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Issue #6 – Playing With Reality – The Birth of the Virtual Economy 🚀🔮🌟

Thijs Pepping
April 12, 2021

Playing With Reality

“Playing with Reality” is the title of our upcoming book on synthetic media and the follow-up to our 2008 book “Me the Media”. Playing with Reality is about how humans continuously manipulate reality and how new digital technology tools enable us to go one step further in this ancient game. This includes modern phenomena like conspiracy theories such as QAnon, Deepfakes, and fake news, but also virtual humans such as CGI Influencer Lil Miquela and virtual worlds like Fortnite.

Sometimes the Internet makes you feel like a boomer. Why should you buy virtual clothes for your avatar? Why should you buy a dancing emote of popstar Bruno Mars in Fortnite? Why should you buy a Non-Fungible Token of a digital object that everybody can copy and paste? Are you going crazy or are you witnessing the birth of a whole new virtual economy???

Burberry designs skins for Honor of Kings game

The classic looking Burberry style can now be bought in the game store.
The classic looking Burberry style can now be bought in the game store.

Digital Fashion is hot and happening. Maybe it’s the pandemic which gave an extra spur to AR clothing and Game skins, but the momentum was already building up for years. Anyhow, one of the latest gossips is luxury fashion brand Burberry which has designed outfits for one of China’s biggest video games: Honor of Kings. The clothes, also called skins, can be bought in-game. In an interview with BBC, Burberry explains their digital move: “By allowing our Chinese customers to explore virtual products through the medium of online games, we can connect with our communities in a way that really resonates with them,” Talking about Playing with Reality… Expect more to come in this fascinating world of digital fashion.

Fortnite Is Getting A Bruno Mars Emote

Bruno Mars is the latest celebrity to jump into the virtual world of Fortnite. Last week developer Epic Games announced that the battle royale game would be getting a new Mars emote — essentially an in-game dance — set to the singer’s song “Leave the Door Open.”

New Bruno Mars Fortnite Emote – Leave the Door OpenYo @fortnite let ya uncle Brunz teach ya how to swang to this thang 😎✨  •  Share

New Bruno Mars Fortnite Emote - Leave the Door Open

Diminished Reality – AR in Reverse

See something you don't like? Just erase it with Diminished Reality...
See something you don’t like? Just erase it with Diminished Reality…

Diminished Reality is about blocking, removing, or reducing reality. It’s about taking away stimuli, reducing the impact of something (handy for contact sports), and customising consumer experiences (e.g. a noise-free environment in a restaurant thanks to DR). Some call it Augmented Reality in reverse. DR is more than a decade old and has multiple working solutions. E.g. this DR deepfake code on Github which removes people from footage. DR is still in each early days, but we wanted to share the concept with you so ideas, guidelines and concepts can started brewing ;).

NFTs Weren’t Supposed to End Like This

Anil Dash, the person who invented Non-Fungible Tokens in 2014, has written a large complaint about this exciting new technology for Atlantic Magazine. You can read the article here.“After a decade of whiplash-inducing changes in valuation, billions of dollars are now invested in cryptocurrencies, and the people who have made those bets can’t cash in their chips anywhere. They can’t buy real estate with cryptocurrency. They can’t buy yachts with it. So the only rich-person hobby they can partake in with their cryptowealth is buying art. And in this art market, no one is obligated to have any taste or judgment about art itself. If NFT prices suddenly plunge, these investors will try buying polo horses or Davos tickets with cryptocurrencies instead. Think of a kid who’s spent the day playing Skee-Ball and now has a whole lot of tickets to spend. Every toy looks enticing. NFTs have become just such a plaything.

NFT Canon

If you want to read about a more positive vision on NFT, then please visit the website of venture capitalist Andreessen & Horowitz (A16z). They have put together a NFT Canon. It is a go-to resource for artists and creators, developers, corporations and institutions, communities and other organizations seeking to understand or do more with non-fungible tokens.It’s a curated list of readings and resources on all things NFTs, and is organized from the big picture of what NFTs are and why they matter, to how to mint, collect, and do more with them — including various applications such as art, music, gaming, social tokens, and others.

Viewers Tip: BrooklyBridgeNFT

John Cleese has also created an NFT.. “Hello! It is time you meet my alter ego “Unnamed Artist” I’m delighted to offer you the opportunity of a lifetime. I’m selling my 1st NFT. Though bidding starts at 100.00, you can “BUY IT NOW” for 69,346,250.50! “

BrooklyBridgeNFT YouTube
BrooklyBridgeNFT YouTube

VINT Summit: The Reality Show

On the 15th of June 2021 we are organizing our yearly summit. This year we try to answer the question how digital technology is changing our relationship with reality. So if you want to know more about deepfakes, virtual humans, cgi influencers, synthetic media, AR, VR and mixed reality, please register yourself. And it’s free!


Playing with Reality is a weekly newsletter in which SogetiLabs’s Research Institute VINT examines the future where synthetic reality becomes part or our objective reality. We investigate the impact of new technology on people, organisations and our society. If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us at

About the author

Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Thijs Pepping is a humanistic trend analyst in the field of new technologies. He is part of the think tank within SogetiLabs and in his work he continuously wonders and analyses what the impact of New Technologies is on our lives, organizations and society.


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