MATERIA.ONE Update

In my email today, I received an invitation to be one of the early beta testers of MATERIA.ONE, in exchange for filling out and signing a non-disclosure agreement, which I did.

If accepted, I will receive a Steam key to access the technical closed beta demo before the end of the month. I’m actually very surprised I was even asked, since I am not an investor in Staramba or an owner of any Staramba tokens, their in-world cryptocurrency. And, as any regular reader of my blog knows, I have been casting a rather skeptical eye at this project so far.

The NDA means that I will not be able to share anything I see or experience within MATERIA.ONE on this blog, sadly. (This is similar to the NDA that we had to agree to before Sansar officially opened its doors to the public on July 31st, 2017.)

So, wish me luck! If I am accepted, then I will be one of the first people to actually get to see what all the fuss is about. If not, well, no big deal.

In the meantime, I will maintain radio silence about the project.

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Editorial: My Social VR/Virtual World Predictions for 2019

Have you joined the RyanSchultz.com Discord yet? Come join 170 avid users of various metaverse platforms, and discuss social VR and virtual world predictions for 2019! More details here


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Time to peer into that crystal ball and make some predictions!

First: Second Life is going to continue to coast along, baffling the mainstream news media and the general public with its vitality and longevity. It will continue to be a reliable cash cow for Linden Lab as they put a portion of that profit into building Sansar. And I also predict that the ability to change your first and last names in SL will prove very popular—and also very lucrative for Linden Lab! Remember, they’ve got seven years of pent-up demand for this feature. (I have a couple of avatars myself that I’d like to rename.)

Second: An unexpected but potentially ground-breaking development in OpenSim was the announcement of the release of a virtual reality OpenSim viewer to the open source community at the 2018 OpenSim Community Conference. There’s still lots of technical work left to do, but if they can successfully pull this off, it could mean a new era for OpenSim.

Third: I confidently predict that one or more blockchain-based virtual worlds are going to fold. Not Decentraland; there’s too much money tied up in that one to fail. But several cryptocurrency-based virtual worlds are starting to look like trainwrecks of epic proportions (and I’m looking at you, Staramaba Spaces/Materia.One). Somebody still needs to explain to me why people will want to pay to hang out with 3D-scanned replicas of Paris Hilton and Hulk Hogan. The business model makes absolutely no sense to me. Another one that I think is going to struggle in 2019 is Mark Space.

Fourth: I also predict that one or more adult/sex-oriented virtual worlds are going to fail (yes, I’m looking at you, Oasis). I’ve already gone into the reasons why even the best of them are going to find it hard to compete against the entrenched front-runner, Second Life.

Fifth: High Fidelity and Sansar will continue their friendly rivalry as both social VR platforms hold splashy events in the new year. (I’m really sorry I missed the recent preview of Queen Nefertari’s tomb in HiFi, but it looks as though there will be many other such opportunities in 2019.) And High Fidelity will continue to boast of new records in avatar capacity at well-attended events (it certainly helps that they’ve got those venture-capital dollars to spend, to offer monetary enticements for users to pile on for stress testing).

Sixth: the Oculus Quest VR headset will ignite the long-awaited boom in virtual reality that the analysts have been predicting for years. There; I’ve said it! And those social VR platforms which support Oculus Quest users will benefit.

Seventh: Linden Lab’s launch of Sansar on Steam will likely have only a modest impact on overall usage of the platform. I’m truly sorry to have to write this prediction, because I love Sansar, but we’ve got statistics we can check, and they are not looking terribly encouraging at the moment. And where is the “significant ad spend” that was promised at one of the in-world product meetups back in November? Now that they’ve pulled the trigger and launched on Steam, it’s time to promote the hell out of Sansar, using every means at Linden Lab’s disposal. Paying bounties to Twitch livestreamers is not enough.

And Facebook? If they thought 2018 was a bad year, I predict that we’re going to see even more scandals uncovered in 2019 by news organizations such as the New York Times. And more people (like me) will decide that they’ve had enough of being sold to other corporations and data-mined to within an inch of their lives, and jump ship. The public relations people at Facebook are going to face a lot of sleepless nights…

And, still on the same topic, we might yet see the launch of a new social VR platform backed by Facebook, after they decide to ditch the lamentable Facebook Spaces once and for all. Maybe it will be based on Oculus Rooms; maybe it will be something completely different. But despite my negative feelings about the social networking side of Facebook, they still have the hardware (Oculus), the money, and the reach to be a game-changer in social VR. (Just not with Facebook Spaces. At this point, they should just kill the project and start over. Any improvements will be like putting lipstick on a pig.)

Finally, I predict that the RyanSchultz.com blog will head off into new and rather unexpected directions (that is, if the past 12 months’ activity is any indication!). I never expected to cover blockchain-based virtual worlds, or Second Life freebies; they just kind of happened.  Expect more of the same in 2019, as various new topics catch my interest.

Staramba Spaces Is Now MATERIA.ONE—But There’s One Small Problem

The ongoing story of Staramba Spaces has taken another strange twist (and if you haven’t been following the saga, here is a link to all my previous blogposts about this social VR space).

Yesterday, Staramba (the company behind the as-yet-unreleased social VR platform) proudly announced that they were changing the name of the service to MATERIA.ONE:

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There’s just one small problem. The website domain name MATERIA.ONE is already in use by a Romanian leather fashion site!

In other words, Staramaba evidently did not do a rather basic business check on whether or not the domain name of their newly-renamed metaverse was available! Seriously, WTF?!??

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Staramba Spaces Will Launch Their Alpha Platform By the End of This Year

Staramba Spaces has just announced that there will be a demo, closed alpha version of their platform launching by the end of this year. Only those who have purchased Staramba tokens will have access to the alpha, as explained by their CEO in a recent YouTube video:

Well, it only makes sense that those who have invested in Staramba Spaces’ cryptocurrency will have priority access to the alpha (Virtual Universe is essentially doing the same thing).

However, it’s still not enough to tempt me to purchase Starmaba tokens.  I’ll wait and watch from the sidelines, as I intend to do for all the other blockchain-based virtual world platforms. Again, I warn any potential investors to do every single scrap of their homework before buying into any blockchain-based virtual world platform.

If you’re interested, you can follow Staramba via Instagram, Twitter, Medium, Facebook, Reddit, or Telegram. Or just visit their website for more information.