Fast Company: OpenSim as a Model for a Truly Decentralized Metaverse

The article was published on the Fast Company website on Jan. 5th, 2022 (image source)

Steven Melendez has written an interesting article for the business website Fast Company, about how OpenSimulator (OpenSim for short) could be viewed as a model as to how a truly distributed metaverse, not owned by a single company, would look.

Among the people Steven interviewed for this article are:

I would strongly urge you to click over and read the article in full, but here’s a quote:

One open question, assuming the metaverse proves popular, is whether the technology will be tightly controlled by a handful of companies operating their own incompatible systems—as social media apps and video games basically work today—or whether it will be possible to jump from one metaverse world to another, the way it’s possible to send email from one site to another or follow links across the Web today.

These questions aren’t new, and, to some extent, a vision of a decentralized metaverse already exists today through an open-source project called OpenSimulator, which has been around since 2007 and is still in active use. OpenSim, as fans call it, allows anyone with some technical knowledge to set up a server to host their own virtual world that they and others can connect to (or to pay one of multiple hosting companies to do it for them). The project was designed from the beginning to be compatible with the technologies behind Second Life, the virtual world created by Linden Lab that became an object of media fascination in the 2000s but never quite hit mainstream status…

“I did something that is unique to OpenSim that doesn’t exist in Second Life, which is sort of a federation architecture so you can teleport between virtual worlds,” says Cristina Lopes, who developed the technology —dubbed the hypergrid— and is a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine, where she has taught some virtual classes using OpenSim. “You can hop around between worlds that are in different places and operated by different people.”

All of which goes to prove my point that companies building the newer metaverse platforms would be well advised to learn about both the successes and failures of Second Life, and its spin-off, OpenSim! A study of both will no doubt inform, illuminate and elucidate you, and you will find learn valuable lessons and perhaps even gain some inspiration for your own projects and products!

As well, I decided that I should finally create a new category on the RyanSchultz.com blog, called OpenSim and Hypergrid, and go back and add it to the many blogposts I have written in the past 4-1/2 years about OpenSim and Hypergrid, to make them easier to find. Again, this will take me a bit of time, so please be patient… 😉


Thank you to Sitearm for the heads up!

Liked it? Then please consider supporting Ryan Schultz on Patreon! Even as little as US$1 a month unlocks exclusive patron benefits. Thank you!