14 or 15 years ago, I trolled Bill Sheridan of the Maryland CPA Association on Twitter about discovering a cache of weapons they had hidden on CPA Island, a virtual space then revolutionary in the Second Life game that MACPA had set up for… accounting things. Back in 2008, CPA Island was the first (the only? It never really caught the IIRC’s attention) of its kind and promised to be an exciting pixel hub for accounting professionals.
Here is a 2008 accounting journal writing :
Second Life is a virtual world with educational, public relations and economic implications. CPA Island is the center of the accounting profession in Second Life.
At a minimum, CPA Island presents a creative communication medium to appeal to a new generation. This generation grew up with high-speed internet connectivity, instant messaging and multiplayer online games.
The spirit behind CPA Island goes beyond simply demonstrating an awareness of the different skills of this new generation. It embraces and celebrates these skills as important to the future of the accounting profession.
The economic implications of Second Life are just beginning. Suspend disbelief, log in and experience CPA Island and other aspects of Second Life for yourself.
I was MACPA’s target audience at the time – a perpetually connected gamer, consuming the internet, gaming since the 80s with an interest in accounting – and jokes about weapons and cool outfits hidden around the island CPA I watched with anticipation in hopes that CPA Island would take off and inspire a rich digital world in which to do accounting things. Maybe it was aspirational of Marylanders always ahead of the game to think the profession was ready for a virtual space of this magnitude, maybe lifeless Second Life users and role-players perpetually connected have angrily chased CPAs. We may never know. I emailed MACPA to find out what happened to him. The last time I remember hearing about it was in 2013, I think, for an event I attended – physically – at the MACPA offices in Towson.
All these years later, a small handful of accounting firms are making the leap into the metaverse. Which is almost exactly like Second Life except…well, I’m having a hard time finding a reason why it’s any different. Because people are putting money into it? Prager Metis spent $35,000 on a three-story virtual property on a metaverse site he bought for almost $35,000 last December PwC Hong Kong bought an imaginary property on The Sandbox – a game where a digital land has already been purchased for over $10,000, and last February KPMG Canada purchased “the highly regarded World of Women (WoW) non-fungible token (NFT) collection.”
Unsatisfied with the joy of owning non-fungible tokens, KPMG is going all out in this metaverse. From a press release yesterday:
Today, KPMG in the United States and KPMG in Canada announced the opening of KPMG’s first metaverse collaboration hub, where employees, clients and communities can connect, engage and explore opportunities for growth in industries and sectors. The Collaboration Hub is the next step in both companies’ journeys to lead their employees and customers to Web 3.0. Both companies have formed dedicated teams to help clients develop and execute their own metaverse strategies.
“The Metaverse is a market opportunity, a way to re-engage talent, and a pathway to connect people across the world through a new collaborative experience,” said Laura Newinski, vice president and chief operating officer at KPMG. in the USA. “The unique experience provided by our Collaboration Center will harness the creativity and passion of our employees and customers to accelerate innovation.
“Launching a collaborative space in the metaverse is a natural evolution of our journey as an innovation-driven company,” said Elio Luongo, CEO and Senior Partner at KPMG in Canada. “The world has changed dramatically over the past few years, and our employees and customers are interested in exploring new ways of working. This gives them a new, immersive space to exchange ideas.
CPA Island was innovative. 14 years ago. Back when the original iPhone was just released.
With virtual reality what it is these days, we assumed the metaverse would be more like Overwatch 2 and less like the original Half-Life released in 1998. Still…let’s ride in a time machine and visit HQ social of MACPA in Second Life around 2008:
And KPMG’s new “Metaverse Collaboration Hub” which is making the rounds in accounting news today:
Mark has a rock haircut. Does this come in KPMG lootboxes?
Maybe it’s because we’ve been disappointed with this “accounting meeting space of the future” before, maybe because I played first-person shooters in 1999 as well as 2022 and that I expect this “innovative” space to look, well, more innovative than a 23-year-old video game. Whatever the reason for our disappointment, expect more complacent press releases about new half life metaverse spaces with logos of upcoming accounting firms as we move ever forward into the glorious virtual future.
Anyway, here is Wonderwall.
Particularly appreciated this passage where everyone hangs out in this bizarre corridor with outstretched arms as if eager to commit sexual harassment.
According to Ready Player One’s timeline, the sleek and immersive virtual world of Oasis was created in 2025, so who knows, maybe we’ll get something better than casual business VRChat in our lifetime.
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#KPMGs #space #metaverse #firstperson #shooters #played #worse
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