Anyland Is In Financial Trouble

Anyland.jpg

One of the creators of the social VR platform Anyland has posted to the Vive subReddit on Reddit, in a last-ditch attempt to get financial support (here’s a link):

Hi! Due to challenging financial times for us… if you are interested in investing in Anyland, or know someone who might be, or know of any other type of financial help or partnership, please email us at we@anyland.com or chime in below! We are hoping to bridge the time until VR goes fully mainstream, and while we have the server bills covered, our most pressing need right now are the two-person development costs. This is all of your universe, so we want to be very open about this. On that note, thanks to everyone who is in Anyland, and thanks to all who support our Patreon. Thank you, and with ❤!

My first thought on reading this plea was “Wow, if they’re holding on to the hope that VR is going to go mainstream anytime soon, they’re doomed.” It’s increasingly clear that large-scale VR uptake is going to take several years and perhaps a decade, or even longer.

And, as I have suggested before, right now there are just too many companies chasing after too few willing consumers in the social VR/virtual worlds marketplace (just look at all the products on my list). Unfortunately, some of these companies are just not going to make it.

Anyland is an interesting platform, and they do offer a pretty good selection of in-world “prim building” content creation tools. But unfortunately, that’s not enough. In response to a question about whether or not Anyland was free, the creator responded:

Yeah definitely! After a month, you can then choose to go for an optional in app purchase (but even if everyone were to buy that, it wouldn’t be enough as the overall numbers are a bit too low at the moment). It was paid first, then we made it free after the sales went to near zero, which happened some time after launch.

It sounds to me as if Anyland’s days are indeed numbered. One commenter had the following advice for the Anyland development team:

You’re not going to like this advice but coming from someone who has built a number of companies – and who passed on building one and investing in several others in the VR industry – I would strongly consider what I’m about to tell you:

Pull the plug. Shut down. Add the awesome experience you’ve gained to your resume and get a real job. Rest and reflect.

Note I didn’t say that you should start something new. Not right now anyway. Based on other comments you’ve made, I don’t think you’re ready. Running a successful business is less about the actual work and more about identifying a value prop and creating a sustainable business model. That’s going to be tough because you’re starting out in a tiny market which has massive acquisition and sustainability problems of its own. Right from the bat, the chances of your success have gone down to nearly nil. Again, I know this because I researched the VR industry in depth, spoke to many investors and entrepreneurs in the space, and they all told me the same thing: VR might hit one day, but not now. Maybe 5 or 10 years. Not now.

So you have a tiny audience to start with and only a small percentage of them are going to pay for something like this. You can’t monetize through advertising and the like because the userbase is too small and the recurring visits are basically nonexistent. And as you’ve now learned, money is the blood of business. You can’t live without it.

So trust me, the easiest path forward for you right now is to just pull the band-aid off and quit. It’s not going to get better. Don’t listen to the fans who are happy to let you go on and suffer. Do the right thing for yourself.

And in any case, please don’t take this is a criticism. I applaud you for trying. Get some much needed R&R, keep learning and try again. You’ll make it. I’m sure of it.

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Anyland: A Brief Introduction

A couple of people encouraged me to go take a look at another social VR space/virtual world product called Anyland, so I decided to visit it a few times, both in my VR headset and on desktop. (I actually had only one successful visit in my Oculus Rift. Each time after that, I got an error from SteamVR whenever I tried to enter in VR mode. These pictures are screen captures, all taken when I was in desktop mode.)

Anyland bills itself the “virtual reality sandbox universe”, where you can build anything you want using the in-world building tools.

First, here is a selfie of my avatar taken in my spawn point, which appears to be a small rocky planet in space. There’s not much to the default Anyland avatar, only a pair of grey robotic hands with button pads on the thumbs (which you press to call up menus, such as the one you see on the left-hand side of this picture).

Anyland 3 2 May 2018.png

In fact, Anyland encourages users to use its in-world building tools to create their own avatar body! I did see some creative examples on my first visit in my VR headset, when I popped in on a group of avatars playing an Uno card-playing game.

Make your body.png

The following are two pictures of Anyland experiences, the first is called Blue Castle, and the second is called Build Town. As you can see, it’s basically a blocks/”prims” building environment, which reminds me a little of Google Blocks and the Second Life in-world building tools.

Anyland 2 May 2018
Blue Castle
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Build Town

Here’s Anyland’s main tutorial video, explaining how to use the building tools:

It’s clear that some people are really enjoying the creative canvas that Anyland provides:

In summary, the best way I would describe Anyland is that it is a mix between Second Life and Google Blocks. Give it a try if you are interested, it’s available on Steam for free.