These are interesting times in the world of social virtual reality. Facebook has been putting a lot of energy into building out Spaces, its take on making VR social–and connecting those inside VR to everyone else on Facebook. Then again, Altspace, one of the earliest social VR pioneers, announced last week that it is shutting down, citing rough financial waters in the VR space.
Now comes the news that Sansar, the social VR world built by Linden Lab—whose Second Life was a true pioneer in the so-called “metaverse”—is finally open for public beta. Available for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows PCs, Sansar is not compatible with Second Life, yet will seem familiar to anyone who ever spent time in that groundbreaking virtual world. Sansar creators will be able to access drag-and-drop tools, making it intuitive to add assets from common 3D modeling tools, or bought from Sansar’s store.
It will likely be quite some time before users can experience a wide variety of VR environments in Sansar, but a lot of people have been awaiting Linden’s entry into the space given its work on Second Life. Of course, Second Life’s creator, Philip Rosedale, is now running his own social VR company, High Fidelity. Interesting times, indeed.