May 27, 2020
Image: Sean Percival, Flickr
Good morning! This Wednesday, the lowdown on the booming virtual economy, Oppo wants to get into chipmaking, and Amazon wrote the news. Want Index in your inbox each morning? Subscribe here.
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The real economy isn't doing too great right now. Online, though, things are different. According to John Egan, CEO of L'Atelier, an independent research subsidiary of BNP Paribas, Second Life's GDP has jumped 27% in recent months.
Right now, the virtual economy is dominated by two extremes, Egan told me.
But he thinks there's more money to be made. The question is whether we'll see millions of people generating an average, middle-class income from the virtual world — something Egan thinks could be plausible in the next few years.
A potential solution? In-game storefronts. "You could imagine a situation where the game publisher provides licenses to third parties to distribute assets through those shopfronts," Egan said.
What's going on with Chinese chipmakers might be the most interesting, and important, tech story in the world right now. Tense relations between the U.S. and China have second- and third-order repercussions that are set to shake up the entire tech landscape — providing huge opportunities for some companies.
That second reason is particularly interesting because it captures a broader theme in the tech industry right now: the importance of self-reliance. As geopolitics get ever more unpredictable, it's never been more crucial for a tech firm to have backup plans — ideally ones located in its home country.
With U.S./China tensions continuing to worsen (the U.S. is reportedly considering sanctions in response to what's going on in Hong Kong), self-reliance may become more important still.
Good PR isn't especially easy to come by these days, especially if eight of your warehouse workers have died from COVID-19 amid employee criticisms of your workplace safety measures. But that hasn't stopped Amazon! The company wrote and produced a TV package for news stations to run, touting just how much things have improved. And at least 10 stations actually ran it. Fair warning: The terrifying video of news anchors reading the same, Amazon-written script will make sure you never sleep again.