UPDATE Nov. 5th, 2021: NeosVR is now back up on Steam.
As much as it pains me to write about this story, the tagline of the RyanSchultz.com blog is “News and Views on Social VR, Virtual Worlds, and the Metaverse”, and this definitely is news.
It turns out that, due to a dispute between Valve/Steam and NeosVR over the latter’s cryptocurrencies (Neos Credits or NCR, plus other tokens called KFC and CDFT), the social VR platform has been removed from Steam. The team at NeosVR is currently hard at work to fix the problem, but I have been told that it could take as long as one to two weeks to resolve the situation. In the meantime, Neos is off Steam.
Notice: At the request of the publisher, Neos VR is no longer available for sale on Steam.
You might be forgiven if you were not even aware that NeosVR has an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency called Neos Credits (NCR), for which they have an ongoing Initial Coin Offering (ICO). More details are in their white paper.
Karel Hulec (the co-founder and CEO of Solirax, the Czech company building NeosVR), pinned the following messages to the #neos-credits-ncr channel on the official NeosVR Discord:
We’ll be shortly removing NCR functionality from main Steam Store branch upon request by Valve to make it available again for new downloads on their platform and of course prioritizing our own launcher/updater with builds that support Credits.
We knew from the start NCR is not going to be available on all platforms Neos will be. I hope it will return to Steam builds sometimes down the line when they change the rules again. The ICO has provided a lot of funding for Neos and made it long term sustainable, opened a path for Neos to become a great open source metaverse rivaling some of the most popular ones – it is certainly worth having it in independent builds and on platforms that allow for it.
According to the FAQ list posted to their wiki:
We’re disabling NCR/KFC/CDFT functionality on the main Steam build of Neos. This will allow us to continue updating Neos via Steam. You can find the Steam build notes that made this change here.
Does this mean Neos is gone from Steam forever?
No, We’re working with Steam to get Neos re-instated with a build that does not contain NCR/KFC/CDFT. We’ll keep you up to date.
I can’t download Neos from Steam; what can I do?
Download the standalone build.
Can I still use NCR/KFC/CDFT?
Yes, for now we have a standalone build which has NCR/KFC/CDFT enabled (see video below)
In the future, we’ll be looking at other solutions such as our custom launcher, called Neosine.
What this means is: if you are a Patreon supporter of NeosVR (which includes a monthly reward of NCR), and if you use the upcoming Steam version of the NeosVR client, you would still be able to receive your NCR each month, but you won’t be able to access it unless you use the special launcher/client that’s not on Steam. In other words, you will still be getting your NCR, but you won’t be able to send it to users, cash out, or put it into Neos from an outside wallet on Steam builds of the Neos client.
Under this proposed system, NeosVR can stay on Steam (which is good for publicity of the platform, plus many people see being on Steam as a stamp of approval), but a stand-alone version of the NeosVR client with NCR enabled can co-exist.
However, this dispute between Steam and Neos is coming at the WORST possible time for Jason Moore’s MetaMovie production, Alien Rescue, which is on now. Jason basically has to tear up the instructions he sent out to the people who bought tickets. I wrote on the NeosVR Discord:
It’s just really unfortunate timing, as a whole bunch of Neos newbies will be visiting the platform over the next month for Alien Rescue, and Jason Moore is going to have to rewrite his instructions for new users. While the Discord download link is useful some people may not be comfortable navigating a) Discord and b) unzipping the client (it uses, 7zip, right? So they have to find and install an unzipper program, too).
Essentially, it means an extra couple of steps for people to download and install the client software, but it’s a pain in the ass nevertheless! As a rule of thumb, any extra step that inexperienced users have to go through to get onto your platform is a bad thing. NeosVR is going to have to work extra hard after this incident to make it easier for non-computer-geeks to use! (This is admittedly a problem for all social VR platforms, but NeosVR in particular has a rather steep learning curve for its powerful toolset.)
One bright spot amidst the gloom is that cryptocurrency speculators (who perhaps had been previously unaware that NeosVR has crypto) have been busily minting new NCR using Ethereum, since the news broke yesterday! (Please don’t ask me to explain that last sentence; I am still a relative cryptonewbie! All I know is that some people are terribly, terribly excited about this.)
For further information on this issue, I am going to refer you to the wiki page NeosVR set up here with a list of frequently-asked questions (FAQ) about the status of NeosVR on Steam, questions concerning the new launcher, and general information on how this will impact Neos Credits (NCR): Steam Changes.
As well, you can read through the past couple of days of discussion on:
- the #neos-discussions and #neos-credits-ncr channels on the official NeosVR Discord server (in particular, the pinned notices on the latter channel); and
- the #neosvr channel on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server (where’s there’s been no shortage of chatter on the topic!).
Here’s a quick video of how to download and run the new non-Steam (token-enabled) build:
If you want to learn more about NeosVR, you can visit their website or their wiki, check out their Steam page, join their Discord server, or follow them on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. And, of course, you can always choose to support the project through their Patreon page (as I do).