Tech Digest daily roundup: Heineken launches virtual beer in metaverse ‘joke’

Image: Heineken

A brewer has created a virtual beer to highlight the extremes businesses will go to to grab a slice of the next big thing – the metaverse. Heineken set up a virtual launch to promote the “product” – an experience described by one attendee as surreal. The metaverse does not yet exist but many believe people will one day spend their time in inter-connected virtual worlds, accessed via a VR headset. The firm said it was “an ironic joke… that pokes fun at us and other brands”. The mock launch – to which real journalists were invited – took place in a virtual brewery in Decentraland – a virtual world owned by its users. And the beer was described as being brewed with “binary-coded hops grown by NPC (non-player character) farmers”. BBC 

Facebook’s parent company Meta is being sued for publishing “scam celebrity crypto ads” by the Australian competition watchdog. Facebook is accused of running ads that encouraged people to invest in cryptocurrency and other money-making schemes that were actually scams, leading to one consumer losing more than $650,000 AUS (£365). The celebrities that featured in the ads “had never approved or endorsed them” according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which announced the court proceedings against Meta on Friday. The ads Facebook is accused of running in Australia took “users to a fake media article that included quotes attributed to the public figure featured in the ad endorsing a cryptocurrency or money-making scheme,” said the ACCC. Sky News 

Universal Music Group is capitalizing on the popularity of non-fungible tokens by acquiring one of the cartoon monkeys that’s taken the digital collectibles world by storm to lead a fully virtual music group. On Friday, Universal’s 10:22PM label announced it had paid $360,817 to purchase Bored Ape #5537 – a female character now known as Manager Noët All, who helms the group Kingship, which formed in November target. Existing entirely in digital form, Kingship will have its own website and presence on messaging platform Discord, and will eventually produce new music and announce virtual performances in the Metaverse, a loose term commonly used to describe a place where the physical and digital worlds meet. USTimeToday

Samsung’s QD-OLED TV is finally official. What’s more, it now has a name (S95B), a rough release date that’s earlier than expected and a price that’s lower than expected. This should be cause for excitement and celebration, but Samsung has made yet another baffling decision in its marketing. Before we get to that, though, here’s the good stuff: the Samsung S95B QD-OLED TV will be available from April, priced at just $2200 for the 55-inch model and $3000 for the 65-incher. Those prices are from Samsung’s US website which, for the record, originally listed pries of $2400 and $3500. The S95B is yet to appear on the UK or Australian Samsung sites, though we’re told that pre-orders in the UK at least will be opening ‘soon’. What HiFi

The government’s Online Safety Bill constitutes a “huge missed opportunity” to protect women and girls, campaigners have warned. Charities argue the legislation, which is being introduced to parliament on Thursday after lengthy delays, must explicitly reference violence against women and girls given the high levels of abuse they face on social media. Ruth Davison, chief executive of Refuge, the UK’s largest provider of shelters for domestic abuse victims, said the charity has tirelessly fought to influence the legislation – noting it “presented a much-needed and overdue opportunity to improve women and girls’ safety online”. Independent

Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to