An hour in the metaverse needs to be better than – an hour on Facebook – an hour on Instagram – an hour on Twitter – an hour on YouTube – an hour on Netflix – an hour in Fortnite – an hour in anything we have now
Look, I realize that I have been exceptionally cranky lately when it comes to High Fidelity. The company is just trying so hard to make its remote teamwork social VR platform a thing, but, sweet minty Jesus, I think they are failing (and flailing) big time.
I follow the High Fidelity corporate Twitter account, and this morning, somebody posted the following tweet:
So, the thinking here is something along the lines of: “Hey, we want to get people visiting and using High Fidelity, so I have an idea! Let’s promote various items from the Marketplace on Twitter! Somebody will want that coffee mug so much, that they will:
download and install the High Fidelity client software;
create an avatar;
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO VISIT THE BANK to get some HFC;
go shopping on the High Fidelity Marketplace and buy that coffee mug.”
I’m sorry, but that is a completely insane expectation. Between tweets for various objects for sale like this coffee mug and a scarf (yes, a scarf!), and numerous generic tweets about the joys and benefits of remote working, I am seriously starting to wonder what the hell is going on:
High Fidelity should stop trying to promote remote teamwork in general, and start focusing squarely on selling their platform. They are not going to convince any company to try using remote workers through these ineffective tweets. If they think this will actually make any sort of difference with executive decision makers, they are sadly mistaken.
The virtual coworking island cam fiasco is a perfect example of a company seemingly completely adrift, without any clear indication that they know what to do, or how to market themselves. It took two days—two days—for the company to even notice that its livestreams had no audio. And the livestreams hardly showed off the platform in its best light, even though they have some innovative product features such as spatialized audio. Nobody is going to watch these videos and think, “Hey, this is cool! I want this for my business!”
High Fidelity is one of the clients of a professional PR company, called Firebrand Communications; do they not listen to their advice at all? Or is this the best advice they are being given at this point? (One blog reader astutely pointed out that any good PR company would be monitoring mentions of their clients on social media and blogs, and stepping in when somebody posts highly critical, deeply negative blogposts like I have written about High Fidelity recently. That’s what PR companies do.)
High Fidelity is a sinking ship, and it just breaks my heart. I’m just going to come right out and say this: I now believe that the company is doomed.Their user forums are a virtual ghost town (nobody has posted anything for a week now, a troubling sign). Many people, like Jason Moore of the MetMovie Project, have abandoned HiFi for other social VR platforms. You load up the HiFi client and visit, and except for a few events like the weekly salon hosted by DrFran, the platform is empty.
High Fidelity is a case that should be studied at university business schools of how not to treat your existing userbase, and how not to promote yourself to try and get new customers. High Fidelity desperately needs help, particularly when it comes to marketing and public relations, and I’m not sure that they are going to get that help before they run out of the millions of dollars of venture capital they received, and simply close up shop.
So, what do you think? Please feel free to leave a comment below or, as always, you are welcome to join the freewheeling conversations, arguments, and debates about social VR and virtual worlds taking place on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server, the first cross-worlds discussion forum! We’d love to see you there.
Today I discovered a really exceptionally well-done sim in Second Life called Freak Show, complete with all kinds of wonderful details and dozens of circus freaks of every kind and description (please see this Encyclopedia Britannica article for some historical background on freak shows).
Freak Show has the biggest collection of freaks (avatars, animesh, and static mesh) that I’ve ever seen in Second Life—which, if you stop and think about it, is quite an achievement 😉 Please do NOT derender avatars or set “view friends only” in your SL viewer, as the circus freaks will be derendered as well! There are some really inventive ones here to see.
I was stopped in my tracks by a two-headed conjoined twins avatar, and I actually had to pull out my handy free What Is She Wearing HUD? to scan her to see what parts made up the avatar! (A very handy tool, and highly recommended whenever you discreetly want to see what another avatar is wearing.)
Here’s a picture of the owner, Uri Jefferson, who (appropriately enough) is a six-armed circus freak himself!
I decided to dress up for the occasion. This is one of the ten Halloween costume hunt prizes from Brii Underground Wear, the Mary Salem outfit, which comes complete with the gown, wrap, and jewelry—even a matching top hat! Find pumpkin #2 and it’s yours for only L$6:
This avatar is wearing:
Mesh head: Cleo Bento mesh head by Akeruka (a former L$1 group gift; the Akeruka group costs L$150 to join)
Mesh body: Juliet mesh body by Altamura (a former Valentine’s Day group gift; Omega-compatible; more details here; the Altamura group costs L$50 to join)
Omega skin applier: (included as part of a package of body skin appliers that comes with the Cleo mesh head; you can pick up the Omega applier kit for Altamura mesh bodies for only L$99 at the Omega Solutions store at this exact SLURL)
Hair: Hurrah hair by Ade (a free gift from the recently concluded 2019 Hair Fair)
Outfit (Except Shoes): Mary Salem outfit (L$6 Halloween hunt prize from the pumpkin hunt at Brii Underground Wear)