Reflecting on AltspaceVR’s Technical Achievements & Social VR Lessons Learned

amber-royAltspaceVR held its final official Good Bye gathering on Thursday, August 3rd after announcing last week that they had run out of money and their investors decided to not invest any more. News of the social VR platform’s closing rippled throughout the VR community over the past week, and some are wondering if it’s any type of bellwether about the overall health of the VR ecosystem. There have been a number of discussion threads on Oculus subreddit, Vive subreddit, and Twitter that had employees chiming in on imminent plans and the challenges of dealing with trolls and harassment in VR.


I dug through my archives of unpublished Voices of VR interviews to pull out a discussion that I had with AltspaceVR’s Amber Roy in March 2016 talking about the platform’s JavaScript SDK that she was working on at the time. She ended up leaving the company in July 2016 to go to work at Oculus on the React VR framework, but this discussion we had before GDC 2016 highlights the technical innovations AltspaceVR made with integrating web technologies within their social spaces. The platform may have been too early with their three.js integrations as WebVR will be finally officially launching on Firefox this August with the release on Chrome hopefully coming later this year.

At the end of this podcast wrap-up, I share some of my reflections and lessons learned from AltspaceVR including if optimizing for both mobile & high-end PC was too limiting, the potential importance of more robust options for identity expressions and world building, the importance of virtual economies being built into large social VR applications, and the challenges around harassment in VR. I also compare and contrast AltspaceVR with other social VR applications including Rec Room, VRChat, High Fidelity, Anyland, BigScreen, JanusVR, Facebook Spaces, Project Sansar, vTime, WebVR, and Decentraland. Amber also talks about her AmberVR YouTube channel where she plays GearVR games, and the importance of promoting mobile VR applications.

‘Decentraland’ – Using Ethereum Blockchain ICO to Sell Virtual Real Estate

AltspaceVR was a pioneer and innovator in the social VR space creating the first bridge between mobile VR and high-end VR, and they published a video of community members sharing their favorite memories within AltspaceVR:

Here’s my previous six Voices of VR interviews with AltspaceVR since May 2014:

Here’s a sample of some of the experiences people had inside of AltspaceVR:

Support Voices of VR

Music: Fatality & Summer Trip

The post Reflecting on AltspaceVR’s Technical Achievements & Social VR Lessons Learned appeared first on Road to VR.

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