HyperSpace is a new entertainment venue that wants to be a physical portal to the metaverse.
Dubai has the best malls in the world. That’s if you like malls. If you hate them, then Dubai has the worst malls in the world. But, no one does malls like Dubai. Shopping is life. Tourists come from all over the world simply to see the shopping lifestyle. The Dubai Mall is one of the world’s largest shopping malls. It has a walk-through aquarium, and a world-class ice rink among other crazy things that shouldn’t be in a mall. There’s 14,000 parking spaces and you probably will still think that the parking struggle is real. These malls are amazing things to see on holiday. It is estimated that retail will account for as much as 70% of the US economy in the next five years. That means retail jobs will account for as much as one in every seven jobs in the United States.
With the rise of internet shopping, malls are on their last breaths across the world. The phenomenon has been called the retail apocalypse. The corporations who run these vast centers of retail have realized that they must fill the retail gaps with other things… namely, entertainment hubs, and food offerings, just to keep some human presence in the fading malls.
In the Middle East, malls are a big part of life, so these huge monoliths need to be saved. The malls are fantastic spectacles, but everyone knows that the Middle East’s mall culture might not survive the retail apocalypse. It’s no wonder then, that these huge malls are looking to fill their empty spaces with other things – like entertainment experiences.
Alexander Heller is the founder of HyperSpace. He is a blockchain and gaming veteran and the CEO of the company. His big idea is to merge the real world and the metaverse. HyperSpace is the world’s first blockchain-enabled and extended reality (XR) attraction. It is being marketed as a physical gate to the metaverse. It is hoped that it will allow punters to have physical experiences that are engaging and will convert them to the idea of the metaverse.
This HyperSpace park will be located in a mall in Dubai. Inside, visitors can interact with NFTs, the Metaverse, and blockchain technology. They can play games, explore immersive worlds, attend events, and shop. As they have these experiences, they can record and share them on their social media profiles.
For example, customers will be able to design, buy, and trade wearables and skins physically purchased in the park. They can try on NFT fashion items on human-scale AR mirrors, skeletally tracked to customers. And upload fashion items to their digital wardrobe.
While the idea of Hypercoin might seem like just an idea, it’s much further along the timeline than that. Heller and Hyperspace just secured US$11 million in equity and development seed funding. With this, they are creating their immersive entertainment attraction. They hope it will meet the entertainment needs of a generation who are social media natives and metaverse fans.
Hyperspace: Building a future for malls
“House of Hype” is the name of the first outlet of the HyperSpace family of attractions in the Middle East. It will be located at Wafi Mall, Dubai and will be 40,000 sq. ft. immersive.
The park will have several experience zones that will include surrealist playgrounds and immersive neighborhoods, some even reminiscent of Bladerunner’s Chinatown. There will be areas with holographic supercars. And there will be high-end digital fashion, where customers can create NFTs of shoes and clothes and take them with them as NFTs. Heller says that the park is designed to enhance your digital identity. “You can create avatars, you can create pieces of digital fashion, memes and artworks and pieces of design. You can mint them. It’s no wonder that so many people have been drawn to the EOS platform, which promises to do just that.
IRL meets the metaverse
In the UAE, Heller said that the importance of physical retail is still massive. “Dubai Mall is not going anywhere. If I open this in a mall in LA, maybe they’ll close there in a few years because retail is trending down. But Dubai Mall is like a pillar of society. It is a massive market opportunity. Dubai has a huge tourist market – 17 million tourists visited in 2019. They spend the most in the whole world and are number one in social media use in the world.”
There will be 38 experiences throughout the entire park. Says Heller, “We will have an NFT production studio. We are bringing it to a mass market audience in a very high volume. Customers can create digital wearables akin to video game skins. And they can make other digital assets, then take them to metaverse worlds.”
“In the middle of the design district, you walk into a holographic pod. There is a white floating sneaker rotating around you in motion. That sneaker’s design is linked to 60 biomarkers and the human voice. There is an AI that we that we developed that prompts you to speak to the sneakers. You could tell this sneaker anything – your hopes, your dreams, you could sing a song, you could tell it your phone number, who you have a crush on, whatever. As you speak to this sneaker, that sneaker’s design starts morphing and changing in front of you. Shape, color, texture, design. As long as you’re speaking to the sneaker, the design is changing in real time in this hologram, right in front of your eyes.”
You can take your NFT with you
Your digital asset is now in your app. You can launch the app, and it will scan your RFID band, then export the asset to your app. From here, you can do a number of things.
This is an outline of what Heller explains, “Once you have this digital asset inside your wallet, you can immediately throw it on your feet in augmented reality. You can send it immediately to your socials and create cool content through the app. I could stick my finger up and have my sneaker spinning on my finger like a basketball. You can mint the NFT right out of our app, and then send it to a to send it to an NFT marketplace.”
The Hyperspace team is working on removing the barriers to entry of the NFT and metaverse space. “Buying an NFT is attractive but setting it up is not. It can be a multi-day process. But at Hyperspace, you’re using your first NFT within about 90 seconds of minting it, and you created it with us in an extraordinary experience.”
How to survive in a mall
Heller says that shopping malls will only be able to survive if they become more experiential, otherwise their business will fade into the rear-view mirror.
This is exactly what Hyperspace plans to be an experience. Says Heller, “You come through the door, you buy a ticket, you enter the space. You are going to create extraordinary content, have fun with friends, be entertained, and then leave.”
According to Heller, they are fixing a really basic, old-world problem. “We have 19 investors in total, and so the hope is that this kind of experience will revive malls, especially for young people. It’ll really set a new bar and standard for an entertainment attraction, building on the amusement park model, but with content-creation opportunities. We are taking all the rules of the digital world and putting them into physical spaces rather than vice versa. It’s the reason why we scroll through Tik Tok and Instagram all day long, or play Fortnight for hours.”
Will it work? You may not be able to get a park in one of those 14,000 spaces, but if you have a lot of friends, you could probably find someone who wants to get in on it.
Featured photo source pexels.com