Convergence Culture: In conversation with Epic Games, Warner Music and Unit9
Over the coming weeks we’re diving into this topic, and the opportunities for brands, and you’re invited along for the trip…
To start the conversation, we have invited Sallyann Houghton (Epic Games), Scott Cohen (WMG) and Garry Williams (Unit9) to unpack what this Convergence means for businesses, the talent, the fans, and the brands that might want to get in on the action in this new immersive playground.
The conversation started with a look at the shift in entertainment culture, away from the previous entertainment world order in which music, gaming, film and fashion all sat comfortably within their own boxes, towards an rich and diverse melting pot of convergence. The panellists agree that this convergence is not driven by a generational shift, but rather by the explosion of new technologies and opportunities, that now allows to reimagine and consume different forms of entertainment as intertwined ideas and concepts. This takes us to a discussion about the stigma that stubbornly surrounds Gaming to this day. As Scott Cohen puts it, “There’s this sense in the world that there’s something not right with digital gaming. We play games all the time, whether it’s scrabble, or monopoly, but somehow if you’re playing on a console or laptop, that is different”. This line dividing the physical and digital worlds, however, is slowly but surely disappearing, and with it the stigmatisation of digital gaming. Ultimately, there is just gaming.
Finally we move on to the big buzzword that is the metaverse, to discuss what it is, where it’s headed, and how brands can get involved.
Often described as the natural next phase of the internet, the metaverse will take our online worlds one step further and allow people to fully immerse themselves in a digital experience, driven by a host of new technologies and millions of creators. Fortnight is referenced as a great way to visualise the beginnings of a metaverse, but we’re still in the early stages. Yet even at this point, we can already see endless opportunities for new experiences.
Sallyann speaks from her experience at Epic as she shares great examples of brands like Gucci activating in this space. She believes industries, like fashion and music, that allow us to show the world who we are, are pivotal to the next phase of the journey towards the metaverse. Very soon the question won’t be ‘What is the metaverse’ or ‘What do I do in the metaverse’, but ‘Who am I in the metaverse’. And this is where brands can play a role, to help people express their identity in the metaverse and give them an experience worth having.
Scott shares his view on digital live music experiences in the metaverse and is certain they’re here to stay. “Over time, they will become standalone pieces, that are not meant to replace recording and not meant to replace live”. Just like recordings were initially merely capturing live music in limited quality to give more people access, but have evolved into standalone pieces over time.
Garry speaks passionately of the future of the metaverse. He’s a great believe that this change is inevitable and only a matter of time. And very soon in the not too distant future we’re gonna be flicking through metaverses like we do through TV channels.
Watch the full panel conversation below and keep an eye out for more content as we dive deeper into Convergence Culture over the coming weeks.