In context: The world is still divided on the concept of a "metaverse." Some say it's the next frontier for the internet, whereas others don't see the purpose, arguing that we already have access to anything the metaverse could provide. Still, these ongoing discussions haven't stopped the likes of Facebook and, now, Bandai Namco from cutting out a space for themselves in this futuristic digital world. The latter has already laid out plans for a Gundam-focused "Metaverse Project."
In case you didn't grow up playing with Gundam toys as a kid, here's a brief summary: Gundam is a Japanese media franchise that centers around giant mech robots (controlled by ordinary pilots) duking it out and/or saving the world. While no longer a wholly unique franchise, Gundam toys, movies, games, and shows still remain popular among children and adults of all ages.
Apparently, the franchise's popularity is so significant that it warrants the creation of an entire metaverse (or a sub-metaverse, perhaps?), and Bandai Namco is keen to see it realized. In fact, the company wants a metaverse for each of its IPs eventually; Gundam is just the beginning.
Could this be the future of the Gundam IP?
The Gundam metaverse will consist of at least four separate virtual communities, collectively known as "Side-G." Every individual community will target a different side of the Gundam fandom: games, music, anime, and "Gunpla," which refers to the company's line of plastic model kits.
Each community will be styled after a "space colony," linking to a single space hub. The virtual colonies will offer a variety of activities to users: personalized rooms, social hubs and even the ability to scan real-life Gunpla models for use in virtual battle arenas.
Bandai Namco aims to integrate multiple virtual environments into one central Gundam metaverse.
Naturally, Bandai Namco plans to monetize all of this. It will ensure there are plenty of virtual stores for metaverse users to buy digital goods and services "as part of their daily lives."
You'd be forgiven for thinking that all of this sounds a little ambitious given the current state of the VR industry, but we suppose it makes sense for Bandai Namco to plan ahead. Whether the world wants it or not, the "metaverse" is likely happening -- there's too much cash invested in the concept for tech giants to give up now.
That said, we have no idea what form the metaverse (or metaverses) will take. Will it be a fun virtual environment to hang out with your friends and family in, or just an advertisement-riddled wasteland that few people use? Only time will tell.