High Fidelity: A Virtual Reality Social Metaverse From The Creator Of Second Life
High Fidelity, a San Francisco, California based startup, founded in 2013 by Philip Rosedale who is the creator of the infamous virtual community “Second Life.”
High Fidelity founder Philip Rosedale is a dreamer that never stop dreaming, believing and most importantly, trying! In 1999, Philip Rosedale quit his job as the chief technology officer of “RealNetworks” and moved to San Francisco to chase his dream since High School, building a virtual community space!
Philip Rosedale started the company Linden Lab, and in 2003, Second Life was born. Second Life is a virtual community space that gives users an alter-ego, an avatar with customizable look, and users can decide what to do or build inside the virtual world!
Second Life has approximately one million logged-in users each month, however, Second Life didn't convince the mainstream online users. This is about to change with High Fidelity's metaverse!
Rosedale told Technology Review, ” That the freedom to explore and experiment inside a virtual world generates a “social force,” creating positive interactions between people that are impossible in everyday life–much like the Burning Man festival he attends each year. ”
Is it just me, or do I smell some hippie spirit here! Steve Job was a digital hippie with free mind and boundless spirit, so was Larry Page who was also a Burning Man attendee. Do they all have something in common? I like to think so, they are all dreamers who truly believe they can change the world to a better place! Philip Rosedale spent the last 15+ years to chase his virtual dream, and he is gonna get it!
High Fidelity is an open source virtual reality platform on mission to create a social metaverse that is unprecedented! The startup had received a $11 million series B funding on February 25, 2015. At this stage, High Fidelity has a total sum of $17.5 million investment funding in 4 rounds from 5 investors.
High Fidelity announced on April 1, 2015, the open source software is open for alpha-beta usage. Developers can download client server installer, deploy your own domain servers, and create user accounts. It’s time to experiment, discover and build the metaverse community!
In High Fidelity’s own words from this page. High Fidelity is still a work-in-progress, the user-interface, avatar movement animation and physics still needs improvement. At this stage, High Fidelity will focus on fixing bugs, inviting more developers to join and co-create, and build a more refined infrastructure of the metaverse!
“The virtual worlds of the future are going to look like Pandora from Avatar. And once we can build things in those worlds, I would assert that even people who are passionate about VR, here, have no idea what is coming,” he says. “We're going to be arguing over the price of real estate in the forests of Pandora.”
“Why go into outer space when it’s more likely that by amassing computing resources we will create all the mysteries and unknowns and new species inside them?”
For developers to build content, Java Script ( to create interactive objects ), Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Unity, Unreal Engine, PrioVR, Sixsense, HTC Vive headset, Razer Hydra ( to edit content in the world ) are all supported.
Detailed facial expression can be simulated using depth-camera ( is going to be a new standard built-in for computers ) for desktop users. Hands and body of Avatars can be moved using Razer Hydra and Lead Motion.
This marks the greatest advancement and difference between High Fidelity and Second Life, in Second Life, the facial gesture and body movement are not simulated in real-time or on-demand as it would be in High Fidelity! Thanks to the constant and rapid change, innovation and improvement in virtual reality simulation and tracking technology!
A market place is also in place, you can take a look on this page. Virtual and digital goods such as java script, code, games, add-on, building blocks, and avatars can be exchanged and transported.
At this alpha stage there is no payment system; in the future there will be a payment system to process payments. Reasonably, High Fidelity will charge a small processing fee.
According to High Fidelity, for people who sold computing resources in High Fidelity’s market place will earn credits, and then real-world currencies. High Fidelity are also considering crypto-currencies and blockchains, could we assume there will also be payouts made in bitcoins? Let’s wait and see!
The potential viable business and monetization model of High Fidelity in the future is still unclear and there is no related announcement thus far. However, as TechCrunch brought up an interesting topic, that in the future, we might be seeing more and more advertising in virtual reality and within virtual space, advertisements for physical products from the real-world, or products in High Fidelity’s built-in store or product archive.
Frankly speaking, we wouldn't mind seeing advertisement in the virtual world from time to time, given it is close-related to the current virtual environment we are within. Otherwise, it will be just as annoying as unrelated random ads we see on daily basis when browsing the Internet, which we'll only proceed to close immediately with disgust!
We will be expecting to see an immersive social metaverse in the near future, a metaverse that is highly interactive, lifelike and emotional! A metaverse with low latency rate, precise real-time simulation capability, and enables users to display intricate facial expression!
High Fidelity has the potential to be the next Facebook in virtual reality, a virtual social media that connects the world. There are endless potential of how this concept can expand, branch out and eventually be connected or inter-connected to every aspect of our lives!
Will High Fidelity’s social metaverse concept change and reinvent the world of social media? We can’t wait to see what can be done in the metaverse with its unlimited potential!
Content & Image Source: High Fidelity, Second Life, TechCrunch, Technology Review, Gray Area, The Verge