where the Internet was, we’re in 1995 in Internet terms, where you’re explaining the value of e-mail to people, and people said that the Internet was going to be a fad and that’s where we are with the metaverse. Not so much Web 3, I think people kind of understand that because it’s a natural progression from Web 123. It’s hard to kind of really define but if you look how the Internet grew and the early.com bubble, some of the big Unicorn giants that you see around today will be being built at the moment. There will be some some big players that come out the other side of this and do exceedingly well.
I think that the definition of Web 3, when you look at interoperability and you look at the different use cases in terms of consumers that are hungry for something new, and with different layers and methods of acquisition, retention and loyalty. I mean just look at the way that the today’s digital advertising models are run. They’re tired, they’re highly invasive and they’re dependent on user data and what’s really needed is a breakthrough of virtual world kind of methodologies that are based on interaction and interests and that’s all really on the horizon.
Brands and consumers are craving for a model that takes them out of this whole kind of Facebook, Google ads model with costly kind of SERP search optimization tactics, and all of that kind of stuff. It’s just really tired and all of that’s going to be replaced when the users and the community have the control over their data, as they do in Web 3. You can come into the world and sign in with your wallet, and then you get the choice as to how your data is used. You get the choice as to whether you want to provide that data and you can earn from that data. So the whole rule book from Web 2, not only is it tired and old, but it’s kind of being flipped on its head and thrown out of the window. I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent, but just to get back to your point, you know, there will be some big, big names that come out of the the current market, but I think that it’s almost too early to tell at this stage.
@TradeTracer: Yeah I agree with you and your point to we’re at 1995 in the terms of the Internet right now with Web 3 so I expect massive adoption and those that are building now like you guys are really going to benefit exponentially. So yeah I love what you’re building, man.
@FarmacyFantoms: My project is founded by musician Styles P and we’re looking into different metaverses and our hardest decision is what works with for example, hip-hop. So like it wouldn’t look right for a Minecraft character to be rapping, so we need something a little on brand. I would just love to know your thoughts on that. I know there’s some metaverses that look like Grand Theft Auto and they have arenas and stuff, which is pretty dope. Like I just would love your input on it.
Moray Hickes: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve been talking to companies similar to yours and one company we’ve been having conversations with is Geo Jam, where Mariah Carey is one of their celebrity strategic advisors. In MetaversusWorld we have a big arena, and we have different nightclub areas, and different areas where you can host events. We’re talking about doing pre recorded and even live sessions but also talking about working with motion capture, right. We’ve been talking to some big clubs in Ibiza, such as Passion, where if a DJ like Claptone for example wants to come in and do a DJ set live on a Friday night he could wear a motion capture suit and have every single motion captured and the music displayed live in the metaverse and we can also do this as a pre-recorded way as well. I think you’re right yeah, it doesn’t really work with the kind of pixelated and cartoony kind of depiction that we have at the moment.
The opportunities to have this in a hyper realistic photorealistic type of environment where you can have hundreds if not thousands of concurrent users in the same place means you’re really expanding your reach and able to grow communities and grow the fanbase for these artists, and then you can also incorporate different NFT utilities within these types of experience as well. We are looking for partnerships and companies to come and work with us, so we’d love to have a conversation with you offline.
@FarmacyFantoms: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a guarantee. I think Guv could vouch, I actually met Gavin IRL, which is dope. A big fan of Wolf man, just what he’s doing. Everybody’s doing what Wolf’s been doing right. Setting trends, trailblazing. That’s my dude. But yeah, lets chat in the back channel and 100% man, we’re definitely looking for somebody to help us with this, we’re not minting until November, so we’re taking our time and really building this strong, but one of our road map 2.0 goals is to have Styles P doing metaverses and different types of cool concepts with hip hop and artists around him.
Moray Hickes: Amazing, amazing sounds great and one of the things I haven’t touched on is most of these metaverse worlds are using downloadable clients and primarily we will be using a downloadable client too. But as it relates to brands and different experiences and bringing in fan bases and different types of community members, not everybody wants to go in and download or not everybody’s in front of their computer at the same time, right? So we’re going to be offering a pixel streaming version of our platform too, so you can use any device. As long as you have a decent enough Internet connection, you’ll be able to come and participate on that as well. I think that’s another really important thing to consider when you’re doing live, particularly live music events, not so much with pre recorded because people can come in and obviously do that at their own discretion.
Pixel streaming and the downloadable client is interesting and it’s a problem that I think everybody is trying to solve at the same time. How do you obtain the highest fidelity type of experience but reduce the package at the same time? Then again, Pixel streaming does exist, but it’s infinitely more expensive and there are so many different layers of complexity underneath like how much it costs per user to have everybody in there at the same time, how long can you run it for, etcetera, etcetera.
When we’re talking about metaverse as a service and we’re trying to attract big brands in, and not just brands, people think about Metaverse and primarily people think about high end luxury clothing retailers but the application is far beyond that. It can go to so many different areas. It’s so interesting and it’s so broad, but we have to try and apply some focus. You know those primary areas that we’re going to see the mass adoption for, have to come from the areas where the loyalty is and where people are actually going to come in and participate.
@FarmacyFantoms: Yeah just to touch on something, we did a IRL show in Irving Plaza in New York City and we sold out Irving Plaza. It was about 1500 people. I pushed Styles to do a streaming service, cause I’m basically part of his production slash management team. It was like 17 bucks and you got to stream the concert, and we had amazing feedback and all that was, was a live streaming. I mean, it’s very primitive in the sense of the quote in quote metaverse. But we gave people an opportunity to see the concert and I was concerned about how people would like experience it, and I got such great feedback on it, so if I can get great feedback on that, then imagine.
Moray Hickes: Yeah, yeah. That’s really interesting, that just got me thinking about, these 360 degree cameras that they now have at NBA games or NFL games. You can come and sit courtside at a Lakers game or a Knicks game and you can view that in your Oculus headset, for example, VR. When people think about Metaverse, they think about VR but realistically the adoption level isn’t there, the technology isn’t there. The VR headsets I’ve got, sat right in front of me now, it’s a big clunky thing. I can’t really wear that for longer than half an hour.
Apple are gonna be releasing a headset pretty soon and if you look at the way that the smartphone has developed over the last couple decades, it’s really shrunk down and the power is immense. Soon we’re going to see, VR making its way into the Metaverse, as well as AR. There’s so many different applications, particularly as it relates to live music events. It’s super interesting. We’re talking to a couple of artists now about also being able to sell basically music NFTs, so that our community can come in and buy an NFT and it gives them the rights to be able to play that music as they navigate and explore through the metaverse.
@FarmacyFantoms: Some really solid ideas. Definitely, definitely, definitely will form a relationship somehow because it’s very important to us and could definitely be a great asset to you.
@lucasgw: My question is, number one, are there methodologies for publishing into your spaces or do you guys have a creation tool? And then number two is, once you’ve published, let’s say you’ve used your tool to get a fully functioning metaverse up and going, then is there a methodology that you have or is this not your business of connecting those spaces? Because I totally agree with you that we’re in like 1995 of Web 3 but one of the big problems that we run into is that we have software that creates spaces, but we are not a platform, we are not a destination platform and we do not want to be. And so we publish things, we publish concerts to Alt Space in VR Chat and Horizon and all these different places but the interoperability between them is essentially 0.
If you have say a Ready Player Me avatar or if you have one of your avatars we want people to go to different spaces, and that’s been a huge stumbling block for us when we work with musicians and when we work with brands. Just curious of your thoughts on that. So to summarize #1, do you guys have a way of importing spaces or do you use your own creation tools and #2, do you have a way of connecting between your different metaverses?
Moray Hickes: So, yeah, right now it’s pretty manual. As we on board companies, brands, whatever it might be into our metaverse, we kind of do all the heavy lifting on the back end ourselves. We will be creating a tool that takes all the learnings from that heavy lifting and consolidate it into a very simplified process so that it’s as simple as a brand going on to Facebook and creating a page, if you’ll forgive the the comparison. Now we can only speak from our world perspective, we want to open ourselves up as far as it’s possible to integrate with as many different blockchains and as many different worlds as possible, but we’re trying to make our worlds as expansive as possible.
Starting with our Meta City, rather than start with something that’s really kind of space age and where things don’t really fit in, with Meta City and our Fashion Verse these are two really good starting blocks because they’re very familiar for the community and for the different brands that we want to try and work with.
Another piece that we will be developing in our road map for I think it’s Q2 of next year is an SDK. So we’ll be providing SDK as well as this simplified onboarding solutions for brands and individuals to come in and kind of do a lot of the work themselves once we’ve overcome all the obstacles using our first view partners as like somewhat guinea pigs if you will.
@lucasgw: Cool. Thanks for the info, so are you guys also in addition to creating the metaverses that people can go into, are you launching yourselves also as a destination and hosting that metaverse for all of the brands and for your B2B customers?
Moray Hickes: Absolutely, yeah, we are destination, we will be hosting everything. The services and the costings that we provide for those services are all wrapped up into that.
@lucasgw: Ah, OK. So would you position yourself as sort of in some ways a competitor to Horizon or Pico Worlds or VR chat etcetera, etcetera?
Moray Hickes: Yeah, yeah, I mean absolutely we would see ourselves as a competitor in that space for sure. You know, I think we kind of position ourselves if you think about a matrix of open and close, plus earn and pay. You know, we’re in the top right there. We swim in the same pond as all of these big names, whether it’s Roblox, Axie Infinity, Sandbox or Decentraland. We are a destination world, but there’s another world that we’ve seen a lot of recently called Spatial, and Spatial create kind of event based metaverse experiences for brands, not kind of long term destinations, but kind of short term pieces. So yeah, you know, we definitely see ourselves as a competitor in that space.
@lucasgw: Cool, I appreciate it. Thanks for the info. I wasn’t aware of you guys until this space popped up and that’s what Twitter spaces is for.
Moray Hickes: Yeah, I think we’ve been deliberately flying under the radar because we wanna let our product speak for itself. You know, there’s a lot of noise and a lot of promises, a lot of empty promises and a lot of fluff out there. We’re just about to turn our marketing dial up to 11 because our Alpha is coming out at the end of next month and we weren’t going to upgrade Unreal Engine 5 until next year, but we made the decision to do it earlier. I feel like the strength of our product and our value proposition, not only to the community but also to the brands, is strong enough that once people see what we’ve built and that ignites, and the possibilities in their mind ignite, it’s gonna make a big splash.