UPDATED! Hoppin’: A Brief Introduction

Today I received the following message via the Contact Me page on my blog:

Hi Ryan,

I wanted to reach out as I think our technology could make for a great article on your platform. We have the first Social VR platform that allows for multi-user immersive remote teleportation using 360° videos.

Companies can use this to promote key destinations and experiences by facilitating guided location-based VR meetings and conferences. As a user, you can download Hoppin’ to meet friends, family or prospective clients at the Eiffel tower, European beaches, ski slopes and any other location or experience that is uploaded to our platform. Hoppin’ also unleashes powerful capabilities for enterprise remote presence, revolutionizing the way we do global sales, tours, surveying and training.

It gives businesses the opportunity to cut through any financial and mobility barriers to showcase a location and build preliminary interest towards what they are seeing. This is useful across any industry that would benefit from teleporting their stakeholders directly into their location and meeting with them in-(virtual)-person, in a controlled pre-recorded environment or in a live video stream.

I’d be happy to jump on a quick call to give you a demo (or ideally we can even meet in the application if you have an Oculus Go!)

So I went over and took a gander at their website:

Here’s the requisite promotional video:

What sets Hoppin’ apart from previous products along the same lines (such as DiveReal, which used 360-degree photographs) is that Hoppin’ supports 360-degree video. Now, again, there are already lots of social VR platforms that already support 360-degree video (such as the educational platform ENGAGE, and Sansar), so this is not something that is terribly new here. The “teleporting” feature mentioned here (really, all you’re doing is loading another video), has also been a feature of many social VR platforms and virtual worlds for years (in VRChat and Sansar, for example, you can easily drop a portal to have your friends all join you in a particular location).

Also, the only VR headset that Hoppin’ currently supports is the Oculus Go, which of course is slowly being phased out by Facebook as part of a wholesale move towards more powerful headsets. If you already have an Oculus Go headset, you can certainly download Hoppin’ from the Oculus Store and give it a try. I don’t, and personally, I really don’t see much of the appeal of this product (although I am probably not the target market here; this seems to be aimed at families, friends, and businesses who just want to meet up together in a 360-degree video).

Here’s a second, brief promotional video showing some of the features:

But if this sort of thing is up your alley, visit their website, and check them out. They are also active on various social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. And, of course, I will be adding Hoppin’ to my list of social VR platforms and virtual worlds!

UPDATE June 16th, 2020: Yesterday I received an email from Joaquim Miro, a founding partner and CGO of Hoppin’, regarding my review of Hoppin’ World:

First and foremost thanks for writing about Hoppin’ and giving your honest review.

I wanted to ask, do you have an Oculus Go? We will be on the Quest and other headsets soon, but for this quarter there’s a strong chance we will still be only the Go, and soon have a WebXR version…

I believe your generally negative review is not very fair, as unlike Sansar or Engage, our user interface is not made in the same manner, does not focus on the same use cases, and creates an easy method for companies, 360 studios, and any users to easily upload 360 videos/pictures and then be able to give live walk-throughs of real-world areas, together within the space. We do not have to recreate full solutions for companies each time like Engage, and it is all in real-world footage vs being mostly in virtual location.

Furthermore, the videos can be pre-recorded as you mentioned, but they can also be live. If you had to compare we would be closer to NextVR or Avatour, rather than Engage or Sansar… However unlike any of those companies, we are currently completely bootstrapped and will be going for our seed round over the summer. This is why I was mentioning we are the first in this field, since it’s a relatively new market in the grand scheme of things.

Well, as I said up top, I don’t agree with Joaquim that this is so “new” (although I must admit that I haven’t yet heard of any platform that supports live 360-degree video, so I grant them that).

I’ve signed up for a group tour of Hoppin’ as part of the iLRN 2020 conference later this month, so hopefully I will have an opportunity to experience the platform as part of a group (however, if it is still Oculus Go-based only, then I will have to miss that too). I find the choice to launch on the Oculus Go rather than aim for the much more popular Oculus Quest to be an odd one, personally. It limits their market.

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