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True virtual reality: The race to build a 'metaverse'

True virtual reality: The race to build a 'metaverse'

August 3, 2015 | By Christian Nutt

"For any one company to say, ‘We are building the metaverse’ is pretty hyperbolic. Building all the pieces is going to be hard, and the way you imagine things in sci-fi doesn’t always translate over to the way things will be in the real world."

- Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey

The race to build a great virtual meeting space is heating up, as multiple companies aim to build an expansive and open space for users to inhabit ahead of the commercial release of consumer VR devices such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

But, as Oculus founder Palmer Luckey observes, it'll be quite a challenge to get there.

Interested in who's taking that on? Re/code has a great new primer that includes quotes from the principles and a list of the entrants in the race.

That includes companies like Linden Lab, whose Second Life is a precursor to the movement, and which is now building its VR-powered successor, Project Sansar. There's also High Fidelity, from Second Life creator Philip Rosedale.

AltspaceVR, meanwhile, just last week picked up a $10 million investment from HTC for its efforts.

Interestingly, Rosedale sees VR as a natural antidote to the current abuse-soaked state of the internet: "The more synchronous, the more real-time you force the interaction to be, the better everyone behaves. In VR, it’s much harder to be a bully or be abusive if you’re doing it face to face."

Virtual worlds hit an apex of popularity in the 2000s and then declined; Sony shut down its PlayStation 3-powered Home service, which was unveiled in 2007 and launched in 2008, earlier this year -- even as it prepares to launch its own VR headset, Project Morpheus.

The idea has regained currency as the VR battle heats up, however.

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