UPDATED: What Are the Most Popular Destinations in the Metaverse?

ryoji-iwata-479447-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

When you’re feeling like you want some company in a virtual world, where do you go? Sometimes people choose to go to popular places, where they can be fairly certain to meet other avatars who are also in-world at the same time. What are the metaverse equivalents of the Cheers bar, where you can just drop in anytime?


Second Life

For example, sometimes when I’m bored I go visit the London City sims, which are always busy. Clubs such as Muddy’s, Big Daddy’s, Fogbound Blues, and Frank’s Place are always a popular choice when you want to be around other avatars in a social setting.

Second Life does have a Popular Places listing, but the truth is, most of the places listed are actually pretty deserted. Clubs, in particular, seem to come and go with surprising frequency. Sometimes you have to go by word of mouth to hear about popular spots.

Here’s an interesting canned search that pulls up a list of Second Life sims, sorted in descending order by “traffic”. However, you should know that Second Life is notorious for having sims that may look busy, but are actually populated by armies of bots hidden away somewhere in a platform in the sky, in an effort to game SL’s traffic measurement system, and therefore appear higher in the Search function under Places. So be skeptical when looking at traffic statistics; they often don’t tell the whole story.

But what about the newer virtual worlds and social VR spaces? Where are their Cheers?

Sansar

Every so often Gindipple posts his statistics of the most popular Sansar experiences. Two that seem to be perennially popular are 114 Harvest (the starting place for the weekly Atlas Hopping event and the home of several notable Sansarians) and Alfy’s Arena Live Music Stage. Another popular place is Zen Garden. But really, you can just check the Sansar Events listing or the Sansar Atlas under the All tab, which automatically sorts Sansar experiences in reverse order by the number of avatars present (just check the green number in the upper left corner of the picture of each experience):

All experiences.png

High Fidelity

Finding popular places in High Fidelity (aside from scheduled meetups and events) can be a bit of a head-scratcher. The social VR platform does have an upcoming events page in pinboardagenda, or calendar month views. Unfortunately, there’s no events listing within their client (on their tablet), so you’ll have to rely on the website to get your information before you go in-world. If you search under Places in the tablet user interface, it will tell you how many other avatars are in other domains, though.

Sinespace

The most popular place in Sinespace (aside from special events such as speakers at the Delphi Talks) is invariably the Welcome Centre, where there is usually a small crowd of avatars sitting around and chatting.

VRChat

VRChat hosts many popular events such as the ENDGAME and Gunter’s Universe talk shows. The best way to find out when these are happening is to check out the handy VRChat Events calendar or join the VRChat Events Discord server. Again, sometimes the best thing to do when you’re simply looking for some company, is to open the Places menu and just pick a spot at random where there are a lot of other avatars gathered. You’re pretty much guaranteed to run into somebody to chat with.


What are your favourite places to go in the metaverse when you want to meet other avatars? Have you found a spot you like to go visit? Please leave a comment with your suggested places and strategies, thanks!

UPDATE Aug. 9th:

OpenSim

Alan Tupper of the Opensim Virtual community on Google+ has given me a great tip on finding popular destinations on OpenSim, by clicking this link to the OpenSimWorld directory, which gives a list of sims sorted in descending order by number of avatars present! This is very useful, thank you, Alan!

UPDATED: High Fidelity Reaches a New Record! Over 250 Avatars in One Domain


The place to be on Friday was The Spot in High Fidelity, where over 250 avatars gathered in one domain for the second in a series of monthly stress tests!

So it would now appear that High Fidelity has snatched the title from Sinespace as the virtual world with the highest possible avatar capacity in a single region (all avatars, and no bots).

Congratulations to Philip Rosedale and his team for their technical achievement!

UPDATE Aug. 9th: Philip Rosedale has blogged about the event on Medium. And here’s a YouTube video of highlights of this event:

Why Have the Newer Virtual Worlds Attracted So Few Bloggers?

BigFour.png

Second Life has attracted hundreds of bloggers who cover the virtual world platform in great detail. There are so many, in fact, that they even started their own professional network, the Blogger & Vlogger Network.

One of the things that surprises me is how few bloggers are covering the newer virtual world/social VR platforms, including the “Big Four”, as I call them:

I’m not talking about the official blogs which the companies maintain; I’m talking about individuals who blog about virtual worlds because they’re interested in one or more platforms.

I am, still, one of the very few bloggers who is covering Sansar, Sinespace, High Fidelity, and VRChat on a regular basis. A small number of Second Life blogs, such as Wagner James Au’s New World Notes and Strawberry Singh’s popular blog, have broadened their coverage to include these newer platforms as well. Inara Pey and Nalates Urriah have also covered Sansar in their blogs. But other than that, I can’t think of many other bloggers out there who cover the newer virtual worlds. Why is that?

One of the reasons may be that the newer virtual world/social VR platforms need time to build up a customer base, which includes bloggers. I don’t think that there were very many bloggers covering Second Life when it first launched in 2003, either. (Wagner James Au’s New World Notes blog actually predates SL; his first entry is dated May 22nd, 2001, and his first entry about Second Life is dated April 22nd, 2003.) It has taken fifteen years for the Second Life blogosphere to grow to its current extent, and it will likely take many years for a similar number of blogs to spring up around the newer virtual worlds.

A large percentage of Second Life blogs are fashion blogs (one person has estimated the number at 87%). People tend to spend a great deal of their time and money on avatar customization in Second Life, and many bloggers follow that, reporting on new items and fashion events.

But the fashion market in Sansar is still small, only dating back to Dec. 18th, 2017, and as a result, there are few bloggers reporting on it. (Among the first is Ivonna’s vrBLOG.) The avatar fashion market in Sinespace is likewise very small. And High Fidelity and VRChat cannot really be said to have a fashion market at all, because you create and rig a whole avatar from scratch, including what it is wearing, instead of dressing up a human avatar like you can in Sansar and Sinespace. So that’s probably another reason why there are not very many bloggers yet. As avatar customization options in the newer virtual worlds expand, more bloggers will begin to cover the fashion aspect.

Another idea: perhaps people are choosing to use other means of covering their favourite virtual worlds. For example, there are few (if any) blogs about VRChat, but there are dozens of YouTube channels about VRChat. There’s a lot of Twitch streaming as well. Could it be that attention has shifted from blogs to livestreaming and other ways of communicating?

So, what do you think it will take to get more bloggers to cover the newer virtual worlds? Please let me know in the comments, thanks!

Glitched: A VR Talk Show Set in Virtual Reality

Glitched is a talk show that originally started in AltspaceVR, and then moved to High Fidelity:

Glitched is a VR talk show in VR. The show was created by Eugene Capon in early 2016 as a product for AltspaceVR. Radio DJ Topher Welsh was brought on as a co-host during the first season. When Altspace shut down in August of 2017 the show became available for other opportunities. High Fidelity VR ordered a 6 episode run funding a second season and making Glitched the first VR talk show to be ordered like a TV show. The show has featured a variety of guests including VR industry professionals, VR game designers and well known Internet personalities.

All of their episodes (20 in total) are available to watch on YouTube. Here’s a highlight reel from season 2 of the show: