While some people might feel that Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter came out of left-field, Musk has been looking to own a super app for a long time. Back in 1999, he launched the online bank X.com, which was supposed to be a one-stop store for all your financial needs.
It didn’t work out, of course. The company eventually merged with its biggest competitor, Confinity, which changed its name to PayPal in 2001 – you might have heard of them.
But the dream of an “everything” financial website – or app – never went away. Today, that’s exactly what he intends X to become: an everything app that goes way beyond social commentary – or finances, for that matter. So what exactly could this app look like?
The Concept Of The Everything App
To understand what Musk wants to do with X, we’re going to ask you to visualise a random scene. You’re sitting at home, but you want to go out for a night of bowling.
You message your friends, you withdraw money from the bank, you book your bowling reservation, you book a taxi, and you play a few mobile games on the way there. And you do so all from one app.
That’s what Musk envisions X becoming, but the complexity of building such a platform could get in the way.
The Potential Problems
Let’s look at the gaming thing, for starters. Every social media platform seems to want to become an all-encompassing social media and gaming app, but what does this mean?
If it’s iGaming, then global regulators are going to have something to say about it. This will lead to a long, pain-staking process to lay the groundwork, making it difficult for both X and iGaming companies to find the motivation to co-exist on one platform.Not to mention, the online casino industry is already booming. Bonuses, no deposits, and free spins promotions across international casinos have been enough to grow their audience into the billions, so they don’t really need to change what they’ve been doing.
So what does that leave? Nothing revolutionary, for sure. Regulators across the board are being heavy on social media and tech companies trying to own too much of the internet experience. And add to that, it will be incredibly hard to get people accustomed to pre-existing online banking or reservation platforms to switch to a different app.
Of course, there’s the metaverse – that abstract concept of Web3 that may or may not be here already. Meta promptly staked their claim on the metaverse when Zuckerburg changed the company’s name from Facebook in October of 2021 – and we’re still getting used to the change.
Of course, Meta doesn’t own the metaverse, and any rival could come along and start staking their own claim on their own patch of digital turf. But, even still, it seems unlikely that X is going to be doing anything revolutionary with this confusing concept. After all, they can’t even get validating accounts right…
So It’s Not Going To Happen?
But that’s enough negativity, because you never know when it comes to Elon Musk. In this case, Musk is already building towards an app that does more than what Twitter did. Whether or not the good people of the internet want it is another story entirely – and then there’s the awkward question of funding a supposedly revolutionary app when the company’s profits are tanking.
There is now, however, an X subscription service, which includes ad revenue sharing, there are longer videos available, which could point to X becoming a streaming service in the near future, and there’s Spaces, which essentially lets you broadcast audio as well as text – much like a podcast. X is also experimenting with a yearly $1 subscription fee for users in New Zealand and the Philippines, with plans to expand into other territories in the near future. It may just be enough pocket money to get this next science experiment up and running.
These are the steps being taken to grow X into the everything app, but, granted, none of them make it an everything app just yet. But that’s not to say it can’t happen.
If they’re going to make waves with this app, they’re going to want to do it quickly. X has seen a lot of people ditch its platform for Meta, TikTok, Instagram and Threads recently, including some big names – some very big names – and a whole bunch of companies. Most recently, Studio Ghibli made their departure from X. Growing disenchantment is perhaps Musk’s biggest challenge – unless, of course, he’s actually just screwing with us. In which case, he’s probably not worried about anything!
In China, the app WeChat has been enormously successful, taking the form of a Twitter/PayPal merger, with a fair few other features thrown into the mix. The blueprint is there to achieve what Musk wants to achieve, but the route to complete the project is just a little foggy. As ever with Elon Musk, we’ll just have to wait and see!