Facebook is all-in on the metaverse and has signaled to the world that they are serious about it by adopting the new brand name Meta.
First of all - let's get out of the way what a 'metaverse' is. As simply as possible, think of it as the virtual world layered over the top of the real world. To get a bit deeper about it - think about the layer of Internet that exists in the real world (you're at a bus stop waiting for your bus, but the person next to you knows when that bus is going to turn up and where it is exactly because they are connected online via an app that is following the GPS on the bus), but then add to that layer graphics within virtual environments.
It's not a new idea - it's just a name given to the sort of environments we have all engaged in online in one form or another, or seen in movies where people jack in and get virtual, man.
Facebook, with its aged social media platform that couldn't be in worse shape PR-wise (helping destroy democracies around the world, giving a platform to amplify hate speech, and providing a venue for the rapid spread of anti-vaxxer ideology is just some of the nifty things Facebook has done in its time), has been investing in virtual reality for some time. With a new corporate name, Meta is no longer just about Facebook, Instagram, What's App, and its handful of other platforms - it is now all in on virtual.
Ultimately, what other choice does it have? With major tech giants like Apple on the cusp of releasing major Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality hardware, it is about to be the next big shift in technology. BUT... my question is whether there will be a space for the likes of Meta (nee Facebook) in that world? This past year we saw just how reliant Facebook has been on hardware providers like Apple. As soon as Apple launched its Do Not Track feature to stop companies like Facebook tracking its users across the Internet, Facebook's ad business took a pretty big hit.
Meta will be trying to sell you all a whole lot of hardware in the coming years. It represents a jumping off point for us all - has Facebook proven itself to be a worthy corporate citizen you trust with the fabric of reality? Something to consider...
How has your relationship with TV changed?
Broadcast TV was a big tent. It was where the community all went for the same entertainment, news, information, etc. But with so many more viewing choices thanks to streaming, cable TV, and other platforms, we have moved from a handful of big tents to an endless sea of much smaller tents.
As a viewer, does this make you inclined to want to pop your head into all of these tents? Or are you now just more selective about which tents you visit?
Hannah Gersen suggests that the experience of watching TV is more like reading books nowadays - she is selective and assumes it is not widely consumed:
The Sopranos, The Office, Mad Men, Friday Night Lights: These are a few of the mid-aughts shows I started watching because of the cultural conversation around them, rather than my personal interest in the material. I continued to watch them because I liked them, but for the past few years, the social pressure to keep up with a particular show has dissipated. I’m hardly the first person to observe that everyone seems to be watching their own version of TV. In the same way that I never expect anyone to be reading the same book as I am, I don’t have any expectation that other people will be watching the same TV shows. There are some things that I watch that are so obscure I’d be shocked to find another viewer. (Is there anyone besides me and my seven-year-old who watches PBS’s Monstrum, a series of mini-lectures about famous monsters?) With the recent exception of Succession, I can’t think of the last show that I tuned into because it was What People Are Watching.
There's something to what Gersen is saying. But also it spits in the face of a platform like Netflix which is predicated not on finding that one special show with a unique identity, but an endless scroll of shows and movies you will never have heard of enticing you to press play.
Jake and Elwood are back
Get ready to return the Blues Brothers back into your life. No, thankfully Dan Aykroyd won't be putting the hat back on (well, probably not). Instead this will be a new documentary series that explores the Blues Brothers - the characters, the music, and the making of the movies.
The yet-to-be-titled series will include as-yet unseen materials, and dive into the history, music catalog and legacy of the characters, as well as the actors behind them and the friendship they shared. According to today’s announcement, the series will also tackle “the sensitivities of race in the music industry and reveals the mindsets, intentions and follow-through of the creators.”
The series is being taken out to potential buyers very soon. It will not take long for this to be snapped up.
Nintendo vs Sega: A battle as old as time itself has concluded
I'm not sure how to process this. As a young teen of the 90s, I understood that it was important to choose a side and make my allegiances known. The choice was entirely binary: you were either a Nintendo kid or a Sega kid.
I was a Nintendo kid.
But now I can be both. Being an adult means that you will see long-held beliefs challenged. As the sands of time blow into the winds, you can see that what you once knew to be true is no longer.
Nintendo players can now play classic Sega Genesis/Megadrive games on their Nintendo Switch thanks to the Switch online subscription service. Up can be down, dogs can befriend cats, and a sonic hedgehog can work alongside a heroic Italian plumber.
Sega, more than any other console manufacturer, engenders a certain alt-nostalgia about console gaming in the 1990s. It’s the stuff of vaporwave and emulation. Sonic, Castlevania, Contra, Streets of Rage—these are video game franchises that more or less incinerated upon contact with the 21st century. But of course millennials on the Switch, nostalgic for 16 bits, will always find a way back to 1990.
- A cast has been confirmed for the Spanish language Bird Box spin-off movie. Read: Deadline
- Which Gilmore Girls characters got which vaccine? And which ones are probably anti-vax? I just want to know what the customer policy is at Al's Pancake World. Read: HuffPo
- Of the six Friends, there is only one of them who could write an autobiography that would have me interested. And good news - Matthew Perry has done just that. Read: Deadline
- Nov 6 marks 20 years since the debut of the TV show 24. To mark the occasion, Kiefer Sutherland is hosting an online fan convention. Tix will cost $24 with money going to a charity that is not the former star of Designated Survivor. Read: Deadline
- Michelle Obama will appear on an episode of Black-ish. Read: TV Line
- Elite has been greenlit for a 6th season by Netflix. Read: Deadline
Olivia Colman and David Thewlis star in a true crime drama Landscapers. It debuts on HBO Max Dec 6.
Books That Made Us debuts on Australia's ABC Nov 23.
Through My Window debuts on Netflix Feb 4.
Yellowjackets debuts Nov 14 on Showtime.
What's next? Tomorrow.