Kinetix, a Paris-based 3D animation company that secured $11 million in seed funding in May, is using the funding to expand the platform to new audiences and launch artificial intelligence (AI) experiences for metaverse users.
Yassine Tahi, co-founder and CEO of Kinetix, spoke with MediaPost about the company's views on other metaverse platforms like Ready Player Me, The Sandbox, the importance of utility and community in non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and more.
MediaPost is sitting down with a variety of specialists over the next two weeks who understand the complexity of these emerging concepts, the technologies associated with them, and the brand implications as more consumers invest their time moving into 2023.
MediaPost: Is there anything that could interrupt or damage the metaverse’s future?
Yassine Tahi: For us, the most damaging thing for the metaverse would be for the concept to become
meaningless by moving away from the goal of seamlessly connecting multiple virtual worlds.
Building this new industry is not just a matter of technologies we bring in. We need to create new ways to engage users and creators that are less dependent on advertising revenue and personal data scraping.
Metaverse enthusiasts are asking for interoperability and ownership, which are very challenging concepts for platforms built on Web2 paradigms.
MediaPost: How do you feel about Mark Zuckerberg’s role in metaverse promotion?
Tahi: We believe Meta and Mark Zuckerberg are incredible promoters. However, reaching the Metaverse is definitely not a one-man or one-woman job, and other players must step in to offer their vision while it’s still forming.
The metaverse is here to stay. There are still immediate revenue considerations that explain some momentary challenges. Players with a long-term vision in tech and strong ambitions in participating in the emergence of a new culture will be most successful in the industry.
MediaPost: What effects will Sam Bankman-Fried’s recent actions have on the public adoption of Web3 and the metaverse?
Tahi: The worst thing about the Sam Bankman-Fried episode is that it perfectly illustrates how centralization causes harm. The way FTX was managing its operation is the exact opposite to Web3’s core ideal of decentralization.
This pernicious behavior surfing on speculation is what the crypto industry must avoid. It is a strong warning that to see crypto being adopted by more users, we all share the responsibility of being transparent about what we build and how we build it.
What’s going to drive adoption of Web3 is the possibility given by blockchain to own and trade your avatars, wearables, emotes, weapons, and cards across virtual worlds. This is a new way to play and socialize that will engage audiences.
We believe Web3 will thrive when only a few thousand become millions of players. Additional regulation will also
help to clean up this industry for good.
MediaPost: Who will be positive leaders in the Web3/metaverse space in 2023?
Tahi: We believe that the most inspiring leaders in the space are The Sandbox and Ready Player Me.
The Sandbox demonstrate what a Web3 virtual world owned by its users brings to the metaverse.
The success of Season 3 shows that it’s becoming very popular. “Ledger,” a Web3 educational game, has been one of the season's most successful games, demonstrating that users are interested in getting tools and accessing knowledge to safely experience virtual worlds.
We also love how this world embraces diversity and inclusivity. Collections like Colors of Diversity really show how the metaverse can become a welcoming place.
Ready Player Me, on the other hand, is making avatar creation easy for everyone. It offers its technology as an infrastructure to virtual worlds and games, helping newcomers to easily test environments integrating their solution.
MediaPost: From games to virtual land ownership, which types of projects will have the best chance of succeeding in the metaverse/Web3?
Tahi: We are in a stage where the most critical challenge is to drive adoption of virtual worlds. Therefore, successful experiences will be judged based on the number of additional users they have brought to the virtual worlds.
Increasing user retention will also become a critical metric for games and land owners.
This is why we will see an acceleration of creators, brands and celebrities creating events in the metaverse. From Travis Scott's successful concert in Fortnite to NIKELAND in Roblox, we know that collaborations like these work.
Having fan communities engaging in fully 3D-rendered environments including multiple communication modes creates deeper experiences and virtual worlds.
We want to see AI used to make sure that newcomers not only join the metaverse but also play, socialize and have fun so they will return.MediaPost: Which metaverse/Web3 projects are most likely to suffer in 2023?
Tahi: We are all very likely to suffer. We know that the market is evolving and that the coming months will be focused on delivery, not vision.
There have been many projects raising funds over the last months and years, with only a few finding traction. This is why the market is tense.
This new era should focus on investing in technologies that bring clear benefits to users. This will help drive traffic to the metaverse.
So many players are waiting for fun and immersive multiplayer experiences in real-time, fully rendered 3D worlds. There is an undisputed opportunity to engage with a broad audience in the long term, and we must double the efforts as the market becomes more challenging.
MediaPost: How will NFTs fare in 2023?
Tahi: Our opinion is that NFT prices will stabilize in 2023.
The huge speculation we observed during the bullish market helped develop some cool projects, but didn’t show users the real value behind NFTs. As the market went down, most serious projects still had a decent trading volume, while projects with less utility didn’t.
Digital collectibles are a new way for holders to take part in projects, own and use assets with full rights, belong to a community, show their personality, and eventually trade.
When NFTs became popular we skipped too many steps in creating the conditions for a moderate economy around them. The bear market is giving us this opportunity now.
Assets that find traction in 2023 will be those that are most interoperable and integrated in fun gaming experiences.
Utility is going to be the alpha and omega of NFT projects. We saw that a project like Reddit collectibles has been incredibly successful by focusing on the value added to its vibrant community. This is the kind of project we all must take inspiration from.
NFTs with clear utilities and easy-to-understand vision will win the market.
Sorare is another great example of projects paving the way. One of the most striking facts that only few have noticed is that during the last months we reached record numbers of deployed Smart Contracts.
Prices might have decreased, but democratization is coming. We see the NFTs shifting from a connoisseur thing to a more mass market usage. We are excited to take part in that change and to do our part in democratizing NFTs.
MediaPost: How will brands succeed in the metaverse?
Tahi: Brands are jumping into the metaverse, but a lot of them are failing in a way that is similar to the way brands failed social media.
Some brands see the metaverse as a new channel in their media mix where they can share the same messages they share on other channels. But to be truly successful in the metaverse, you need to understand its emerging cultural code.
Luxury and fashion trends are accustomed to adapting and creating new cultural trends, which explains their immediate success in metaverse projects.
For brands with less capability to seize on trends, we recommend they get support from experienced builders. The metaverse is being observed by very engaged users and critical thinkers, so there is a risk of discrediting one's brand.
MediaPost: Are VR, AR, and 3D tech crucial to persuading the public to adopt the metaverse and/or Web3?
Tahi: We believe that discussions about virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) adoption too often distract us from the facts that today's most successful virtual worlds are mainly used on desktop or mobile.
For us, VR and AR are among the options available to live 3D rendered experiences, but the metaverse is more accessible via current smartphones and desktops.
MediaPost: How will the 2023 metaverse and/or Web3 compare to its status in 2022?
Tahi: The metaverse will enter a new era in 2023, with a lot of cool projects and technological advances that increase immersion and interaction possibilities for users.
We believe that generative AI is the game-changer in our field. Artificial intelligence (AI) integration speeds up the process of creation, letting developers enhance users’ experiences in no time.
But the real transformation will happen when users have the ability to use generative AI features to enhance their experiences by themselves.
This will connect worlds to their audiences. They will no longer be seen as stunning venues where you can walk around, but as playful environments where your creations interact with the game play.
MediaPost: What emerging metaverse/Web3 projects are you most excited about for 2023?
Tahi: One we really believe in is Next Dancer. It represents the next generation of dance games, which let users integrate their dance moves into the platform.
By bridging the gap between physicality and virtuality, they create a new genre of experience.
This is a breakthrough gameplay supported by generative AI using blockchain technology to give users full ownership on their own dances. They can even partner with brands, dance influencers, and dance events to create an open dance experience.