But some people love Facebook Spaces! One of them is Navah Berg, and she’s a digital marketing professional with an interest in social VR (LinkedIn profile) who is eager to share her knowledge of Facebook’s social VR platform.
Types of Images that are T-Shirt Ready for Facebook Spaces:
— Selfies from Facebook Spaces taken and shared,
— Images that have been shared or uploaded to your Timeline/Facebook Newsfeed or Facebook Stories from Facebook.com.
— Recently tagged photos of you on your Timeline/Facebook Newsfeed
— Search in Social VR. Images in the search 🔍 section
Here’s one of her results:
Now, I have to admit that this is really cute. However, being able to customize your T-shirt does not compare with the full-blown avatar fashion market that is already available in Sansar and Sinespace.
So, unfortunately, this is not enough to turn me into a fan of Facebook Spaces. (Sorry, Navah!)
After Second Life and OpenSim, the next biggest section of the reader responses were these five newer social VR platforms:
Sansar (149 readers, 8.87%)
High Fidelity (145 readers, 8.63%)
VRChat (101 readers, 6.01%)
Sinespace (83 readers, 4.94%)
AltspaceVR (68 readers, 4.05%)
Not far behind were a few more newer competitors
Rec Room (54 readers, 3.22%)
Somnium Space (53 readers, 3.16%)
Bigscreen (35 readers, 2.09%)
Facebook Spaces (29 readers, 1.73%)
Oculus Rooms (26 readers, 1.55%)
vTime (20 readers, 1.19%)
TheWaveVR (16 readers, 0.95%)
So, I decided to draw up a detailed comparison chart of just these 12 social VR platforms. Note that in this chart, I excluded platforms that did not have VR support (e.g. Second Life, OpenSim-based virtual worlds).
I also did not dwell on technical details, such as the underlying game engine, user creation tools, etc. Instead, I focused on the three things of most interest to consumers:
How you can access the platform;
What options do you have for your avatar;
And whether you can go shopping!
This print on this chart is a little small to show up on the constrained width of this blogpost, so I saved it as a picture to Flickr. Just click on the chart below (or the link above) to see it in Flickr in full size. You can also use the Flickr magnifying glass to get an even closer look!
You can also download this chart from Flickr in any size up to its original size (1656 x 914 pixels).
If you feel I’ve made any mistakes, or left anything out, please leave me a comment below, thanks! I do hope that people who are trying to figure out which social VR spaces to explore will find this comparison chart useful.
After Windows 10 April update, WMR headsets work with Sansar in full scale – meaning all the benefits, including moving your avatar. Tested and confirmed on several systems already.
One thing to be weary is that Sansar works with WMR headsets through SteamVR libraries, so some updates to SteamVR can sometimes break things. But from what I’ve seen, things are mostly stable and work correctly.
Clothing in High Fidelity is doable, but is limited at this time to whichever avatar is was made for, since global clothing options isn’t really a thing.
So can you have clothing in High Fidelity? Yes, and not just attachments either. Apparently Ryan forgot that Menithal’s robes are completely separate, that items made in Marvelous [Designer] do work here, or that I had a greeter uniform before all greeters got one…
To which I would reply: Yes, technically you can make clothing for your custom avatar in HiFi (if you have the skills), but there is still no default, dressable avatar for which you can buy clothing from the marketplace, like you already can in both Sinespace and Sansar. Note that I am making a specific distinction between actual avatar clothing that conforms to your body and the simpler avatar attachments (such as hats and wings) currently offered at the in-world stores in High Fidelity.
Second Update: It turns out that Windows Mixed Reality headsets will work with any SteamVR-compatible virtual world. High Fidelity users report they can use their Windows MR headsets to navigate very well in HiFi.
In Conundrums, Slate’s live talk show in virtual reality, host Lindsey Webertakes celebrity guests on a surreal trip down memory lane. Using Facebook Spaces, the company’s new VR platform, Weber travels the world with guests from inside our studio, including trips to their home countries, their favorite beaches, and sometimes, even into space.
They seem to have stopped production after only 9 episodes, the last one dated December 2017. Even though I hate Facebook Spaces as a platform, even I have to admit that Facebook Spaces works pretty well for this talk show format.
What usually happens in today’s hyper-competitive computer applications marketplace, is that one or two players in a particular market segment get big (e.g. Microsoft, MySpace, Facebook, and yes, in its own way, Second Life), and then continue to grow like a juggernaut, based on the network effect, while the smaller players in the marketplace fight each other over the leftovers. The ones who get big are usually, but not always, the early entrants into the field (Second Life is a prime example of that, although there were notable virtual worlds which were founded before it, like ActiveWorlds).
But social VR and virtual worlds are not a zero-sum game. Many consumers are frequent visitors to a number of different metaverse platforms, and many creators build and sell products in various virtual worlds. Right now, success in one VR-capable virtual world (e.g. VRChat) generates interest in other social VR spaces. As they say, “A rising tide lifts all boats”.
It’s still not clear where all this is going, but I’m willing to polish my crystal ball and make a few predictions of what will happen over the next two year period, from now until April 2020.
What I predict will happen, over the next two years, is that one of the Big Five computer companies:
Is either going to launch their own social VR/virtual world/metaverse product, OR is going to buy one of the Big Four metaverse-building companies:
Now, there’s no guarantee that any of the Big Four companies WANT to be bought out by the Big Five. Perhaps instead of a buyout, a strategic partnership deal will be inked. But I bet you anything that it’s tempting for the bigger companies to buy their way into the evolving metaverse marketplace, rather than design something from scratch.
I also predict that a LOT of the new virtual world/social VR startups we see popping up are going to fail over the next two years. There’s a lot of virtual-reality-related (and especially blockchain-related) hype taking place, and some people are investing in startups that are risky. Some smaller companies have jumped into grand virtual-world-building projects without realizing the sheer magnitude of the work involved in creating a fully-featured, viable metaverse. I’m afraid that some investors are going to get burned.
I also predict that Sinespace and VRChat are going to pull ahead in terms of features, simply because they decided to build on top of the popular Unity game engine, and they can use all the cool Unity development tools that are popping up. By comparison, feature development on Sansar and High Fidelity will be slower, as they continue work in-house on their own engines.
And finally, I expect that Second Life’s 15th anniversary celebrations will entice some former users to dust off their old accounts and revisit the platform to see what’s new. It may well herald a renaissance for SL! At the very least, it will help stave off a slow decline in SL’s user concurrency figures.
*Sorry, but as I have said before, Facebook Spaces is not a palatable social VR/virtual world product. It can’t even come close to competing against what High Fidelity, Second Life, Sinespace and VRChat are currently doing. But I bet you anything that Facebook has other plans up their sleeve. They can still try to leverage off their 2-billion-plus Facebook network (not to mention 800 million Instagram users) to become a potential major disruptor in the evolving metaverse marketplace. I’m not counting them out yet!