“VR has always been part of Decentraland’s vision,” said a developer working on the platform’s VR client.
In the public’s imagination, the Metaverse and Virtual Reality (VR) go hand in hand, and platforms such as Somnium Space, Crypto Voxels, and Meta’s Horizon Worlds already support the technology.
Despite its website’s description of itself as a “decentralised virtual reality platform,” the browser-based 3D metaverse platform Decentraland still lacks VR.
Sean Ong, the founder of XR Dev Studio, is part of a team that has created a “alpha” version of the VR platform. While “VR has always been part of Decentraland’s vision,” he explained, the Decentraland Foundation has prioritised the implementation of core features over VR.
“The team primarily responsible for developing Decentraland has been super busy implementing so many features, the core features, building it out, that VR hasn’t made it very far on the priority list.”
Ong is a Decentraland DAO member, and he and his team were awarded grants after submitting a proposal to bring VR to the platform.
However, he claims that the funding only allowed them to create an alpha version of the VR client, which was merely a “VR port” and thus lacked stability.
According to Ong, the difficulties in bringing VR to Decentraland are due to it being “fundamentally incompatible with VR.”
VR porting entails reworking the original code to make it compatible with another platform, and Ong points out that while this saves time and effort at first, the developer will need to make changes to the port whenever the main project is updated.
Building a dedicated VR client would take much longer, but he explained that it would insulate it from the main project, making it more resilient in the long run.
In a Dec. 14 proposal, Ong and his team requested an additional $240,000 in funding to develop a dedicated VR client, but the vote failed with more than three-quarters voting no.
Cointelegraph also spoke with Sébastien Borget, co-founder of the blockchain-based metaverse The Sandbox, about virtual reality in the metaverse.
Borget stated that while metaverses will exist in VR in the future, their priority for 2023 is mobile, and they “have no immediate or future plans for VR.”
“Because we believe VR technology is not mature or mainstream enough, we are focusing on making the Metaverse more mainstream and accessible to all,” he explained.
Meanwhile, in response to recent criticism of Decentraland’s 8,000 daily active users, Ong notes that these figures remain relatively low and that the platform should aim for millions.
“Metaverse these days is synonymous with VR,” Ong says, and he believes that if Decentraland can bring virtual reality support to the platform, it will be able to onboard many more users, adding that “VR definitely has to be a major component” of a truly full-featured metaverse.
Agustin Ferreira, Executive Director of the Decentraland Foundation, stated in an emailed response that the DAO could eventually take over platform development, and that the foundation aims to support community development and create “incentives for developers to add value to the entire ecosystem.”