Second Life (Now 15 years old, the most commercially successful and popular virtual world to date. Note: If you are looking for the Second Life freebies section of this blog, please scroll down and select “Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies” from the Categories section, or just click here.)
Worldopoly (more of a game than a virtual world, from what I can tell)
Worlds Adrift (I would classify this as an MMO/MMORPG instead of a virtual world)
Well, I figure this is pretty much the canonical listing of social VR spaces/virtual worlds. Have I missed any? It’s like Pokémon, “gotta catch ’em all”…if you have heard of one that I haven’t covered yet, please let me know in the comments, thanks!
And the endless stream of discussion, argument, and sometimes outright vitriol has been quite entertaining at times. For example, one impatient wag posted this animated GIF to the VIBEHub channel:
There appear to be a lot of disgruntled VIBEHub investors and spectators.
And then you get the endless propositions from people who are peddling cryptocurrency and ICO promotion schemes:
I’m glad that I don’t have to field all these requests …it’s overwhelming!
Then you get the flat-out spammers:
If you’re interested in following the ongoing circus, you can find links to the Telegram servers from each of the companies’ official websites (there’s usually a link to all their social media near the top or bottom of the page, just look for the paper airplane symbol):
Of course, you don’t have to subscribe to all these groups; you can just subscribe to my blog instead! I promise to keep you all up-to-date on the latest shenanigans in this area. I’ve just updated my blog to make it easier to subscribe.
if you’re not already a blog subscriber, just look for the FOLLOW RYANSCHULTZ.COM VIA EMAIL section on the left-hand side panel of my blog (right under the Search box), enter your email address, and press the black FOLLOW button. Then you will receive an email message every time I make a new blogpost to this blog. Easy as pie!
The Curiosity experience included a look at how the rover landed on the Mars surface; it was amazing to watch the entire procedure unfold!
Chris has some pretty great stories to tell about the early days of social VR development from five years ago, so I hope to interview him this fall for my Metaverse Newscast show. Thanks to my producer Andrew to taking these pictures using the Snapshot feature in Engage!
EF EVE allows you to use two Kinects (Microsoft’s camera and motion controller for Xbox consoles) to create a volumetric video of yourself, which you can then share with others in VR headsets or on the desktop!
How, why EF (which is short for Experimental Foundation) would use a hardware product that has been discontinued by Microsoft is a bit of mystery. But if you have a Windows 10 PC and two Kinects, you can subscribe to EF’s volumetric video camera app for $34.99 a month to create holograms of yourself or other people to share on their VR platform. You can download and install the client software for free from their website or from Steam (it works with the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or on your PC desktop) to watch the volumetric videos.
I have to admit this is really cool, although of limited usefulness at the moment. Also, since the Kinect has been discontinued, this product has a limited shelf life. Here’s an example of a hologram in various VR environments:
Here’s a video that shows off EF EVE’s presentation tools:
And finally, we have a new use for VR: dance lessons!
Now, it’s not clear that this is social VR (that is, an experience you can share with other people), so I am leaving it off my list of social VR apps. But it is interesting nevertheless!
EmbodyMe is a free social VR platform available via Steam and the Oculus store. What sets EmbodyMe apart from the competition is that it offers to create a photorealistic avatar of you, based on a single photo! Here’s an example from their website, using a photo of former U.S. president Barack Obama:
The promotional video makes it looks like a fun place to enjoy with your friends:
So, of course, armed with a recent photo of myself, I decided to give it a try!
When you start the program for the first time, it asks you to place your photos into a special folder on your desktop so it can find them. Then I had to restart the software and wait for the folder to load. And I waited, and waited, and waited… nothing happened. Even worse, I seemed to be stuck at that particular point in the setup of my avatar, and the program wouldn’t let me start the process over again! I even tried uninstalling and reinstalling the software from scratch; no dice. This was a major fail.
EmbodyMe is a really disappointing piece of software. I gave it a one-star review on the Oculus Store. Steer clear!
Neutrans is a social VR app made by a Japanese company called Synamon, available on the Oculus store:
NEUTRANS is a customizable VR shared-spaces solution with a focus on simple, intuitive controls and multiuser interactions. This app demonstrates the capabilities of the system, allowing up to 4 players to interact with each other in up to 3 rooms.
Grab, Enlarge/Shrink, Throw
3D Drawing & Whiteboards
Camera (Images saved in UserData\Snapshot)
YouTube & Image Viewer
Virtual Desktop & more!
Explore the possibilities that VR spaces can enable: Remote conferencing, VR storefronts & showrooms, using it as a base to develop demos on, and everything in-between.
Here’s the promotional video:
I downloaded the software and tried it out, and it has all the basic features, including a video player and a whiteboard. You can pick up and move objects using the laser pointers on each hand. You can teleport from one location to another. There’s only four default avatars to choose from, though, and they are all hideous! But overall, this is a promising start for a social VR platform.
Their website could use a professional Japanese-to-English translator; there’s some pretty fractured English there. This is yet another social VR product to check back on in 6 to 12 months to see if anything new has developed.