A First Look at the Creator Toolset in Virtual Universe

I recently wrote about a new blockchain-based virtual world called Virtual Universe (VU for short). In a recent blogpost, VU Chief Creative Officer and co-founder Jeroen Van den Bosch gives us a sneak peek of the creator toolset prototype:

I find it very interesting that you can easily add AI-enabled wildlife like birds to your VU experience. A rather intriguing approach, to do all the VR worldbuilding within VR! (The in-world object positioning tools do remind me of those in the Scene Editor in Sansar.)

VU is selling cryptocurrency tokens for use in their virtual world. Note that it says in bold letters right across the top of their website:

VU TOKENS ARE NOT FOR SALE TO CHINA, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, SINGAPORE AND CANADA.

Obviously, they don’t wish to run afoul of cryptocurrency regulations in those four countries. As I said before, I would strongly caution potential investors in VU to investigate extremely carefully before they leap on board this project. Cool product demo videos are one thing; an actual visitable, viable social VR space/virtual world is another.

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Two More Blockchain-Based Virtual Worlds: Terra Virtua and The Deep

The following comparison chart from the Virtual Universe white paper caught my eye:

Virtual Universe Key Differentiators Chart 17 Apr 2018

I had already heard of (and was very familiar with) Decentraland, Rec Room, Sansar and VRChat, but what were Terra Virtua and The Deep? So, I went and did a little investigating…

terravirtua-logo-720x405_feature

Terra Virtua bills itself, “the first fully immersive, blockchain-driven VR entertainment platform.” According to their vision statement:

Terra Virtua is a unique virtual platform, focusing entirely on immersive VR entertainment, built around a strong community and social connection.

Supported by developers, run by industry leaders and secured by blockchain, Terra Virtua is the platform for the next generation and dimension in entertainment and engagement.

Terra Virtua will have its own robust, secure blockchain based economy. Zones, in-game items, skins, upgrades and unique experiences can be bought and sold within Terra Virtua, driven by our token, the Terra Virtua TERRA (TVT). TVT owners will be a vital part of the ecosystem, kickstarting the Terra Virtua economy.

There’s the requisite slick promotional video, full of all the appropriate buzzwords:

Here’s their white paper. At first glance, the project reminds me a little bit of VIBE Hub. They’re looking at a Netflix-type subscription model.

deep-logo.png

And The Deep (whose tagline is, “Build your unique eternal crypto town”—?!??) sure sounds a heck of a lot like Decentraland. According to their white paper:

The ​Deep ​(DEEP) ​– ​is ​an ​eternal ​virtual ​world ​based ​on ​DPoS ​tokens ​to ​create ​a ​decentralized, immersive ​world ​that ​is ​part ​game ​and ​part ​social ​platform. ​An ​immutable ​world ​where ​each experience ​builds ​on ​previous ​experiences.

And there’s this little nugget from their website FAQ:

Why is The Deep eternal?

The Deep will last forever thanks to decentralization based on DPOS technology and specially designed Deep five-level protocol. We do not depend on anyone or anything else for our world. Ruled by the democratic use of consensus, The Deep can grow and change according to the will of its users.

The Deep is planning an alpha launch sometime in the summer of this year.

The blockchain-based virtual worlds marketplace is now officially overcrowded! They are multiplying like rabbits!

UPDATED: Another Blockchain-Based Virtual World: Virtual Universe (VU)

Virtual Universe (VU) is yet another blockchain-based VR-capable virtual world, that bills itself as “An epic, story-driven, open world adventure in LivingVR™ powered by Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain”.

And yes, in case you were wondering, they define “LivingVR™” as “An experience in Virtual Reality that is more immersive, engaging and alive.” (Oh, really?)

Somebody dropped this promotional trailer into the RyanSchultz.com Google+ community:

According to their website, they plan on a private beta launch in July 2018, and a public beta launch in January 2019.

It sounds more like an MMORPG/MMO than a virtual world, according to this excerpt from their whitepaper:

This multiplayer game allows users to connect with their friends and embark on emotionally-engaging grand adventures in a living world that is persistent, social and rewarding. The adventure has multiple story arcs that surprise and delight players for the life of the game.

A user can choose to simply experience the adventure, or they can help create it. Becoming part of VU is rewarding and easy for gamers and non-gamers alike. Whether the user is inside the game or not, the universe and storyline continues moving forward.

VU is part game, part social network, and part social creation platform, blending elements of Minecraft, Second Life and Simcity with innovative artificial-intelligence technologies that drive engagement.

As I have said before, I’m not investing in any blockchain-based virtual worlds unless I can actually visit them. VU is another social VR space/virtual world to keep an eye on in future, as it develops. This particular segment of the marketplace is getting very crowded.

UPDATE May 30th: I have written quite a few blogposts about Virtual Universe since this first item was written. Here is a link to all my Virtual Universe (VU) blogposts.

The Land Price Insanity Continues at Decentraland

Someone recently posted the following offer to sell an 80m-by-60m parcel in the initial Genesis City region in Decentraland (each red square on the map below is one 10m-by-10m piece of virtual real estate, called LAND):

Land Bubble Insanity on Decentraland 4 Apr 2018.png

MANA is the cryptocurrency in use in Decentraland. According to this MANA to US dollar converter website, that asking price works out to:

MANA to USD 4 Apr 2018

That’s right, a million dollars for 4,800 square meters of land. Compare that with Second Life, where a 65,536 m² plot sets you back US$600.00 with a monthly fee of US$295.

The seller justifies his asking price by saying, “but there’s nothing else on the market of this size with this much land next to a road”. Keep in mind that proximity to a road is a moot point when you can usually teleport from place to place in any virtual world (but, of course, you can’t even visit Decentraland yet, let alone teleport anywhere).

The only active, functioning part of Decentraland at the moment is the land market, where people are frantically buying and selling virtual land in anticipation of making a huge profit when Decentraland actually goes live (and nobody can say when that will be, yet). Given how extremely competitive the virtual world market is, and how much further ahead most of the other platforms like Sansar, High Fidelity, and Sinespace are in terms of functionality, this is extremely risky speculation.

I notice that since my last blogpost about the Land Marketplace in Decentraland, the developers have turned off the website’s ability to sort and view the marketplace listings by most expensive first. So you can no longer easily find out what the most expensive land is selling for. Well, actually, it’s still pretty easy to see, you just select the sort by Cheapest option and scroll to the very end of the listings:

Decentraland Most Expensive Land Prices 4 Apr 2018.png

I just keep shaking my head, and I keep watching from the sidelines.