I was invited to connect with the makers of Spatial, a social metaverse meeting space app that I have. But this time we weren’t using VR headsets. We had just logged into my laptop, looking at the NFT virtual houses. Is this there are leaving next year?
Spatial was one of the first explorers of augmented reality and virtual reality meeting spaces in the workplace. The latest shift in business, however, is towards the web. It has found a new financial path as a gallery space and host for the creators of NFT and their works, and according to the Spatial team, this makes more sense in web browsers on computers, tablets and phones. But Spatial is also embarking on more immersive NFTs, selling and renting entire NFT environments which could be meeting places. It indicates that these files could possibly work on metaverse applications.
Whether or not Spatial’s environmental NFT files work in all applications depends on whether other applications support the GLB file format in which they are created. GLB is a popular 3D file format for virtual reality and augmented reality, but it’s still unclear how, for example, will work with files like these.
I took a look at Bozo Island, a space with avatars supposed to take place in AD 3333, made by creator Renaud. “We’re creating 64 editions. Anyone can come in, and if they want to buy this unique space, they can hit it, and that will be one of the 64 people who will have unique access to that space. They could use it. for exhibitions, or events, whatever they want, “said Jacob Loewenstein, CEO of Spatial, when we met on the island of Bozo in Spatial. The Spatial app analyzes the portfolio of an account looking for a crypto token of the transaction, which then allows access to the space. “We are very excited to get into selling people their own home and space unique in the metaverse, ”Loewenstein said.
I visited one of Spatial’s first virtual gallery spaces for more ‘traditional’ NFTs earlier this year, where I viewed 2D and 3D artwork with a VR headset, while chatting with creators who appeared as avatars. On a web browser, the experience is roughly the same, minus the broader feeling of immersion in the headset. I can see my avatar moving around on my laptop screen, and everyone else’s screens. I move with the buttons on the keyboard and the trackpad. A big difference, using a laptop or a phone: I can show my face in a video screen bubble on my avatar. This is the type of face-to-face interaction that VR headsets still lack.
Spatial has previously worked on art gallery NFT spaces in partnership with The Hermitage and the NBA, and a number of other creators (I visited a house-sized work earlier this year, a called NFT space House of Mars created by Krista Kim.)
That’s not to say Spatial is saying goodbye to VR and AR headsets: the app is still there, and I find it useful to access it to further explore 3D content or art. But using a regular computer, having its keyboard, interface, and multitasking capabilities has clear advantages, especially for things like commerce. Spatial co-founder and CEO Anand Agarawalla also points to the much larger number of people that browsers can control through headsets. “We were a little skeptical, of course,” Agarawalla said of Spatial’s NFT-related growth, but he believes the changes reflect what Spatial users interested in NFT want. “The growth recently has been amazing. I think it has tripled in the last month alone, and it continues to increase.”
As the metaverse hype continues through 2022, it’s worth noting that one of the biggest VR and AR companies is moving away from headsets. The Metaverse has never been all about AR and VR glasses, and the decision to expand access seems like a trend that will continue into the next year, regardless of what new hardware emerges.