Q. Tell me something about the history of InWorldz.
A. It started out at the end of 2008 / beginning of 2009 with a few of us in a chat room discussing if we could even DO a full virtual world, it was a testing phase for us. Then we had people who were actually interested in seeing if we could really pull it together, and lo and behold, we had a live world. I had the time and dedication to devote to it, so we started looking at what could be used, worked on, where it really was in grand scheme of things, and by February 2009 we started our testing, and by April 2009 we actually allowed residents to come in and take a look for themselves. We got our first paying customer that same month, talk about our celebration, we were amazed!
Q. What are your goals and aims for InWorldz?
A. First and foremost, to become a viable platform that is comparable to Second Life. Then move on to advancing that platform. This will include things that we’ve spoken about as far as physics, meshes, and so on. These are all things we’d like to tackle later on to improve the platform.
I usually lump InWorldz in with the OpenSim-based virtual worlds, although Talla Adam, in a comment to this blog, notes that the InWorldz software has branched off from the OpenSim project:
Inworldz, by the way, is not regarded as Opensim anyway, although its roots are in OpenSim. InWorldz runs on the in-house developed Halcyon platform while OSGrid runs on current OpeSim.
InWorldz has been one of the more popular and commercially successful OpenSim-based virtual worlds, not as popular as Second Life, but an attractive, cheaper alternative for many people who were tired of high virtual land prices in SL. Many Second Life vendors set up branches of their businesses in InWordz, and other people built new businesses from scratch. The virtual world uses its own currency, called the I’z.
Unfortunately, InWorldz appears to be going through a period of some growing pains. There are reports of users leaving the platform, and some people are expressing concern. In January 2018, Hypergrid Business reported that a group of InWorldz’s content creators were concerned about the grid’s future:
“I am in InWorldz where I have a shop and we have seen a drastic decline in sales and residents,” one merchant told Hypergrid Business.
The merchant requested anonymity. “If Elenia [grid owner Beth Reischl] doesn’t like what any of us report, then she could ban us from the grid because she has done that in the past,” the merchant said.
Residents have also complained on social media that the founders haven’t been paying attention to their concerns. Of the top managers, owner Reischl moved to Panama and founder and CTO David Daeschler has mostly moved on to other projects.
According to the owners, there was too much drama in the forums and moderation would have been too expensive.
“Our forums have literally cost us thousands of dollars in customers,” Reischl said in a forum post in 2015.
Staff developer Jim Tarber followed up with a very confusing statement about why InWorldz doesn’t need to have a public discussion forum.
“It’s not InWorldz’ core business, we are not a social network like Facebook, we’re a software development organization providing an online service,” he wrote.
There has been some worried discussion among users about InWorldz’s future in their Residents Corner (thread one, thread two). But InWorldz, unlike many other OpenSim-based grids that have foundered along the way like Avination, keeps moving forward.