A functioning economy, cross-platform support and a growing user-base could make this the go-to social VR app.
The VR social scene is an absolute madhouse right now. Multiple experiences are currently fighting for the position of top dog in the hopes of cementing itself as THE virtual world where users could meet and interact as entirely new people.
Whether it’s the controlled, sterile environment of the once-dead Altspace, or VRChat, the very embodiment of chaos, the current social options provided are all unique in their own rights. But therein lies the problem: we’ve yet to see an experience that embodies an equal combination of all the features we want in an one immersive VR social app.
And while it’s surely to soon to tell exactly in what direction it’s heading, Sinespace for VR appears to boast the collection of customization, features and support many VR fans have been asking for in a social experience.
Released earlier this year as a PC exclusive, Sinespace allows users to create an avatar and explore a variety of both developer and user-created locations and objects. Sinespace was built using the Unity game engine allowing for an easily customizable as well as upgradable experience. And while there’s a vetting system in which your creations will have to be approved before being permitted for use or sale in the public space, you’re totally free to upload models and mess around in a private room.
Speaking of virtual commerce, approved items/locations can be sold on the market to other players. Despite being open for less than a year and supported by an active weekly user base measuring just 1,500 roughly, the experience already has a functioning economy that generates roughly $45 a month per user on average. The experience is free to join with a bonus 32-square-kilometer region of digital real estate included upon signup, although there are additional packages ranging from $4, $8 and even $54.
However, this vetting system doesn’t mean you’ll be restricted in your customization by any means. Sinespace is compatible with a majority of 3D models and game design tools. Sinespace also includes several unique building tools as well. On interesting feature is the ability to build a house, move around the walls inside and have the program automatically resize your home to fit the new dimensions of your interior.
If this sounds a lot like the 2003 smash hit social simulator Second Life, that’s no coincidence. Sinespace founder Adam Frisby is also responsible for Sinewave Entertainment, a company that operated two of Second Life’s most popular brands, each producing annual profits within the seven-figure range.
However its Sinespace’s cross-platform functionality that Frisby hopes will really set his social VR experience apart from the others. Sinespace is currently available on PC via download or a web client, all OpenVR compatible headsets including the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Microsoft Mixed Reality, with plans for iOS and Android releases in the near future.
Hopefully this extensive accessibility and growing economy are enough to propel Sinespace to the front of the ever-growing virtual social scene. Along with the examples listed above, 2018 is shaping up to be the year of the metaverse with a slew of other high-profile social experiences making their way into the spotlight, such as fellow Second Life publisher Linden Labs’ Sansar. There’s also High Fidelity, an early access VR metaverse founded by the Second Life creator himself which sports its own impressive blockchain-based commerce system that stores cryptocurrency transactions and identity information in a public ledger. There’s also live collaborative editing functionality as well as an extensive plugin architecture.
With plenty of options available to the public and many more on the way, it’ll be interesting to see where users find their virtual home in the coming months. Could Sinespace’s Unity-built foundation give it the customization and accessibility it needs to wow users? Or will the intuitive blockchain economy of High Fidelity eventually steal the show? Maybe it’ll be an updated version of one of the classics such as the mini game paradise Rec Room or the music-based sanctuary of TheWaveVR. Where ever we all end up spending our valuable time, the first virtual drink is on me. Cheers.