Chipotle’s Metavers Ambitions

I recently read an in-depth review and watched some of Chipotle’s new Roblox metaverse game. I use the word “game” here extremely loosely, even though I have the widest palate for games you can imagine. I’ve played everything from Gameboy to NES, mobile free-to-play to PC, and my new obsession: the PS5. Although Chipotle is new burrito maker has all the attributes of a mobile game, it has the potential to be so much more.

For those who missed it, the new Chipotle game lets players take on the exciting challenge of making burritos for digital customers. That’s right – you become a Chipotle employee in the metaverse, and they call it a game. If making burritos isn’t so fun for you, you can also take on the side quest to deliver them.

At first glance, I immediately thought: What a terrible idea for a game. But therein lies my mistake – I assumed this game was meant to entertain. Looking back, this metaverse game might be one of the coolest moves since Tesla used its pilots to leapfrog self-driving technology.

I’ll be the first to admit that the gaming world is always expanding. My own company, Atlas Reality, sits at the intersection of gaming, fintech, and Web3. The moment I stopped looking at Chipotle’s foray into the metaverse less like a game and more like a game with a machine learning veneer, I got interested.

The labor shortage

These days, family members in the restaurant industry tell me that it’s been hard to find employees willing to walk into a store and work for $15-20 an hour, especially with competition from fully remote work-from-home jobs and gig economy jobs where employees can set their own schedules. The long game will inevitably be automation taking over the jobs humans no longer want – and burrito-making may be one of them.

However, someone has to train these automated burrito builders. Machine learning involves recognizing patterns of millions of scenarios and how to handle them, and human-guided input and correction enable great learning experiences. Take Tesla for example: the forward-looking company has accumulated miles and miles of human data to develop its artificial intelligence technology and drive its self-driving cars.

Enter the Chipotle Metaverse. For a moment, let’s stop calling it a game and see it for what it could be – a way for Chipotle to learn and process hundreds of hours of human intervention. Imagine making $20 an hour sitting in front of a computer and making burritos. This time, however, it’s not just digital burritos, and it’s not just a game. It’s real burritos for real customers, and human responses are recorded as input, forming an eventual self-sufficient machine.

In the not-too-distant future, this could go beyond folding burritos. Companies like Chipotle may need human controllers to train and optimize delivery drone drivers. Could this metaverse game be the Trojan horse?

sami khan

Sami Khan is the co-founder and CEO of Atlas Reality, a company creating real value in the virtual world. Prior to launching Atlas, Sami created and executed growth strategies for some of the world’s largest digital products, whose collective value now exceeds $15 billion, including the Acorns microinvestment app and browser extension saving money, Honey. It has been featured in several case studies featured on a Snap earnings call, on Facebook, Twitter and Adweek.

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Chipotle’s Metavers Ambitions

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