Every gaming startup wants to be the next Roblox or Fortnite or Discord or Unity!

I often get requests from early-stage video game-related startups asking for intros to investors who invest in games. There were only a few gaming-focused VC funds in the past, but this number has grown significantly in recent years. In February of his year (2021), GamesOne released a list of the top VC funds dedicated to gaming, ranked by fund size, with assets under management of $1.577 billion. In a sign of the times, new gaming funds have been announced since the release of the list.

Since there are loads of new gaming startups these days, let me first say, using…


Unless you’ve been under a superhero rock, you have probably heard that Warner Brothers released a four hour cut of Zack Snyder’s Justice League (previously called “The Snyder Cut”) last week exclusively on HBO Max, giving us the streaming version of the “extended cut” DVDs like those for the Lord of the Rings movies way back when.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a 4 hour new cut of the 2 hour movie Justice League ….

A quick history of Zack Snyder’s involvement in the DCEU: Snyder directed 2013’s Man of Steel, the reboot of Superman starring Henry Cavil, and then he helmed Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Justice League was started by Snyder to complete his trilogy…


CODEX

I am no fan of the power that Apple and Google assert over the ecosystem of mobile developers with the power to pull any app, effectively cutting them off from a large percentage of smartphone users. In fact, I’ve argued that they are de facto monopolies, more akin to Big Brother than companies that uphold our democratic and free-market traditions, and should be regulated, even broken up as part of the Big Tech antitrust suit. …


A mixture of Matrix, Terminator, the sequel to Ready Player One explores dark side of VR, Brain Computer Interfaces and realistic simulations

Ready Player Two, the sequel to Ernest Kline’s bestselling ode to 80s geek culture, Ready Player One that was turned into a blockbuster movie about Virtual Reality (VR) by Steven Spielberg, was released recently. Anyone who played vintage arcade games will recognize that the title of both books is based on the messages displayed at the beginning of each player’s turn.

In Ready Player Two, Ernest Klines moves us to the Simulation Point. (img: MovieWeb)

When Kline wrote the Ready Player One and set it in the far future world of 2045, little did he know that the VR technology he envisioned was well on its way to becoming reality. While there were no…


Are recent advances finally getting us to the point where AI and humans will be indistinguishable?

Recently, the Guardian, one of the UK’s most popular outlets, released op-ed with a provocative title: “A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?”. Overall, the essay held together unexpectedly well, despite some simple language and repetition, giving it an eerie self-referential quality– an AI telling us why we shouldn’t be afraid of AI.

The essay wasn’t created by a robot per se, but by a new piece of software called GPT-3, a text generation AI engine created by San Francisco…


Exploring the role of consumer robots before, during, and after the current pandemic

Perhaps the most famous robots ever, C3PO and R2D2 exemplified the difference between AI and Robotics

Recently, I was walking in a little park in downtown Mountain View, right in the heart of Silicon Valley, when I saw something unexpected. They were little robots, well little “automated carts”, really, with a flag on top and there were a few of them lined up near the library. Every now and then, one of them would leave the line and navigate the sidewalks and crosswalks of downtown.

I became intrigued. Being in what is essentially ground zero of Silicon Valley, I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised. When I moved to Mountain View in 2007, I remember…


In this article, Rizwan Virk, the Founder of Play Labs @ MIT and author of The Simulation Hypothesis, explores how the current crisis and Virtual Reality might affect long term social trends.

There’s a memorable scene in the 1993 movie Demolition Man, where Sylvester Stallone’s character is asked by Sandra Bullock’s character if he wants to have sex. Since he has just been awakened into an unfamilair future after being in suspended animation for decades, he eagerly says yes. She then hands him a headset and says let’s start, leaving him more than a little confused. …


In the process of writing my book, Startup Myths, I asked a number of prominent venture capitalists: what are some of the biggest mistakes made by entrepreneurs when fundraising?

They had many different answers, some of which were team-related (“not taking feedback”, “not learning well enough”, “not having the right background”), and some of which were market related (usually “not showing that the market is big enough”, or “they were too late to the market”).

If you are running a startup and going to raise money, these are all good things for you to keep in mind. However, I felt…


What some dismiss as misremembering could be a hint of alternate realities

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

If you follow unusual theories online, you’ve probably heard of the Mandela Effect. It’s a phenomenon in which a large group of people remembers a different history than that which we “know” to be true. I put “know” in quotes because of the underlying questions that the Mandela Effect raises about the nature of reality, memory, and timelines.

The term was coined by blogger Fiona Broome in 2009, after hearing many stories of people who “remembered” Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s. A quick internet search will tell you that Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993…


Despite the recent scandal, and the deserved resignation of its director, the lab does important work. But it can be better.

The exterior of the MIT media lab at 75 Amherst Street in Cambridge, MA is pictured on Aug. 23, 2019.
The exterior of the MIT media lab at 75 Amherst Street in Cambridge, MA is pictured on Aug. 23, 2019.
The exterior of the MIT media lab at 75 Amherst Street in Cambridge, MA is pictured on Aug. 23, 2019. Photo: Boston Globe/Getty Images

If you are in the tech or science world, you’ve probably heard by now about the recent scandal involving convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and his donations to the MIT Media Lab. Some at MIT (including some faculty and students) pushed for Joi Ito, the director of the lab since 2011, to resign as soon as they learned that the lab took money from Epstein under Ito’s watch.

The recent revelations from the New Yorker ignited a larger firestorm of protests and changed all that. Ito resigned a day after the article was published, in the wake of the allegations that…

Riz Virk

The Simulation Hypothesis, Play Labs @ MIT, Startups/VC, Sci Fi, Bitcoin, Consciousness, Space, Video Games: visit www.zenentrepreneur.com

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