Making Money Off the Metaverse

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Recently I was approached by an entrepreneur who wanted me to work with him to expand and monetize my comprehensive list of social VR platforms and virtual worlds. I told him I would think about it and get back to him in a couple of weeks. I also was told by social VR researcher and consultant Jessica Outlaw that she used and appreciated my comparison chart of the 12 most popular social VR platforms (which I do need to update soon). This has made me realize that I am one of the few people out there who are actively compiling this sort of information about social virtual reality, and that people are finding it useful.

My comparison chart of social VR platforms (full-size version available here)

I think what I will do (rather than throw my lot in with the entrepreneur and try to make money off my labour) is try to work something up for publication in a research journal instead. Working for a university, I tend to have more of an academic than an entrepreneurial bent anyways. Then I could add it to my résumé for the next time I apply for a promotion at work (assuming I do so before I decide to retire).

Which beings me to today’s topic: people making money off the metaverse. I’m actually already making a little money in two ways:

  1. serving advertising from WordPress’ WordAds and Google’s AdSense on my blog (which brings in anywhere from $5 to $35 per month);
  2. my Patreon page (currently bringing in $13 a month from 7 supporters—thank you!).

This money earned goes toward my blog hosting costs with WordPress (I have their Business plan at $33 a month, billed annually). Every little bit helps!

Other people are generating income by creating content for the metaverse: mesh buildings, trees, and furniture, avatar clothing and attachments, animations, etc. In fact, some Second Life content creators actually are able to make a decent living wage from their work (but they are definitely in the minority; most creators earn only a secondary income from SL, and some do it just for the creative outlet).

I’ve heard that some people are making good money creating and selling custom avatars for VRChat, but I’m not certain that anyone is making a full-time living at it.

A few people like Bernhard Drax (a.k.a Draxtor Despres) have been able to parlay their video-making work into a lucrative side hustle, working for companies such as Linden Lab to help promote their products. Strawberry Singh, who is well-known for her pictures and videos of Second Life, even landed up getting hired by Linden Lab! And who’s to say that what happened to Drax and Berry can’t happen to you, too?

While I seriously doubt that anybody is making a living wage off the various social VR platforms so far (except for the people working for companies creating the platforms, like High Fidelity and Linden Lab), we can expect that at some point in the future, individual entrepreneurs will generate a good income from social VR. The big questions are where and when it will happen, not if. Many people are waiting on the sidelines, honing their skills and biding their time, to see which social VR platforms will take off in popularity. There’s no sense dumping a lot of time and money into a platform if nobody’s using it.

What do you think of all this? Do you think that we are still years away from people earning a living off the metaverse? Feel free to share your opinions in the comments section, or better yet, join the RyanSchultz.com Discord server, the first cross-worlds Discord where people discuss and debate the issues surrounding social VR and virtual worlds. We’d love to have you with us!

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I Had a Dream…

Photo by Randy Tarampi on Unsplash

You know that something has really become an integral part of your life when you starting dreaming about it! Well, I am on holidays from work this week and next, so I turned off my alarm clock and slept in late this morning, and I just woke up from the most vivid and detailed dream, where I was at a social VR conference!

Here’s my dream, in as much detail as I can remember, first thing in the morning while many of the details are still fresh in my mind:


I wound up at this conference, held at the University of Western Ontario, quite by accident. I am an alumni of UWO (which is true in real life), and I was there visiting my old campus residence, when I stumbled across this conference, which was being held on campus. Attending were venture capitalists, designers, and representatives of various companies who were building and selling social VR platforms.

A cameraman had captured a video of me trying out a VR experience, wearing a VR headset and holding a rifle-like gun, and I got to see the video. I was having an ecstatic first-time user experience, and he captured it for all to see! I was so happy that I asked for a copy of the video, and he sold it to me for $60. (I even remember hunting around in my wallet for the right amount of cash!)

I was talking with vendors and having them give me business cards so I would remember their details so I could blog about them later. In once case someone, whom I recognized as a fellow computer science student when I was at the University of Manitoba (which is a true detail from my real life) asked me for my phone number so she could call me, and I tried to tell her first my work number, and then my cell number—and each time, I discovered that I had forgotten the last few digits!

One of the events at the conference was Strawberry Singh‘s wedding—to a woman named Raspberry! In real life, Strawberry looked exactly like her avatar! (I had absolutely no difficulty recognizing her in real life.) At one of the events afterwards at this conference, I went up to Strawberry and Raspberry to congratulate them—only to discover that I had laryngitis and I couldn’t speak above a whisper!

One of the VR companies showed a promotional video about their new social VR platform, which included pictures taken in real life at various locations of people trying out their product. I immediately recognized some of the locations as pictures taken at the high school I had attended, Transcona Collegiate (which is true in real life), and in the video I also saw a photo mosaic of people trying out their product, which included a picture of me!

Just before I woke up, I was at the lunch for the conference attendees. I had to hunt around a little bit to find it in the building, and in one of the rooms I looked in before I found it, the walls had large displays of various bloggers’ blogposts about social VR—including posts from this blog! I remember standing there looking at this and thinking: Holy shit, I’ve made it it. People are talking about me at a conference.)

At the lunch, I asked the moderator for permission to come to the podium to speak to all the conference attendees. She said yes, and I went up to the podium to speak, and the microphone was having technical problems and I seemed to have some sort of laryngitis, which were interfering with my attempt to tell everyone how wonderful this whole experience was and to thank them for letting me be there, even though I hadn’t registered for the conference…

And then I woke up.

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

This has got to be one of the more vivid and detailed dreams I have ever had! Several times throughout this dream, I actually thought to myself, “This is a dream, this can’t be real“, only to wake up in my dream while still dreaming and realize that it wasn’t a dream—it was really happening to me! Crazy. I wonder what my dream means, if anything.

I love how the dream sprinkled in various details that corresponded to my real life, including my old high school. And I do find it interesting that at least three times in my dream, I had difficulty in communicating with other people at the conference. I’m not sure if my subconscious is trying to tell me something significant, or not!

P.S. I forgot to mention that in my dream, in one room at the conference, there were a bunch of well-known drag queens from my favourite reality TV show, Ru Paul’s Drag Race! I recognized Shangela there. The drag queens tried to warn me about someone who was at the conference, from whom I had obtained detailed information about their soon-to-be-released social VR platform, which was still being kept secret from the public. They warned me that he was not a good person and that I should be careful!

Strawberry Singh Accepts a Job with Linden Lab

Wow, this is such a surprise! But a good one.

Popular longtime Second Life blogger Strawberry Singh has accepted a job with Linden Lab, the creators of Second Life:

There have been some changes in my real life that I wanted to share with you and be completely transparent about. I have been hired by Linden Lab as their Marketing Content Specialist.

This is a new chapter in my life which came at a perfect time when I felt like I really needed a change. I am incredibly excited to be working for a company for whose product I have so much love and passion.

This is the position which I had blogged about earlier. Congratulations, Berry! Best wishes in your new position.

Strawberry Singh Is Running Her Annual Second Life Mesh Body Parts Survey

Strawberry SIngh blog 7 Dec 2018.png

I haven’t been paying attention and I completely missed that Strawberry Singh is running her annual Mesh Body Parts Survey! So I took her survey and I posted my answer to her question, “Which mesh body and head do you currently use and why?”, in the comments section:

This is going to be a rather complicated answer, because I have main male and female avatars and an army of alts 😉

My main female avatar has a Catwa Kimberly head, with a Maitreya Lara body. But I also have a female avatar with a (freebie) Akeruka head and a Maitreya Lara body, and another avatar with a LAQ head and a Maitreya Lara body. As you can see, I tend to prefer Maitreya! I also have a female avatar with a (freebie) Akeruka head and a Belleza Freya body, which I use as a dancer to earn tip money 😉 I like the fact that the Belleza Freya body is more voluptuous, curvier, than the Maitreya Lara body.

My main male avatar has a Catwa Daniel head and a Belleza Jake body. But I also have a male avatar with a Catwa Stanley head and a Signature Gianni body. I have been very happy with both.

My alts all have freebie/dollarbie heads and bodies as outlined in my blogposts about where to find free or inexpensive mesh heads and bodies for male and female Second Life avatars:

FOR MALE AVATARS: https://ryanschultz.com/2018/10/04/second-life-steals-deals-and-freebies-free-and-inexpensive-mesh-heads-and-bodies-for-male-second-life-avatars/

FOR FEMALE AVATARS: https://ryanschultz.com/2018/09/24/second-life-steals-deals-and-freebies-free-mesh-heads-and-bodies-for-female-second-life-avatars/

Anyway, no big surprise, Maitreya Lara is by far the favourite mesh female avatar body at 42.3% of poll respondents so far, followed by Belleza Freya at 10.62%. I swear, the creator of the Maitreya Lara body, Onyx LeShelle, must be carting home money by the wheelbarrow! For male avatar bodies, it’s pretty much a tie between Belleza Jake (27.46%) and Signature Gianni (31.7%). 

As for Bento mesh heads, Catwa heads are by far the most popular for both female avatars (35.46% of poll respondents) and male avatars (a whopping 47.96% of poll respondents, almost half the market!). Other popular female mesh heads are LeLutka (20.76%), LAQ (10.98%), and the brand-new Genus Project heads (10.09%). LeLutka is also a popular male mesh head (13.87% of poll respondents).

So head on over to Strawberry’s blog and take her survey, and leave a comment! Tell her Ryan sent you 😉

Strawberry SIngh 7 Dec 2018
Strawberry Singh’s User Icon