Valentine’s Day in the Metaverse: Fostering Inclusion and Connection

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Valentine’s Day in the Metaverse: Fostering Inclusion and Connection
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Valentine’s Day is often viewed as one of the most romantic holidays, yet celebrating love can create a huge amount of stress and pressure for some individuals. Recent statistics from Drive Research found that while 52% of consumers will celebrate Valentine’s Day, 3 in 10 Americans will go into credit card debt this year from Valentine’s spending.

In addition to financial burdens, societal pressures of being in a relationship during Valentine’s Day can be stressful. A 2020 study from the online dating site Plenty of Fish found that 51% of 2,000 singles felt pressure to be romantic on Valentine’s Day, while 43% felt the need to be in a relationship.

Celebrating Love in The Metaverse

Sebastien Borget, COO and Co-Founder of The Sandbox – a Metaverse gaming platform – told Cryptonews that while Valentine’s Day can create a unique set of pressures, the Metaverse can provide an option for celebration without any of the traditional societal burdens surrounding the holiday.

“The metaverse allows for boundless creativity and expression beyond what is possible in the real world as well as in traditional games,” Borget said. “One of the core values of the open metaverse is inclusivity, which has a strong connection to the ideals of Valentine’s Day and what Valentine’s Day should be about.”

Given the potential behind the Metaverse, Borget shared that The Sandbox will feature a “Love and Music” festival that will take place from February 14 until the end of March this year.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR! Celebrate the season in The Sandbox, where the best artists express themselves. Start playing today!https://t.co/r7tVKcWBcl#LoveAndMusicTSB

pic.twitter.com/YPXw5Dbzki

— The Sandbox (@TheSandboxGame) February 14, 2024

According to Borget, the Love and Music festival is a Metaverse event designed for users to meet fellow players in The Sandbox ecosystem while enjoying experiences from popular music artists.

“Music has always had a strong, thematic connection to love and we think the experiences within the festival are a celebration of this,” he said.

The Sandbox “Love and Music festival” starts on Valentine’s Day. Source: The Sandbox

Borget added that all Sandbox users are invited to join the event for free. He noted that the festival includes a Love and Music Hub, which is designed to bring players together while meeting guest stars.

“Featured artists and music partners include Warner Music, Steve Aoki, The Notorious B.I.G., Elvis Presley, BLOND:ISH, Sueco, Nuclear Blast Records, and many more,” said Borget.

The Metaverse Enables Self-Expression

While The Sandbox hosted a successful interactive dating experience for Valentine’s Day last year, Borget explained that events in the Metaverse enable expression and access in unique ways.

“The metaverse allows for people to express themselves however they wish to, free from the traditional norms and bounds of the real world,” he remarked.

For instance, Borget pointed out that avatars used in metaverse environments allow players to represent themselves however they wish, both visually and in action. He added that the Metaverse enables access for everyone to participate in festivities without restrictions.

“People are able to meet and uniquely interact with others from any location or interest, across a diverse set of experiences not enabled by the real world,” he said.

David Paskett, Head of Content and Community at gaming company Upland, told Cryptonews that he believes personal expression is a central feature of the Metaverse. Therefore, he views Valentine’s Day as an enhanced opportunity for players to showcase their individuality.

“This Valentine’s Day Upland will offer a range of in-game cosmetics and Block Explorers, allowing users to customize their appearances and interactions within this virtual space,” said Paskett. “These tools serve not only as a means of personalization, but also as a way for players to engage more deeply with the game’s community and events, particularly during special occasions like Valentine’s Day.”

Valentine’s Day themed block explorers from Upland. Source: Upland

Valentine’s Day NFTs Create Ongoing Value

Paskett added that Upland’s Valentine’s Day Block Explorers, which are in-game assets, can be sold as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). This creates additional utility and revenue for users during the holiday.

Other Valentine’s Day NFT projects are also coming to fruition as non-fungible tokens gain traction this year.

For example, “Heartsleeves” is a generative-NFT video project that allows individuals who participate to experience an immersive, love-themed video environment. Artists Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus – also known as “LoVid” – created the Heartsleeves series, which launched on Feb. 8 this year.

“Heartsleeves embraces the theme of human emotions and connection in the age of technology and Web3,” Hinkis said. “Romance and other forms of love are included in this series.”

Image from the Heartsleeves series. Source: LoVid

According to Hinkis, Heartsleeves contains two parts.

“Part 1 is an algorithmically generated abstract video that will play forever without repeating. Ownership of one of these tokens unlocks access to use that generative “skin” in the portrait studio,” she said. “In this browser-based studio, participants can step inside this immersive video environment, record, and ultimately mint video portraits.”

Lapidus added that the project leverages decentralized ownership – one of the main properties of NFTs – to allow for official portraits to be minted by the Heartsleeves community. “It invites collectors to become co-creators, celebrating collaboration and connection in our digital world,” he said.

Will The Metaverse Attract The Mainstream?

While Valentine’s Day celebrations in the Metaverse may appeal to existing ecosystem participants, the question remains if these experiences will attract the mainstream.

Statistics from Influencer Marketing Hub show that the metaverse global market value could reach $936.6 billion by 2030. Findings also suggest that the metaverse has more than 400 million active users each month.

Given this, Lapidus believes that projects like Heartsleeves will cater to people from various backgrounds.

“The series includes both a generative video which is mesmerizing to look at and a portrait studio that draws the viewer in that welcomes play and exploration for everyone,” he said.

Metaverse growth will also likely increase with the release of new technologies centered around virtual and augmented reality. For example, Apple’s headset Vision Pro will be incorporating a metaverse app from Victoria VR, which is a company that combines blockchain with virtual reality to ensure real-world experiences.

Borget mentioned that Metaverse platforms should strive to create authentic experiences as an extension of physical cultural moments to attract mainstream consumers.

“We expect visitors at the Love and Music Festival to be a combination of Web3 enthusiasts alongside the broader gaming community and fans of the featured IPs/partners who are excited to interact with their favorite brands and celebrities in a unique way,” he said.

The post Valentine’s Day in the Metaverse: Fostering Inclusion and Connection appeared first on Cryptonews.

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