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Meta Showcases New VR Games, New Control Options, at Gaming Showcase Event



Meta Showcases New VR Games, New Control Options, at Gaming Showcase Event

As Meta continues its push into VR, as part of its broader metaverse shift, gaming will be a key connective element, with the trends and habits established among burgeoning gaming culture set to play a critical role in ushering in the next stage of immersive connection and engagement.

Which is why Meta’s VR gaming element is important – and today, at its Gaming Showcase event, Meta has shared the latest VR gaming titles and additions, while also demonstrating improvements in hand tracking and control, which could have much broader applications in the space.

In terms of games, Meta has announced several coming titles that will no doubt generate big interest:

  • Among US VR – The smash hit game comes to your VR headset
  • NFL Pro Era – The first officially-licensed NFL for VR
  • Beat Saber Electronic Mixtape – A new addition for the popular VR franchise
  • Resident Evil 4 – The FPS classic comes to VR

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg also unveiled a new Ghostbusters VR game, which puts you in a proton pack for virtual ghost wrangling action.

The idea is that, aside from offering sheer entertainment value, these titles will also advance VR adoption, while also facilitating next level control and interaction, which will help to better integrate VR engagement.

Indeed, among other additions, Meta’s CTO Andrew Bosworth also showcased Meta’s advanced hand-tracking process, which will eventually enable a broader range of control options in the virtual environment.

On one hand, these new games and systems will help to increase VR adoption – and it’ll really only take a single killer VR game to massively boost VR take-up. But on the other, these tools and updates will help to establish new norms for VR control and access, which will help gamers migrate into Meta’s advancing VR worlds, and as noted, will help to usher in the next stage of the metaverse.

Gaming is already the most influential cultural element for the next generation of consumers, and in five, ten years time, when these habitual gamers, who use game worlds for everything from socialization to shopping, are shifting into the workforce, that will be when Meta’s VR worlds really start to take off.

It’s a similar principle that Meta has used with its Facebook Workplace platform – because people are now so familiar and so used to engaging within Facebook, and the various tools and functions available to them on the platform, by integrating that into a work setting, that reduces training time, and makes it much easier for companies to maximize productivity.

VR will follow a similar process – once gamers are accustomed to the controls and systems, they’ll then be more easily able to adapt the same into broader applications.

So while these games may be fun now, there is a broader purpose here – and given the increased reliance on games as a social element amid the pandemic, now is the best time to be making a push on this front, while also boosting adoption of Meta’s VR headsets.

Of course, there are also concerns with motion sickness, and the psychological impacts of more immersive VR worlds, especially for games like Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto, another popular title in development.

Remember when, back in the day, when there were major concerns around the effects of people playing DOOM, and other first-person shooter-type games? Various studies have shown different levels of psychological impact from such games, and you can only assume that those will be exacerbated by more immersive in-game worlds like these.

That’ll be another front for Meta to monitor, and you can bet that it will come under fire once again, especially if it looks to push these new titles without significant consideration for potential harm.  

But right now, we’re on the cusp of the next stage. It may not seem like the metaverse is close to being a reality just yet, but it’s getting closer, and titles and advances like this point to the future of online engagement.

Meta says that all of the new games showcased at today’s event will be released within the next year.

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Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer: Born or made great?



The Big 3 have won a total of 56 Grand Slams in their career.

Ecogastronomy, puppet arts, viticulture and enology, influencer marketing, or bakery science. In 2022, you can become anything you want and there are even specialized undergraduate degrees to help you gain all the relevant skills at university. Essentially, you can now be academically trained in any subject and learn practically everything you need to excel at your job.

In the context of sports, and particularly tennis, this is no different. There are plenty of degrees you can pursue to complement your career as an athlete, physiotherapist, or coach with useful knowledge about the human body, anatomy, and health.

This basically means that professional tennis players of the 21st century can complement their extraordinary talent and training routine with a relevant education and an elite team of professional and eminent physiotherapists, coaches, PR, and strategists. Ultimately, players have countless tools that can help them win matches, stay healthy, and be well-liked by the press and the fans.

You can find these ‘A teams’ all around the tour nowadays: players of the former next gen have taken advantage of their early success to incorporate experts on every specialty into their team and others like Carlos Alcaraz or Holger Rune have come directly in the tour alongside first-class teams headed by former World No. 1 and Slam champion Juan Carlos Ferrero and respected coach Patrick Mouratoglou respectively.

Understandably, tennis legends who have been on tour for almost two decades have progressively adapted to the quest for perfection too. You must remember Novak Djokovic’s radical diet change mid-career or Rafael Nadal’s loyal sports doctor for most of his injury-prone career.

21st-century professional tennis players have learned it all as far as tennis skills are concerned. In fact, objectively any top-100 player can produce Djokovesque cross-court backhands or Nadalese down-the-line forehands any time – we have seen rallies of the highest level in practices, Challengers and junior tournaments.

So, one must think that if every player on the tour can produce top-level tennis and is surrounded by the perfect team, what is stopping them from winning 20+ Grand Slam titles like Nadal, Roger Federer, and Djokovic?

Nadal, Federer and Djokovic — the Big 3

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in discussion at the 2022 Laver Cup.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in discussion at the 2022 Laver Cup.

The Big 3 — Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic — are living proof that in life there are things you just can’t learn, despite our self-help books saying otherwise. Tennis is different from other mainstream sports in that it remains an individual and extremely mental sport.

These three players belong at a higher level than anyone else, and it is not only the 63 combined Slam titles that separate them from their opponents. It is clearly not their physical form either, quite the opposite currently. It is the ability to remain serene, focused, confident, and indifferent to the crowd, pressure, and expectations, to play one point at a time, whether it is a break or a championship point, and to extract it from the surrounding context.

Being the best of all time does, however, not imply being the better player in all matches. We don’t have to go far back to find an example of a time when Nadal and Djokovic were the clear underdogs in a match. For instance, in Wimbledon 2022 we saw Nadal win a match with an abdominal tear and an average 80-mph serve speed (on a grasscourt!) against Taylor Fritz, a top American player in his best-ever season.

In essence, the three GOATs have had the ability to know how to win even when they are the worst players on the court, and if that greatness is something we all could learn or train for, it would stop being called so and we would see it more often.

Whether it is the experience, intelligence or just intrinsic and unique talent that has led to Big 3’s unprecedented achievements we won’t ever exactly know and, I am afraid, they are giving no opportunity to the so-called Next Gen to even dream of replicating their record book and help us make sense of what it takes to become a tennis master.

In any case, we can only feel extremely fortunate to have lived on the same timeline as the greatest trivalry in sports history. All of us, but the Next Gen, can only hope Nadal and Djokovic do not follow Federer’s retirement path anytime soon. And one only needs to watch their last matches against each other to (rightfully) assume that might not happen anytime soon.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

Poll : Who will end up with most Grand Slam titles?

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Meta Could be Exploring Paid Blue Checkmarks on Facebook and Instagram



Meta Could be Exploring Paid Blue Checkmarks on Facebook and Instagram

It seems like Elon Musk’s chaotic management approach at Twitter is having some broader impacts, with more companies reportedly considering lay-offs in the wake of Musk culling 70% of Twitter staff (and keeping the app running), and Meta now apparently also considering charging for blue checkmarks in its apps.

Yes, the Twitter Blue approach to making people pay for verification, which hasn’t proven overly popular on Twitter itself, is now also seemingly in consideration at Meta as well.

According to a new finding by reverse engineering pro Alessandro Paluzzi, there’s a new mention in the codebase of both Facebook and Instagram of a ‘paid blue badge’.

Paluzzi also shared a screenshot of the code with TechCrunch:

That does appear to refer to a subscription service for both apps, which could well give you a blue verification badge as a result.

Mets has neither confirmed nor denied the project, but it does seem, at least on the surface, that it’s considering offering checkmarks as another paid option – which still seems strange, considering the original purpose of verification, which is to signify noteworthy people or profiles in the app.

If people can just buy that, then it’s no longer of any value, right?

Evidently, that’s not the case, and with Twitter already bringing in around $7 million per quarter from Twitter Blue subscriptions, maybe Meta’s looking for a means to supplement its own intake, and make up for lost ad dollars and/or rising costs of its metaverse development.

It seems counter-intuitive, but I guess, if people will pay, and the platforms aren’t concerned about there being confusion as to what the blue ticks actually mean.

I guess, more money is good?

Meta has, in the past, said that it won’t charge a subscription fee to access its apps. But this, of course, would be supplemental – users wouldn’t have to pay, but they could buy a blue checkmark if they wanted, and use the implied value of recognition for their own purposes.

Which seems wrong, but tough times, higher costs – maybe every app needs to start digging deeper.

Meta hasn’t provided any info or confirmation at this stage, but we’ll keep you updated on any progress.

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YouTube Shorts Exceed 50B Daily Views, Meta’s Reels Doubles Plays 02/03/2023



YouTube Shorts Exceed 50B Daily Views, Meta's Reels Doubles Plays 02/03/2023

YouTube Shorts and Meta’s Reels are both making
headway in the intensely competitive video shorts sector.  

During Alphabet’s Q4 earnings call on Thursday, CEO Sundar Pichai reported that YouTube Shorts has surpassed 50 billion
daily views. That’s up from the 30 billion reported in Q1 2022.

However, it still …

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