On Thursday, July 6th, Linden Lab released a further Sansar preview video focusing on the work of a content creator – Ria, which I’ve embedded at the end of this article
Given we’re now not that far away from the doors to Sansar opening to a wider audience in the “creator beta” (or whatever the Lab finally calls it), the video can be seen as a further ratcheting of things – alongside recent media articles – ready for the opening. At the same time, the past week has seen a further batch of invited into the Creator Preview find their way to those who have applied to access Sansar.
At 99 seconds in length, the video is an engaging enough piece, Ria’s experience from both within and without, which takes the form of an immersive story involving a little girl and her toys, utilising three locations linked by teleports. Kudos to Drax for presenting a means of suggesting the potential of VR immersion by overlaying images from within the game with shots of Ria looking around her creation while using a HMD. It may not be as immersive as “the real thing”, but it’s a lot better that intercut views of heads with HMDs strapped to them bobbing and weaving in front of computer screens we’ve seen in the past.
Those looking for details on Sansar are going to be disappointed however – this is a promotional video after all. That said, there are some interesting shots of the edit environment and what appears to be the fully realised run-time space. Again, given it is a promo video, reading too much into what “is” or “isn’t” said would be a mistake.
Some have found a couple of statements in the video objectionable. The first is the idea that “there is nothing even remotely like Sansar out there” – and I admit to finding it questionable myself.While it may not be as deeply immersive as a “true” VR experience, the fact remains that SL offers pretty much everything Sansar promises, and has done for a good while now. And just because it doesn’t support headsets doesn’t change that. And in terms of VR, there is High Fidelity to consider as well…
The second is that Sansar will achieve “broad appeal” when launched. This has been pooh-poohed on the basis that VR itself has yet to achieve a significant market share. However, “broad appeal” needn’t necessarily mean “mass market” – and the two seem to be getting conflated.
I personally don’t think VR (and by extension Sansar) will be “mass market”. However, as I’ve oft said, there are markets were VR could have a significant role, and Sansar could be ideally positioned to leverage them. Design, architecture, training, simulation, education, healthcare, for example; plus, as friend and content creator Dassni pointed out to me in a lengthy conversation, it might even appeal to indie game / game modding enthusiasts. Taken together, these could facilitate the kind of “broad appeal” for Sansar to generate a comfortable level of revenue for the Lab – in time.
How much time? Well, therein lies the rub. Sansar itself is going to need a lot more development work once the gates open to a wider audience, and even among the markets already looking at VR, the preference might be to wait until headsets have improved in capability and looks and come down in price – something which could be around 2-3 years away.