Back in March I wrote about a new, blockchain-based virtual world called VIBEHub. There has been much grumbling on the VIBEHub Telegram about the recent lack of news in terms of product development.
Well, I discovered today that they have completely redesigned their website and launched their platform:
You can visit what they call “hubs” using a web browser on your desktop or, if you are using a WebVR-compatible browser, you can also visit them in your VR headset.
You can create your own hub, and even charge an admission fee for entrance. Here’s a brief tutorial video from their YouTube channel:
Interestingly, there are future plans for many different kinds of experiences, everything from music to gaming to education to comedy, listed in the left-hand side panel. These are all listed as “Coming Soon”:
There’s also a Marketplace, where you can spend VIBEHub credits (their blockchain-based in-world currency, called VIBE) on things such as avatars:
Currently, the only way to get VIBE credits is to buy them using cryptocurrency (they support the MetaMask wallet). They say that you will be able to buy VIBE credits using your credit card in future.
You have a choice of a robot or human avatar. I must admit that I found the robot avatars to be kind of cute:
But I found the human avatars to be, well, let’s just say “aesthetically challenged” (at least compared to other platforms such as Second Life and Sansar) and leave it at that. The oversized hands and overly-long fingers are the stuff of nightmares:
(You have to go through the avatar selection menu every time you enter a new hub. It does not appear to remember what you saved from the previous hub.)
I found the brand-new platform to be somewhat buggy, both in desktop and in VR mode. Hubs seem to take a long time to load (and I have broad bandwidth and a fast gaming computer). In desktop mode, either I could not move my avatar at all, or I could not get him to stop running. In VR mode, I found that I could move, but I could not turn. Rather a frustrating experience overall. But it’s early days.
The new VIBEHub website home page webpage states:
We support HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Daydream by Google, Samsung Gear VR. Don’t have a VR/AR headset? No problem we also support WebGL/WebVR on compatible modern browsers on your desktop or mobile devices. Other hardware platforms like Magic Leap and PSVR coming soon. Experiences will vary depending on device capabilities. However no one gets left out.
Magic Leap One support “coming soon”? That would make VIBEHub the first platform to support both VR and AR headsets. I’ll believe that bit of marketing hype when I see it.
VIBEHub is the second cryptocurrency-based virtual world platform to actually launch (after Mark Space, which is rather underwhelming). It will be interesting to see how the platform develops over time.