Walmart enters the Metaverse with Walmart Land on Roblox. (Walmart)

Walmart Enters the Metaverse and NVIDIA Seeks to Populate It

This week Walmart enters the Metaverse, BONELAB is available on Quest, Lenovo releases its new VR headset and NVIDIA launches an AI initiative to populate virtual worlds.

This Week in the Charts

Major tokens saw ups and downs this week, ending in the green. Both BTC and ETH are up around 5 percent, with BTC back above $19,500 and ETH still below $1,500. Both tokens remain significantly below values that they saw before a major dive earlier in the month. Last week we also reported that Ripple was seeing significant gains. However, that coin is currently down some 50 percent from then.

The big news in crypto markets has been a “decoupling event” — crypto being up while stocks are down. Recently, crypto markets have largely been following the same trends as the stock market — likely because of the growing presence of institutional investors in the space. The question is whether this decoupling will continue and what caused it.

New Enterprise Headset from Lenovo

Last week the XR hardware news was more-or-less dominated by PICO who announced their 4th generation headsets in Europe, including a sneak peek at the enterprise edition, which will likely be available in America sooner than any entertainment offering by the company. This week, however, U.S. company Lenovo announced an enterprise-focused stand-alone 6DoF headset, the VRX.

This was expected by followers of Lenovo as ThinkReality, the company’s XR division, has previously worked with PICO on its headsets; however, press materials from Lenovo don’t mention PICO’s collaboration and, while previous Lenovo headsets were identifiably PICO-derived, the VRX looks nothing like the PICO 4. Worth noting: this is Lenovo’s first VR headset since PICO was purchased by ByteDance.

NVIDIA Populating the Metaverse

On the software side, NVIDIA announced an AI research initiative for “populating virtual worlds with 3D objects and characters.” The generative model, called GET3D, can reportedly create up to twenty models per second.

Like any AI project, the more a person has to start with, the better the end result will be. However, this remains a huge potential toolbox for virtual world builders.

How Decentraland Emotes

After the Decentraland virtual world announced emotes last week, hundreds have been added to the marketplace. This is significant because of the expression that it allows within the virtual world, but also because of the potential impact on the Decentraland creator economy as any user of the platform can make and sell emotes.

Decentraland is not the first virtual world to allow emotes. Everyone from AltspaceVR to Virbela already has them. However, these platforms give users access to the same handful of pre-programed emotes. The variety and self-selection made available through Decentraland’s new initiative is a potential first for the tech.

BONELAB Good. Hype Bad?

This week VR social media was foaming at the mouth over the release of BONELAB. The highly anticipated sequel to 2019’s BONEWORKS has received rave reviews fueling a metadiscourse about the value of gaming expectations in VR’s still fledgling consumer market.

BONEWORKS was only available for PC. BONELAB is available on Quest. While PC VR in 2019 was a more expensive and therefore self-limiting market, Quest is a very affordable entry point for new gamers. BONELAB is an “experimental physics” game with effects that may be too much for new users. So, will the buzz around bones end up hurting adoption when noobs don’t know what they’re signing up for?

Walmart Enters the Metaverse

Speaking of hype, Walmart has been dipping its toes in virtual worlds. The company itself backed the creation of two worlds on the Roblox platform intended both to be a testing ground for future projects, and to reach new and younger audiences.

Walmart is going into the Metaverse, but the Metaverse is also coming into Walmart. FLEX NBA, an AR-enabled trading card game, launched in Walmart stores this week. Also this week, Walmart teamed with Funko Pop and Warner Brothers to explore digital collectibles.