Welcome to the Metaverse: A Comprehensive List of Social VR/AR Platforms and Virtual Worlds (Last Update: January 14th, 2022)

Ryan
My avatar at the Nexus in Sansar, wearing a T-shirt I made for myself
using Marvelous Designer (picture taken Oct. 10th, 2019)

I realize that this very long list (with now over 160 entries!) can be a little overwhelming, and I do apologize for its current state. In 2022, I do plan to reorganize it by category to make it easier to navigate, but it is a rather time-consuming task, like herding cats. Please bear with me; the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has thrown a monkey-wrench into this project!

The following spreadsheet covers what I consider the “Top 16” most popular social VR platforms (and yes, “popular” is subjective):

For an updated and expanded comparison chart of the features of sixteen social VR platforms, please click here (please note that the original version of this spreadsheet was compiled in November 2019 and may be out of date, and also note that this chart is currently being edited and updated by Dr. Fran Babcock as of November 2021, and it is still under reconstruction). Thank you to Dr. Fran Babcock for her assistance!

UPDATE March 6th, 2021: If you are looking for a searchable directory of VR/AR/MR/XR products for corporate collaboration, have you checked out the Directory of Collaborative XR Platforms, which aims to be a central repository of detailed information about XR collaboration products and platforms? I aspire to organize and categorize this list to such an extent as the XR Collaboration website!


I will be keeping this list of virtual worlds, social VR apps, and metaverse platforms up-to-date as I cover both old and new products, as a sort of comprehensive index to my website (you can find definitions of these terms here).

Please note that there are two categories of metaverse platforms which I will not endeavour to cover on this list:

  • Products aimed at the teen/tween market (mostly on mobile devices, e.g. IMVU); and
  • Purely sexually oriented or “adult” virtual worlds and social VR

Why? Well, I’m not interested in either category, and I will the herding of those particular categories of cats to other people 😉 I’ve got my hands full as it is!

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Although I have mentioned and written about a number of virtual world/social VR platforms on this list which DO incorporate blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), please note that I have, up until now, tended to focus only on those projects which ALREADY have an actual working platform, where you can create an avatar to visit and explore NOW: NeosVR, Cryptovoxels, Decentraland, and Somnium Space. I have not really written much about projects which have yet to launch, because frankly so many of them are vapourware!

However, given the current burst of enthusiasm for all things blockchain/crypto/NFT and metaverse (particularly after Facebook/Meta’s repivot to become a metaverse company in October 2021), I will endeavour to expand my coverage of such platforms in 2022.

Please remember to do EVERY. SINGLE. SCRAP. of your research before investing a penny in ANY blockchain/crypto/NFT project! Caveat Emptor!

You might also be interested in my new list of non-combat, open-world exploration and/or puzzle and/or life simulation games. For example, Fortnite recently launched Party Royale Island, an open-ended, non-combat extension to the phenomenally popular online game, as a means for gamers to socialize and a venue for concerts.

Platforms marked with an asterisk (*) support users in VR headsets. In some cases, VR support is experimental or still in beta.

Platforms marked with a dagger (†) are those still-rare platforms which support users in augmented reality (AR) headsets, such as the Microsoft Hololens or the Magic Leap One. Please note that I do not consider cellphone-based “AR” (e.g. Pokémon Go) to be true augmented reality.

UPDATE August 18th, 2020: In response to this press release, I am personally boycotting Meta (formerly known as Facebook) products and services, including the Horizon Venues, Horizon Workrooms, and Horizon Worlds social VR platforms. However, I will still write about them on this blog—just not from a first-person perspective. More information here. I am DONE with Meta, and I refuse to come back unless the company reverses its decision to force its VR headset users to have accounts on the toxic Facebook social network.

Well, I figure this is pretty much the canonical listing of social VR/virtual world platforms. Have I missed any? It’s like Pokémon, “gotta catch ’em all”…if you have heard of one that I haven’t covered yet, please let me know via the Contact page of my blog, thanks!

AW 2 11 May 2018
A scene from Active Worlds, one of the first 3D virtual worlds, now 25 years old!