(This blogpost is the second in a series; the first one is here.)
I thought I would set aside some time today, on a somewhat lazy Saturday, brew myself a large pot of black coffee, and attempt to categorize all the social VR platforms I have written about on this blog into some sort of taxonomy. No small feat! But at least I have a full day to tinker with the project. (I might turn this into a journal article and get it published somewhere.)
As my starting points, I used my Comprehensive List of Social VR Platforms, as well as my more detailed Comparison Chart of Sixteen Social VR Platforms (which is now a bit dated, since High Fidelity has essentially shut down, but no matter).
I decided to first try and organize the wide variety of social VR platforms by primary purpose by creating this Venn diagram using Canva.com (the following diagram is available to view and download in various sizes from Flickr, up to 1024 by 768 pixels, just click on it):
And, this is finally my opportunity to compile a somewhat complete list of what I collectively call the YARTVRA platforms (an acronym I coined, which stands for Yet Another Remote Teams Virtual Reality App). This is currently a hot market for social VR, as corporations struggle to try to provide immersive, remote workteams support to employees working from home during the global public health crisis of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Bigscreen (which is primarily a TV/movies consumption platform, but it is also being used for remote workteams meetings)
- Breakroom by Sinespace
- Eventual VR
- Hyperfair VR
- Inlight Spark
- Mixtive’s VR Conference
- The Wild
- Even Learnbrite, the company behind Zoom, is trying to get into YARTVRA (although their first attempts are less than impressive…)
- Plus a whole bunch I still haven’t gotten around to blogging yet, like Connec2, Sketchbox, Softspace, etc.
UPDATE May 11th, 2020: Based on feedback I have received, and after doing a little more thinking, I have made some adjustments to version 1.0 of this Venn diagram, and I have now updated it version 2.0. Thank you to everybody who took the time to reach out to me! Summary of changes made is here.
UPDATED AGAIN 9:03 p.m. May 11th, 2020: New version! Version 2.1 (summary of changes made is here).
UPDATE May 12th, 2020: I also wanted to add to this blogpost some thoughtful comments by the Voices of VR podcaster and VR expert Kent Bye, who retweeted this blogpost to his followers on Twitter with the following comment:
Conceptually, any sufficiently robust virtual world will be able to handle multiple contexts ranging from going on a date, hanging with friends, playing games, learning, working. I see context is more driven more by the culture and people using it, more than the platform itself.
I use the lens of qualities of presence:
Active Presence: Rec Room
Mental & Social Presence: AltSpaceVR, Mozilla Hubs, Engage
Embodied Presence: VRChat
Emotional Presence: Wave, Museum of Other Realities
All of these are always happening to different degrees in social VR, but there’s combos and a center of gravity.