High Fidelity Cancels Future Multi-Con VR Events: Has Big Event Fatigue Settled In Already?

Promotional Image for the First Multi-Con VR Festival in High Fidelity

Recently, High Fidelity hosted what was to be the first of three successive “avatar cosplay” themed events, called Multi-Con VR (here are some pictures taken at the event). The company decided to throw some serious cash around to entice people to enter the contest (US$16,000 in total prizes, plus US$300 paid out in High Fidelity Coin for every avatar entry accepted into the contest).

Well, it would appear that High Fidelity found the response to the first Multi-Con to be rather underwhelming, and has decided to cancel the next two events:

Thank you for a wonderful Multi-Con VR: Anime + Animation.
While this experience was groundbreaking and a success in many ways, we’re not seeing sufficient demand for events of this type. As such, we’ve decided to cancel upcoming Multi-Con VR dates.

Translation: We were expecting a big crowd, but we didn’t get one. One thing that I have noticed is that High Fidelity isn’t afraid to switch gears if something isn’t working. For example, they had originally planned six successive monthly stress tests, only to stop after the first three and switch to big monthly events instead (like last November’s FUTVRE LANDS Festival). That event proved to be a raging success, but I have noticed a definite drop-off in user interest and attendance at HiFi events since then (including Multi-Con VR). Obviously, the company has noticed this too, and has decided to try something else instead.

Some on social media have commented that High Fidelity was just throwing money at people to get them to use their platform:

They literally resort to bribing people to get them to log in these days. And even that isn’t working.

And while I am not so harsh as this particular commenter (who shall remain anonymous), I must confess that I myself am not a fan of big showy events, which at best give only temporary spikes in concurrent user figures. In the end it doesn’t come down to how many people you can pack onto a single domain for an event; it’s about how many people you get to stick around and keep coming back.

High Fidelity has decided that they weren’t getting the bang for the buck they were expecting, and they will invest their money elsewhere, perhaps coming up with new and different events in future.

VRChat and Rec Room Will Be Coming to the Oculus Quest This Spring

VRChat has just announced via Twitter that they will be one of the social VR platforms that the upcoming Oculus Quest standalone VR headset will support:

Image Sent Out in Today’s Tweet

In my earlier blogpost discussing which social VR platforms the Quest would support, there was a bit of debate as to whether or not it would be even possible to pare down the VRChat experience so that it would run acceptably on the Oculus Quest. It would appear that the company has successfully been able to accomplish this difficult feat.

It’s not clear whether VRChat will be one of the applications available at the official launch of the Quest, or sometime later. (We still don’t know when the Quest will be launched, other than “Spring 2019”.) It’s also not exactly clear what technical compromises will have to be made to the full-blown VRChat experience currently available to people using the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

But wait, there’s more news! VRChat is not the only social VR platform to make an Oculus Quest-related announcement today!

UploadVR reports today that Against Gravity’s Rec Room social VR app will also be available for the Quest. Again, it’s not clear whether the platform will be available on the official launch date of the Oculus Quest, or sometime later. They add:

We’ve long thought of Rec Room as one of VR’s most important apps. On top of playing together, players can also customize rooms to their own look and then share them with others to provide new types of experiences. In January, we reported that the game had reached over one million players.

Against Gravity also confirmed to UploadVR that the Quest version of the game will support cross-play. this is a key feature for Rec Room, allowing those with an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows VR headset and even a PSVR to meet up online. Adding Quest to that mix should help expand the player base.

So, both the number one (VRChat) and number two (Rec Room) most popular social VR platforms will be available for the Oculus Quest. This will open up a large new potential audience for both platforms. The question remains, though: how well will both virtual worlds stand up to the flood of new users? Interesting times ahead!