Editorial: Rough Waters

Photo by Dmitry Bayer on Unsplash

I’ve been up since 5:00 a.m. and I can’t sleep. I’ve been thinking about the most recent two blogposts I’ve written about High Fidelity (here and here). I have been harsh and direct, and while some readers have congratulated me for my frankness, others have expressed their dislike of what I have written. I feel somehow as if I am contributing to the general sense of malaise in social VR just by writing those two articles.

It brings me zero joy to watch HiFi struggle to reinvent itself, and it brings me zero joy to watch HiFi’s userbase as they feel confused, upset, angry, and betrayed by a platform they have invested so much into over so many years.

But (as the tagline of my blog states) this blog is about “news and views” (viewpoints). What is going on with High Fidelity is newsworthy, and I do want to continue to share what I really think and feel about what I am reporting on. Otherwise, I am just a corporate shill, a PR parrot. I want to have the freedom to report on news and events in the evolving metaverse, to praise and criticize the various companies as I see fit.

A commenter on my last blogpost said:

Second Life must have been a strange anomaly, that neither its founders nor the current Linden Lab appear able to replicate.

And I would agree. Even the visionary Philip Rosedale is having trouble making lightning strike twice.

I predict that the social VR/virtual worlds/metaverse industry overall is going to go through some pretty rough waters. The initial honeymoon period (if there ever was one) is OVER. The idealism of the many metaverse company builders is coming face-to-face with an ugly, stark reality: that it is going to take more persistence, more creativity, and more innovation to build products which more than a handful of early adopters will use on a regular basis.

All I can do is to continue to cover everything that happens, as best I can.

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3 thoughts on “Editorial: Rough Waters”

  1. I read your blog *because* you have the courage to be honest about your opinions. I like the fact that you often provide context. I appreciate that you examine your own positions even while noting the newsworthiness of what you write about, and I applaud your stand in stating your case(s) in the face of the trigger-happy global network of anonymous loose opinion that is social media. That takes guts. As a journalist, no matter your subject, you will encounter agreement and criticism to every issue you report on – but you know that. Stand your ground if you believe in what you are reporting, and if you believe you have done your homework and it is justified. I also enjoy your personal examinations of your own motivations – they make you real and human. I read your blog because your work stands out from the sea of fluffy, shallow, nonsensical blogs out there supposedly increasing our knowledge of the virtual spheres. Carry on, please!

  2. “…Even the visionary Philip Rosedale is having trouble making lightning strike twice.

    I predict that the social VR/virtual worlds/metaverse industry overall is going to go through some pretty rough waters. The initial honeymoon period (if there ever was one) is OVER. The idealism of the many metaverse company builders is coming face-to-face with an ugly, stark reality: that it is going to take more persistence, more creativity, and more innovation to build products which more than a handful of early adopters will use on a regular basis.”

    I believe there was too much “pie-in-the-sky” hype over hardware in general. Platforms like HiFi, Sansar, and VRChat need to remember that their core user base will NOT be headset owners. AltspaceVR was lucky that it got bailed out by Microsoft, but does anyone even remember that one? Second Life survives on its own merits due to the fact that it’s code won’t allow it to be upgraded to headset status. I think Sansar will coast as a niche platform, riding on SL’s coattails. VRChat is holding its own for now. As for HiFi? If Rosedale and company can tie a knot at the end of the rope and hang on for dear life, he’s still got a chance of coming out on top smelling like roses. Because he’s still got the smarts to trump everyone in this crazy field. He just bit off more than he can chew for now.

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