Virtual Market 4 in VRChat

The Virtual Market is a highly popular VRChat event where Japanese anime avatars and accessories are bought and sold, and the hard work of thousands of talented independent content creators is presented.

Virtual Market 4, bigger and better than ever (with dozens of big name real-world corporate sponsors such as Panasonic, Audi, Netflix, 7-Eleven, HP, SEGA, Autodesk, and Ricoh), opened on April 29th, 2020 and closed today. But before they shut down, I had an opportunity to go on a field trip organized by Jin.

Here’s an eight-minute YouTube video that gives a pretty good introduction to what the Virtual Market is all about:

Here’s my current VRChat avatar, which I had created using the Tafi app:

We spent an amazing hour exploring the Nursery Rhyme world, where you leapt into a storybook on a desk in a child’s attic bedroom, and explored a weird and wonderful world filled with pincushion puppies, quarreling pine cone gnomes, and mushroom crabs! It all had a definite Lewis Carroll Alice in Wonderland feel about it.

The Nursery Rhyme world was full of wild and wonderful content
(this is just the entrance)

After that, we visited another world called World End Utopia, with a postapocalyptic yet somehow still utopian feel to it, overgrown by nature, masterfully designed and created like all the worlds we visited:

World End Utopia: a post-apocalyptic, yet utopian world

Throughout all of these specially-built worlds for Virtual Market 4, there were booths which displayed avatars available for purchase. Most of the signs were in Japanese and a bit of English, so it was not too hard to figure out what was for sale! Most booths let you click on an avatar display to assume a demo version of that avatar, so many of the people in our tour group were changing appearance quite often!

Much merry mayhem ensured as our tour group wandered around several Virtual Market worlds and endlessly tried on sample versions of various avatars for sale! Jin went and bought himself a sofa avatar from one booth, which he promptly wore, and two other avatars could actually sit on it, and be carried around! I just howled with laughter.

Before I left, I was invited to experience a special world built by someone I know well from the RyanSchultz.com Discord, 1029Chris, who had spent two weeks creating an amazing bird sanctuary with animated ducks, who milled about, and responded eagerly when I selected food items from a nearby picnic table to feed them! It was wonderfully done, and I hope to return soon for another visit.

1029Chris’ bird sanctuary: feed the ducks!

It was such a fun evening, and I want to thank Jin for organizing this tour. Jin actually led not one but two tours: one very late on Friday night, and the one I attended on Saturday. To get a feel for what it was like, here are links to a couple of (unedited) livestreams that Jaredmonkey filmed of the tours:

Friday’s Tour: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/615571376 (3-1/2 hours long!)

Saturday’s Tour: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/616408554 (4 hours long!)

Enjoy! And I very much look forward to Virtual Market 5, which will probably be held sometime in the fall of 2020 (of course, this is exactly the kind of event that is unhindered by a coronavirus pandemic!).

By the way, I blogged about Virtual Market 2 here, and Virtual Market 3 here.

A group shot Jin took of us in Nursery Rhyme (source)
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My Top Ten Blogposts of All Time

And the winner is…
(Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash)

While I am quite certain that I do not have anywhere near the same amount of traffic as popular, long-established fellow bloggers such as Wagner James Au of New World Notes or Strawberry Singh, my WordPress stats are telling me that I am now consistently getting between 1,100 and 1,300 views per day, which is a significant increase in just the past week. Thank you for your support!

Apparently, a lot of people who are trying to find ways to cope with social isolation policies, lockdowns, and quarantines during the coronavirus pandemic are busy setting up new accounts on Second Life, or dusting off old ones to pay a return visit! Almost all of that new traffic to my blog is Second Life-related, especially my continuing coverage of Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies. And there have certainly been a lot of high-quality freebies that have been given out by various stores during the pandemic, to encourage people to stay home and play Second Life instead of going out! (If you’re looking for one handy summary of my best advice for finding freebies in Second Life, here it is.)


I am endlessly amused that my all-time most popular blogpost of all time is one that is the top Google search result when you search on “vrchat adult” (which, apparently, quite a lot of people do):

  1. UPDATED! The Dirty Little Secret of VRChat: Hidden Adult Content (with 26,728 views as of today; that link is quite safe for work)

The remainder of my Top Ten are:

2. UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: Free and Inexpensive Mesh Heads and Bodies for Female Second Life Avatars (17.096 views)

3. Meet the Man Who Has Lost 200 Pounds Playing Beat Saber in VR (this is one of my posts that actually got picked up by Google News; 10,598 views)

4. UPDATED: NOW AVAILABLE! More Details on the Upcoming Ability to Change Your User Name in Second Life (9,843 views)

5. UPDATED! Linden Lab Announces a Mix of Good News and Bad News for Second Life Users (6,456 views)

6. UPDATED! Oasis: A Brief Introduction to a New, Adults-Only Social VR Platform (link is safe for work; 5,969 views)

7. UPDATED! RyanSchultz.com Reader Poll: What Social VR/Virtual World Do You Spend the Most Time In? (5,568 views)

8. UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: Free and Inexpensive Mesh Heads and Bodies for Male Second Life Avatars (5.052 views)

9. Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: The Four Best Freebie Stores in SL (4,751 views)

10. Comprehensive List of Social VR Platforms and Virtual Worlds (4,750 views)

Five of my Top Ten are blogposts about Second Life, which is far and away the most popular part of my blog. For someone who once swore up, down, and sideways that I would never become a Second Life blogger…guess what, Mom? I’m now a Second Life blogger.

I even joined the Second Life Blogger Network, and every so often, Strawberry Linden (formerly SL superblogger Strawberry Singh) kindly spotlights one of my blogposts on the official Second Life Community News feed, thus bringing me even more traffic. (Thank you, Strawberry!)

And (once again), two of my Top Ten posts are about adult content in social VR platforms and virtual worlds: VRChat (#1) and Oasis (#6, which was a sharply critical review of the struggling platform, which I do expect to fold at some point). It would appear that sex sells…or at least, it attracts readers who are searching Google for adult virtual worlds, which is a niche that, as I wrote in another popular blogpost (this link is also safe for work):

I want to make it clear that I am not going to get into the habit of covering adult/sex-based virtual worlds. There are literally dozens of them out there, and frankly, I find them boring as hell.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has proven to be a game-changer, an unprecedented global health crisis that has had completely unanticipated impacts on all kinds of businesses (for good or ill), disrupted all kinds of practices and behaviours, and upended all kinds of conventional wisdom. So, perhaps, adult social VR platforms and virtual worlds will see an increase in usage if people can’t swipe right on Tinder? Who knows what will happen. It will be fascinating to watch.

But no, I still don’t plan to cover adult/sex-based platforms in the same way I write about other niche and more general-purpose social VR platforms and virtual worlds. Despite my very rare past forays into that market on this blog, I will be leaving that field to somebody else to cover. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

I’m pretty certain that the adult virtual world Oasis is really struggling financially, and it will probably fold. The link to watch the trailer on their website homepage, which is located just under the blue “Play Free” button on this screenshot I took, no longer works, something that should have been fixed months ago, if things were going well. If nobody from the company has even bothered to fix something that potential customers see on the front of their official product home page, to promote Oasis, things must be very, very bad indeed.

VRChat’s Popular Endgame Talk Show Will Focus on Mental Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic

On this blog, I have often written about Endgame, the popular, long-running talk show based in VRChat (here, here, here, and here).

Well. this coming Saturday, March 21st, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time, Endgame is hosting a special episode, titled Coping with COVID-19: Dealing with the Stress of a Pandemic:

In a tweet sent out yesterday to promote the event, the organizers said:

Join us for a special Endgame episode in VRChat on Saturday: we’ll facilitate a support group to discuss how we can cope with COVID-19. It’s stressful to be isolated, but we can come together in social VR to navigate this pandemic. Saturday 3/21 at 11:00 a.m. PST @PsychNoah

PsychNoah is, of course, Noah Robinson (a.k.a. Psych; TwitterLinkedIn), a clinical psychology doctoral student at Vanderbilt University and the founder and CEO of Very Real Help, and one of the three regular hosts of the Endgame talk show in VRChat, along with Nomono and Poplopo.

Given how I have been struggling with both anxiety and depression during the coronavirus pandemic, I do intend to be in the studio audience for what promises to be a fascinating, wide-ranging, and educational discussion. Although users are urged to ask questions, you can also just sit back, watch, and listen, and enjoy something that is becoming ever rarer in the real world—being part of a crowd!

Endgame now has its own website, with and you are welcome to join their “Deep Thoughts” Discord server. You can also find all their previous weekly episodes on YouTube. See you on Saturday!

How VRChat, Somnium Space, and Other Social VR Platforms and Virtual Worlds Are Adjusting to the Coronavirus Pandemic

A number of social VR platforms and virtual worlds are responding to the continuing global public health crisis that is the coronavirus pandemic, offering their platforms as a way for people to safely gather while they are under quarantine, or practicing social distancing.

For example, Somnium Space has announced that they will host a daily meetup in-world at 3:00 pm PST/6:00 p.m. EST/23:00 CET:

Also, VRChat has just published a brand new guide, titled Stuck Inside? A Quick Guide for using VRChat to Stay Connected:

This very handy guide gives step-by-step instructions for those new to VRChat, and even gives a few suggestions of worlds to explore. (Remember, you do not need a VR headset to enjoy VRChat.)

And (of course), there are many other social VR platforms and virtual worlds that you can also use to gather with other people and make new friends online. Sansar is still up and running, and of course Second Life is still as popular as ever!

In fact, just an hour ago, Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg said:

We are seeing an increase in new registrations and returning residents during this outbreak. Please be kind and welcoming to those who may just need a friendly conversation to escape from this crazy world for a moment or more. If you have a friend or colleague who is looking for a safe place to socialize online during these tough times, we encourage you to help them discover how Second Life can enable them to feel less isolated by connecting them to your favorite communities or experiences.

My personal experience has been that spending time with others in a virtual world, or on a social VR platform, feels just the same to your brain as if you were having a conversation with a real-life friend in a real-life location. So please remember to turn to the metaverse if your social distancing strategy is leaving you feeling a little lonely and isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.

Come online. Reach out. We’re here.

Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash