Stageverse: A Brief Introduction

Stageverse is a new social VR platform for musical performance, currently available for the Oculus Quest only (not other VR headsets), as well as iOS and Android mobile devices. The platform features full-body, customizable avatars and spatial voice chat.

Today, Stageverse launched their first show, a 360° video recording of a 2-hour Muse concert held in Madrid, called Muse: Enter the Simulation. According to their website:

Muse: Enter the Simulation is a mixed reality experience of the Simulation Theory live show, recorded at the sold-out tour stop at Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid. This is an interactive, social experience allowing you to meet up with friends and fellow fans as avatars, at the Stageverse Stadium. You can explore the show from 16 different viewpoints, all in 360 degrees – and in 3D in virtual reality. You can express yourself with interactive toys, and exclusive virtual outfits from Muse and Balmain Paris, including the recreation of Matt Bellamy’s jacket worn onstage. Available on mobile or Oculus Quest headsets, guaranteed to transport you out of reality and into the simulation.

From this video, it would appear that you and your friends are avatars in a space where the 360° video is being played, and you can switch viewpoints to catch the concert from various angles. The concert is free to attend “for a limited time only” (whatever that means; I assume it means that they intend to start charging for future events).

Also, Stageverse has future plans to hop onto the NFT (Non-Fungible Token) bandwagon, with something called the Future Culture Club, which you can sign up for on the website:

For more information about Stageverse, please visit their website, join their Discord server, or follow the project on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. I will be adding Stageverse to my ever-expanding comprehensive list of social VR and virtual worlds.

NOYS VR: A Brief Introduction

NOYS VR logo

NOYS VR is a social VR platform for live music performances, by a Hamburg, Germany-based startup, and based on the Unreal game engine.

According to their website, they describe their project as follows:


The social platform for music experiences and concerts, native to virtual reality.

NOYS VR is a new way to connect musicians with their fans and listeners. Instead of replicating an already existing concert in 360 [degrees], we co-create concerts natively to virtual reality! Enabling everyone to have fantastic and never before seen music experiences.

Fans have complete freedom of movement, are able to meet like-minded [people] from all over the world and experience their favorite artists close up.

Last year, NOYS VR hosted a virtual edition of the Elbjazz Festival, the real-life version of which takes place at the harbourfront in Hamburg, Germany:

Among the musical artists who have performed in NOYS VR so far are rock band Ripe & Ruin, Swedish pianist Martin Tingwall, the Michael Wollny Trio jazz group. More recently, NOYS VR hosted a July 22nd, 2021 concert by Emily Roberts and HE/RO:

NOYS VR is currently available for the Oculus Rift VR headset, and Oculus Quest users can sign up to be a beta-test user. I also stumbled across an application for HTC Vive users to sign up to be a beta tester, so I assume that NOYS VR will launch on Steam at some point (and I would love to be able to test it out in my Valve Index headset!).

For further information about NOYS VR, please visit their website, join their Discord server, or follow them on social media: Facebook and Instagram. I will be adding NOYS VR to my ever-expanding comprehensive list of social VR and virtual worlds!

Pandemic Diary, February 6th, 2021: I Need a Miracle

When my best friend John called me at 12:45 p.m., my iPhone announced his FaceTime call. I groaned, rolled over, and pulled the covers over my head. The winter cold and the pandemic lockdown combined have tipped me over into full-blown hibernation mode, and made me a grumpy, sleepy gay bear.

It is currently -27°C (-16°F) up here in Winnipeg, and with a strong north-west wind, it feels like -44°C (-47°F) with the wind chill. These are the kinds of things that you do not learn from the glossy Travel Manitoba brochures, people.

Even worse, we are expecting a full week of bone-chilling temperatures:

I have learned (and written previously about) how my subconscious sends me messages through song lyrics. At that precise moment when I become aware that I have a particular song running through my head, the lyrics usually have some sort of meaning—something that I’m not consciously thinking about, but which my subconscious is trying to tell me.

Well, on Friday morning, I woke up to this song running through my head:

In other words, my subconscious is telling me: I need a miracle. Or something akin to a miracle, to get me out of this weeks-long period of acedia, depression, and despair, triggered by these unprecedented circumstances. I am having serious trouble getting out of bed and facing the day, and I am having serious trouble feeling motivated to get any work done, both around my house and at work (which, of course, is also “around my house”, as I have been working from home since March 16th, 2020).

I know that a great many other people are struggling, and I also know that I am luckier than most. But honestly, the combination of a bitterly cold patch of Winnipeg winter, combined with the continued province-wide pandemic lockdown (which has been in place since early November), leaves me struggling to cope at times.

Finally out of bed, and low on staples like bread, I decide to bundle up in my down-filled winter parka, don an N95 mask, and head out to warm up the car. My local McDonalds has been closed to in-store dining for three months, but the drive-through is still busy, and I place my order for a burger, fries, and a diet Coke (lunch) and a box of six muffins (breakfast tomorrow, I tell myself, although they will likely all be gone by midnight).

I carefully remove my mask, scrub my hands liberally with hand sanitizer (just in case), and dine in my car, engine running to keep the heat going full blast, in the McDonalds parking lot. This time, when John calls, I pick up, and we chat via FaceTime about how our respective weeks have gone. My day has finally begun, albeit a bit later than usual! And so it goes…I drive home, brew a large pot of coffee, put I Need a Miracle on auto-repeat and crank it, and face whatever challenges come my way.

I hope that you are all taking good care of yourselves and each other in these unprecedented times. Stay strong, say safe, and stay healthy!

UPDATED! Wave, the Social VR Music Platform, Is Shutting Down

Wave (formerly known variously as Wave XR, TheWaveXR, and TheWaveVR) has announced in a notice posted to their Facebook group that they are shutting down their service:

In a message posted today to their Steam page, CEO Adam Arrigo said:

We founded Wave almost five years ago to connect humanity through immersive music experiences. That journey started in the VR space, with our community-driven VR app on Steam, and it’s been rewarding watching our community of creators use our tools to host their own VR concerts. We never foresaw the incredible things people would create, and often attending those shows felt like peering into the future of live music / visual art performance and being blown away by the result.

Two years ago we pivoted out of VR into gaming and live-streaming, as the VR industry didn’t develop as quickly as we’d hoped. Artists need audiences to thrive, and we realized VR just wasn’t there yet, and there was a bigger opportunity for artists outside headsets. Even though it doesn’t fit our current business model, we’ve kept TheWaveVR app and servers running just because the community in there has made such inspiring stuff. Unfortunately, we built the user tools on top of Google Poly, which is shutting down.

As much as we’d love to, we aren’t able to spend the resources to build a new backend pipeline, since we are already spread so thin trying to accomplish our current set of non-VR objectives. We are still a relatively small startup. The hardest part of running a startup is choosing what to focus on, which has led us to the difficult decision to sunset TheWaveVR app on Steam and Oculus.

Even though this means the Wave VR shows will come to a pause, we think this is the best decision for the long term future of the Wave community, and we promise to do everything we can to one day bring back this experience in an even more evolved form. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts for joining us for all those multi-hour VR raves and for helping us craft this vision of the future of music and art. We hope you’ll join us for this next chapter!

The Lindsey Stirling concert in Wave was a highlight of 2019 for me

I still vividly remember the live Lindsey Stirling concert I attended in Wave as a highlight of my social VR experiences in 2019 (here is my review). Like many companies, Wave had built a social VR platform for music events in anticipation of a sizeable consumer audience with high-end, tethered VR headsets, an audience which largely failed to materialize, leading to a pivot away from VR to gaming and livestreaming concerts.

It is notable that Wave would have kept their social VR platform going, were it not for Google deciding to shutter Google Poly, the 3D object platform on which it relied, which underscores the precariousness of corporations relying on external, third-party tools and services when building a metaverse product. Interestingly, the company had successfully raised $30 million in venture capital only seven months ago.

While I am sad to see Wave fold, I am not surprised. I suspect that we will see several similar announcements from other social VR companies this year.

Thanks to Michael Zhang for the tip!

UPDATE Jan. 16th, 2021: Alex Coulombe tweeted in response to this blogpost:

Ryan, I think your headline is misleading. My understanding is Wave isn’t shutting down, they’re just shutting down the ability to see their concerts in VR. They just launched a new website 3 days ago.

And I wanted to make it clear that Wave is only shutting down their social VR platform, but that they are continuing with their livestreaming business. Sorry for any confusion! I wish the company every success in their future endeavours.