MetaWorld is probably one of the most important VR projects that can really have a big impact on how people socialize in VR. It certianly looks like the developer HelloVR is aiming to make this upcoming social platform the Facebook of VR. I can't talk about MetaWorld without mentioning the other VR social platform AltSpace. After reading about AltSpace shutting down, I was a bit skeptic about the future of grand-sale social spaces. I thought to myself, if somebody is going to do it right, it's going to be Facebook and no one will be able to compete with it, because it already has 1.5 billion users, lots of funds to invest in developing the next-gen social VR platform, it owns many of the leading minds in the VR industry, it owns Oculus, it has a monetization platform, etc. That being said, there are some great social VR titles that might not conquer the world, but they can definitely conquer our heart. One of this title is MetaWorld, a social VR MMO Sandbox simulation that really pushes the limits of what currently available and brings fascinating new social experiences that I'm sure many of you might be fascinated by.
So what MetaWorld really is? well, it's a massively multiplayer online social platform aimed for release for all the major VR platforms/headset, including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, OSVR, PlayStation VR, Google Daydream, Samsung Gear VR and Microsoft Mixed Reality with cross-platform support as well. The game will also work without a VR headset (in the screenshots it says 'VR Not required'). The game consists of a huge 10,000 square mile sandbox persistent virtual world, driven by real-time physics simulation which within it, thousands of players can socialize, explore, engage in different activities, build, share, buy, sell, trade and have their own imprint on this persistant world. The game features day and night cycles, lifelike tree and wind simulation, cognitive wildlife, shared real-time physics, behavioral animation system and much more. By the way, I have an article on Engadget that mentioned that eventually the place will measure 80,000 square miles!
Everything in this game was designed to keep players busy, engaged and entertained. For me, it was weird seeing that this project failed to reach its $50,000 goal mark on Indiegogo and only raised $3774 USD (as of the time of writing). The project was covered in all the most respectable online tech magazines like NewScientist, TechCrunch, CNBC, Engadget, and many others.
I was also very impressed, at least as a developer, to see that the developer of MetaWorld also developed a framework and SDKs which allow developers to build, share and monetize their own creations. The game is powered by SpatialOS, a computation platform that allowed to persist such a huge world with so many concurrent users. The list of technologies listed on the indiegogo.com page is nothing less than eye-opening, although I don't know how many of them have been implemented in the final release. This includes but not limited to High-Quality VOIP, Machine Learning Platform, Weather System, Cognitive Wildlife SIM, Processural Terrain, Underwater simulation, Emotion System, Cross Platform Distributed Physics and more.
The developer HelloVR aims very high with this upcoming title. No doubt that there is a need to use many pioneering and innovative technologies to make this idea works as intended and one that can stand against those future VR social applications that will surely come from the leading companies in the business, especially Facebook.
Players can get an early access by purchasing one of the 6 available 'Pioneer' packages through Squarespace and this is the way you can support the projects directly. For example, if you buy the most expensive 'Elite Vendor package you get an Early access, Survival kit, World creator, World builder, Custom brand, Custom avatar, Vendor tools, Event tools, Venue space and 2 Acres Land.
The game features lots of simulated social activities that can be played alone or with other online players, including fishing, hunting, diving, playing sport and tabletop games and many more. Players can interact with the virtual living beings of the world, explore and enjoy the virtual landscape and its atmospheric scenic scenes, get their own persistent living space, make things and bring them to life in the world, as well as build share, sell and trade in the powerful built-in marketplace system for simulation products and services.
Maybe for many investors, it just sounds too good to be true, maybe too ambitious, at least for a technology that still hasn't fully established itself among casual users. Maybe the risks are too high. whatever the reason, MetaWorld is an active project and at least according to Steam, it's coming out in early access on August 2017. According to the information on Steam, iIt will be free-to-play when it is released. This way this amazing social platform can attract many users, which is important considering the relatively limited audience. There are many users with a computer or a smartphone, but only a small subset have a VR headset. That being said, this social platform will also be accissible for users without a VR headset, but obviously the best way to experience it is in virtual reality.
All in all, MetaWorld looks like a very promising social platform and probably the be the first to be able to lift off and survive all the hurdles that are part of making such a huge project come to life. I think this is the type of experience the people first thought of to make for VR, at least after seeing Facebook's success. I do hope that this project will indeed find itself well recieved by the VR community. For more information visit metaworldvr.com.
Image credit: HelloVR