MetaWorld: An Update

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A screencapture I took last month from the new MetaWorld website (complete with a suspiciously realistic-looking avatar apparently taken from the MetaHuman project)

So many metaverse stories have piled up in my in-box since I decided to take a vacation from blogging (more or less) during the month of December. But one story in particular stands out in my mind, and therefore today I am providing you with an update on Dedric Reid and his MetaWorld project.

In May of 2019, I wrote a blogpost about a virtual world project called MetaWorld, where I aired some of the grievances of the investors of the first iteration of the project, and I expressed some misgivings about its current status. Dedric Reid, who is associated with the MetaWorld project, told me at the time that I had published “false information” about his project, but declined an opportunity to be interviewed about MetaWorld, and answer some questions and address some criticisms which had been posted on Reddit and a Road to VR report.

At which point I shrugged, moved on, and promptly forgot about the project. (By the way, you can find all my posts about MetaWorld here, including this one.)

Well, MetaWorld is back (with a brand new website and a brand new Discord server; its former website seems to be sold to new owners) and somebody has been actively uploading new videos of what this apparently brand-new virtual world is supposed to look like:

The brand new Discord server created by Dedric Reid, which has (or rather, had) a press channel filled with links to glowing press reviews of the previous iteration of MetaWorld project, dating from 2016 and 2017 (the quote at the beginning of the video I posted above was also from that time period). When I asked Dedric if he had any recent press to share, about the current iteration of the project, he assured me that it would soon be forthcoming, mentioning CNBC and CNN television:

Shortly afterward, I was informed that Dedric had deleted this entire conversation from the #Press channel on his new MetaWorld Discord server. (I tried to confirm this myself today, but I decided to leave the new MetaWorld Discord server of my own accord, and the Discord invite on the MetaWorld website is now either expired or invalid. Frankly, I don’t know, or even care, at this point whether or not this Discord still exists.)

The MetaWorld website was, for a short period of time, selling “passports” to access its metaverse platform, which I thought was rather odd (why would you need a passport if you already had an avatar set up?) Here’s a couple of screen captures I took before Dedric suddenly took the passports off his MetaWorld Marketplace:

Elite Pioneer


• Exclusive Community Access
• Early Access to NFT Land Drops
• Early Access to NFT Marketplace Drops
• Land Broker Agent Support
• Specialized Community Role

The MetaWorld website also briefly offered for sale some virtual land NFTs, which were illustrated with pictures of lush forests and streams (these have abruptly been removed from the MetaWorld Marketplace as well):

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is metaworld-land-1024x513.png

As for the avatars, well, this is a screenshot of the avatars page on the MetaWorld website (also screencaptured by me before it was taken down by Dedric Reid):

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The “avatars” in the MetaWorld project come straight from MetaHuman

So, MetaWorld is supposed to be this brand-new, high-quality virtual world, with such incredibly high levels of sophistication in its avatars, and such incredibly detailed landscapes—in both cases, levels beyond anything that is currently available on any working metaverse platform? And with the company (until recently) selling both “passports” and virtual land NFTs on its website?

Well, it just so happens that I have over 600 users on the Discord server—truly passionate people who have experience with dozens of existing social VR platforms, virtual worlds, and metaverse products. People who endlessly discuss, debate, and argue about news and events in the ever-evolving metaverse and the companies building it! In other words, I have a crack team of metaverse bullshit detectors, and therefore, I shared some of these MetaWorld videos and pictures with them, to get their feedback on MetaWorld, before writing this blogpost. Here’s what they told me.

One person looked at the MetaWorld promo video I posted above and said:

Looks like your usual fare of Unity HDR pipeline tech demo. Looks nice but isn’t usable in the slightest for VR which is something of a requirement for anything claiming to be a metaverse or “the new world”. I buy a lot of landscape asset packs for Unity, it looks very much like the demo videos they make for those, e.g.

As you can see, they’re not doing anything special that stock Unity with some nice landscape assets can’t do. Also praise be to NatureManufacture for their stuff, it’s relatively cheap and very nicely done.

“A first of its kind 10,000 square mile simulation, MetaWorld is a simulated reality that continues to exist even when no one is around.” I ran a 16 sq. km megaregion on OpenSim for ages which fulfils that criteria, LOL. Looks like an attempt purely at exploiting FOMO [Fear Of Missing Out].

Another person pointed out similar assets for the Unreal game engine:

I think those were just Unreal Marketplace assets, to be honest. Much easier to bundle together with MetaHumans, since it’s in the same engine.

Some examples of these asset packs can be found here and here.

Another member of my Discord pointed out that the MetaWorld avatars were taken from Unreal’s MetaHuman Creator software, sharing the following video:

If—if—such a metaverse platform truly existed, it would surpass any other product out there on the market in terms of visual fidelity. By far. Too bad there’s absolutely zero technical details of this ultra-high-end project on the MetaWorld website. Absolutely nothing to indicate that this metaverse is being built, no progress reports, zip, nada, bupkis.

Trust me, I scoured that website in depth (before before and after Dedric edited it). All I found were forms to recruit builders, creators, governors, and investors to the project (and the last two forms are identical). The builder and creator forms have checkboxes for people to indicate if they have Unity, Unreal, and/or SpatialOS experience, which sounds to me like they haven’t even settled on a game engine for their metaverse!

Unity, Unreal, and/or SpatialOS: Looks like MetaWorld hasn’t settled on a game engine for their metaverse yet

As I always say, past behaviour is a good (but not infallible) indicator of future behaviour. A number of people invested in the previous MetaWorld project circa 2016-2019 (they even had a kickstarter on IndieGogo), and unfortunately got nothing back. Now the MetaWorld project is back for a second go-round, with a new website, a new Discord, and a lot of YouTube videos (most of which Dedric has since taken down) purporting to show a suspiciously high-end, detailed metaverse and ultra-realistic avatars. Rinse and repeat?

But that’s not all. Oh, fat, faaar from it. This is where the story gets really interesting!

I already had a draft version of this blogpost written up, when I was approached by Aaron Souppouris, who is the executive editor for the tech news website Engadget, telling me that they were working on an piece of investigative journalism about Dedric Reid and his MetaWorld project. So I held off on publishing this blogpost, until that article was posted on December 10th, 2021 on the Engadget website:

The Engadget article about Dedric Reid and his MetaWorld project

The reporter, Jessica Conditt, is a Senior Editor at Engadget, and she did a deft job of handing Dedric’s ass to him on a platter! I’m not going to quote too much from this glorious takedown (you can go over to the Engadget website and read it in full), but here’s a bit of it:

Engadget spoke with 11 original MetaWorld investors, including people who were deeply involved in the community and often interacted with Reid directly. Many of these members asked not to be named, considering Reid had their personal information and they didn’t trust him to not misuse it.

After a few months of missed launch dates and hollow promises, MetaWorld members discovered Reid was using images from 3D model site TurboSquid to sell land and in-game items, and they said he changed critical details about the engine and development process seemingly on a whim. As people would ask for refunds in the original Discord server, Reid would call them trolls and delete their messages.


[The] demo, built before [MetaWorld prototype developer, Carleton] DiLeo left the team, is the only public proof that Reid’s MetaWorld has ever existed as an inhabitable virtual place. DiLeo went on to build his own simulated environment using Spatial OS, and he sold it in October 2018 to Somnium Space, which is an established, decentralized VR platform powered by blockchain. As part of that deal, Somnium Space offered a refund and land-exchange program for angry MetaWorld customers, in an effort to rebuild trust in VR development as a whole.

In October 2021, two years after Reid’s final message in the old Discord, a new MetaWorld server appeared. It had a fresh logo, links to his Clubhouse group, and the same pitch as before. A “passports” channel linked to a page where people could pay $10, $20 or $30 for “exclusive community access,” the opportunity to build MetaWorld, and early bidding on future NFT drops.

At the time of publishing, MetaWorld NFTs have raised 5,126 MATIC (around $11,000) since their launch on November 25th.

Yes, as it turns out, there is still a Discord server with over 600 members from the previous iteration of the MetaWorld project, eleven of whom agreed to be interviewed by Engadget, people who remember what happened the last time around, and guess what? They had a LOT to say about this new iteration of the MetaWorld project.

(Unfortunately, you cannot join the old MetaWorld Discord server, as apparently all the admins are now gone, and all the old invite links have expired. Dedric himself has forgotten how to log in, and he has apparently asked to be let back in to the old MetaWorld Discord server, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the members of that particular Discord are not keen on having him return. They’ve already been burned once.)

Oh, but wait! It gets even better:

Reid is now selling virtual land and properties as NFTs on the Polygon network, and people are buying. Land tends to run from $50 to $600, payable in Polygon’s MATIC currency, while a “Piano House” costs $650 and seems to be available via cash payment only. The MetaWorld website claims just 10 of these houses will be minted and simulated.

“So much excitement, creative thoughts and passion for the future,” Discord user Clare Bratina wrote in the new MetaWorld server on November 25th. “Definitely backing the creators and looking forward to learning how to create in the metaverse and on metaworld.”

Every now and then in the new server, a random member will spam the channels with warnings claiming that MetaWorld is a scam, and Reid will deny it and delete the messages. Just like old times.

But wait, there’s MORE!

New users have been trickling into the new MetaWorld Discord server and Reid has been organizing its channels, most of which are empty. It’s mostly newcomers, but there are also a handful of folks from the old MetaWorld server floating around, tracking the similarities between the previous project and the new promises.

The new server used to have a “creators” channel where Reid shared images of Redwood trees and forest foliage going through the photogrammetry process, and one old-server user noticed artifacts on the pictures, where it looked like text had been Photoshopped away. This user found the original images on a website unassociated with MetaWorld or Reid, and Engadget eventually traced all the images in channel back to an 80 Level interview with environmental artist Willi Hammes of MAWI United.

Engadget spoke with Reid in November, when the creators channel was still live, and asked him what photogrammetry software he was using to build MetaWorld.

“I’m not actually sure,” he said. “I’m not working on the photogrammetry stuff. So I’d have to ask somebody from my team what they’re using to capture it.”

Original backer BenG found the original versions of many MetaWorld-related assets (source: Engadget)

Reid said he had a few freelancers working on the project, but he presented himself as the sole full-time creator of MetaWorld. Minutes after our interview, the creators channel disappeared from the Discord server, taking all the photogrammetry claims with it.

Other MetaWorld assets vanished around this time, too. Reid deleted and unlisted at least two YouTube videos after facing questions about their origins. One of them, called “Generative + Procedural Design Redwood Creek,” was a minute-long speedrun through the Unreal Engine 4 development process, showing the creation of a lush forest scene. It was published on October 31st. The MetaWorld logo was prominently displayed over the entire video, it started and ended with the URL for the MetaWorld website, and its description read, “Using a combination of procedural / generative Design and hand freehand design to construct MetaWorld Redwood Creek region.”

After establishing we were talking about the same video, I asked Reid point-blank, “So that video, that was you in MetaWorld making something?”

He was silent for seven seconds. “The video’s MetaWorld, yes,” he finally said.

However, the footage in question was originally posted to YouTube by a user named Nitrogen in March 2019, without any of the MetaWorld bits. The MetaWorld version was edited down and cropped in places, but it was the same video. Reid did not make it, nor was it an example of anything he had built in MetaWorld.

There’s more—much, much more, in glorious detail, with images!—in Jessica’s article. So please go over an read it in full. Aaron Souppouris, Jessica Conditt, and the rest of the team over at Engadget have all the receipts, sweetheart!

I’ll let someone from my small army of metaverse bullshit detectors have the final word here:

So they seem to have LAZILY slapped several asset packs together, added FREE MetaHumans characters (if they even did that, LOL). And now they are selling literal AIR to the fools who don’t do enough research.

Aa always, I urge anybody who is going to invest in such projects to do EVERY. SINGLE. SCRAP. of their homework, and do proper due diligence before investing a penny. Don’t be swayed by videos of highly realistic scenery and avatars alone; ask questions about exactly HOW they plan to build their metaverse. Ask detailed questions and expect detailed answers!

As for Dedric, I have heard that he has made himself rather scarce lately. I also hear he’s also been largely absent from the social audio app Clubhouse, where he was actively shilling for MetaWorld in October and November. Wonder why.

UPDATE 2:12 p.m.: Medhue, who is an active content creator in Second Life, Sansar, and on other metaverse platforms, has this comment (I do have his permission to quote him):

Interesting read Ryan. I’d be a little bit weary trusting creators on your discord. There are different levels of creators, and unless they have worked in all engines, they won’t really know what is possible. Unreal is not Unity. Unity handles phone and tablet games well, but they don’t even compare to Unreal when it comes to realism. Yes, you can get similar results, with a lot more work, but not quite the same, as Unreal’s lighting is next gen compared to Unity. So, any talk of what is and is not possible, is moot unless they know the engine being used. Right now, it is totally possible to create an ultra realistic world in Unreal for VR. Any talk of not being able to do that in VR is BS. High quality or not. It’s all about how it is done. I have no doubt this guy pushing this world is not a good actor, but again, any talk of you can’t do this or that, is totally BS, especially as a reason not to believe something.

Good points, thank you Medhue! I can assure you that Dedric does not possess the skillset to do this, and there’s no “team” here, either—it’s just Dedric.

UPDATED! MetaWorld: Is There Life in This Virtual World Project After All?

Recently, I’ve received a couple of emails from people regarding MetaWorld, which is a virtual world I assumed had folded when most of their developers left the project. There had been many questions raised on Reddit and other places about the status of the project, which led me to label it “Buyer Beware” in my list of social VR/virtual worlds. Most recently, Somnium Space offered refunds to people who had purchased pioneer rights in MetaWorld, so by this I assumed that the project was well and truly dead.

The first email I got was from Dedric Reid, who appears to be associated with MetaWorld, who told me:

Hey Ryan, you’ve published false information about my product MetaWorld. Want to talk about it?

I responded, asking him for more information, and to specify where I was wrong, but I never got any sort of reply back. Then, just yesterday, another email came, this one from a user of MetaWorld named Emmiren:

I read the article on social VR/virtual worlds, and I noticed that MetaWorld has a warning on it that makes it sound like a scam. I am not part of the development team, but let me reassure you that MetaWorld is still in progress. Production was slowed to a halt for a while since the team had to wait for the Oculus SDK for unity 2019. Now that the SDK is out, progress has resumed and is going pretty quickly. There’s already the first island called “Turtle Islands” in progress by builders who are not part of the developer team, but part of the community. I just wanted to let you know that MetaWorld is still in progress and is not a scam. Again, I am NOT a developer, but I have been constantly watching and active in their community. 

I checked, and there’s a 40-second YouTube video showing Turtle Islands that is two months old, which is the most recent information I can find anywhere on the internet about MetaWorld:

So, it would appear that there might be something happening in MetaWorld after all! If that is the case, the company should probably update their website, which still looks to me like it hasn’t been updated in a very, very long time. If they are trying to turn this project around, they’re going to have to do some better work on their communications! Their Facebook and Twitter accounts have not been updated since 2018, for instance.

So, what I will do for now is this: I will remove my “Buyer Beware” warning from the MetaWorld entry on my list of social VR/virtual worlds, but until I get some questions answered about what the hell is really going on with this project, I would still caution any potential investors to be careful, and to do their homework before buying in.

You can follow MetaWorld via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, or join their Discord server.

UPDATE 5:42 p.m.: I have had some private discussions with several people involved with the project as a result of this blogpost. These people, who wish to remain anonymous, told me that this project was started with the best of intentions, but they inform me that they do not currently expect to see anything to come of MetaWorld, which is disappointing news.

UPDATE 7:22 p.m.: The official response from MetaWorld (posted to their official Discord server in response to my question about the status of the project):

MetaWorld is still in development. We recently announced Turtle Islands as our first official MetaWorld settlement. The MetaWorld project has been delayed due to lack of up-to-date support and coordination between certain companies (Improbable’s SpatialOS, Unity 2019, and Oculus SDKs specifically). We are finally starting to see cooperation between these players and that should help get MetaWorld ready for a public release.

So, as you can see, I am getting different stories from different people.

UPDATE May 25th: I have decided to extend an invitation to Dedric to talk about The MetaWorld project. Here is the message I sent him via Discord:

Hello Dedric this is Ryan Schultz. You had contacted me via my blog and asked to talk. I emailed you but I have not received any response. I would like to offer you an opportunity to speak on the record about MetaWorld and answer some questions and address some criticisms which have been posted on Reddit and the Road to VR report on your project. Would you be willing to have an interview with me which would be published in my blog? We can talk about the journey this project has taken and your plans for the future. I hope to hear from you.

Somnium Space Acquires Community Garden, Announces Refund Program for MetaWorld Investors

Somnium Space.Community Garden

Today Somnium Space announced that Carleton DiLeo (co-founder of MetaWorld and creator of Community Garden) has joined Somnium Space as a Principal Developer. According to their press release:

After the recent successful crowd-invest campaign Somnium Space has been continuing to rapidly add features and grow its VR metaverse. With a successful launch on Steam, more than 3,500 new members have joined Somnium community in the past 3 weeks. With Carleton [DiLeo] on board, Somnium Space will be able to realize its potential much quicker by further strengthening its development team with highly skilled professionals such as Carleton.

Both companies believe in an imminent future of social interactions happening inside Virtual Reality. Combining creative minds from both companies, Somnium Space will be bringing even more innovative features to its online persistent VR universe soon.

“Today, we are shaping landscape of Virtual Reality for many decades ahead. Every decision we do about types of social interactions or certain technical aspects of VR world will impact future generations of players and virtual citizens.” said Artur Sychov, Founder of Somnium Space. “We want to make decisions which will create an unbelievable environment for people to foster their creativity, therefore we are quickly building the best possible team to realize that vision”

“I am thrilled to become part of Somnium Space team and bring to life the ideas I had with Community Garden on a much larger scale.” said Carleton DiLeo. “I strongly believe the future of VR is in shared worlds that players feel connected to. Community Garden’s vision and Somnium Space’s approach are the perfect match, and just what the VR community needs.”


Somnium Space has been approached by a number of players who have bought various game packages in non-released MetaWorld VR app. Numerous delays, missed deadlines and the recent removal of MetaWorld page from Steam have left users unhappy and questioning the future of the project. Many MetaWorld users have reported difficulty getting refunds on Reddit. At Somnium Space, we are committed to keeping the VR community a healthy and trusted place for people and we have zero tolerance for questionable practices. Therefore, Somnium Space is announcing a refund and exchange program for MetaWorld users. If you have purchased early access or land from MetaWorld, you can exchange that land for a small land parcel in Somnium Space or get a full refund for your purchase. Users who have purchased game package from Meta World before 31.10.2018 are eligible for a refund or exchange.

If you want a refund, please email with a subject line “Refund”. Please attach your deed and proof of financial transaction. In case you would like to exchange your deed to a land in Somnium, please use subject line “Exchange” and attach your deed and proof of financial transaction. PLEASE NOTE: even after receiving a refund from Somnium Space, your deed is still valid in case MetaWorld will be released. For more information and questions, please join the Somnium Space official Discord channel.

Disclaimer: Since it is unknown exactly how many users have purchased game packages from MetaWorld, Somnium Space leaves a right to stop refund process at any time. Nevertheless, we are prepared to refund as many hundreds of players as we possibly can.

Well, this looks like a win-win all around! Congratulations to the team at Somnium Space and to Carleton DiLeo. This is also good news for people who paid for MetaWorld, a platform that has been moribund for quite some time now.

I have updated my List of Social VR/Virtual Worlds accordingly.

UPDATED: MetaWorld: A Brief Introduction

And, just as soon as I finished that list I just posted, I found another social VR space/MMO hybrid called MetaWorld!

MetaWorld 10 May 2018.png

Actually, re-found it. I had actually signed up for project updates by email and then completely forgotten about it, and the last project update was quite a while ago, way back in August 2017. It looks like their attempt to crowdfund the platform via IndieGoGo has stalled. I’m not sure if this project still exists, although they have slashed prices on their “Pioneer” packages.

According to their website:

MetaWorld invites you to experience a 10,000 square mile, massively scaled open world in virtual reality. Discover endless activities and adventure, inside a persistent, open world simulation, allowing thousands of visitors to participate simultaneously online.

Join us, and pioneer a first of its kind, vast-scale social VR MMO simulation experience.

Aah yes, yet another blockchain-based social VR space:

MetaWorld 2 10 May 2018

If anybody out there has any knowledge about what happened to the MetaWorld project, could they let me know? Thanks.

UPDATE May 12th: Well, I did find some answers in this very informative post to the Oculus subReddit:

Don’t get your hopes up for Metaworld VR. It looks like vaporware.

Updates have been non-existent, emails go unanswered, some have been sent a png and a fake link as “digital downloads”, begging for crowdsource money, and whoever runs their Reddit account just spams review articles, which are likely paid advertising, whenever there is criticism.

Would not send these guys a cent.

It’s worth reading through the whole discussion thread just to find out what happened. The co-founder left the MetaWorld project to found another, smaller social VR space called Community Garden.

And The Road to VR website posted a comprehensive report on the troubled project back in September, and issued a strongly worded Buyer Beware:

MetaWorld is headed into Early Access, which partly excuses it from being an incomplete product, but the inconsistency in messaging around the game’s core mechanics and features ought to leave you worried about the stability of the still unreleased MMO. The game purports to feature a variety of activities including hunting, fishing, camping, snorkeling, sailing, sports, training, RC, drones, and go karts—all well and good—but according to the company, the core gameplay is based around survival. “You’ll have to defend your land against other players as well as opportunistic animals,” the company says.

You won’t find this information conveniently listed on the MetaWorld website though, but rather strewn across various Reddit pages where the creator sporadically posts, oftentimes in cryptic, single-word answers. At the time of this writing, the game’s website only consists of press blurbs gathered from before the IndieGogo campaign was launched and a small marketplace selling the game’s three plot sizes.

…It still isn’t clear how much is truly at stake for landowners or the landless free-to-players at the moment either. Questions like: can animals or other players kill you? If you die, do you lose your items? Can you trade in-game credits back to real cash? Can you craft items, or do you have to buy everything from vendors? The list of unaddressed questions goes on in the game’s largely abandoned discussion board on Steam.

To quell fears around the general lack of communication about the core game mechanics, the studio took to three major VR Reddit pages on Saturday (r/Viver/Oculusr/PSVR), saying that the game won’t only be a wilderness area with cookie-cutter buildings as featured in the promo, but rather a growing framework “we can use […] to create many other worlds. Fantasy, Sci Fi etc.”

“We are building the world as a community, a few square miles at a time,” the company says. “Early pioneers will gather in world and decide on what types of diverse biomes to build. People in the world are discover-able through the UI. We figured out a way to make a huge world that feels alive, rich with things to do. One of our primary goals is to introduce an experience with lots of divergent game play, that you’ll never get bored of.”

For potential customers, HelloVR also had this to say about refunds on the PSVR Reddit page:

“MetaWorld was founded out of passion. Our team doesn’t expect to generate much revenue from the project. Our early access goal is to build a core community that has ownership in the world. Anyone can ask for a refund at anytime by emailing

Anyone can ask, but it remains to be seen if anyone can actually have a refund—something to keep in mind for digital prospectors looking to settle a virtual frontier that might just as likely turn out to be a barren wasteland.

What is clear now, is that MetaWorld is a dead (or nearly-dead) project. Caveat Emptor!