This morning there was an interesting discussion on the official Sansar Discord channels about the idea of a Universal Avatar. Lilith Heart (well known for her Heart Botanicals brand in Second Life) said:
Another user (Aojashin) argued that what Linden Lab is attempting to build in Sansar is a sort of Universal Avatar: one customizable avatar with inventory, which can visit multiple, vastly different experiences (“metaverses”). I still prefer to define all of Sansar as a whole single metaverse, but he has a good point.
Of course, you could argue that we already have a sort of Universal Avatar ability in the Opensims. They have the option of Hypergrid, which allows users to visit other OpenSimulator installations across the web from their “home” OpenSimulator installation. But that is supported only because they are all pretty much running off the same codebase.
Obviously, there are almost insurmountable technical obstacles to creating such a Universal Avatar system. But the idea still has merit. What is likely to happen instead is a Facebook model: one company so dominates in a particular area that they set the standard. And there are so many companies (including the big five: Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook/Oculus, and Microsoft/Altspace) who desperately want to dominate in this area. (In fact, Amazon has just announced their Amazon Sumerian product, obviously eager to muscle in on the corporate market for VR experiences. I’m sure that Linden Lab is hoping for a piece of that market for the Sansar platform! It looks like it’s going to be a very competitive arena.)
But if the major players ever do agree on some open standards that allow avatars created in one system to travel to others, we could see the dawn of the true metaverse as depicted in fiction by sci-fi novels such as Ready Player One and Snow Crash.
Image: taken from the upcoming Ready Player One movie by Steven Spielberg (variety.com)