Metaverse-Related Reader Predictions for 2024– And a Call for an <em>Easy Riders, Raging Bulls</em>-Style Creative Transformation

Here's some reader predictions for the coming year, first from longtime media exec Matthew Hawn:

We get a solid UGC commercial hit on UEFN – built in their Creative 2.0 tools – that *isnt* from Epic Games. 

The focus on populating 3D worlds with AI characters fails to ignite anyone's interest. Why? NPCs without real storytelling frameworks and actual plots are just as boring as empty 3D worlds. We need the energy and revolution of 60's and 70's indie Hollywood for the metaverse/game world (as chronicled in Peter Biskin's excellent Easy Riders, Raging Bulls).

As an example of prediction #1, Matthew mentions Cabbage Systems, and indie studio building original games on UEFN (I.E., Unreal Engine for Fortnite), and recommends following Simon Carless's DiscoverCo newsletter to track this emerging ecosystem. 

As to prediction #2, I definitely agree we'll probably see disappointing results from AI-driven game characters. (Or to make that a more verifiable prediction: we won't see games/metaverse platforms with a heavy focus on AI characters attract strong player usage.)

I also hope that we see a burst of 70's movie-style creative energy in the metaverse platform space. Acclaimed game designer Jenova Chen (Journey) said something similar to me last year for the book, when alluding to his future plans with Sky: Children of Light:

Every successful metaverse platform evokes emotional chords, from the wonder and awe of exploring a new world, to the surprise and delight of user creativity. Chen’s goal is to create a broadly accessible experience with a wide enough emotional spectrum to appeal across all demographics. He also thinks it’s in the Metaverse that his lifelong goal of creating the Citizen Kane of games might be achieved.

Yes, Citizen Kane is from the 40s, but it was a huge influence on the great filmmakers associated with the 70's era. At any rate, metaverse platforms definitely need more designers like Chen from the "art game" space.

More 2024 predictions from reader Martin K below:

Apple releases Vision Pro, sells all devices that they produce, and cannot always meet demand.

Meta releases a new cheap Quest headset with optional controllers, better mixed reality than Quest 2, and better software compatibility to Quest 3 than Quest 2.

Valve announces a new VR headset with mixed reality capabilities.

During most of 2024, Roblox's native Quest app stays ahead of Rec Room and VRChat in Meta's "Most Popular" game category.

Meta does not revive the "Builder Tracks" of the Oculus Start and Oculus Launch Pad programs for developing in Horizon Worlds, and does not hold new building competitions in Horizon Worlds with significant cash prizes.

Ready at Dawn announces a new game for Quest.

Most of these sound right to me, except for the VisionPro being a big hit out the gate. I'd say that's highly unlikely and probably not even what Apple wants. But I'll dive into the details on that question in a future post!

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