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Horizon Worlds and Decentraland both face different challenges as metaverse platforms

Your weekly briefing on the metaverse // 10 October 2022
I will be in Japan from next week – if anyone happens to be in the country, my ears are open for recommendations!

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Trouble across two metaverse platforms

Decentraland may only have 38 daily active players, according to DappRadar.

  • I’ve seen a few varying reports on the number of ‘actual’ users on the platform, but the long and short of it is that it’s lower than the value of the British pound after the Mini Budget.
  • Despite a high valuation and a high range of partnerships under its belt, the metaverse platform is not seeing as much activity at the moment. The company comments that they report 8,000 average daily visitors, though have seen a drop in ‘tourists’ who pop in to visit Decentraland.
  • Platforms need more to them than just blockchain-based assets. Similar to games of the past, there needs to be better gameplay and social reasons for people to consistently visit the platform. It’s not enough to have one platform where you can own land or a location – there needs to be a better reason to visit. Otherwise, it will turn into a perfectly preserved graveyard of brand activations or marketing campaigns.
  • Speaking of campaigns, UAE’s Commercial Bank International opened a location in Decentraland. I wonder how many people will visit?

Meta outlined its vision for two lines of VR devices.

  • Speaking to Protocol, Mark Zuckerberg said: “We think that there’s a kind of consumer-grade device, in that $300-to-$500 range, for gaming, social use cases, things like that. But then there’s going to be a work-grade device, which is going to eventually [be] a laptop or workstation replacement.”
  • He also outlined a (bold) prediction he made before: “By the end of this decade, your VR mixed-reality device will be your main piece [of hardware]. And you’ll be able to see your desk, snap your fingers, bring up your screens.”
  • I am doubtful, but we will likely see more information on this during Meta Connect tomorrow.

Meta is also delaying the rollout of Horizon Worlds, another metaverse platform, as it addresses quality issues and the team itself isn’t using it much, according to The Verge.

  • Because of this, the company will focus on improving its quality before rolling the app out to new regions. This quote is particularly insightful, from a separate memo on 15 Sept: “Why don’t we love the product we’ve built so much that we use it all the time? The simple truth is, if we don’t love it, how can we expect our users to love it?”
  • In response to The Verge’s piece, the company said that they are “always making quality improvements and acting on the feedback from our community of creators. This is a multiyear journey, and we’re going to keep making what we build better.”
  • I respect the fact that the company is holding back a further rollout, until some wrinkles are ironed out. Consistent iteration is important, and it’s good to see Horizon Worlds see the same treatment from Meta. What I am most interested in is the web-based element of the app, and when that will be deployed; if that works well, I can see Horizon Worlds getting a lot of pick-up.

What do you think of Meta’s plans? Join the discussion and meet like-minded professionals on the Immersive Wire Discord. 

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Other stories

Got stories? Do let me know at tom (at) immersivewire (dot) com. 

  • Metacrun.ch is a new publication that focuses on web3.
    • Kelly Vero is the new editor, and I have a lot of respect for their approach. The publication aims for high-quality pieces on the area, with a few more long-form bits that will appear over time. Recommend taking a look when you have the time!
  • Mona launched a large custom avatar challenge, with $10,000 in prizes.
  • NeXR Technologies and EyeFitU launch an avatar-based size-as-a-service solution.
  • Pico announced the results of its pilot with Axel Springer.
    • 93% of participants were in favor of introducing VR meetings, so it will be rolled out further.
  • Ready Player Me partners with HiberWorld for avatar integration.
  • Rembrandt’s The Night Watch will be available in 8,000 NFT pieces with differing rarities, and each will give access to the MetaRembrandt Museum.
    • I asked the team why it needed to be an NFT and how the rarity system works: “Each piece is unique in its own way. For instance, some NFTs have the characteristic of the “lost pieces”. So all NFTs have their own characteristics and are unique from other NFTs.
    • Do you want more NFT stories? Let me know, and I can see if I can weave them in.
  • Sony aims to make two million PlayStation VR2 units by March 2023.
  • Virtual Virtual Reality 2 is coming to Steam on 25 October.
  • VRDirect updated its platform, bringing support for 3D models, more design options, and faster user onboarding.
  • Warner Media Group (WMG) is hiring people to build out its web3 expertise.

Looking for assistance

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Never stop learning

Pushkar Patange, UX UI Design Lead at Archiact VR.

What is your background?

I have worked for about 20+ years as a designer. I started as a  Graphic designer and Visualizer In Leading multinational Advertising agencies working up to the role of an Associate Creative director on Multimedia campaigns in Asia, Middle East & North Africa(MENA) continuing to North america. My clients included General Motors, Lipton, HSBC & Pepsi to name a few.

I did my masters in Digital Media in Canada & have been working on VR AR products and games for about 6 years. I recently worked on the legendary game DOOM 3 VR for PSVR which has garnered quite a high rating and fan following. I currently work on a AAA VR Game and an exciting Metraverse social VR project. I have worked on VRAR projects ranging from Games, educational projects, eCommerce concepts, Training simulations to future visualisations.

What are you working on, and what’s a key learning that you’ve had from it? 

I am currently working on two exciting projects. First one is an announced AAA VR project set to release in 2023. The other project is content for a social VR Metaverse platform. Sorry I cannot divulge more details as I have NDAs for both projects. I teach 2 courses at the Vancouver Film School VR/AR program, one in each term.

Throughout my years working across industries, one concept that has taught me a lot is “jugaad”—a Hindi word and an Indian mindset. It’s a term that describes what happens when ingenuity and determination overcome limited resources. “It’s making do with what’s available.”

Jugaad is an Indian philosophy that you can see from the everyman to the top scientists. In fact, India’s reputation for economical engineering has inspired companies from both the East and the West to embrace jugaad as a form of frugal innovation. But me, jugaad is more than a make-do mindset: It’s a willingness to pursue increasingly complex design problems, even to the ends of the earth. What I have learnt (or reinforces) is that it’s an extremely beneficial mindset for software design & games (just another type of entertainment software) as we are always working within restrictions. Technology continuously gets better & we can always do more, but with each innovation our ambitions grow. It’s a cat and mouse game where tech possibilities grow, our ambitions grow. The perpetual loop continues.

The Meta Quest 2 we work on is an innovative device that has captured a dominant share  of the VR market. Having said that, it’s quite limited in its processing capabilities. It’s a far cry from the latest generation of powerful game console hardware for PS5 & Xbox. Roughly put, it’s hardware equivalent to an Android phone from a few years ago. We have to work with those restrictions and still push the bar on graphics and interactions to keep in line with player expectations. Metaverse and social VR applications in VR have even more restrictions, as we have to work with players’ internet bandwidth & still maintain 60 frames per second, so as to avoid motion sickness for players. Jugaad or frugal innovation mindset comes in handy to work within these challenges and still innovate. Keep it fun and enjoyable for players all over the world.

If you had to give one piece of advice, what would you give? 

Never stop learning. In our current landscape, especially tech, tools are constantly evolving. It is important to not get too attached to the tools & Inculcate the mindset of a continuous learner. Every project I have worked for the past few years uses different tools, best suited for the project. Some fundamental human insights and truths stay the same but tools constantly evolve, some things get easier & some become harder, but learning new things remains fundamental. 

In advertising days, I would move from projects with different clients. When I worked on GMC trucks for 4 years I became an expert on off road vehicles & luxury sedans. When I worked on Lipton tea for 6 years I learned everything I could learn about the world of tea. Now I’m learning about more Games, interactive entertainment, immersive media and User Experience. I love learning new things. For me It’s been an extremely rewarding journey for me full of learning new things, that’s what keeps me going.

If you want to know more about Pushkar Patange, then take a look here.

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Meditative with the VIVE Flow. Photo credit: Tom Ffiske

Tom Ffiske

Editor, Immersive Wire

Tom Ffiske is the Editor of the Immersive Wire, a weekly newsletter on the immersive industry.