MTV's Video Music Awards (VMAs) ventured boldly into the metaverse on Sunday evening, with a performance from rappers Eminem and Snoop Dogg beamed from Yuga Labs' game Otherside.
With the Bored Ape Yacht Club's (BAYC) virtual land as the main setting of the video, the pair's journey into the metaverse begins after they smoke a comically oversized spliff.
The performance features some choice acting from the rappers, who fall down a swirling multicolored vortex and morph into the Bored Apes they own. There are also cameos from Kodas, the mysterious creatures created by Yuga that live in the Otherside.
The pair have previous form for engaging in Yuga Labs productions, having performed at ApeFest earlier this year – the in-person event designed to bring holders of BAYC NFTs together. They launched the track, called "From the D 2 The LBC," earlier this year with an animated video featuring Bored Apes.
Otherside has probably been the most highly anticipated metaverse project since "metaverse" became a buzzword.
Yuga Labs has revealed little so far about its game, aside from some technical testing. Like other virtual world platforms such as Decentraland and The Sandbox, people can own NFT-based parcels of digital real estate.
An auction for virtual plots of land, called Otherdeeds, netted $317 million when it launched in April. At the time, the sale was so popular it crashed the Ethereum blockchain, sending transaction fees skyrocketing. These NFTs entitle the holder to a plot of land in the game and a Koda, which lives on the land.
As such, the performance in the Otherside is a first – and an implicit endorsement of what Yuga Labs has built.
Meanwhile, other virtual worlds were getting a showing. This year's VMAs also included a category for best metaverse performance for the first time.
South Korean girlband Blackpink won that category having gone up against heavyweights of the industry including Justin Bieber and Charli XCX. Metaverse venues of choice included Minecraft, Roblox, Fortnite and Wave — with blockchain-based performances conspicuously absent.
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