UPDATED! Sensorium Galaxy Update: The Now and the Not Yet

I have been monitoring the progress of the ambitious social VR platform Sensorium Galaxy ever since I first wrote about it on my blog in October of 2020. There have been a couple of very slickly-produced videos recently released by the company, teasing a forthcoming performance by superstar deejay David Guetta on the platform:

In a second video, David is shown being scanned in high resolution in order to create his avatar:

A recent tweet makes it sound like David Guetta’s performance in Sensorium Galaxy is imminent:

David Guetta – The #1 DJ in the World – is the next of ’The Chosen Ones’ to set off for Sensorium Galaxy’s PRISM World – the epicenter of entertainment in the digital metaverse. Don’t miss his upcoming epic shows. Register now to get early access.

Unfortunately, when you do register, all you are presented with is a downloadable technical demo, which requires a high-end gaming PC with either an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive tethered VR headset (alas, no Valve Index support yet):

The Sensorium Galaxy tech demo has some fairly steep hardware requirements

This is NOT a platform for the Oculus Quest crowd! While the social VR platform has not yet launched, the company is already selling full-body avatars in its online store for you to wear while attending future shows:

The company is also demoing its AI bots, including releasing a couple of “interview” videos, where they respond to a reporter’s questions:

I must confess that these chat bots, while certainly able to string together English sentences in response to questions, leave me a bit cold. Why you would want to engage in chitchat with an AI-enabled NPC, other than for novelty’s sake, to test it out for a few minutes? I’m not 100% convinced that a social VR platform really needs a feature like this, especially one where the obvious focus is on music performances.

With its provision of a ready-to-accept-your-cryptocurrency store before the actual product launch, its high-resolution scanning of celebrities, and its audacious, selling-the-sizzle-instead-of-the-steak promotion, Sensorium Galaxy reminds me of nothing so much as the ill-fated MATERIA ONE (formerly called Staramba Spaces; you can follow that sad saga here). MATERIA ONE, while embracing celebrity endorsers such as Paris Hilton and Hulk Hogan, foundered for any number of reasons: misplaced priorities, overweening ambition, and a limited target audience given its requirement for high-end PCVR.

Frankly, I’m not quite sure what to make of Sensorium Galaxy so far. I do know that, with my current hardware setup, that I cannot participate in it. The company is definitely trying to generate some serious buzz for the product, and I wish them every success in what is becoming a rather competitive marketplace for virtual events.

But as far as I can tell, and based on what I have seen and read so far, there’s a bit of a gap between the now and the not yet. I will continue to monitor Sensorium Galaxy as its develops!

UPDATE August 11th, 2021: I came across this April 2nd, 2021 press release which says:

Sensorium Corporation today announced the closed beta launch of Sensorium Galaxy — a social metaverse uniting people through high-quality virtual experiences. Selected users have gained access to the platform to explore worlds PRISM and MOTION.

The main goal of this closed beta test is to collect valuable insights to enhance the experiences at Sensorium Galaxy ahead of its public launch in Q2 2021.

“Sensorium Galaxy is revolutionizing how the arts are created, distributed, and enjoyed. From music festivals to dance shows, we’re creating the world’s first social metaverse where everyone can get together, experience high-quality virtual content, and find new opportunities for self-expression,” says Vladimir Kedrinsky, CEO at Sensorium Corporation.

“The SG beta test helps us streamline the in-platform user mechanics, and get actionable insights before the metaverse goes public in the upcoming months. Participants of this invite-only beta test are able to experience some of the sophisticated user-level mechanics that Sensorium Galaxy has to offer,” explains Ivan Nikitin, Head of Product at Sensorium Corporation.

So it sounds as though a lot of work is going on behind the scenes.

Sensorium Galaxy: A Brief Introduction

Sensorium Galaxy is a yet-to-be-launched social VR platform with its own cryptocurrency (called the SENSO Token), which has recently signed deals with major DJs such as David Guetta and Carl Cox:

Earlier this year, Sensorium Galaxy announced their partnership with French DJ and global superstar, David Guetta, who will also produce a series of music events in the VR platform. 

Through the new collaborative partnership, Cox will call upon his experience working with festivals and events such as Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland, and Glastonbury to design his virtual shows. The globe-trotting DJ has previous experience performing for a virtual crowd, including AltSpaceVR’s Burning Man 2020 as well as Glastonbury’s virtual Shangri-La festival on Sansar.

Here’s a teaser video for the music venue, which is called Prism:

The virtual world of Prism is the epicenter of music within Sensorium Galaxy. In this virtual setup, you can attend multiple grand shows by the world’s top electronic music artists. The brutalism of the Prism environment is balanced by the musical harmony and the performance of a digitized DJ. The production and scenography are prepared in partnership with renowned performers, producers, and organizers of the world’s top concerts and electronic music festivals.

There’s also a spaceship simulation called Starship Sensorium:

The first group of virtual space travelers embarked on a year-long journey to Sensorium Galaxy. And today, you can also jump aboard the starship. During the flight, guests are entertained with live performances of DJs and unimaginable galactic views. For a comfortable trip, each passenger is offered personal cabins, various activities in the lounge area, and walks in the open space. Virtual bartenders also offer heavenly drinks, while our flying camera captures the brightest moments of the adventure.

In addition, there is something called Motion World, which describes itself as “an underwater world of perpetual motion and dance”, with creatures called Omojas:

Illustration for Motion World

There’s really nothing to see here yet, except for a Windows tech demo you can download here. It looks like you will need to shell out at least $8 in SENSO Tokens (which apparently are not rolling out until the first quarter of 2021) to get an avatar from their store (the credit card and PayPal payment options don’t work). So there’s already a store with cabins, avatars, and avatar clothing for sale, but as yet no way to buy anything.

VR Scout reports:

One investor who is really excited about the future of music in VR is Mikhail Prokhorov, former owner of the Brooklyn Nets and Jay-Z’s music streaming service Tidal, who has helped attract more than $100 million in investment money for Sensorium Galaxy.

And—this was bound to happen sooner or later—Somnium Galaxy is the first social VR platform that I have encountered where my desktop gaming computer does not meet the minimum specifications: a i5-7500 or Ryzen 5 1600 CPU, and a GeForce GTX 1080 or RX Vega 64 GPU (I have the GeForce GTX 1080, but my CPU is only an i5-6600).

They are aiming squarely for the high-end PCVR crowd here, users with an HTC Vive or an Oculus Rift S (and Facebook has already announced that they will be suspending sales of the Rift this coming spring). This is not a platform you will be able to visit on your wireless Quest headset! And, as the teams building the old High Fidelity platform and Sansar have each discovered to their detriment, aiming for high-end PCVR might just be a tactical error.

As always, I issue the following warning: Do every single shred of your homework before investing a penny in ANY blockchain or cryptocurrency-based project! Do not be swayed by the names of famous deejays attached to this project; as we have already seen before with Staramba Spaces/MATERIA.ONE, celebrity endorsements alone are not a guarantee of a viable platform.

If you’re interested in learning more about Sensorium Galaxy, you can visit their website, or follow them on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, and LinkedIn.