Decentraland Launches Their Land Marketplace

Decentraland has announced the launch of a website for people buying and selling LAND (what they call the 10m-by-10m parcels of virtual real estate in Genesis City, their first city). Here’s a recent Decentraland blogpost going into more detail on how it all works. Be warned, the website can take a while to load.

As I have written before, I am shocked at just how much money some people are asking for their LAND. I used the new Decentraland Marketplace website to find a piece of LAND for sale near the central square in Genesis City, for sale for 13,140,000 MANA (their cryptocurrency):

Decentraland Expensive Land 20 Mar 2018

According to this cryptocurrency converter, that works out to:

Decentraland Expensive Land 2 20 Mar 2018

And that’s not even the most expensive land for sale, according to a sorted listing of the most expensive LAND:

Decentraland Expensive Land 3 20 Mar 2018

Clearly, these people are not serious, and are probably only testing the boundary values of the system. This reminds me of the joker who placed this item up for sale in the Sansar Store:

Gold Box 20 Mar 2018.png

Still, it’s fascinating to watch the LAND auctions in Decentraland. Remember, Decentraland is a virtual world where the economy has been built first, before the actual world itself. This is pure speculation, with not a little greed thrown in for good measure.

You may wonder what the cheapest LAND parcel is selling for. It’s 8,500 MANA for one 10m-by-10m parcel of LAND, which works out to about US$740. This makes Second Life (a virtual world you can actually visit) seem like a bargain! It makes any other virtual world seem like a bargain.

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Elysium VR: Another Cryptocurrency-Based Virtual World

Early this morning I heard about yet another cryptocurrency-based social VR space/virtual world. This one is called Elysium VR, and the emphasis appears to be on roleplaying:

We are RAV3 team, we are working on Project Elysium. Elysium is a multiplayer Roleplaying game designed for virtual reality. The player falls into a sandbox world (Saint-Graice islands), in which he or she will live, work and have fun. The everyday life is detailed, starting from the need for water and food, finishing with decoration of their apartment / house. You just have to comfortably settle in this world and go in search of adventure with your friends. Each player can have different jobs, ranging from a dangerous bandit from the hood, ending with the president of the island state of Saint-Graice islands. You are guaranteed to experience maximum immersion in the gameplay! After all, all this will happen in VR ( and PC )!

Here’s a YouTube promotional video for the project:

The graElysium Avatars 16 Mar 2018phics remind me of the VR game Job Simulator. There’s a rather disturbing reliance upon handguns and other weaponry in the promotional video, and the avatars look pretty blocky and unappealing, according to this picture taken from their website (left). We’re obviously not aiming for realism here!

And it looks like they are going to have a smartphone app (below), allowing you to “be able to control all important game processes even if you are not in game!”:

Elysium App 16 Mar 2018.png

Their cryptocurrency is called MINERAL:

Mineral 16 Mar 2018.png

It would appear that they are currently in the fund-raising part of this venture. They are asking for donations from interested users:

Elysium DOnations 16 Mar 2018.png

So, if you’re interested in becoming among the first to set foot in Elysium, you can shell out US$10 or more to get a game license.

Like the three other blockchain-based virtual worlds I’ve blogged about previously—Decentraland, Mark Space, and VIBEHub—I’ll be watching from the sidelines. I refuse to invest in any of these new virtual-world-based cryptocurrencies because I am skeptical of the current massive hype around anything with the word “blockchain” attached, and I don’t have faith that I’m not going to lose my money when these novice virtual worlds shut their doors, as some of them surely will. The marketplace is getting overcrowded and frankly, many of these startups are not going to survive.

I buy Linden dollars and Sansar dollars and other virtual world currencies when I have confidence that the virtual worlds where I can use my currency are going to be around for the long term. High Fidelity and its HFC coin beta test is an evolving situation which I am continuing to monitor, but I haven’t yet actually purchased any HFC. All the HFC I currently own was donated to me by HiFi.

And so I’m not touching any blockchain-based virtual world currency with a ten-foot pole until I see evidence of a truly three-dimensional virtual world which I can actually visit! Decentraland, VIBEHub and Elysium VR do not yet meet that requirement, and Mark Space is NOT a three-dimensional virtual space at all!

Mark Space Apartment Decoration Contest Winners

Well, I still don’t get the attraction of Mark Space, but for what it’s worth, here are the contest winners of their recent Apartment Decoration contest (this is a YouTube video made by one of the contest judges):

Best Design

Check them out and decide for yourself whether Mark Space is worth the millions of dollars that cryptocurrency investors have poured into it (all the apartment links above should open in your web browser). As I said, I just don’t get the appeal here. Maybe I’m missing something… but this is NOT “virtual reality”, as they keep calling it!

VIBEHub: Yet Another Blockchain-Based Virtual World

VIBEHub Picture 2 March 2018
Picture From the VIBEHub White Paper

Someone posted a link to the VIBEHub website on the Occupy White Walls Discord server, and so I thought I’d check it out. (I did look at VIBEHub for the first time late last year, but nothing seemed to be ready to visit yet, so I left it.)

VIBEHub bills itself as, “The World’s First Crypto Based Virtual/Augmented Reality Marketplace & Hub”. So we’re looking at yet another blockchain-currency based virtual world, along with Decentraland and Mark Space. (I’ll let the three companies argue it out as to who was actually “first”.)

VIBEHub’s currency is called the VIBE. According to the website’s FAQ:

In order to watch concerts, partake in education seminars and workshops, attend meet and greets and go on Virtual Dates, You must pay in the VIBE currency to attend these events and social activities. VIBE can also be used to purchase digital assets, and vote on the platform as well.

The focus of the VIBEHub platform appears to be to present volumetrically-captured concert and education footage. They call this “Volumetric Video (Holoportation Technology)”:

What makes VIBEHub truly unique is that we are capturing performances and streams using Volumetric videos. This technology allows us to capture a hologram image of a performer or teacher in a live setting and place that performance or lesson in our own custom VIBEHub VR environments. This will create a one of a kind immersive VR experience that the world has yet to see.

Here’s an eight-minute video to show you what the VIBEHub platform looks like. Three avatars are taking a virtual tour of a museum collection. Note that the avatars consist only of disembodied heads, shoulders and hands—no bodies. They remind me of the Oculus Home avatars, or perhaps the Facebook Spaces avatars. (Not a good look.)

Here’s another four-minute video showing an avatar purchasing some music from another avatar:

VIBEHub is currently in beta for the Oculus Rift, with plans to support HTC Vive and PSVR in future. I’ve registered by email to receive an invitation to try out the Oculus VR beta. I haven’t heard anything back yet.

They also have a beta web browser-based app (billed as a “Beta web browser-based platform with all the social functionality linked to the VR platform”), but I couldn’t get it to work. Even more disconcerting, when I look at my user profile, all the fields appear to have been filled out by a different person called “ryanschultz”! This kind of security lapse does not fill me with a sense of confidence in using VIBEHub, especially since they expect me to purchase VIBE currency to be able to attend events like lectures and concerts.

Along with Decentraland and Mark Space, it’s definitely another platform to monitor over the coming year, as it continues to evolve. If I ever get a chance to try it out in my Oculus Rift headset, then I will let you know how it goes.