Upload VR's Alice Bonasio has a good write-up of the increasingly crowded market for new or upcoming social spaces optimized/solely intended for virtual reality devices that local favorites High Fidelity (from SL co-founder Philip Rosedale) and Sansar (from Linden Lab) are competing against. They include:
- "Altspace VR is betting that the future of VR experiences will center around communications, and its CEO and Founder Eric Romo believes that Google’s Daydream will be the catalyst for that to happen on a large scale.
- VR Chat "already has hundreds of fully fleshed user-created worlds. The next step is to make that creation process much more social and accessible, giving users clear and easy ways to share that content."
- HelloVR, which is creating a 10,000 square-mile MetaWorld described as the first-ever massive, physics-based virtual social space of its kind. It exists in a shared space, populated by all its members, with each member having their own private “volume” where they can decorate and create whatever and however they want."
Interestingly, none of the competitors are as technically or conceptually ambitious as High Fidelity, or approach High Fidelity's level of avatar realism and expressiveness (see above). And based on previews, that also seems to be true of Sansar, which also seems to have the best overall graphics. None of the competitors (far as I know) have plans to create a virtual currency-to-real currency market like High Fidelity and Sansar.
The real question though, is whether graphics, expressiveness, ambition, and commerce are what will carry the day:
I mean, when Second Life first gained traction, I never would have guessed it would be far outpaced by Minecraft, but here we are. Based on that lesson, I'd say the social VR platform that's easiest to use and has the most engaging game-like mechanics will dominate. Then again, given the small userbase of actual VR headset owners, they're all just as likely to cannibalize each other into obscurity. Your guess?