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Metaverse, VR in spotlight as Tokyo Game Show opens – Kyodo News Plus

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KYODO NEWS KYODO NEWS – 7 hours ago – 17:44 | All, Japan
The Tokyo Game Show opened to media and industry figures Thursday, with the general public permitted to attend in the coming days for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus, bringing the latest in metaverse and virtual reality titles and technologies into the spotlight.
The annual extravaganza for video-game lovers, one of the biggest of its kind in the world, is being held at Chiba’s Makuhari Messe convention center, near Tokyo, through Sunday. The general public can access the show from Friday afternoon.
The show was held largely online for the past two years due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions and the organizer expects to attract some 150,000 visitors across the four days this year.
About 600 companies and organizations from 37 countries and regions, including Japanese giants Capcom Co. and Square Enix Co., are participating in the event. Despite opening to the public again, some of the exhibitions can still be accessed online, according to the organizer, the Computer Entertainment Supplier’s Association.
“People have come to re-evaluate the intrinsic value of games during the pandemic as they serve as a communication tool,” Hideki Hayakawa, the head of the organizer, said during the opening ceremony.
“We want people to enjoy the thrill of games both in the real world and online.”
The metaverse has become a buzzword in the game industry and beyond as more companies from game developers to banks have begun to see the business potential of a virtual world that allows users to experience shopping, attend events and communicate with each other from anywhere.
During the keynote lecture, Bandai Namco Holdings Inc. said it is developing a metaverse themed after Gundam, a robot featured in its popular animations.
“We want to create a space where fans from all over the world can gather and connect,” the company’s “Chief Gundam Officer” Koji Fujiwara said.
Facebook Inc., the operator of its namesake social media service, changed its name to Meta Platforms Inc. last year to concentrate on its metaverse business, focusing public attention on the nascent technology.
As part of efforts to promote public interest in VR, the company exhibited its VR headset Meta Quest 2 for the first time at the game show, along with seven titles, including the popular music game “Beat Saber” and a new shooting game “X8.”
Capcom displayed a VR version of its popular survival-horror title “Resident Evil Village,” specifically developed for Sony Group Corp.’s VR headset PlayStation VR2 expected to go on sale next year.
High-quality graphics and 3D audio are particularly effective in immersing a player in the world of a spine-chilling game, Capcom said.
Metaverse venture Cluster Inc. announced the launch of a game based on Pop-Up Pirate, a popular toy that sees players take turns sliding toy swords into a barrel with the player who causes the pirate doll to pop up from the barrel losing.
“Metaverse is a big movement going beyond the genre of game,” Chief Executive Officer Naoto Kato said. “We want to create a world where you can become whoever you want to be and live whatever lifestyle that suits you.”
With Japan increasingly easing anti-virus restrictions, the number of participating organizations recovered to about 90 percent of that seen in 2019, which stood at 655. The number of titles exhibited is 1,864, surpassing the 1,522 in 2019.
The Tokyo Game Show is one of the world’s three biggest gaming events, along with E3 in the United States and Gamescom in Germany.
 
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KYODO NEWS KYODO NEWS – 2 hours ago – 22:41 | Arts, Feature, All, Japan
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Metaverse Crypto Index Fund Launched by Matthew Ball, Multicoin, and Bitwise – Decrypt

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There's a wide array of crypto builders working to bring the metaverse to life, whether it's via platforms, tools, assets, or infrastructure. Now one of the leading voices around the metaverse has launched an index fund focused on crypto assets tied to the next-generation internet.
Today, writer and venture capitalist Matthew Ball announced a partnership with Multicoin Capital and Bitwise Asset Management to launch the Ball Multicoin Bitwise Metaverse Index. Bitwise has also made an associated fund available to qualified purchasers.
"We developed the Ball Multicoin Bitwise Metaverse Index Fund because, prior to today, there was no easy, expert, and methodologically diversified way for investors to have broad-based exposure to bona fide metaverse-focused crypto assets," Ball told Decrypt.
"To this end, the Index doesn't exist to time Event A or Market Conditions B. It exists so that investors can participate in what we believe is a multi-trillion dollar transformation, which will unfold over the coming decade," he continued. "If blockchain is relevant to the future of the metaverse, and our approach is sound, we believe the opportunity is significant—today, tomorrow, next month, and so forth."
The index will feature up to 40 crypto assets chosen by the partners, but a list of included assets was not provided to Decrypt by the time of publication. Bitwise's associated fund is available to qualified purchasers with a $100,000 minimum investment.
Ball described the Ball Multicoin Bitwise Metaverse Index as a "rules-driven index that combines the best of institutional indexing approaches with special adaptations to the crypto and metaverse spaces. That includes various risk screens, such as analyzing liquidity, developer activity, tech and regulatory risk, and "relevancy to the metaverse," said Ball.
"The ultimate goal is to curate the crypto assets that will be outsized contributors to the creation and success of an open metaverse," he added.
The metaverse refers to a future version of the internet that many believe will be built on blockchain technology. It's expected to be a more immersive and interactive experience that people navigate via 3D avatars and use for work, play, shopping, and socializing. It may also use NFT assets for user-owned items like avatars, apparel, and virtual land.
Ethereum-based games like Decentraland and The Sandbox are seen as early examples of the metaverse.
Facebook also showcased its own vision for the space and even rebranded its parent company to Meta last fall. However, it's not entirely clear whether Facebook's plan is for an open platform that is interoperable with others.
Ball is a leading writer on the metaverse whose work has been published in The New York Times, The Economist, and Bloomberg. His book, "The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything," is due out from W.W. Norton in July.
He's also a managing partner at EpyllionCo, which has invested in crypto startups such as Dapper Labs and Mirror, as well as a venture partner at Makers Fund. Ball is also behind the Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF, which focuses on metaverse-centric stocks and trades on the New York Stock Exchange.
"Our objective was the creation of a diversified, balanced, and expertly-designed crypto Metaverse Index," explained Multicoin Capital co-founder and managing partner, Kyle Samani.
"This required a similarly capable team," he continued. "Matthew Ball is the definitive thought-leader in metaverse strategy and investing. We specialize in crypto assets and are one of the preeminent crypto investment firms. And Bitwise Asset Management is the proven leader in crypto indexes and index funds."

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Meta's losses show the metaverse's costly risk – Insider Intelligence

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Facebook parent Meta launches startup accelerator with India’s IT ministry in metaverse push – TechCrunch

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Meta Platforms is looking at India’s burgeoning startup ecosystem as it bolsters its bet on the metaverse. The social juggernaut has partnered with the Indian IT Ministry’s startup hub to launch an accelerator in the country to broaden innovation in emerging technologies, including augmented reality and virtual reality, officials said Tuesday.
MeitY Startup Hub and Meta’s effort, called XR Startup Program, will work with 40 early-stage startups and help them in research and development and developing workable products and services. Each startup will also receive a grant of over $25,000, the American giant said.
The program, supported by Meta’s $50 million XR Programs and Research Fund, will initially hand pick 80 startups to attend a bootcamp. It will also help startups with finding customers, inking relationships and raising funds, Meta said.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said the program is especially aimed at helping encourage technology innovation in smaller cities and towns.
The XR Startup Program is the latest of Meta’s growing participation in the South Asian market’s upskilling efforts. The firm, whose Facebook and WhatsApp services identify India as their largest market by users, partnered with Central Board of Secondary Education, a government body that oversees education in private and public schools in the country, to launch a certified curriculum on digital safety and online well-being, and augmented reality for students and educators in the country.
The program — to be implemented by four Indian institutions, including IIT Delhi — will also host a “grand challenge” for innovation in categories including education, healthcare, entertainment, agritech, climate action, sustainability and tourism, the American giant said.
“India will play a pivotal role in defining future technologies. Decisions and investments made here in India now shape global discussions on how technology can deliver more economic opportunity and better outcomes for people. It is critical that we help to create an ecosystem that will enable India’s tech startups and innovators to build the foundations of the metaverse,” said Joel Kaplan, VP of Global Policy at Meta, in a statement.
Meta’s interest with working with startups in India is also not newly found. The company has backed three startups in the country, including social commerce platform Meesho and online education group Unacademy.
3 views: Is the metaverse for work or play?

“India’s rapid tech adoption combined with a vast pool of tech talent puts the country in a vantage position for shaping the future of the internet,” said Ajit Mohan, VP and MD of Facebook India, in a statement.
“For this future to be equitable, it will require active participation from all stakeholders, including developers, businesses, creators, policymakers, and entrepreneurs. We are excited to collaborate with MeitY Startup Hub and hope that the XR Startup Program will act as a catalyst to unlock the use of immersive technology across sectors like education, healthcare, agritech and tourism, not only in India but across the globe.”

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