Val Vacante, Director of Strategy, LiveArea/Founder, Collabsco

From Fortnite to the Future of Work: The next generation of innovators, moonshots and the metaverse

Val Vacante, Director of Strategy, LiveArea/Founder, Collabsco discusses the launch of HeadOffice.Space, a metaverse for businesses to remotely connect and collaborate.

Fortnite, the cultural phenomena that started out of a game jam back in 2011, with a successful launch in 2017, has evolved into one of the most popular games in the world with over 350 million monthly active players. I spoke to a few members of our future workforce, kiddos ages 11-14 about their love for Fortnite. The common thread, according to James (age 12), “instead of a basic game, there are lots of places to go, things to do, everything from aliens and visiting the mothership or cube monsters this season. Also, players can play independently or with friends” The group further discussed how although they played Fortnite well before the pandemic, during the pandemic, Fortnite was the way that they could meet up, hang out and game on together. Fortnite goers continue to attend virtual in-game events like “Short Nite” a short film festival in Party Royal, Travis Scott Astronomical concert, complete with physical merch for sale at the launch of the event including,Cactus Jack for Fortnite AR-Goosebumps NERF Elite Dart Blaster from Hasbro and Cactus Jack for Fortnite 12-Inch Action Figure Duo Set from Jazwares. Most recently, universes collide with The Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point – Limited-edition Comic Book Series complete with redeemable codes for bonus DC-themed Fortnite virtual goods encouraging physical and digital play and purchasing. With The Rift Tour featuring Ariana Grande and events like the most recent Chapter 2 Season 7 event finale “Operation Skyfire,” the team at Epic Games continue to work with collaborators to push the boundaries with collaborative partners so the community can experience the wondrous and unexpected in Fortnite.

Mixed Worlds and the Metaverse
While the “Metaverse,” might be one of the most popular words of 2021 among academics, tech aficionados and evangelists, what is it really? Ruling out all of the standard dystopian definitions and references from sci-fi novels, we will focus on what the Metaverse is and how it’s creating better connections. In the words of Niantic’s John Hanke, “Let’s build a better reality.”

Venture Capitalist and Essayist, Matthew Ball’s defines the Metaverse as “an expansive network of persistent, real-time rendered 3D worlds and simulations that support continuity of identity, objects, data, and entitlements, and can be experienced synchronously by an effectively unlimited number of users, each with an individual sense of presence.”

In an interview with GameMakers, Tim Sweeney, CEO and Co-Founder of Epic Games notes, “the Metaverse is going to be some sort of real time 3D social medium where instead of sending messages and pictures to each other asynchronously, you’re together with them and in a virtual world and interacting and having fun experiences which might span anything from purely games to purely social experiences. The other critical element of the Metaverse is it’s not just built by one mega corporation, right? It’s gonna be the work, the creative work of millions of people who can each add their own elements to it through content creation and programming and design. And the other way of adding value.”

During the Epic vs. Apple case this year Epic stated that Fortnite is not a game, it’s a metaverse. Epic also secured $1 billion in funding to support their vision and growth of the metaverse.

According to Strategy & Analytics Inc, the Metaverse Market is anticipated to grow 509% from $46 billion in 2020 to $280 billion by 2025 resulting in more connections mixing and merging worlds.

More than Child’s Play
While some might think that Fortnite is child’s play, over 60% of the Fortnite community is ages 18-24, those currently in the workforce or getting started.

So it’s no surprise that gaming and play are informing new business models and creating more meaningful, connected consumer experiences and shaping the future of work.

There have been several virtual event and collaboration platforms that have rolled out, every platform has its own flavour and feature. Some are VR only, some are events only, some have a retrogaming look and feel and most replicate the formica tables and water coolers like a traditional office suite.

HeadOffice.Space, is breaking boundaries beyond the break room (and water cooler) by providing the ability for remote teams to have a space for connection with virtual headquarters, collaborative community clubhouses, virtual events, concerts, summits, gamified gatherings and virtual classrooms in “Moon Valley.”

Unlike other platforms, HeadOffice is a persistent 3D world with a continuous existence and evolution, built on the Unreal Engine, the real-time 3D creation tool that powers Fortnite, in a space-like setting on “Moon Valley.” Companies can scale from a single room or build an entire campus or planet and host as many people as they like.

HeadOffice.Space is interoperable so people can join from PC, Mac, VR, mobile with accessibility to almost every web platform possible. Participants are astronaut avatars with the ability to create their own custom avatars through HeadOffice.Space’s partnership with Ready Player Me as a premium feature.

HeadOffice.Space ensures industry leading privacy and security, so advanced, a publicly traded cyber security company is transitioning their entire workforce to the HeadOffice.Space metaverse. With flexible plans, HeadOffice.Space provides affordable and accessible experiences to individuals, startups and innovative global brands.

Companies are now empowered to embrace remote work in a way that builds a sense of belonging, fosters a culture of connection, community, creativity, and productivity while saving money on physical offices.

According to the 2021 State of Remote Work by Buffer, current challenges with remote work include communication/collaboration (17%), loneliness (19%) and staying motivated (12%).

73% of teams will have remote workers by 2028 (Upwork). Remote work would save businesses over $700 billion a year in real estate, electricity, absenteeism, and turnover and productivity (Global Workplace Analytics).

“People have been collaborating remotely in games like The Sims and Second Life for almost 20 years and most recently with Fortnite and Roblox among others. Remote collaboration has enabled strangers from different parts of the world to fight wars, build cities and accomplish incredible quests working together, forming friendships, teams, “clans” and entire communities ever since,” said Marco Carvalho, CEO of HeadOffice.Space.

“We noticed that not only do people communicate better in these environments but they are able to stay for longer periods of time without feeling fatigued, they make more friends and develop a deeper sense of belonging and community compared to standard video conferencing platforms. We took these incredible tools and “workified” them, making them persistent, secure, and integrated with the most important business and communication tools, for the optimal headquarters.

Making Moonshots
According to a recent report by EY Ripples and JA Worldwide Gen Z, participants born between 1997 and 2007, 53% hope to run their own business within the next ten years. That proportion increases to 65% for those who have already entered the workforce.

The Co-Founders of HeadOffice.Space are currently inviting startups in select accelerators and incubators to apply to the “Moonshot Lab” program. The goal of the program is to ignite and inspire the innovators of the near future.

Participants receive a secured, virtual office space on “Moon Valley,” along with weekly mentorship sessions and exclusive perks and invites to “Future Forward,” currently an invite-only future-focused virtual clubhouse with interviews, performances and mentorship sessions. Select sessions are due to stream on Twitch and the Discord community.

With the rise in remote work, companies are looking for new ways to collaborate, and create a better-connected culture; we continue to see significant growth in remote events, collaboration platforms and the Metaverse. The joy that people feel playing a new game, downloading the latest skin or watching the latest virtual event is now possible not only in Fortnite, but also Roblox, Pokemon Go, Animal Crossing but also for the next generation of innovators with moonshot moments and access to connections, community and tools to accelerate innovation for tomorrow.

HeadOffice.Space is currently inviting select companies to participate in their ”Moonshot Lab,” program. Visit https://www.headoffice.space/ to find out more.

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