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Meta Launches New Sports Experience in VR Which Could Help to Spark Interest in the Metaverse

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Meta Launches New Sports Experience in VR Which Could Help to Spark Interest in the Metaverse

Could this help to spark more interest in Meta’s metaverse shift?

Today, Meta has announced the launch of XTADIUM on Meta Quest, which will enable Meta VR users to experience sports in a more immersive, engaging way.

As explained by Meta:

“Developed by YBVR, XTADIUM gets you closer to the action than ever before by delivering 180-degree virtual reality (VR) footage in up to 8K video quality. Real-time statistical overlays that you can toggle on or off let you stay on top of the game, and you can choose from up to eight different camera angles to get the best view. You can enjoy an event by yourself or create a private watch party for your friends to join.

That could be a great way to spark more interest in Meta’s VR offerings – which, after months of criticism and bashing, are in need of a PR boost right now.

I mean, really, Meta has repeatedly flagged that we are very early in the VR/metaverse journey, so we’re not anywhere near the fully-enabled experience that it has planned as yet.

But images like this, after Meta has sunk tens of billions into its metaverse development, haven’t been well-received by potential users or Meta investors.

The presentation of live sports, however, could add another perspective on the potential of VR, in experiencing events in a whole new way. And while sports experiences have been available in VR for years, this new activation could help to push things forward, and offer a whole new way for sports fans to engage with events, which could trigger more interest in VR engagement.

Especially if Meta can add some bigger events into its roster, and live sports as well. That’s a bigger ask, but it’s not hard to imagine, say, the NBA Finals in this format, or the World Cup, placing users in prime position to experience major events, in real-time, like they never have before.

For now, however, it is limited. XTADIUM is only available in the US, and only for a limited amount of sports.

But it does hint at the potential, and another potential pathway for Meta to win over more users to its metaverse vision.

I mean, the legless avatars still look a bit hokey, but still…

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Instagram Tests More BeReal-Like Elements as it Looks to Lean Into the Authentic Social Shift

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Instagram Tests More BeReal-Like Elements as it Looks to Lean Into the Authentic Social Shift

Will the BeReal process of posting an image of whatever you might be doing at a specific moment of the day end up becoming a lasting social media trend, or will it fade out, like many viral shifts before it?

It feels, in some ways, like it’s already waning – though BeReal did win App of the Year on both the Apple and Google (‘Users Choice’ category) stores for 2022. So there’s that – and overall, there is also a sense that BeReal has showcased an underlying trend in social, that people have had enough of the airbrushed, edited, sculpted personas that people present in their every upload and comment online.

It all feels a bit staged, and BeReal eliminates that, in a creative way. But what’s next for BeReal, as an app? Is there anything more that can be done with that concept?

Is there anything that other apps can do with it – and is it worthy of further exploration?

Instagram’s certainly giving it a shot.

After trying out a very BeReal-esque feature called ‘Candid’ earlier this year, Instagram is now also developing some similar features, focused on different elements within the app.

First off, Instagram’s working on something called ‘Roll Call’ which would enable group chat members to request that all participants add a photo or video of themselves to the chat within 5 minutes.

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi, Roll Call is effectively a small-scale version of BeReal, within an enclosed group chat, as opposed to sending the request to all of your contacts.

Instagram Roll Call example

Instagram’s also working on ‘Glimpse’ Stories, which works exactly like BeReal, in using the front and back cameras to show what you’re up to at any given time.

Instagram Glimpse example

As you’ll note in both of these variations, they require participation, just like BeReal, with the images or videos posted only made visible to those who’ve also submitted their own contribution to the Roll Call/Glimpse.

Could that work, and become a more significant trend on IG, if indeed either feature is ever actually released?

I mean, maybe.

Again, BeReal has seen a massive surge in downloads this year, so there’s clearly interest in such functionality, and really, the BeReal process is more of a feature than a platform in itself, so it could also make more sense as a complementary element within Instagram or some other app, than as a separate app of its own.

But it also feels like a bit of a fad that people will tire of – an antidote to the artificiality that now dominates the main apps, but which doesn’t actually change them, or the way we use the more popular apps, as such.

Which is the real challenge. While there is clearly a desire for more genuine, honest communication within social apps, the big platforms already play such a significant role in our daily process that it’s going to be difficult to usurp them, while it’s also hard to resist the entertainment value of TikTok for distraction and engagement, veering away from social connection.

How do you make the mundane more interesting, and a more significant aspect, when it’s more of a curiosity, a fleeting interest to make you feel more connected, but not a longer-term engagement element within itself?

The unfortunate truth that all social apps have eventually shown us is that we’re all pretty boring. Most of us don’t lead amazing, glamorous lives worthy of constant documentation, which is what’s eventually led to more people portraying enhanced versions of their existence to glean more likes and interest from others in this constructed digital engagement sphere.

That’s then gone even further, into image editing and blatant distortions of reality, in all respects, which has then led people to question more of what they’re seeing, while on another front, friends and family sharing their political opinions has forced us to see sides to them that we never knew, and in many cases, didn’t really need to find out about.

Which is what’s then set the scene for an app like BeReal to come in, and show us, in a relatable, human way, that we’re actually much more closely aligned than these increasingly false or distorted depictions may suggest.

That feels like the seed of a new shift, a new way of approaching social media interaction – but thus far, that’s as far as we’ve got. There’s just not much else you can do to build on that concept, and lean into that trend.

Maybe it’ll spark the next industry shift, and maybe it’ll be Instagram or TikTok or some other established app that will crack the code and find the best way forward on this front (I’d argue that Snapchat’s focus on connection among friends is most closely aligned with this shift, as a general app approach).

But right now, it feels like a limited element, a glimmer of what could be in amongst the broader social media cacophony.   

Instagram might make more of a push to see what happens, but it may need something more to evolve this into a bigger element.  



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