It’s 2022 and accounting firms are proudly buying up “real estate” in the metaverse, putting out self-congratulatory press releases about it like it’s supposed to make us think they’re ahead of the curve on technology. Really my first thought has always been “didn’t the Maryland Association of CPAs do this 14 years ago?” (They did)
Take a look at the below screenshot and tell me if you think it is from PlayStation 3 or modern day:
The whole concept wouldn’t be so bad if firms weren’t spending buckets of money on something that looks like it was made by the same team that did the original Half-Life. As of current moment, everyone except people who work for firms’ “digital transformation” departments think this is stupid. Maybe those people also think it’s stupid they just can’t say it out loud and they’re getting paid way too much money not to.
PwC Hong Kong carved out a little homestead on Decentraland late last year and partner William Gee said the firm hoped to “leverage our expertise to advise clients” in the metaverse even though plenty of less pixelated technology exists today to achieve that same goal. What’s up with Decentraland now?
Metaverse project Decentraland, a sandbox environment that allows users to buy and sell virtual real estate, isn’t exactly teeming with people. Despite billions of dollars in valuations, companies betting on a metaverse future simply haven’t made much headway.
In fact, according to data aggregator DappRadar, the Ethereum-based world Decentraland only had 38 “active users” over a period of 24 hours — a confoundingly low number, especially considering the company has a market cap of a whopping $1.2 billion.
Decentraland pushed back, though, saying that “active users” are defined as unique blockchain wallet addresses that interact with its system. As CoinDesk explains, that means users who simply log in to chat or interact with others aren’t being counted.
“DappRadar doesn’t track our users, only people interacting with our contracts,” Decentraland’s creative director Sam Hamilton told CoinDesk, adding that the platform averages around 8,000 users on an average day.
I am almost positive Fallout 76 has more active users per day than that. No, I’m very positive it does. Fallout 76 had an average of 9,269.6 players in the last 30 days on Steam and that’s just including PC, not PS and Xbox. There are 13,830 people playing on PC right now as this article is being written on a Tuesday afternoon. Anyone who knows anything about games released in the last five years knows that Fallout 76 was a disaster at release and remains the red-headed stepchild of the celebrated Fallout franchise (I say this as someone with 4,000 hours in the game, don’t judge me).
So here’s what I propose to make this “firms in the metaverse” idea appealing to people other than “digital transformation” experts and the Boomers they convince to invest in this nonsense: make metaverse spaces more like video games. Instead of K/D ratios you can track billable hours and hand out medals at the end of busy season to recognize the hardest working on the team (although any Overwatch player will tell you medals are useless and only serve to encourage toxicity and bad gameplay so really a medaling system for billable hours sounds perfect).
I didn’t Photoshop deaths out on purpose. The clients are the enemy in this scenario I guess.
Some more ideas: let audit partners initiate PvP with each other over audit clients, whoever racks up the most kills by the end of the match gets the contract. Make PCAOB inspections drop rare outfits. Let associates build bases on the firm’s metaverse “property” so even if the real associates aren’t getting much sleep their avatars can get well rested. And of course the firm can save a ton of money by holding pizza parties in the virtual world instead of the real one; the resulting goodwill generated in the hearts of staff as a result of free pizza will be relatively equal whether the pizza is real or comprised of a series of pixels.
Best of all, firms can introduce loot boxes. Sure, you’re not getting a raise that exceeds inflation but you can get game currency and skins for your avatar! YAY! THE FUTURE! Clients will love it! Get on this immediately, firms. Anything is better than…this.