InMobi’s Philip Gale on The Metaverse; Gaming Ad Spend; and NFT Games

On this week’s episode of TheMadTech Podcast, Philip Gale, Head of Agency Development, EMEA at InMobi, joins ExchangeWire’s Grace Dillon and Ciaran O’Kane to discuss the privacy implications of the metaverse. They also mull over low levels of gaming advertising spend, and consider the value of NFT games.


Privacy will be significant a challenge as socialising in the metaverse increases


How will the balance between the benefits and risks of the metaverse be managed?

Ensuring data privacy and security are the biggest hurdles to the metaverse, according to 33% of developers surveyed for a study by Agora. Of the 300 respondents, 26% say that entertainment and gaming will be the greatest benefactors of the “game-changing” virtual space.

Technological advancements, particularly those in extended reality (XR), promise better social interactions within the metaverse, with 55% of developers foreseeing the space overtaking real life socialising within the next five years. Inserting real-time engagement (RTE) technology will be crucial to nurturing the social potential of the space, say 72% of respondents. Meanwhile, most say that blockchain and crypto currencies will be key to the metaverse’s development, with over 50% believing that NFTs will become the main currency in the virtual world.


Gaming ad spend remains low, despite recognition of the medium’s potential


Are brands making the most of gaming to reach their target audiences?

The IAB’s inaugural PlayFronts event, held last week, found that despite a greater recognition of gaming’s reach potential, ad spend within the medium is still trailing other spaces. Data presented by the IAB indicated that gaming currently accounts for under 6% of US digital ad spending, a startling figure when the industry is reported to draw more revenue than music, film, and TV combined.

Low levels of investment persist thanks to outdated stereotypes of gaming audiences, as well as a failure to establish and develop efficient advertising infrastructure within the medium. However, in-game ads have become more sophisticated and adopted in hardcore games, and more brands are already experimenting with the commerce opportunities offered by gaming, as well as the still-nascent but much discussed metaverse.


Sky Mavis raise USD $150m to repay hack victims


Will the future of gaming be based around NFTs?

Vietnamese game studio Sky Mavis have raised USD $150m (£115.2m) to repay players of their NFT-based title Axie Infinity, whose funds were stolen by hackers. The cybercriminal(s) targeted the pay-to-earn game’s supporting currency, Ronin, making off with an estimated USD $625m (£479.8m) worth of the ethereum-based sidechain.

The round was led by Binance, who also allowed Ronin users to freely withdraw and deposit Ethereum. The crypto exchange remains one of the only major players in the space to be directly integrated into the Ronin network. Sky Mavis could have had the option of using funds from Axie Infinity’s “community treasury”, which is reportedly worth around USD $1.6bn (£1.2bn) to reimburse those affected; however, doing so would have required a majority vote from players, which may be why the company elected to raise fresh capital and use existing funds instead.