Terra Virtua: The VR Utopia We’ve Been Waiting For?
Virtual reality still needs to force its way into the mainstream, and the Terra Virtua VR platform could be just what's needed.
Virtual Reality certainly isn’t new by this point; in fact, we’ve spoken about it at length, and the many experiences it offers. But what if we could access more than just games? What if a virtual world could be so enticing – so all-encompassing – that it seemed like a substitute for our own?
Well, that’s along the lines of what the folks over at Terra Virtua want to offer. In their own words:
Terra Virtua is the first fully immersive, blockchain-driven VR entertainment platform.
Welcome to the future. Welcome to Terra Virtua.
Founded by some big names within the gaming and VR businesses, Terra Virtua plans to offer a subscription based service that will allow users of virtual reality headsets access to a whole host of content. Beginning with games, the service eventually wants to expand into including other entertainment media, such as television shows and even films created entirely with VR in mind.
It’s certainly an ambitious project.
The economy behind all of this is blockchain based, as mentioned in the above quote, and the reasoning behind this is for security and peace of mind. Peter Bergstrom, industry veteran and the Chief Strategy Officer for Terra Virtua, emphasised how their system is “fraud-proof”. Not only this, but users of Terra Virtua can create their own content – all using the Unreal engine – and sell it to generate income. On a grander scale, this could become its own decentralised economy. They even have their own cryptocurrency, called TERRA (TVT), which will act as the backbone behind the content.
In practical terms, it goes like this: you put on your VR headset, and appear in a vast shopping centre-esque location. From this central space, users can access all the content available and even open their own locations, which can then be accessed through portals in the virtual world. Think of a condensed version of Ready Player One‘s OASIS, and you’re halfway there.
From a hypothetical point of view, it’s incredibly exciting. Ignoring the current prohibitive nature of VR tech for a mainstream audience, the potential to operate within a virtual space and access all of your media is great in itself. But, the heavily-touted social aspect to the platform makes it even better. The goal is to combine entertainment and community to create a space in which friends can explore worlds together, and have Terra Virtua act as a one-stop shop to alleviate switching between platforms.
It’s the execution that really matters, though. In order for Terra Virtua to become a trend-setting behemoth, the talent behind it need to work alongside industry titans to ensure content is available exclusively on their service. Considering the entire system is built off the back of accessing a multitude of virtual worlds, Terra Virtua needs to be the first thing people think of when they think ‘VR’.
There also needs to be more than just your typical VR games on display within the Terra Virtua world. At the launch event I attended, for example, a game called Robo Recall was available to demo; a fun first-person shooter, but nothing that hasn’t been seen before.
Perhaps this means that focusing on games isn’t the right idea, as the idea of a virtual world allows for so much more. Partnering with film producers, for example, and offering a virtual cinema in which you can watch movies with friends halfway around the world seems like a much more enticing hook. Or perhaps VR music events – something already being experimented with. In order to draw a mass audience, Terra Virtua needs to ensure it can appeal to much more than just the gaming crowd.
This also means having the VR hardware itself be more widely accepted; though with ludicrously high price-points for anybody who isn’t a die-hard fan, this could be tough.
Terra Virtua is set to launch its companion app and other services around Q4 of 2018, which isn’t a million miles away. It’s a truly exciting concept that seems like something straight out of a sci-fi novel, and has enormous potential to combine the topical fields of VR entertainment and cryptocurrency. Whether it will succeed is a mystery, but the highly experienced talent behind it have enough faith to make it something special.