CBC Radio Covers Decentraland

Decentraland is still getting the kind of mainstream press coverage that most other virtual worlds would kill for. The latest news organization to cover the blockchain-based virtual world, which is expected to launch later this year, is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, better known as the CBC.

CBC Radio’s Day 6 program reported on the Decentraland project in a report titled Welcome to Decentraland, where investors spend real-world dollars flipping virtual real estate. (In addition to the article text, there is audio of the ten-minute news report available at the above link.)

The report, which includes a warning that investors could lose their entire investment, profiles one virtual land speculator who estimates his holdings are currently worth US$150,000.

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Occupy White Walls: A Look at a Few More of the Best Galleries

As promised, here’s a few more of the best galleries I have visited in Occupy White Walls. This is actually a great way to pick up ideas for use in the gallery I am currently building!

birbswarm

This user has created an imposing tower at one end of the gallery, rising up against the night sky:

At the very top of the tower is a glass-walled gallery filled with landscapes, open to the starry night:

lachdanan

This outstanding gallery features a bold, futuristic design and numerous themed displays:

miikastigson

raoulr

cscousins

As you can see, this gallery is more about the architecture than the art!

jbpaschal

This gallery is truly a joy to explore!

As I mentioned before, Occupy White Walls is free to use. I would encourage you to download the client software from Steam and do a little exploring of your own! There’s so much to appreciate here, an embarrassment of riches, and something to delight just about anybody.

The software has just been updated, and a new feature allows for the collaborative building of galleries with other users:

Was Marshmello’s Fortnite Concert Really History Making? Yes and No.

You probably heard about DJ Marshmello‘s ten-minute concert held in the massively popular game Fortnite on Feb. 2nd. (I’ve never heard of Marshmello before this, but then again, he’s probably never heard of me either, so we’re even.)

The official YouTube video of the concert has racked up almost 20 million views as of this evening:

Here’s another YouTube video posted by a Fortnite user, which gives a somewhat different view of the proceedings, and which is probably a lot closer to what Fortnite players actually experienced in-game:

Now, there are a lot of media outlets calling this “history making“, with estimates of a total audience of over 10 million people watching. And no doubt, for the many (mostly younger) people for whom this was their first virtual concert experience, it may have seemed ground-breaking.

But as you can see from the videos I posted above, that audience of 10 million people was split up into innumerable separate instances across which the concert was broadcast simultaneously. This is hardly ground-breaking technology, and it can be said that doing this in a game world (which is heavily constrained in many ways compared to a true, open-ended virtual world like Second Life) is not really that innovative. Although I’m pretty certain that the staff maintaining the Fortnite servers was kept pretty busy!

The SingularityHub website reported:

Depending how you define it, one might argue this concert claimed a spot in the top 20 largest human gatherings ever. I wouldn’t go that far yet. But it does hint at how immersive digital gatherings might rival and surpass in-person gatherings in the future. Such digital events might regularly reach into the millions and still provide that special, real-world sense of “I was there.”

To be clear, Fortnite isn’t technically an online virtual world in the same vein as something like Second Life or High Fidelity. Fortnite is still, on the surface, a game. But several people have pointed out that it’s starting to serve the same kind of social purpose that hangout spaces like friends’ basements, skateparks, and arcades once provided teens and young adults.

WIRED, which called the concert “the future of the metaverse”, said:

People have gathered in virtual worlds for decades. People have attended virtual concerts for years. Yet the Fortnite event represented something different by many orders of magnitude. By one (unsubstantiated) estimate, 10 million concurrent users attended the show in the game’s “Showtime” mode. In other words, this was something much more than a concert. It was a peek, albeit a short one, at what an AR- and VR-suffused future looks like: connected congregations of embodied avatars, in mass-scale events that still manage to feel personal.

Social VR application Altspace has been holding live events in virtual reality since 2015; by now, the Microsoft-owned platform regularly hosts improv shows, podcast tapings, dance parties, and performances from the likes of Reggie Watts. But when its employees heard about the Fortnite concert, they saw it as a mass-scale validation. “I said, ‘This is it,'” says Katie Kelly, program owner at AltspaceVR. “It”s the biggest version of what we’ve been trying to do—in this game, with millions of people.

And the BBC weighed in with an instructive history lesson:

Plenty applauded what they called the “first-ever live performance in a video game”, but this claim has since been disproved on social media.

Minecraft hosted Coalchella festival in 2018 – a pun on real-life festival Coachella – though this came five years after EDM label Monstercat hosted a live charity festival in the block-building game.

Meanwhile, virtual gigs became almost synonymous with simulation game Second Life in the 00s.

U2 gave a live performance in 2008, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra was broadcast live in 2007, and BBC Radio 1 simulcast its One Big Weekend event on a virtual stage in 2006.

And that’s not even mentioning the mash-up with Duran Duran, which saw the new wave act perform live gigs in the in-game Duran Duran Universe.

So, in sheer scale, yes, the Marshmello concert was epic (pun intended; Epic Games is the maker of Fortnite). And it points the way for similar massively-attended events in future (I’m quite sure some concert promoters are already having discussions with game developers).

But it’s not something new. As the BBC points out, virtual worlds such as Second Life have been home to live performances for well over a decade now. And High Fidelity has been regularly setting records for how many avatars it can pack into a single domain, which is actually much more technically impressive than splitting up a larger crowd into multiple instances. While at BINGO EXTREMO this evening, I noticed how I really felt as if I were part of a large crowd, with over 150 avatars gathered around the stage.

So we do need to keep all this in perspective. Impressive? Yes. History making? No.

Image taken from the BBC article about the concert

Occupy White Walls: A Look at a Few of the Best Galleries

I’m on holidays from work this week, and I have been binge-playing Occupy White Walls (OWW for short), which I have written about on this blog many times before (here, here, here, and here). The virtual world had to shut down its alpha last year to retool and relaunch on Steam. And the beta version of OWW is even better and more fun than it was before!

The object of the virtual world/game is to design your own art gallery and curate a personal collection of art. Visitors (some real, some NPCs) come to your gallery, and you can use the money they leave to buy more art, build out your gallery, and level up. At each level, you unlock more items for building (walls, floors, ceilings, lighting, furniture, etc. in a variety of styles, such as Factory, Steampunk, and Art Deco).

Players can select art for their galleries from the vast catalogues of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., as well as a growing collection of modern artists who see Occupy White Walls as a way to extend their brand. In fact, I was so impressed by one digital artist that, after selecting a couple of his pieces for my gallery, I followed the Patreon link from his OWW bio and became a patron! (By the way, don’t forget that you can also become a patron of this blog. Here’s how.)

There’s an official Discord channel for Occupy White Walls where users discuss the program and share their favourite galleries. I decided to visit many of those recommendations and I took pictures to share with you below.

To visit these galleries, you will need to download the OWW client software from steam (for free), install it, and go through the introductory tutorial. Then, all you have to do is press T for teleport, type in the name of the gallery given, et voilà!  You are there!

octavarium

sinappz

altamont

captaincaps

p1xeltr4sh

emerald2

One gallery that really impressed me with its creative design was made by a user named Emerald. The emerald2 gallery (one of several that Emerald has created) is a full-blown cruise ship, with art from stem to stern! 

So, as you can see, people have taken the basic tools and building blocks given to them by Stiki Pixels (the creators of Occupy White Walls) and they have done some marvelous things with them.

And this is only the first few galleries I visited on my list of recommendations by other users! In fact, there are so many beautifully designed and curated galleries that I might just turn this blogpost into a regular feature on my blog, profiling five or six OWW galleries at a time. There’s so much to see!

Why not download the OWW software from Steam and do a little exploring, designing, and curating of your own? Best of all, it’s totally free!