I woke up bright and early this morning, showered and shaved, brewed a large pot of black coffee, and immediately set to work on my task for the day: trying to impose some semblance of order on my sprawling list of over 150 different virtual worlds, social VR platforms, and other metaverse products which I have written about on the RyanSchultz.com blog over the past three years. I’ve been putting this task off for too long; it’s time. I mean, I originally said I was going to do this a year ago!
I thought I would start by creating six rough, top-level categories as follows:
- Virtual Worlds Which Do NOT Support Users in Virtual Reality Headsets (e.g. Active Worlds, Kitely, Second Life)
- Virtual Worlds/Social VR Which Support Both Virtual Reality Users and Non-VR/Desktop Users (e.g. Sansar, Sinespace, Tivoli Cloud VR)
- Social Virtual Reality Platforms Which Do NOT Support Desktop/Non-VR Users (e.g. Anyland, Facebook Horizon)
- Blockchain and Cryptocurrency-Based Social VR Platforms and Virtual Worlds (e.g. Cryptovoxels, Decentraland, Somnium Space)
- Social Augmented Reality (AR) Platforms Which Support Users in AR Headsets (e.g. Avatar Chat, Spatial, Spatiate). As we are only in the first generation of augmented reality headsets available for purchase by consumers, e.g. the much-hyped but now struggling Magic Leap One and the Microsoft’s HoloLens, there’s obviously not a lot here yet, but give it time (and there are consistent rumours of a future AR headset to be released by Apple, sometime in 2022 or 2023). Please note that I do not consider cellphone-based “AR” (e.g. Pokémon Go) to be true augmented reality.
- Stuff Which Doesn’t Fit Elsewhere: Miscellaneous Worlds, Platforms, and Products Covered on this Blog (e.g. the new, 2D-with-3D-audio iteration of High Fidelity)
Then, to start, I would simply copy and paste six copies of my original list under each of these six headings, and then go about my work by deleting those items which do not fit under that category, starting with the A’s and working my way through to the end of the list (currently 3DXChat). Speaking of 3DXChat, I have to decide what to do about the very few worlds I have written about that are pretty much exclusively focused on sexual content (although they, too, can sometimes serve a non-sexual, social purpose). I’m not interested in trying to categorize purely adult/sexual worlds, however; I will leave the herding of those particular kitties to others 😉
Some products on my original list, like Avakin Life and IMVU, have literally dozens of similar products, all pitched at the teen/tween market (another category I do not wish to cover on this blog).
I had breezily assumed that this reorganizing task would take me a couple of days at most. After all, I already had the starting list, right? However, it’s been quite some time (in some cases, years) since I last looked at some products and platforms. In quite a few instances, projects have since shut down or have been put on hold (a lot of blockchain/crypto startups fall into this category). So, this probably will take me several weeks of work, instead of several days.
I also have to find some way to integrate my previous attempts at herding cats:
- Herding Cats: Taking a First Step Towards Developing a Taxonomy of Metaverse Platforms by Looking at Virtual Worlds That Do NOT Support Virtual Reality
- Herding Cats, Part II: Taking a Second Step Towards Developing a Taxonomy of Metaverse Platforms by Looking at the Various Purposes of Social VR Platforms
- Herding Cats, Part III: Taking a Third Step Towards Developing a Taxonomy of Metaverse Products by Categorizing Social VR Platforms by Architecture, Game Engine, and Scripting Language
Also, I want to include pointers to other people and organizations on the internet that are trying to do the same sort of work, such as XR Collaboration: A Global Resource Guide (which I first wrote about here), and Niclas Johansson’s report The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Meetings with VR/AR (which I wrote about here and here). Compared to when I started this blog three years ago, there’s now quite a bit of work going on in this area, particularly in corporate applications of social VR! Even YouTube vloggers like Nathie have jumped on board. It’s wonderful to see.
So, I will be beavering away on this, making use of my two-week vacation to get a good head start on the project. I’ll keep you posted!