VR - A Look Mid Year

There is plenty to say about the trends in virtual reality this year, but as a friend of mine stated the other day, "we won't really know who the winners are for a couple of years." I think he is correct with that summation.

With two new contenders in the wings, one with plans fairly well stated, the other a little more vague -- there will be possibilities. Hopefully everyone can find their perfect home.

Hi Fidelity seems to be geared for the stated theme of the "3D web" with freedom being a big part of the equation.  Sansar (SL 2.0) appears to have the content creator's safety as a high concern and will likely appeal to some of the big time designers.  We can't really say how the platforms will unfold at this point; even those etched in concrete plans can take detours along the roadway to a completed project.

We CAN say that OpenSim is growing by leaps and bounds, both land and residents. The almost free nature of that platform has much to do with the popularity. Creation is mostly for fun and while there are a few lovely builds, much of the content is made for enjoyment rather than monetary gain. The big gun designers will not be journeying over any time soon IMHO, the citizens in general aren't the same addicted buyers that Second Life hosts -- they mostly  build themselves or make do.

Second Life, still in steady but VERY slow decline seems to be having a very lazy summer. I honestly can't remember such a yawn-y one :D.  That may just be my world, but I hear it from others and it isn't JUST Second Life -- it seems to be all or most VR worlds.

My business is quite good "for summer" -- especially since I gave up my demo area last month. But I sell "niche" in The Lab's domain. More mainstream designers seem to be feeling those summer woes. To either compensate or cope, some have upped their releases and event appearances -- others have taken August off.

Still, conversation on the SL forums is way down and events less often (or at least publicized less often). Some role play areas are doing exceptionally well with sims close to busting at times, but they seem to be the exception. It is all subjective of course. Some folks may be in their busiest August ever, building new sims or stores or creating art. My little corner of the world might simply be out of sync with others.

Back in the OpenSim camp, the big revelation this year was the embracing of hypergrid enabled (open) grids over closed commercial grids. Those based more on the SL model have been in marked decline -- generally speaking. Inworldz took a big hit this late Spring when the private marketplace, Inbiz, went down.  Research hasn't found any info about the missing owner; I only have forums and resident input to go on. I lost money, but not much. Others who did not regularly take their Izzies out could have lost a substantial amount.

A new market is planned and underway and you can read about it on this thread. http://inworldz.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=21026&start=60  I won't be taking part. From all I know Wolf Hartnell is a very upstanding and honest man and my dealings with him were always pleasant and businesslike, but the process is too much energy expenditure for too little rewards.  This whole issue points out how tenuous resident owned business can be -- on any grid. To me, it does seem safer when the marketplace is owned by the grid company as in Second Life or Kitely.  

It will be interesting to see how the established worlds hold their own against the newcomers. I am thinking they might do quite well. There is something comforting about that well-worn and comfy velour shirt -- that one you just CAN'T seem to give up *wink*.