An Updated Comparison Chart of Sixteen Social VR Platforms (Updated and Expanded Draft, November 2019)

Have you joined the RyanSchultz.com Discord yet? You’re invited to be a part of the first ever cross-worlds discussion group, with over 300 people participating from every social VR platform and virtual world! More details here


I haven’t published an update to my popular November 2018 comparison chart of twelve social VR platforms for quite some time. There never seems to be a perfect time to update. At first, I wanted to wait until the Oculus Quest was released. And then, I was wondering whether or not I should wait until Facebook releases the Oculus Link update to the Oculus Quest (which means, theoretically, that Oculus Quest users can use a custom cable connected to their VR-ready Windows computer to view content originally intended for the Oculus Rift).

In the end, I decided to go ahead and publish a first draft of the updated comparison chart now, get feedback from my readers, and update the chart as necessary. So here is that first draft.

I removed two of the 12 platforms in last year’s comparison chart: both Facebook Spaces and Oculus Rooms were shut down by Facebook on October 25th, 2019, in preparation for the launch of Facebook Horizon sometime in 2020. I have not added Facebook Horizon to this chart (yet) because we still know so little about this new social VR platform. And I decided to add six more social VR platforms to the chart: Anyland, Cryptovoxels, Engage, JanusVR, Mozilla Hubs, and NeosVR.

Rather than publish the chart as an image to Flickr, as I did last year, I decided to create a spreadsheet using Google Drive, and publish it to the web here:

Comparison Chart of 16 Social VR Platforms (Updated and Expanded Draft © Ryan Schultz, November 13th, 2019).

Please leave me a comment with any suggestions, corrections or edits, and I will update this new comparison chart accordingly. You can also reach me on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server, or any other virtual world Discord that I might belong to (my handle is always the same, RyanSchultz). You can also use the contact form on my blog.

UPDATE 3:48 p.m.: I’ve had a request to add userbase figures to this chart, but I am not going to do that for a very good reason: there’s absolutely no way I can get accurate figures from the various companies, many of whom want to keep that information private. And even ranking them using a scale like low, medium, and high would just be guesses on my part, misleading to a lot of people, and liable to lead to a lot of arguments. Sorry! I will leave it up to you to check Steam statistics for those platforms which are on Steam (which, again, may or may not be an accurate measure of the actual level of usage of any platform).

UPDATE Nov. 13th: I’d like to thank Frooxius (of NeosVR), Artur Sychov (of Somnium Space) and Jin for their corrections and suggestions. Any updates to this table are shown in real-time, which is a unexpected bonus to publishing a spreadsheet directly to the web from Google Drive! I should have thought of doing it this way last year.

And it would appear that there is a great deal of disagreement of what constitutes “in-world building tools”. I am referring to the ability to create complex objects entirely within the platform itself, and not using external tools such as Blender or Unity and then importing the externally-created objects into the platform. For example, High Fidelity has very rudimentary “prim-building” tools in-world, which are not often used by creators, who prefer to import mesh objects created in tools like Blender, Maya, or 3ds Max instead. To give another example, Somnium Space now offers a completely in-world tool for constructing buildings on your purchased virtual land. Sansar has no such tools for in-world building, although you can assemble premade, externally-created objects into a world by using their Scene Editor (which is something completely different from what I am talking about here).

One reader had suggested adding in a few more columns to this chart to include various technical aspects of these social VR platforms: game engine used, open/closed source, support for scripting, etc. Using the table provided to me by Enrico Speranza (a.k.a. Vytek), I have now added three more columns to the original comparison table: architecture/game engine, open/closed source, and scripting. Thank you for the suggestion, Vytek!

Please keep your suggestions, corrections and edits coming, thanks!

Advertisements

Frank’s Entertainment Group Is Shutting Down Frank’s Jazz Club and the Rest of Its Locations in Second Life After 13 Years

I just learned today that one of my favourite go-to places in Second Life, Frank’s Jazz Club (a.k.a. Frank’s Place), is shutting its doors for good on November 23rd, 2019. This news comes as a bit of a surprise to me, because Frank’s was still one of more popular clubs in Second Life, with a good crowd most evenings. Frank’s was famous for insisting on a strict formal dress code (tuxedos or suits for the men and long gowns for the women); if you showed up in jeans and a T-shirt, you were quickly ushered out the door, politely but firmly, by whatever host or hostess was on duty. The name is a bit of a misnomer; Frank’s actually played much more adult contemporary and easy-listening music than actual jazz.

And not just Frank’s Jazz Club is closing, but all the enterprises operating under the umbrella of Frank’s Entertainment Group (FEG):

  • Frank’s Elite Jazz Club (a separate, members-only club)
  • Bogart’s Jazz Club (a competing club bought by FEG and operating in the Galleria shopping mall adjoining Frank’s Jazz Club)
  • Chateau d’Elite Restaurant (a roleplay high-end restaurant)
  • The Galleria shopping mall (covering two sims)

In a notecard sent out to her Frank’s Elite group members, FEG founder Nanceee Sinatra-Dante explains why she is closing up shop:

I enter into a new chapter in my life. I have found joy in real life, yes, from a relationship I made here in FEG. Eric and I are now fully together in real life and expect to marry in the coming months. We enter real life with great expectations for the future. It is a future bright in both of our minds and hearts. Because of my desire to fully experience the real life we are creating, we have decided to close FEG in the coming weeks. This has been a difficult decision for all of the reasons expressed above, but it is with a realization that there is only so much time in a day.

FEG’s last official business day will be November 23, 2019. We have en amazing 2 final days planned and hope you can join us as we go out with a “bang”.

I offer my congratulations to Nanceee on having a Second Life relationship successfully carry over into her real life! And keep your eyes peeled for announcements of wind-up events during these final two weeks of operation. A quick glance at the Second Life Map shows that all three of Frank’s Jazz Club, Bogart’s and Frank’s Elite are busy tonight!

Frank’s faithful clientele will no doubt move on to other clubs. But it does indeed mark the end of an era. (Personally, I am hoping for a few clearance sales at the stores in The Galleria shopping mall!)

UPDATED! VRChat Maps Discord Server: A Directory for Finding Cool Worlds to Explore in VRChat

Stair Hall in VRChat: A procedurally-generated maze of staircases.
Can you reach the prize in the glass cabinet, tantalizingly out of reach?

With over 50,000 user-created worlds, there is just so much to see in VRChat. However, there is no in-world directory, and you have to rely on using keyword search to find worlds to explore, which admittedly is not ideal. What’s really needed is some sort of directory broken down by category (something I am surprised has not been added to VRChat yet).

However, VRChat user CatRazor has created a very useful Discord server called VRChat Maps, which is described as follows:

CatRazor here, I made this place to sort out the maps of VRChat into categories in case someone is looking for something specific. These maps are personally picked out by me, I believe these maps are worth a visit and you will not regret it!

#adventure-maps – Maps with an objective, such as escape rooms, boss battles and etc.

#club-and-dance-maps – Dance to your heart’s content!

#exploration-maps – Maps where you can enjoy beautiful sights and seek out secrets.

#festive-maps – Maps to celebrate the holidays!

#game-maps – PVP/Game maps.

#hang-out-maps – Usually small maps where you can enjoy conversations with friends.

#horror-maps – As the name entails, not for the faint of heart.

#sleep-maps – Good places for sleepy time, make sure you use a private world for these to not be woken up.

#unique-concept-maps – Maps designed to show off cool mechanics.

For example, here is the entry for the Stair Hall world, found in the #unique-concept-maps channel. Basically, it’s a snapshot of the entry under the Worlds menu:

The world itself, Stair Hall, is a maddening maze of procedurally-generated staircases leading up and down as far as the eye can see, with your goal being to reach an elusive prize in a glass cabinet.

The only problem with this directory of cool places to visit is that it is in Discord, outside your VR headset! So you’ll have to go back and forth in order to use it. Either that, or use the VRChat Maps Discord first, in order to draw up a list of some interesting places to see, noting down the keywords to search under Worlds, then go in-world to explore.

Other ways to find cool worlds to explore are to check out the #world-showcase channel on the VRChat Community Discord, or the #favorite-worlds channel on the VRChat Events Discord. There’s also a Showcase forum on the VRCat user discussion forums for people to share worlds.

Happy exploring!

UPDATE Nov. 12th: A commenter on the VRChat subReddit told me about The World of VRChat, a website directory for VRChat worlds that I did not know about before. The website is in Japanese, but if you turn on Google auto-translate, it works well. Thank you, Warhorse07!

Video: I Take Vbunny on a Guided Tour of Sansar

I had mentioned earlier on this blog that I had taken a YouTuber and VR game vlogger/livestreamer named Vbunny on a guided tour of Sansar.

Well, Vbunny has posted a 15-minute video of her experience in Sansar:

It was posted just 18 hours ago and it already has 828 views, which is pretty impressive! Enjoy.