Quest 2 is here and long live WebXR

Bi-weekly update with the latest insights from the Metaverse: news, posts, creations, and communities.

Good morning, afternoon, or night! Quest 2 reached customers last week. I wrote my thoughts on Twitter about it. Love the screen clarity, big improvement there. But lots of people have ended up with a bricked device because Facebook blocked their accounts. Boz tried to justify it, but many of us just don’t agree.

It’s scary that an account we use for intimate moments defines if we can use a computing device or not. And that’s without getting into the privacy worries (we’ll do that down below). At least VR developers are seeing a very significant increase in sales.

On a lighter note, WebXR is doing great. I’ve discovered several creation tools this month. They’re still new and rough, but it’s a great start. I just hope they stay alive for long enough to reach mass usage. There are new WebXR experiences released as well, together with more Discord groups and newsletters that bring us together. I love the vibe in the community!

On the news

  • Filecoin launch on mainnet: It’s here. The $200M ICO from IPFS parent company Protocol Labs is live. FIL tokens have traded like crazy since. This is one of the most hyped launches in blockchains. For those unaware, it’s a decentralized hosting marketplace. IPFS is a decentralized HTTP where sites are hosted by different devices on the network. There was no easy way to make sure other computers were actually hosting your site, and that’s what Filecoin solves. [Link]

  • Hubs is ready for Halloween: As we can’t properly celebrate Halloween this year, the team from Hubs has decided to take it on themselves. They now offer different spooky scenes for you to host a Halloween party. They’ve also prepared a set of aptly themed avatars. And of course, anyone can create their own scene or avatar. Love the idea, though it would be fun to have some Halloween-related game options as well to have something to do. [Link]

  • Anonymized HMD data can still identify you in <5m: A paper from the Stanford VR lab proves that 6DoF tracking of both your head and hands is enough to identify a person. This would make that data count as biometric. This paper comes out at a timely moment with FB making mandatory logins on Quest with an increase in data collection. [Link]

  • Quest 2 is out and Game devs see a spike in sales: UploadVR posts a collection of tweets by VR developers. They report increases in sales by up to 10x on the day that Quest 2 launched. These are sales compared to the day before. More and more people know about Quest, and I think the Quest 2 will bring even more people into VR. I do suspect that growth will be limited by people’s fear of Facebook harvesting our data. It’s a pity they decided to enter this control zero-sum game. [Link]

Food for thought

  • Using VR for testing sessions: Jessica Outlaw, a well known Social VR researcher, wrote a post about conducting user testing sessions inside VR. She outlines the positive aspects of Social VR apps like Hubs for this use case. It lets you interact with global participants while guiding their attention to wherever necessary. VR is also a great environment for whatever kind of mockups that may need testing. [Link]

  • The history of MUDs: A worthwhile read (though quite long). It goes over the history of multiuser virtual worlds. They started in the early 70s, and though lacked graphics, they already showed the traits in current MMOs. In the end, these types of games bring in ideas that come from Dungeons & Dragons. I particularly liked hearing the story of games that didn’t prioritize fighting. It was more about socializing and living whatever life you wanted. Games started to deprioritize these features for the sake of simplicity. World of Warcraft was the first to prove that clear gameplay and fast action bring our basic instincts out, which produces more sales. I sure would like more Star Wars Galaxies like games to be popular again. [Link[

Cool Creations

  • Create voxel scenes for the Web: Daniel Esteban, who’s been working on multiuser WebXR voxel worlds, has now created a voxel scene editor. It comes with support for physics as well. [Link]

  • Wonderland, a WebXR development platform: Both a JS library and a development environment. Wonderland wants to make it easy to create high-quality WebXR applications. It’s already using technologies like WebGL 2 and WebAssembly. It’s still early days, but these tools won’t be created with a full feature set from one day to another. I hope it continues to evolve for a long time. [Link]

  • nunustudio is a three.js framework and IDE: Another interesting development environment. It takes care of many features by default like physics, audio, WebXR, and animations. They also offer a graphical editor to simplify workflows. [Link]

  • XR Garden is a relaxing WebXR experience: Ada from Samsung has created a new WebXR experience. This time it’s a sea garden with fishes roaming around and relaxing 360 music. I’ve tried it and can confirm: 100% relaxing. Brandon, from Google, suggests using the number of fishes the demo can show to be a new performance metric for WebXR. Let’s do it! (Spoiler: 70 on Quest, 370 on Quest 2 at 72Hz) [Link]

  • Hubs avatar creator: Rhiannan has created a neat simple tool to customize an avatar that can be imported into Hubs. It works for human-like shapes with multiple body and head customizations. You can also modify the clothing. [Link]

Interesting Meetups & Communities

  • Immersive Web Weekly: A newsletter created by Jordan Santell and now heralded by Trevor Flowers. Make sure to check it out to get a weekly dose of the latest things happening in the Immersive Web space. [Link]

  • WebXR Discord: Recently, a Discord server for the WebXR community has been gaining popularity. Make sure to stop by! [Link]


Thanks for tuning in, that’s it for today. If you find anything interesting that we should post in the next one, reach out via Twitter or Email.

See you in 2 weeks!