You know, if High Fidelity expects to break into the remote workteams market with their repositioned social VR platform, they are facing a lot of competition. Just today I stumbled over yet another remote workteams VR product on my Twitter stream, called Immersed:
The tagline in the image reads: “Immersed enables you and others to collaborate by immersing you into the same VR workspace!”. (I had to chuckle at the cartoon man on a tropical beach, merrily multitasking away under a palm tree in his VR headset! Who the hell does that?!??)
Here’s a brief promotional video for Immersed:
UPDATE: this blogpost was automatically cross-posted to my Twitter, where a critic immediately responded to this video, saying:
Vaporware, nobody needs that. If people wanted to share a code screen they can do that already, donning a headset and being an avatar brings little value and help to this in my opinion.
And I must say that I can’t argue with that. (Why would anybody want to wear a VR headset all day while writing software code?)
Immersed supports both the Oculus Go and the Oculus Quest (which makes it somewhat different from other competing products which require a PCVR solution, like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive):
Here’s their pricing model:
It looks like the company is charging a one-time US$9.99 fee for 2 collaborators, and a US$9.99-per-month fee for up to 7 coworkers.
Here’s a half-hour YouTube video by RaMarcus covering how to set up and use the 14-day free trial of the Elite level of Immersive (including using the product in an interview with the CEO of the company):
So let’s just run down the list of remote teamwork VR applications I have covered so far on this blog (all in varying degrees of market-readiness):
- Cisco Spark in VR
- Engage (primarily education, but also targeting business uses)
- Hyperfair VR
- Inlight Spark
- The Wild
Probably only one or two of these firms are actually making money at this point (Engage seems to be doing well for itself, and Cisco has deep pockets). And that’s just a list of the business-focused platforms. Many other, more general-purpose, social VR platforms on my list of social VR and virtual worlds would also lend themselves quite nicely to corporate use as well.
High Fidelity is going to have to work extra hard to get noticed in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace. Let’s hope they have some good marketing people on their team, and a bit of luck on their side. They’re going to need it. This is not like Second Life in 2003, where Philip Rosedale and his team pretty much had the market to themselves. High Fidelity cannot automatically assume that people will flock to them and embrace them; they are going to have to earn corporate customers by making a better, more fully-featured product. They may have found the consumer market hard to break into; they might find the business market even harder still.
UPDATE Aug. 28th: I have been informed that Cisco has pulled the plug on their Cisco Spark project.
4 thoughts on “Immersed: A Brief Introduction (Yet Another Remote Workteams VR Application, and Why High Fidelity Has Their Work Cut Out for Them)”
Very interesting topic! I have a feeling remote collaboration/cross-platform “basic spatial communication” needs to be a natural part of any VR hardware/system offering – maybe in the form of a shared standard for avatars/environments as an OpenXR extension. Just like email, SMS and voice calls can’t live isolated in walled gardens – communication should be a foundation to make VR/AR the computing platform of the future.
Also, a nitpick: you’re singling out Cisco Spark for having deep pockets, but they shuttered their VR platform in October last year: https://www.ciscospark.com/VR/
Thanks! I did not know that Cisco had stopped their work on Cisco Spark.
I would add Sococo to the list (https://www.sococo.com/)
Automattic Inc. is a 100% virtual company. No VR – everything is run on Slack. Slack integrates to everything else a business needs. Any business VR will have to be a small part of a larger suite of solutions. Only a small percentage of people will find donning a head-mounted display to be necessary or desirable (3D design walkarounds, etc.) The average business person does not want to have to learn to walk and move in VR just to attend a meeting. A complete platform will have to include flatscreen and mobile users and have all the glitches ironed out. It was bad enough when we had to suffer through glitchy web meetings when those platforms were new.
When VR has become common, seamless, fairly inexpensive, etc. then there will be more biz usage. When smart phones got good, a lot of people stopped caring about other platforms. When a phone and laptop can be replaced with a lightweight AR/VR set of glasses, then it will be good enough.
Until then, any real advances in VR, and models that will actually be profitable will be driven by gaming and pr0n.
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