I wanted to share with you some news I recently received about the social VR platform NeosVR, which I have written about often in the past on this blog (here’s a link to all the previous blog posts, plus this one).
On September 21st, 2023 Veer, a member of the developer team, posted the following message to the NeosVR Discord server:
For many months, the Neos Development Team has been engaged in negotiations with Mr. Karel Hulec, attempting to resolve the conflict that has been at the center of the current development freeze. Unfortunately, today we are here to announce that the negotiations have failed to produce an agreement satisfactory to both parties.
Mr. Karel Hulec has recently listed on the Neos Wiki several members of the Development Team as contributors to a new project titled the “Neos Foundation”. None of the listed team members were contacted at any point concerning the listing of their names on the Neos Wikis, nor have any of them agreed to work with Mr. Karel Hulec in the Neos Foundation or any other project.
Following the negotiations, on April 24th, 2023, and due to increasing difficulties in establishing the trust necessary to continue his partnership with Mr. Karel Hulec, Frooxius resigned from his position at Solirax LTD. We no longer see a path to successful reconciliation, so the remaining Development Team, including the leads of the moderation and quality control teams, the content team, and the support team, are now officially resigning from our roles as part of this community.
We understand this has been a period of intense frustration for some members of the community, as the lack of updates and communication from the Development Team led to uncertainty about the future of your projects and Neos as a platform. We apologize for our silence, it was due to legal advice we had received, and our attempt to keep the ongoing conflict resolution as professional as possible. Unfortunately, an understanding could not be found that would allow us to continue to work with the Neos community. The disagreements we had with Mr. Karel Hulec were too far-reaching and too significant to allow for a compromise. His conduct and lack of professionalism soured opportunities to resolve our differences. We hope you will continue to make wonderful projects in the future, wherever those future efforts lie.
We understand you may have many questions for the Development Team, but as we are removing ourselves from our positions within the Neos community, we will be limiting our presence on this Discord server going forward. Any questions for individuals formerly on the team will need to be sent through direct messages or other personal channels.
On October 7th, 2023, Veer posted:
Hey everyone, as there is no longer moderation administration present in this unofficial discord, we’ll be locking down the channels from further communication. This is to prevent the server from becoming unsafe to users, any projects or brands, and other entities due to unmoderated discourse.
I take this to mean that the NeosVR Discord is now officially closed, and indeed, no more messages can be posted in any of the channels. (I hope that this Discord remains, if for no other reason than historical purposes.)
This marks the end of a decade-long era, and the conclusion of a long period of uncertainty as to the future of the project. Many people might not realize that the roots of NeosVR date as far back to 2014, with a project named World of Comenius (you can learn more here, in part one of what was originally intended to be a multi-part series of blogposts about the history of NeosVR, which unfortunately I never got around to completing due to my full-time paying job as an academic librarian).
I wish all involved with NeosVR success in their future endeavours!
I leave you with a 20-minute YouTube video by VR pundit ThrillSeeker, done last year, which goes into some of the details of what went wrong with NeosVR: