The Metaverse is Still Messy

They did a second thing, which is they changed their developer licensing agreement such that if there’s ever a dispute, they need a court injunction to cut you off. This is a fundamental belief that for the metaverse to thrive, developers need to trust their investments will be respected. And rather than try to come up with their own legal system, they entrust it to democratic and legislative processes. Just like a landlord has to get legal approval to lock you out of your facility, Epic has to do so in the development route.

And so we have these two companies that are not just focusing on democratization of tools, but their whole framework is actually very different from a value capture perspective. If they can crank up the TAM of the metaverse, they benefit. If they can pull it forward, they benefit and they operate very uniquely as a result.

Gilad Edelman: This book, as I understand it, grew out of this nine-part series that you wrote last year on your website. So that, of course, is available for free. So, what will people … Just teeing you up here, Matt, what will people get from the book that’s not in the nine-part series?

Matthew Ball: Thanks for the tee-up. This book is a dramatic overhaul. It’s about three times longer, but the primer itself, which has been entirely redone, is just the middle third. The rest, which was written about probably 20 times, the writing time, professionally edited, supported, many others read it first, it reflects six months of progress, probably 24 months of compressed learning. But there are three total sections.

The first gets into the history of the metaverse. Why are we talking about it now? Where does it come from? It gets into why gaming, a small part of the leisure economy, seems to be at the forefront of the metaverse. It also spends about 12,000 words providing a detailed definition of the metaverse as well as why we should think of it, not just as some of the internet but a revolution to it.

The second part, as I mentioned, is the primer for the most part, but with fundamental overhauls and some supplements. And then the third gets into social questions, what businesses will be built, when, what’s the societal implication, what’s the regulatory response, and then what can we know and what can’t we know until it’s here.

Lauren Goode: And this comes out on July 19. Is that correct?

Matthew Ball: That’s right.

Lauren Goode: All right. Matt, we’re going to take another quick break and when we come back, we’re going to ask you, our guest of honor, for your recommendation this week.

[Break]

Lauren Goode: All right. Matthew Ball, our guest of honor this week on WIRED’s Gadget Lab, what’s your recommendation?

Matthew Ball: I have two. One is television. I’m really enjoying The Old Man, which is an FX production on Hulu, starring Jeff Bridges, John Lithgow, and Amy Brenneman. And then also the Strict Scrutiny podcast on Crooked Media, especially after the two very signature Supreme Court decisions of the past month. I love the Crooked Media team, but I think Strict Scrutiny is just incredible legal examination with a tinge of advocacy.