Header image: Grimace metaverse (unrelated to McDonald’s)

To us, the metaverse so far is not much more than a vague collection of ideas being developed piecemeal by all the big tech companies in the name of “connecting” and “increasing engagement”. It feels like each of these behemoths has its own vision for what this virtual-reality space will be like, and they are all very keen for us to love it.

Meta (the artist formerly known as Facebook) is encouraging virtual real estate, and we just know virtual land tax will follow shortly. Microsoft wants us to join virtual meeting rooms and probably hang out at virtual water coolers for a gossip with colleagues. What could go wrong?

McDonald’s is not one to miss out. In a recent Twitter exchange, Elon Musk challenged the fast-food chain to accept Dogecoin, so McD’s fired back that Tesla first needs to accept Grimacecoin – which didn’t exist at the time, but it sure does now (McDonald’s is not behind its development). A number of different versions of Grimacecoin were minted following this interaction, and the value of one version surged 285,000% in the hours following the tweet. Crazy stuff.

Now, as trademark attorney and keen observer Josh Gerben announced, McDonald’s has filed a new trademark application for McDelivery, which will offer “a virtual restaurant featuring home delivery” using the “McDelivery” trademark. This ties in with their previous applications for various trademarks such as “McCafé”, “McDonald’s” and the “M” logo for operating a virtual restaurant featuring both tangible and virtual goods so that hungry gamers can order in-game and have their meals prepared and delivered for real. Let’s hope the virtual McFlurry machine never breaks down!

The Pandaverse

Chinese-American chain Panda Express has also filed a trademark application for “PANDAVERSE”, which plans to have “a virtual restaurant featuring actual and virtual goods”, indicating that they might incorporate real physical deliveries from virtual orders.

You are also likely to find family entertainment and pizza chain Chuck E. Cheese (with virtual food and beverages) and US bakery-café chain Panera Bread (“PANERAVERSE” will offer virtual goods and entertainment services). Let’s be honest – by the time we get to the metaverse, everyone will be there.

We aren’t overexcited by all this. It’s not just the depressing imagery of not even having to remove our headsets in order to sustain our physical selves with food. Can you imagine being in this world – this constrained, digital world – and being absolutely blanketed by covert and blatant marketing? For things that don’t even really physically exist? Ugh.

Challenging as it is right now, we prefer real life.

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