Earlier this year, I was invited to take part in the beta test of the virtual world called MATERIA.ONE, by a company named Staramba, which is better known for its 3D scanning systems and motion capturing. I signed a strict NDA (non-disclosure agreement) as part of that beta test, so I cannot share anything that I saw when I paid a visit to the platform. You can read more about the demo here on the Staramba website.
It would now appear that Staramba is among the companies who have been impacted by the slower-than-anticipated consumer uptake of virtual reality. Today I got an email from the company, which stated:
We announced some time ago that we are going to launch our next auction for spaces in our VR world called MATERIA.ONE in summer 2019.
As we announced in our corporate news earlier this year we need to adapt our strategy. As current market research shows, VR is growing strongly, but it is yet to become a mass market. So in line with our mission to create the best VR world for our community and to enforce our USPs against competitors, we decided to postpone development of certain product features into the near future. As a result we will also not organize another auction of virtual spaces this year or in the near future.
This does not mean we will not do any auctions in the future at all, but rather at a point in time when it makes sense for you as current and potential investor in such property. We will keep you posted.
Now, I have absolutely no idea what “USPs” stands for. From the context, it would appear to be something associated with intellectual property, perhaps? I don’t know.
Look, I am just going to come out and say it: I don’t believe that Staramba is ever going to be able to get MATERIA.ONE off the ground. Being good at 3D scanning and motion capture is one thing; building a virtual world from scratch is another. The whole idea of buying virtual parcels of land associated with celebrities was a crazy one to begin with. Why would anybody spend their hard-earned money to buy MATERIA.ONE’s cryptocurrency and then spend it on so-called “bidding rights” to virtual plots of land associated with Paris Hilton, Hulk Hogan, or some soccer star, with absolutely zero guarantee of any interaction with the actual celebrity?
I notice with amusement that over 254 spaces are still up for grabs in the Paris Hilton sector. (The last time I checked, it was 412, so obviously somebody has thought that investing in this was worthwhile. I am of the opinion that greedy crypto investors will put money into anything if they think they can make a buck off it. Hellooo, CryptoKitties?)
Given the lacklustre response, I can understand why Staramba has called a halt to the proceedings. This whole project needs a complete rethink.