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.”

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

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 metaworld@somniumspace.com 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.

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UPDATED: MetaWorld: A Brief Introduction (BUYER BEWARE!)

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 metabot@metaworldvr.com

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!