A little over a year ago, on March 2nd, 2021, Microsoft held its annual Ignite event on the social VR platform of AltspaceVR (which, of course, is owned by Microsoft).
The Ignite event finale was a showstopper, promoting a still-in-development joint venture with Canada’s Cirque du Soleil called Hanai World, which featured not one, but FOUR people captured in volumetric video gathered around a magical campfire, 360-degree video of dancers and jugglers and other Cirque du Soleil performers, and AltspaceVR spectators (like me!) who were able to wander around and experience the space in 3D:
Well, a year later, and I have some more news to share about Hanai World! They now have a website set up and. much like this video, it is a rather trippy experience, talking about various kinds of eggs:
My heart sank when I scrolled down to page to realize that these eggs are apparently NFTs for sale:
The Genesis NFT of Hanai World provides native and ongoing utility and will grant the NFT holders unique accesses:
1. Be one of the first Hanai World nomads
2. Participate in future phytigal events and creations
3. Participate in NFT educaiton, and AR/VR and phygital experiences
4. Access to unique privileges and experiences
First, whoever coined the term phytigal needs to have some sense slapped into them (this “word” ranks right up there with abominations like metafluencers and metawave). It’s unnecessary, it’s ridiculous, and it’s irritating. STOP IT.
There’s not a whole hell of a lot on the website yet, and the NFTs (whatever they are supposed to be) are not yet for sale. Guy Laliberté, the founder of acclaimed Quebec entertainment company Cirque du Soleil, is prominently quoted as saying:
When I founded Cirque du Soleil, I was creating theatrical experiences based on a traditional stage – the circus. In creating Hanai World, we are offering theatrical experiences based on a contemporary platform – the metaverse. Both these chapters of my life find common roots through my commitment to the values of love, trust and respect. These essential life principles characterize my desire to be a good ancestor as well as my purpose with Hanai World, a phygital adventure, to empower the young creative minds of this world and help them lead the journey of art with heart.
So it would appear to be that Hanai World is going to be some sort of virtual/physical hybrid theatrical venue with some sort of NFT component? Honestly, I cannot make heads nor tails out of the word salad here. How eggs and being a good ancestor come into it, I really have no idea.
And there is that goddamned word phytigal again….kill it with fire! 🔥
This press release from the time of the Microsoft Ignite event last year describes Hanai World as “a new social mixed reality platform built on Microsoft Mesh that aims to connect physical and digital worlds”. The release goes on to say:
Leveraging the power of human connections, Hanai World—the platform which will make the most of Microsoft’s powerful new mixed reality collaboration platform Microsoft Mesh—will create and host a wide range of physical and digital experiences in real venues, in the flesh, and virtually, through mixed reality headsets, thus allowing people from all over the world to participate simultaneously in a collective experience, wherever they are. The first events previews should be available end of 2021.
Well, so much for that deadline… 😉
Oh, and apparently, they’re hiring:
We the curious dreamers, passionate seekers, and outsiders are imagining Hanai World as a poetic metaverse where the playground has yet to be defined.
👥 Want to be part of this journey with us? View our job offers in bio.
🤝 Collaboration opportunities:
– Treasure Hunter/researcher
– Senior art director
– Illustrator/storyboard artist
– Concept artist
– 3D environment artist
– Video Game Creative Director
I assume they’ll tell you more about this project if you apply for a job there? The lack of any sort of concrete information about this project is kind of bewildering to me. The fact that they are hiring a whole bunch of people signals to me that they haven’t yet worked out a lot of the details of this whatever-it-is yet, either. And either they already have assembled a team of computer programmers to build Hanai World, or they are nowhere near ready to hire programmers (hence the focus on artists, researchers, copywriters, and other creative/design types in this hiring ad).
Another point: it’s clear that at least some portion of the massive profits from the Cirque de Soleil franchise are going into this little venture! Hanai World appears to be a Canadian-based. bilingual (English/French) company, based on the ad. So if you’re interested, consider applying for a job! The worst that could happen is that they say no.
To learn more about Hanai World, you can visit their website, join their Discord sever, or follow them on social media: Facebook and Instagram (there’s also a Twitter account you can follow, which for some reason they left off their website).