Five things on Friday #333

Things of note for the week ending Friday, July 22nd 2022


My philosophy on life has changed significantly over the past five or so years. It’s funny. Two rounds of therapy, a suicide attempt, and a pandemic will do that – I guess.

I found the above image (source) a couple of months ago and I just keep coming back to it. We are here for such a short time. Against the backdrop of the amusing, enlightening, and inspiring JWST perspective from last week (link again in case you missed it), I just wanted to reiterate: nothing mattersand that’s ok – so if you can, please, find some ways to enjoy yourself.

Take a breath, think about what’s important, hug the people you love (and include yourself in that), and smile into the rest of your day.

How we spend our days is how we spend our lives, right?

Do the thing. Make the leap. Tell that person you love them. And if it doesn’t work out, you tried. Trying and failing is infinitely better than doing nothing at all.

I promise.

OK. So. That was quite the primer! I did not see that coming. Shall we crack on with THE THINGS?




Because honestly, between butt-hurt metaverse gurus on Linkedin and the ridiculous excuse of regurgitated PR that is the [occasional] excuse for industry/trade “journalism” (we’ll come back to that), we are still calling this ridiculousness out.

In the past few days, a couple of people tagged me in this:

Our map of the metaverse worlds: find a virtual home now


“The metaverse is a new canvas for creativity, but the hyped up trend wave could snuff all the incredible out of a good thing. We must see past the hype and build the future. Blinded by a shiny new thing, a nearsighted pursuit of rapid innovation can lead to a misuse of technology. With flashy acts that don’t contribute to overall brand business objectives, the fun is over before it ever even really begins.

And I honestly don’t know where to start with the levels of disinformation contained within. To put that quote on the same page as the above image is such a phenomenal self-own, I can’t quite believe it’s still live.

  1. These are not metaverse ‘worlds’. The names mentioned are either desolate website wastelands OR video games or VR platforms.

  2. ‘Metaverse worlds’ is an oxymoron, ya moron. Any background reading or literally any serious attempt at a definition of what ‘the metaverse’ might be one day, clearly delineates that this space will be persistent, interoperable, and singular. In short, you’ll be in one metaverse and move between them seamlessly. You can’t just back-pedal a metaverse ‘worlds’ definition onto video games because you’ve woken up soiled in Web3.

  3. The sizing of the ‘infographic’ is WAY off. Fortnite’s numbers next to Decentraland’s make no sense. ‘Here’s a K! Here’s an M! – they’re the same!’ they are not.

  4. The MAUs are as incorrect as they are misleading (google it).

  5. For some unknown reason ‘Fearless Girl’ is in there too, is it because she is an NFT now? My dudes (because a pound to a penny this was signed off by dudes), NFTs ≠ the metaverse.

She’s right, y’know.

Because I had 15mins between meetings on Wednesday and – to be quite honest – I still find it utterly baffling that people pay buffoons to mutter the likes of Sandbox and Decentraland in the same sentence as Fortnite and Roblox, I made a few charts.

The first one was taking the MAUs supplied by this ‘map’ at face value, combining it with the DAU data I could find, and then representing what that data looks like with a bit more meaning (and by ‘a bit more’ I mean ‘more than zero’).

If you can see it, then it’s a video game.

If you can’t see it, then thems those clothes the emperor has been wanging on about so much lately.

For real.

Check this out: someone made a live user counter for Decentraland. It’s amazing! Click, scroll down to the bottom, and you’ll see.

As I write to you the number says ‘Total Users: 750’.

And yet clients are giving up their marketing dollars to pay for this horse manure.

Anyway. I rewrote the ‘map’.

Updated with DAU actuals across the board (aside from Horizon – telling that Facebook doesn’t publish this figure) and updated definitions (video games, websites, etc), this is a slightly more realistic version of the ‘metaverse map’.

Realistic insofar that it shows real numbers. The interoperability, persistence, and random addition of NFTs in the middle of it all were just too much to bother about.

My goodness, this stuff makes me cross.

You can tweet it or post it on LinkedIn or whatever, or just print it and stick it above your desk at work or at home. Hell, laminate it if you want.

The point is: if you see the original repurposed anywhere, hit reply with the updated stats or just send them this way.

We make no changes unless we collectively work to prevent this disease from spreading across our industry.


UPDATE: since drafting this section, S4 has issued a profit warning, slicing £30m off EBITDA forecasts and stating spiraling staff costs as a problem:

“The staff costs issue, it clarified, is concentrated in its content practice. It still expects its data and digital media practice and technology services practice to deliver “healthy” EBITDA margins for the full year.” –

It is a difficult year for everyone. Maybe let’s stop selling things that aren’t real to clients that don’t need them and then maybe people can keep their jobs?


I mentioned PR as trade ‘journalism’ earlier.

Here’s why:

This isn’t rocket science. This is reading.

I clicked on the link and it said:

“The artists were briefed on the project and told to “showcase an electrified interpretation of how the Nissan Ariya is a ‘ray of hope’ within each of their cities”.

Each artwork is influenced by the Japanese-inspired design of the Ariya but the artists were encouraged to use their own personal style and story in their pieces.

The images will be shown in digital and on large-format outdoor sites while also presenting consumers with a QR code.

Guess where the QR code takes them. Go on guess.

“You can literally step into it with a Meta Quest headset for a fully immersive experience or explore it in 3D on your mobile or computer.”

It’s a website.

“Car lovers will be able to enter the metaverse using the QR code and experience the artwork in a truly immersive way.”

I have a question.

Sorry to be a dick about it but out of curiosity how many people passing ‘large-format outdoor sites’ will be carrying their Meta Quest headsets in their bags?

Oh, and while we’re at it: Meta Quest is not the metaverse.
It’s a self-contained VR platform made by Facebook.

Also! Exploring a ‘3D website’ on your mobile or computer is not the metaverse.
It’s just a website! Oy.

…and breathe…

OK, I think we’re done here.

If you are a brand or a client and you’re still unsure about this, hit reply to this email – I just want to talk. If you’re looking at your 2023 planning briefs at the moment and you’ve got a couple of slides near the back with the words ‘the metaverse is coming’ on them, then take a good long hard look at yourself and ask ‘Why is this here?’

Have you had too many free breakfasts at the Facebook offices? Has your media agency been told it has to find extra money in the budget because they bent over backwards to win your business last year? Or are you putting it in the deck because you think if you don’t then you might not be seen as ‘innovative’?

Whatever it is, stop. It is dangerous – for your budget, for your ROI, for your job – and it will deliver zero brand growth.


The Comox Glacier, or Queneesh, is a familiar sight from the surrounding towns, but possibly not for much longer. Photo by Michael Wheatley/All Canada Photos/Corbis

This is a gentle, timely, and somewhat beautiful read.

We don’t have long.


This week I’m playing: Neon White with my colleagues in Bristol, new Hot Wheels DLC for Forza Horizon 5 (it’s ridic) and, hopefully, I’ll get a chance later today to dive into the latest FREE update to No Man’s Sky, ‘Endurance’ – which has been described as ‘Captaining it up like Picard’ – in.

Some quick links for you:

And finally, my agency – Diva – is a sponsor of the ongoing thought pieces ‘Playable Futures’ on The latest is an interview with the always fantastic Anna Rafferty from Lego. Her thoughts on ‘Rubber Safety Mulch’ give me even more confidence in Lego’s partnership with Epic. I can’t wait to see more.


10 benches in Copenhagen have been raised by 1 meter (3.28 feet) and set up in prominent areas of the city. A copper plate on each bench reads:

“Flooding will become part of our everyday life unless we start doing something about our climate. According to the latest UN Climate Report sea levels are expected to rise by up to 1 meter before 2100 if global warming continues.”

A haunting way to illustrate an impending problem.



First came the threatening texts, followed by the SWAT teams. Then someone wound up dead.

A man with a target on his face made of an @ sign

This is as chilling as it is nuts. Eesh.




Thanks for reading.

If you liked this week’s newsletter, please forward it to someone. I’m edging towards 3000 subs and it’d be nice to hit that number for no other reason than vanity x

I love you 3000,

Whatley out x

PS. Are you going to Gamescom? Hit reply and say hi.

Last updated by at .

Author: James Whatley

Chief Strategy Officer in adland. I got ❤️ for writing, gaming, and figuring stuff out. I'm @whatleydude pretty much everywhere that matters. Nice to meet you x