The Metaverse from the Eyes of a 10-Year Old

While all of us grown-ups, the press and corporate executives are chatting it up and speculating about the future of the Metaverse, I wanted to go a bit outside the box and get a different point of view.  To get a glimpse into the future generations’ true vision- I went straight to the source.  I turned to none other than my 10 year-old for a candid, unfiltered conversation (over pancakes).

Documented below is an unedited version of this interview:

What are your 3 favorite video games?

  • Minecraft
  • Roblox
  • Animal Crossing

What do you like about Roblox?

There are a lot of games, and if you’re bored of one thing- you can do something else.

What’s your favorite Roblox game?

Royal High.  There’s a lot to do.

Have you ever paid real money from your piggy bank to buy Roblox or in-app accessories?

Yes- I’ve spent about $20 of my own money, and $30 I got from friends for my birthday for Roblox.

Have you spent real money on Fortnite? 

I’ve spent about $40 on Fortnite.

What have you purchased with this money?

On Fortnite- I purchased skins (outfits for in-game avatars) and a BattlePass- which gets me skins and Vbux (in-game currency).  With the Vbux- I buy more skins.  On Roblox- I’ve purchased game passes which give you an advantage.  It’s basically “pay-to-win”.

What if you played w/o purchases- would they still be fun?

Roblox will still be a lot of fun without that.  There are thousands if not millions of games.  They’re not like if you purchase- you win.  There’s a lot to do- let’s take Royal High for example.  In Royal High- there are a lot of free updates where you can do quests.  The spending of money is optional- you don’t have to do it to have fun.

How about in Fortnite?

Spending money is optional.  Buying skins is just how you look in the game- nothing more.  It doesn’t help you win.  There are 2 reasons to spend your money- to look good and to help you win.

Are you glad you spent the money?

Maybe not on Fortnite.  But on Roblox- it makes it more fun, and it goes by quicker.  You don’t have to waste time farming for diamonds for hours with the multipliers and the faster-flying game pass.  It makes it more enjoyable- you don’t have to get stuff, you can just enjoy the updates.

For Minecraft or Animal Crossing- have you purchased anything for the game? 

No, there’s not really anything available to buy.

Do you prefer the free model of Animal Crossing and Minecraft, or paid model for Fortnite and Roblox?

I prefer not to have the paid option- I like Animal Crossing and Minecraft better.

What are video games going to look like in 10 years?

You’re probably going to be able to play them in VR.  VR’s going to be the new thing.  Everyone’s going to have a room in their house where everyone can play VR.  There will be food-tubes- and food will just show up.

How many hours per day will people spend in the Metaverse?

5 hours per day.  A lot of my friends play Roblox for 5 hours per day already.

What do you think VR is?

It’s like an interactive world- you can walk in it.  There’s this one thing- you can put on this vest, and you get hit- it actually hurts. 

Does it sound cool to hurt when you get hit?

Yes.

Where did you learn about VR?

A while ago on YouTube.

Do your friends know about VR?

Yeah, I have a friend that has a VR headset.  They never want to play with me because they’re always on VR.

What do they play on it?

I have no idea, but it has voice chat, so they voice chat with other people- I’m not sure who.  They’re always on VR or watching Mr. Beast (YouTube star).

Are you excited about VR?

Thumbs up.

What do you think the Metaverse is?

It’s like a different universe on a computer or something.

If you were say 22 years old, graduated from college and in the real-world- would you spend time in VR?

Maybe.  Probably.

What would you do?

I don’t know.  What if you could go to school in VR, everyone has a headset and they’re in their own home and everyone’s in a virtual school?  It just helps.  If someone’s sick, they can still learn.  It may be a cooler way to learn, but you can’t make friends or talk to friends.  Maybe that’s not such a good idea.

What do you think of the Metaverse?

Cool I guess.  I don’t think that’s gonna happen.

If you got $50,000 when you turned 22- how much would you spend in the real -vs- virtual world?

More in the real world- so I can eat, sleep, live and don’t die.  I’d spend a lot less in the virtual world, but maybe a little bit.  Maybe like 20%.  If everyone’s doing that- then it might help my reputation.  Let’s say I’m getting a job, and they asked to see my house in the Metaverse, and I show them a really lame house and they think I’m not responsible enough.  Maybe they won’t hire me.  But if I do spend money in the Metaverse- and show them that it’s a good house, and I’m responsible- they’d say, “let’s give them the job”.

OK- we’re done, thanks for the interview.  What are you gonna do? 

I want to play Animal Crossing with my friend, it’s her birthday. 

Should we buy a present for them and drop it off today? 

I’m not sure, I don’t know what they want.  I bought them a cake in Animal Crossing.

Creating a Digital ‘Underwater Basket Weaving’ Business

I create “Digital Experiences’ for a living.  So when I was chatting with a buddy of mine the other day (*note: highly caffeinated), we started to brainstorm ideas around how a teacher of a particular skill could convert traditional, in-person teaching into a digital experience.  For anonymity sake, I’ll use the example of teaching underwater basket weaving to demonstrate what we came up with…

Step 1 – “Pilot Test” The Idea

  • Come up with 3 concepts commonly shared with students at lessons
  • Simple iPhone setup (on a table w/ a book behind it) -> hit record
  • Record a rough draft video of you explaining the concept
  • Record 2 more
  • Upload to YouTube
  • Mark YouTube videos ‘Private’ so no one can see until you’re ready
  • Step 1 complete.

Step 2 – Create Reference Video Library

Idea:  “Hey Johnny, for that willow rod weaving technique we worked on, check out video #17 on my YouTube channel while you’re practicing this week”

  • Keep track of the most common, universal concepts taught at your lessons
  • Record 10+ additional videos on these concepts w/ simple iPhone setup
  • Upload to YouTube
  • Make videos public when comfortable
  • End state:  Refer your students to YouTube videos when relevant
  • You are now using ‘underwater basket weaving technology’ to position yourself as a state-of the-art teacher as compared with your peers
  • You have now taking steps into the ‘digital experience’ to turn the current Blockbuster-like experience of taking physical underwater basket weaving lessons into a more Netflix-like online experience

Step 3 – Upsell – Video the Lessons

  • Offer to video your students for an additional charge
  • Benefit = students can go back and refer to specifics of lesson to address practicing challenges
  • Straight video of the lesson, no editing
  • Create Google Drive or public space where each student has a folder and can access their videos

Step 4 – Upsell – Video a Subset of Lessons

  • If student has a specific project / performance coming up (i.e. creating a basket for grandma for Christmas)
  • Offer to video a subset of lessons for a specific period of time
  • Benefit = students can go back and refer to specifics of lesson to address practicing challenges
  • Straight video of the lesson, no editing
  • Create Google Drive or public space where each student has a folder and can access their videos

Step 5 – Underwater Basket Weaving Lessons:  The Digital Experience

  • Promote your universe of free video tutorials on YouTube and Google
  • Designate specific videos as ‘paid videos’- pay to watch
  • Offer 1: 1 lessons -or- creating custom content for a fee
  • Create offer link on bottom of every video for 1: 1 lessons / custom content

Why do we check our smartphones 52 times a day?

Our iPhones, laptops, iPads, Spotify, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, texting, emailing, chatting, podcasts…  Do you ever feel like it’s information overload?  Compulsively checking all your apps for updates?  Constantly being stimulated by a Spotify song, Apple Podcast or Netflix show?

On average, American consumers now check their smartphones an average of 52 TIMES EACH DAY, according to the U.S. edition of the 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey from Deloitte.

Adults in the US spend an average of 2-4 hours per day tapping, typing, and swiping on their devices—which adds up to over 2,600 daily touches.  On a weekly basis, this adds up to spending an average of 14 to 28 hours per week on your phone.

To put this in context- assuming a 40-hour work week, 7 hours of sleep each night and a few hours a day for personal care, you’re left with about -> 58 hours a week for everything else.

I know this sounds crazy, but the math from this research leads back to the average adult in the US spending 25-50% of our free time in front of our phone.  Look around at Starbucks, restaurants, people walking around..  at home, work, school.  Are they spending half of their free time on their phones?  Maybe not, but I’d say the concept of people spending a quarter of their free time on their phones sounds scary, but just about right.

Why do we do this?  Why are we so compulsive about checking our phones?  Research shows that a big contributor is the dopamine rush we get from checking, and more specifically- from positive (or negative) social interactions we get from the apps on our phone.  Getting likes on social media, or even texts and emails can be a dopamine trigger.

Dopamine = a chemical produced by our brains that plays a starring role in motivating behavior. It gets released when we take a bite of our favorite foods, after we exercise, and when we have successful social interactions. It rewards us for beneficial behaviors and motivates us to repeat them.

If we perceive a reward to be delivered at random, and if checking for the reward comes at little cost, we end up checking habitually. If you pay attention, you might find yourself checking your phone whenever you feel bored, purely out of habit. Keep in mind, the programmers at Facebook work very hard behind the screens to keep you doing exactly that.

Are we aware that we waste so much time our phones every day?  And if spending 2-4 hours per day on the devices is information overload, what is the optimal amount of time to spend each day?  I wonder if I could limit my compulsive phone checking to 30 minutes?  Or 1 hour?  What if I checked it just 10 times, or even 5 throughout the day?  Would the world fall apart if I wasn’t checking incessantly?  And what could I do with that extra time???

References
https://variety.com/2018/digital/news/smartphone-addiction-study-check-phones-52-times-daily-1203028454/
http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/dopamine-smartphones-battle-time/
https://freedom.to/blog/what-is-the-right-amount-of-time-to-spend-on-your-phone/