Newsletter #14

Published 2021-09-07

Be cheap labor for Cyberpunk 2077

Facebook ran a "Get Superpowered" competition a few months ago. It was pretty fun and I won a small prize from it. I was excited to see that they are running a new competition, but then I read the rules.

Facebook's new "Cyberpunk" augmented reality filter competition is giving away $715,000 USD in prizes and appears to be open to most of the world. But the catch is that the competition is run in conjunction with Cyberpunk 2077 the game and you are REQUIRED to use an official Cyberpunk 2077 asset in your filter. The assets will all be provided, but the assets is where I take issue.

$715,000 is a lot of prize money, but it will be split up between the top 500 filters. Let's say only 500 people enter and they each submit one filter. That comes out to $1,430 USD per filter. That's already pretty cheap for a filter, but if everyone submits two filters, the cost per filter is now $715 USD and Cyberpunk 2077 now has 1,000 branded filters out in the wild. And don't forget that everyone is going to be sharing and promoting their filters, so Cyberpunk gets all that marketing for free.

If you are one of the top winners, I'm sure the competition will be worth it, but for everyone else this competition is simply a means for Cyberpunk 2077 to get a ton of filters out there. The superpowered competition was fun because it was open to interpretation, but this competition is just tricking us into cheap labor. What Facebook should do is remove the requirement that each filter use at least one of Cyberpunk 2077's assets and just have a cyberpunk themed contest.

Go make some noise and let Spark AR Creators know what you think. I get that it's a competition and completely up to each creator if they want to enter, but I'd like to not see this become the norm.

Watch out for digital fashion

Digital fashion isn't exactly new, but it is growing and is something you should be watching out for. Supposedly having an AR try-before-you-buy reduces your return rate, but I don't trust those numbers because they compare Macy's return rate to the industry average. The correct comparison would have been Macy's return rate with AR try-before-you-buy to Macy's return rate without the AR (both over the same date range), but what do I know, I just have a master's degree in biophysics and know a thing or two about running experiments. So until I see more convincing numbers I'm going to call try-before-you-buy boring and instead tell you to experiment with fashion that can't exist in the real world. Trying on a pair of Nike sneakers through AR is cool for like two seconds, but what about a pair of sneakers that create shockwaves every time you take a step, or a pair of sneakers that shoot out fire the faster you walk/run? I am just some random guy on the internet, but if you ask me you should be using AR to think outside the box and create some cool experiences - don't be boring.