MATERIA.ONE Update: Land Auctions Have Been Postponed

Staramba land auctions have been suspended

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.

If you don’t remember, MATERIA.ONE (formerly known as Staramba Spaces) is banking heavily on celebrity endorsements, including Paris Hilton and Hulk Hogan.

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.

If you’re interested in following the progress of MATERIA.ONE, you can visit their website, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Advertisements

MATERIA.ONE Update

In my email today, I received an invitation to be one of the early beta testers of MATERIA.ONE, in exchange for filling out and signing a non-disclosure agreement, which I did.

If accepted, I will receive a Steam key to access the technical closed beta demo before the end of the month. I’m actually very surprised I was even asked, since I am not an investor in Staramba or an owner of any Staramba tokens, their in-world cryptocurrency. And, as any regular reader of my blog knows, I have been casting a rather skeptical eye at this project so far.

The NDA means that I will not be able to share anything I see or experience within MATERIA.ONE on this blog, sadly. (This is similar to the NDA that we had to agree to before Sansar officially opened its doors to the public on July 31st, 2017.)

So, wish me luck! If I am accepted, then I will be one of the first people to actually get to see what all the fuss is about. If not, well, no big deal.

In the meantime, I will maintain radio silence about the project.

Editorial: My Social VR/Virtual World Predictions for 2019

Have you joined the RyanSchultz.com Discord yet? Come join 170 avid users of various metaverse platforms, and discuss social VR and virtual world predictions for 2019! More details here


wyron-a-561710-unsplash

Time to peer into that crystal ball and make some predictions!

First: Second Life is going to continue to coast along, baffling the mainstream news media and the general public with its vitality and longevity. It will continue to be a reliable cash cow for Linden Lab as they put a portion of that profit into building Sansar. And I also predict that the ability to change your first and last names in SL will prove very popular—and also very lucrative for Linden Lab! Remember, they’ve got seven years of pent-up demand for this feature. (I have a couple of avatars myself that I’d like to rename.)

Second: An unexpected but potentially ground-breaking development in OpenSim was the announcement of the release of a virtual reality OpenSim viewer to the open source community at the 2018 OpenSim Community Conference. There’s still lots of technical work left to do, but if they can successfully pull this off, it could mean a new era for OpenSim.

Third: I confidently predict that one or more blockchain-based virtual worlds are going to fold. Not Decentraland; there’s too much money tied up in that one to fail. But several cryptocurrency-based virtual worlds are starting to look like trainwrecks of epic proportions (and I’m looking at you, Staramaba Spaces/Materia.One). Somebody still needs to explain to me why people will want to pay to hang out with 3D-scanned replicas of Paris Hilton and Hulk Hogan. The business model makes absolutely no sense to me. Another one that I think is going to struggle in 2019 is Mark Space.

Fourth: I also predict that one or more adult/sex-oriented virtual worlds are going to fail (yes, I’m looking at you, Oasis). I’ve already gone into the reasons why even the best of them are going to find it hard to compete against the entrenched front-runner, Second Life.

Fifth: High Fidelity and Sansar will continue their friendly rivalry as both social VR platforms hold splashy events in the new year. (I’m really sorry I missed the recent preview of Queen Nefertari’s tomb in HiFi, but it looks as though there will be many other such opportunities in 2019.) And High Fidelity will continue to boast of new records in avatar capacity at well-attended events (it certainly helps that they’ve got those venture-capital dollars to spend, to offer monetary enticements for users to pile on for stress testing).

Sixth: the Oculus Quest VR headset will ignite the long-awaited boom in virtual reality that the analysts have been predicting for years. There; I’ve said it! And those social VR platforms which support Oculus Quest users will benefit.

Seventh: Linden Lab’s launch of Sansar on Steam will likely have only a modest impact on overall usage of the platform. I’m truly sorry to have to write this prediction, because I love Sansar, but we’ve got statistics we can check, and they are not looking terribly encouraging at the moment. And where is the “significant ad spend” that was promised at one of the in-world product meetups back in November? Now that they’ve pulled the trigger and launched on Steam, it’s time to promote the hell out of Sansar, using every means at Linden Lab’s disposal. Paying bounties to Twitch livestreamers is not enough.

And Facebook? If they thought 2018 was a bad year, I predict that we’re going to see even more scandals uncovered in 2019 by news organizations such as the New York Times. And more people (like me) will decide that they’ve had enough of being sold to other corporations and data-mined to within an inch of their lives, and jump ship. The public relations people at Facebook are going to face a lot of sleepless nights…

And, still on the same topic, we might yet see the launch of a new social VR platform backed by Facebook, after they decide to ditch the lamentable Facebook Spaces once and for all. Maybe it will be based on Oculus Rooms; maybe it will be something completely different. But despite my negative feelings about the social networking side of Facebook, they still have the hardware (Oculus), the money, and the reach to be a game-changer in social VR. (Just not with Facebook Spaces. At this point, they should just kill the project and start over. Any improvements will be like putting lipstick on a pig.)

Finally, I predict that the RyanSchultz.com blog will head off into new and rather unexpected directions (that is, if the past 12 months’ activity is any indication!). I never expected to cover blockchain-based virtual worlds, or Second Life freebies; they just kind of happened.  Expect more of the same in 2019, as various new topics catch my interest.

Staramba Spaces Is Now MATERIA.ONE—But There’s One Small Problem

The ongoing story of Staramba Spaces has taken another strange twist (and if you haven’t been following the saga, here is a link to all my previous blogposts about this social VR space).

Yesterday, Staramba (the company behind the as-yet-unreleased social VR platform) proudly announced that they were changing the name of the service to MATERIA.ONE:

MateriaOne

There’s just one small problem. The website domain name MATERIA.ONE is already in use by a Romanian leather fashion site!

In other words, Staramaba evidently did not do a rather basic business check on whether or not the domain name of their newly-renamed metaverse was available! Seriously, WTF?!??

ObamaWTF.gif