WIRED on the Metaverse, with Saira Mueller of WIRED Magazine


WIRED on the Metaverse, with Saira Mueller of WIRED Magazine

Saira Mueller is a lifelong gamer. She has been covering the Esports sector for years. In this episode on The Metaverse Podcast, she discusses how she got into gaming, crypto, and how the metaverse is our digital persona realized.

Posted by WIRED on the Metaverse, with Saira Mueller of WIRED Magazine - March 2022


WIRED on the Metaverse, with Saira Mueller of WIRED Magazine Outlier Ventures

  • Gaming editor at WIRED
  • Founder of Women of Esports
  • Has a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University
  • Former Managing Editor at leading industry news site Dot Esports
  • Lifelong Gamer
  • Originally from Australia. Living in the US for over 7 years now

Her Journey As A Gamer

  • Been a gamer her entire life
  • Her dad is always one of the first people she knew that adopts new technologies
  • Had her first Playstation at 9/10. Used to play it with her brother a lot

So I’m not surprised that I became a gamer at a very young age, but started with Game Boy Color, with the original Nintendo system. The first proper gaming console that we got was the original PlayStation.

– Saira Mueller

  • When she got her own PC at 14/15, that was when she became more of a gamer. World of Warcraft took up a lot of years in her life. In some way, World of Warcraft was the original metaverse to her
  • Started reporting on the gaming world in 2015 with International Business Times in New York. She was the gaming reporter and she dove headfirst into everything

The Metaverse

I wouldn’t really consider it [World of Warcraft] part of the metaverse, right? I think in some ways, it was like the very early iteration/hint of what the Metaverse could be.

– Saira Mueller

  • Large MMORPGs bring players all over the world together in a digital space
  • Her definition of the metaverse: Your digital persona realized, and you can move around the digital world with this persona in the exact same way you do in the real world
  • People don’t realize that they already have an existing digital persona — different account logins on various websites, credit profiles that companies have on them, etc.
  • The Metaverse is the next iteration, with people taking autonomy over their digital self

Journey Into Crypto

WIRED on the Metaverse, with Saira Mueller of WIRED Magazine Outlier Ventures

  • Had a former co-worker at Dot Esports that was super into cryptocurrencies in 2016
  • That co-worker tried to constantly convince them to buy Ethereum and Bitcoin, but most of them did not
  • Had so many things going on in life that she did not take the time to stop and understand it
  • Started paying attention to crypto at end 2019/early 2020. Bought Dogecoin and it turned out really well for her
  • Everyone in the gaming community was talking about Dogecoin in December 2019. It was then that she decided to put some money into it, just before it took off
  • Saw how crypto changed the lives of people

Why Did Crypto Resonate With Gamers

WIRED on the Metaverse, with Saira Mueller of WIRED Magazine Outlier Ventures

  • Younger generation of gamers grew up with memes

I would say a lot of the younger generations, because a lot of them grew up with memes, unlike me. And it speaks to a trend in culture where we’re constantly poking fun at ourselves. And if there was ever a cryptocurrency that pokes fun at the whole system is Dogecoin.

– Saira Mueller

Esports In The Context Of The Metaverse

  • Doesn’t think that Esports necessarily fit into this category as much as Streamers/VTubers

I’ve got a daughter who’s eight, and she is insistent on becoming a Vtuber.

– Jamie Burke

  • VTubers are people that create a virtual-like animated version of themselves on multiple platforms and project it to the world
  • A few companies are creating animated avatars that sync to cameras such that it picks up the VTuber’s movements and creates an animated version of the person
  • Streamers are more at the forefront of the trend of the metaverse
  • On Grand Theft Online, there are servers dedicated to role-playing
  • WIRED published a story a few months ago on the Microsoft Flight Simulation community role-playing as air traffic controllers. Some of these individuals are actual air traffic controllers in real life

Cultural Appropriation Of Gaming

  • In the past, gaming was seen as a nerdy thing that wasn’t cool
  • Gaming is becoming more accepted and is no longer just a subculture. Thinks that Fortnite partially contributed to it
  • Things are rocky right now. Gamers were kind of shunned while growing up. Now there’s an influx of people coming in and saying that they are gamers. The original gamers are feeling threatened by that and want to keep control over this thing that has been solely theirs and their close friends for a long time

China And Gaming

  • China restricting gaming to just 3 hours a week
  • Thinks that gaming is a healthy medium to teach children how to balance their lives and actually deal with such things
  • Eventually, Chinese kids will go overseas to study. The question is what they will do when they no longer have such restrictions in place
  • The restrictions may not have the effect that they want to have
  • Chinese teams have been doing very well in League of Legends over the last few years. If those teams are going to be restricted on how much they can practise, it will be detrimental to the entire Esports industry in China

Decentraland And The Broader Metaverse

WIRED on the Metaverse, with Saira Mueller of WIRED Magazine Outlier Ventures

  • Hated grinding for hours to collect items in World of Warcraft. The items exist within this one game and do not actually belong to her
  • In the Metaverse, your items actually belong to you — you can carry them wherever you go, you can display them wherever you want, etc.
  • Finds the idea of Decentraland and buying and selling land through the blockchain to be interesting
  • Interesting to observe the trend in blockchain-based games like Axie Infinity. Early adopters can make plenty of money through it. It also enables people to express their creativity by building things and setting up their own businesses

Gaming Industry On Play-To-Earn Games

  • Triple-A game developers do not understand the appeal of blockchain games because it is vastly different to how they develop games
  • Spoke to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) team last week. Learned that, due to COVID, console game developers are just starting to move the development of games online. Previously, console game developers had to be in the office with a physical console to develop games. Now, they are shifting development online using cloud services
  • One of the consequences is that game development companies are no longer hiring people just within their city, but are open to hiring the best people from all over the world
  • Eventually, developers would not be able to stop paying attention to the blockchain

WIRED on the Metaverse, with Saira Mueller of WIRED Magazine Outlier Ventures

This podcast summary was prepared by The Reading Ape in collaboration with Outlier Ventures. The Reading Ape is a humble servant of the written word.

We can be reached here: Twitter | Substack