The first diagram is one year’s worth of statistics, showing the daily and monthly average of concurrent Sansar users. There is a noticable spike in users around the time of the Steam launch on both graphs:
Gindipple also shared the following graph, saying:
Of particular interest is this graph that shows the last 2 weeks. The spikes are the comedy event and a product meetup.
The news from both sets of graphs is about the same. Both show a noticeable spike in Sansar usage due to the Steam launch, but unfortunately, many of those users did not seem to stick around. However, there does seem to be a small uptick in the total number of simultaneous Sansar users overall, comparing the periods before and after the Steam launch.
Also, both Galen’s and Gindipple’s statistics show that Sansar is now hitting up to 80 concurrent users at a time, mostly due to events such as the stand-up comedy series. This is a definite improvement, although I’m quite sure that Linden Lab wants much higher numbers than that.
So, the struggle continues. And Linden Lab is far from alone in trying to figure out the magic formula that will bring users in—and make them come back. The only social VR platform which is still consistently packing the users in is VRChat (with Rec Room a distant second).
It’s unusual for me to write as much as I have about a social VR platform such as NeosVR without actually visiting it (I can’t remember if I visited it when it first launched or not. I think I did. An occupational hazard of doing this sort of work is that, after a while, all the virtual worlds I covered tend to blend together and I have to stop and ask myself: did I see or do that in Sansar or in Sinespace, or somewhere else?)
Regardless, I decided it was time for me to strap on my Oculus Rift headset and pay a visit to NeosVR.
My first visit was late yesterday evening, only for about 20 minutes. NeosVR starts you off (very sensibly) with a set of five tutorial videos which explain how to use the menus and controls, among other things. The first thing that you need to know about NeosVR is that it is not designed so that you can just pick it up and use it without training. There is a learning curve associated with NeosVR, and it is a fairly steep one, especially if you want to take full advantage of all the commands at your fingertips (and most of them are incorporated in your hand controllers.).
Fortunately, when I arrived at the main hub, there were a couple of experienced avatars present who helped me learn the basic movements, how to select and visit an experience from a display, and how to choose an avatar from the many default selections. One of them pulled out a camera and took a picture of me, which you can see below:
Another thing you need to know about NeosVR is that it is essentially a single-person development team, Tomas Mariancik (Frooxius), as opposed to a whole company of developers. One-person development teams have the distinct advantage of being nimble in adding new features and fixing problems, but that very flexibility can sometimes make for a confusing user experience. For example, my two guides last night were debating which of two different ways to teach me how to save this photo to my hard drive—the “old way” and the “new way”. I understand that the client software is updated daily. This means that something that once was true can change from one version to the next. Documenting the quickly-changing world of NeosVR must be a nightmare of a challenge!
So, after last night’s excursion, I decided to go back in this morning and delve a little deeper into NeosVR. I went back to the futuristic main hub, designed to look like a staellite of Earth, where there was an atlas of experiences to visit:
The first one I picked was sort of a demonstration of the graphics abilities of NeosVR, and it was quite impressive (a mere photo hardly does it justice):
Then I visited a Van Gogh art exhibit, with a 3-dimensional recreation of one of his paintings. Again, the level of graphics was impressive:
I would strongly encourage you to come visit and explore NeosVR. Tomas Mariancik has created a wonderful and innovative space for developers to build VR experiences, and all the other social VR platforms should be taking notes. This project compares very favourably in terms of features with better-known platforms such as Sansar, High Fidelity, Sinespace and VRChat (with the latter probably being the one product to which NeosVR will be most often compared). NeosVR is an overlooked gem, and I plan to visit it much more often in future to see how it evolves.
(Note: I have confirmed from chatting with the developer on Reddit that you do not need to purchase Neos Credits, their in-world cryptocurrency, to use and enjoy NeosVR.)