Big Tech Bets Big on AI and the Metaverse

6 min readFeb 17, 2023

UpOnly | Research #46: 4 of the 10 richest companies jumping in on promising tech innovations

The cryptocurrency market continues to flourish, and GameFi and Metaverse coins are leading the charge. Huge jumps in token value have seen many top GameFi and Metaverse projects rise in value since the turn of the year. Some GameFi platforms, such as Nakamoto Games, have quadruple in value since the 1st of January.

Another emerging class of coins is those featuring substantial AI integrations. According to CoinDesk, these tokens are up over 80% in the past week as of writing. The rise of value in GameFi, Metaverse, and AI crypto categories runs parallel to several announcements from blue-chip tech corporations.

Last week, we covered Amazon’s rumored move to NFTs and Web3 gaming. This week we bring you three new stories featuring Big Tech. Meta is doubling down on Metaverse development while Google and Microsoft are placing big bets on AI. In this edition of UpOnly Research, we will highlight these developments and their implications on Web3 gaming and the Metaverse industry.

Meta stands behind the Metaverse

We can’t talk about blue chip tech companies and Web3 without starting with the long-established pioneer of the Metaverse, Meta. Despite some hefty losses on the balance sheets over the last few years, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his team have shown tremendous resolve in a constant push to bring their virtual world to life.

Meta released 2022 earnings on the 1st of February, showing Reality Labs, the VR wing of Meta, had lost $13.7 billion in 2022. The loss is the largest ever for the department. Q4 revealed the heaviest hit, $4.3 billion in the red — again, the most significant quarterly blow in Reality Labs’ history.

However, Zuckerberg sees the loss as an investment in the platform’s future. On a February 1st earnings call, he stated, “None of the signals that I’ve seen so far suggest that we should shift the Reality Labs strategy long term.” In other words, it appears the company has no intention to alter its long-term plans for Metaverse development. He added that a new next-gen headset is debuting in 2023, following last October’s Quest Pro VR headset launch.

Meta’s total revenue in Q4 was $32.1 billion, smashing the predictions of the Wall Street experts. The promising figures spiked Meta’s stock price, with nearly 19.5% gains in post-hours trading. The resolve of Zuckerberg, backed by his willingness to spend money, is a positive indicator of the future of the Metaverse industry.

Meta YTD stock price (Source: Yahoo Finance)

Google and Microsoft bet big on AI

Another area that has seen an enormous amount of investment in recent months is AI. Two of the ten wealthiest companies, Microsoft and Alphabet. Inc (the parent company of Google) has announced huge funding for the sector.

The first came in late January when Microsoft announced plans for a multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment in OpenAI. A previous Microsoft deal set OpenAI on a revolutionary course, building a series of breakthrough AI systems, ending in the debut of ChatGTP late last year, a chatbot that converses with users through text and generates human-like script based on prompts.

The latest investment values OpenAI at $29 billion. According to sources, Microsoft will get a 75% share of OpenAI’s profit until a return on investment is reached. Once this happens, Microsoft would assume a 49% stake in OpenAI.

A rival of OpenAI also recently received a cash injection from a Big Tech backer. Google invested in AI start-up Anthopic to the tune of roughly $300 million. The move makes it the latest company in Big Tech to use its money and computing power to fuel an upcoming firm establishing a presence in the field of generative AI.

Anthropic formed two years ago when a group of programmers left OpenAI after a disagreement over the company’s direction. They were concerned that the initial investment from Microsoft in OpenAI would set it on a commercial path and detract from its original focus on the safety of AI.

While Microsoft has sought to integrate OpenAI’s technology into many of its services, Google’s relationship with Anthropic is limited to acting as the company’s tech supplier in what has become an AI arm’s race, according to industry insiders.

Google’s and Microsoft’s moves show the influence tech elites have assumed over smaller companies working on AI. However, investments like this equip innovative companies with resources to advance AI software and promote innovation.

How AI Promotes GameFi and Metaverse expansion

Experts predict that AI will become instrumental to Web3 gaming and Metaverse development in the next few years. The funding provided by Big Tech firms will help address some commonly reported problems in GameFi and the Metaverse industry.

Many Web3 projects currently consist of small teams spread thin as they aim to take on the jobs of multiple people. AI can help eliminate time-consuming tasks for developers, freeing employees to focus on more cognitively demanding duties. AI can generate levels or in-game events. It can also test games automatically by simulating player actions and identifying bugs or other issues. AI can save designers, developers, and programmers time and resources in this manner.

AI could also lead to more challenging or tailor-made in-game encounters. For example, AI opponents in games can adapt to a player’s style of play and become more difficult to defeat over time. This would help enhance the fun factor and longevity of many play-to-earn games.

Additionally, it can enhance the fun factor of Web3 games by generating realistic environments and more believable non-playable characters (NPCs). Game designers can use AI to develop NPCs to create more complex and dynamic game worlds to respond to players realistically.

It can also enhance the potential story arcs players can enjoy in a given game, leading to a highly personal and immersive gaming experience. Once a game launches, AI can analyze player behavior and optimize the game retroactively, improving player engagement and retention.

Last but not least, AI can monitor and optimize in-game economies and virtual currencies or other forms of digital property. This can help perfect different tokenomics models — another common problem in the blockchain gaming world. AI will likely filter into every element of Web3 gaming, improving development efficiency, gameplay, and tokenomics.

AI boosts profits and user engagement on UpOnly

It’s an exciting time to be a part of GameFi, AI, and the Metaverse. The capital inflow is bound to lead to endless innovation in these maturing industries. These will create opportunities for startups in the sectors to leverage new technology and continue to build the next generation of the internet.

UpOnly is blessed to exist at the intersection of all three sectors. We leverage the latest AI innovations, creating opportunities for projects to grow and for Web3 investors to maximize profits. UpOnly will upgrade the entire platform through AI, including novel features such as project recommendations, ROI calculators, and platform comparison tools.

Whether you are a gamer, investor, or a Metaverse socialite, UpOnly will make customized recommendations to suit your needs. In addition to helping with portfolio construction, AI can help identify new investment opportunities, enhance returns, and mitigate risk.

It will also uncover valuable information by conducting in-depth research on projects beyond surface-level news. These enhancements will assist users in finding the best investments, selecting the frontrunners and up-and-comers, and ultimately maximizing user profits.

This week in UpOnly

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