As many know, there has been a significant amount of hype surrounding the metaverse this year already. The hype train really started in 2021 when Facebook became “Meta” and other companies began following suit and building for what they believe will be the next evolution of human interaction.
However, while the metaverse is seeing more people showing interest, there has also been a growing number of companies looking to break this hold or combine the two worlds.
Let’s Go Outside!
Recently, Outside Inc. - a media company based in Boulder, Colorado - announced the upcoming launch of a non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace designed to give people incentives to actually spend time out of their homes. The platform’s vision is to encourage outdoor activities - and, by extension, reduce the amount of time spent in the metaverse.
As the company’s name suggests, Outside Inc. has been focused primarily on publications and productions designed to promote healthy living. The company creates content around building an active lifestyle, and it owns brands such as The Vegetarian Times and Outside Magazine.
The company’s new announcement confirmed that it will launch an NFT marketplace called the Outerverse. Company chief executive Robin Thurston explained to reporters that their goal is to get people to stay outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature - instead of being indoors and staring at a screen all the time.
NFTs With A Catch
Outside’s primary offering will be a limited-edition NFT collection called the Outerverse Passport. The collection is expected to launch in early June, and it will offer several benefits to holders. These include a three-year subscription to Outside+ - the company’s subscription service. Token holders will also get the opportunity to purchase additional NFTs that the company will create over time, provided that they don’t sell their NFTs. The subscription to Outside+ will also be contingent on the holders’ ability to keep their NFTs for the three-year duration.
However, the Outerverse won’t focus on NFTs from the company alone. The marketplace is expected to feature collections made by other artists and influencers for the first year. Nonprofits and other companies focused on outdoor activities will also be allowed to mint and sell their tokens. It is worth noting that the company hasn’t said anything about the minting criteria and whether it would allow freedom of operation or monitor the NFTs that are being minted.
While the company hasn’t made any pronouncements, Outside is reportedly looking to offer rewards to people who spend a certain amount of time outdoors. Whether it’s skiing or hiking, or simply walking your dog, Outside is looking to encourage people to spend time outdoors and engage in different activities.
The company will rely on data from its Gaia GPS product and other fitness trackers to do this. Thurston explained that many fitness trackers have customizable application program interfaces (APIs) and are already connected with many of them. So, maintaining accountability shouldn’t be much of an issue.
Resistance To The Metaverse In Tech
It is interesting to see another company raising the alarm over what they perceive to be the dangerous trend of the metaverse. Outside has stated clearly that its goal is to help people get healthier and encourage them to spend more time outdoors. However, they’re not the only company to push against the metaverse.
Back in February, Salesforce - the world’s leading customer relations management (CRM) platform - paid for an ad slot at the Super Bowl, where they encouraged people to be more active in preserving the Earth. The ad slot was helmed by Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, who advocated for preserving the planet while drifting over the San Francisco area in an air balloon.
“It’s not time to escape; it’s time to engage. It’s time to plant more trees. It’s time to build more trust. It’s time to make more space for all of us….,” McConaughey said.
While the tech world is definitely enamored with the opportunities that abound in the metaverse, we expect to see more resistance from all sides.
To be fair, everyone seems to have a point - both the proponents and critics of the metaverse. Proponents are right that the metaverse could bring new interactive and marketing opportunities, while critics are also right to believe that the metaverse could be dangerous in many ways - especially for human health and socialization.