It’s the weekend! Before you shut down for a few days, let’s revisit some of the big tech stories from the week that you might have missed, including the Jeff Bezos space flight (actually, we’re betting you didn’t miss that) and Netflix breaking into a new (and competitive) arena.
Jeff Bezos Thanks You for Paying for His Space Flight
It only took twenty years and a couple billion dollars, but former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos managed to launch himself into space this week aboard a rocket. Along for the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it trip (seriously, the whole thing was 11 minutes from takeoff to landing) was Bezos’ brother Mark, 18-year-old Oliver Daemen, and Wally Funk (who probably should have gone into orbit 50 years ago).
Upon landing, Bezos grabbed a microphone and told the world: ““I want to thank every Amazon employee, and every Amazon customer, because you guys paid for all this.”
It was odd statement, considering the company’s very public wrestling with issues of employee engagement and morale. If you’re a technologist working at Amazon, perhaps you can take some joy in the idea that your hard work helped build a really excellent reusable rocket that’ll probably end up used for space tourism? As far as space-related quotes go, what Bezos said was a whole lot odder than “One giant leap for mankind.”
Get Ready to Work in the Metaverse
Facebook started out as an app, but if CEO Mark Zuckerberg gets his way, the company might pioneer something called the “metaverse,” where initiatives such as virtual reality and online payments come together in a digital reality right out of a William Gibson novel.
“You can think about the metaverse as an embodied internet, where instead of just viewing content — you are in it,” Zuckerberg recently told The Verge. “And you feel present with other people as if you were in other places, having different experiences that you couldn’t necessarily do on a 2D app or webpage, like dancing, for example, or different types of fitness.”
Virtual reality will play a huge part in this, he added. Good thing he’s spent billions of dollars developing Oculus VR headsets, which for the moment remains primarily a platform for gaming. Zuckerberg envisions that future AR and VR devices will be powerful enough to bend your subjective reality:
“So, one is you will be able to, with basically a snap of your fingers, pull up your perfect workstation. So anywhere you go, you can walk into a Starbucks, you can sit down, you can be drinking your coffee and kind of wave your hands and you can have basically as many monitors as you want, all set up, whatever size you want them to be, all preconfigured to the way you had it when you were at your home before. And you can just bring that with you wherever you want.”
Is this vision possible, or will it firmly remain in the realm of sci-fi? If the tech industry really does evolve in this direction, it could open up lots of opportunities for technologists—and whole new ways of developing software.
Netflix Gets into Gaming
Speaking of new opportunities for developers, Netflix is considering a sizable investment in mobile games. If the streaming giant creates original games (with an accompanying game portal), it could open up a whole new set of opportunities for technologists interested in gaming.
Netflix has revealed little about its nascent gaming initiative. “Just as we’ve continuously expanded our offering by adding new genres, unscripted, film, local-language programming, animation, on and on, we think we have an opportunity to add games to that offering and deliver more entertainment value to our members,” Netflix COO Greg Peters recently told investors.
Given the company’s sizable investments in IP, though, it’s not out of the question that you could see mobile games based on popular movies and television shows (picture a “Stranger Things” RPG or an “Army of the Dead” shooter). With a substantial catalog, Netflix would end up competing hard against Apple Arcade and other platforms. Let the games begin.
Have a great weekend, everyone!