The Metaverse and Virtual Reality (VR) go hand in hand in the public’s imagination and platforms including Somnium Space, Crypto Voxels, and Meta’s Horizon Worlds already support the technology.
But despite describing itself as a “decentralized virtual reality platform” on its website, the browser-based 3D metaverse platform Decentraland still lacks VR.
Sean Ong, founder of extended reality specialists XR Dev Studio, sits on a team that has developed an “alpha” version of the VR platform. He explained that while “VR has always been part of Decentraland’s vision,” the Decentraland Foundation has been prioritizing the implementation of core features ahead of VR.
“The team that’s primarily been responsible for developing Decentraland, they’ve been super busy implementing so many features, the core features, building it out, that VR just hasn’t made it very far on the priority list.”
Ong is a member of Decentraland’s DAO and he and his team received grants after submitting a proposal to bring VR to the platform.
He said that the funding did not allow them to create an alpha version VR client, which was only a “VR port”, and therefore lacked stability.
Ong told Cointelegraph that the challenges in bringing VR to Decentraland were due to it being “fundamentally incompatible with VR.”
VR porting means that the original code is rewritten to be compatible with another platform. Ong says that while this saves time and effort at the beginning, it also means that the developer will need to make modifications to the port every time the main project changes.
He explained that although it would be more time-consuming to build a VR client, it would protect it from the main project, which would make it more resilient over the long term.
Ong and his team requested $240,000 more funding through a Dec. 14 meeting proposal To develop a VR client for the company, more than three quarters of voters voted no.
The Sandbox VR
Cointelegraph also reached out to Sébastien Borget, co-founder of blockchain-based metaverse The Sandbox for his thoughts on virtual reality in the metaverse.
Borget suggested that while metaverses will eventually exist on VR, their priority for 2023 is mobile and they “have no immediate or future plans for VR.”
“We think VR technology is not mature or mainstream enough, so we focus on making the Metaverse more mainstream and accessible to all,” he said.
Related: Decentraland launches virtual rental of LAND property for LAND owners
Meanwhile, asked about recent criticism of Decentraland’s 8,000 daily active users, Ong notes that these numbers are still relatively low and that the platform should be aiming for millions.
“Metaverse these days is synonymous with VR,” Ong says, and he believes that Decentraland would be able to onboard many more users should it be able to bring virtual reality support to the platform, adding that “VR definitely has to be a major component” of a truly full-featured metaverse.
In an emailed response, the Executive Director of the Decentraland Foundation Agustin Ferreira stated that the DAO could eventually take over platform development, and the foundation aims to support community development and create “incentives for developers to add value to the entire ecosystem.”