Arguably, our early team built the first online version of the Metaverse. We were captivated by Gibson’s “Neuromancer” (1984) and Stephenson’s “Snow Crash” (1992) science fiction novels. Gibson described virtual worlds made up of abstract data visualizations. In contrast, Stephenson wrote about highly realistic places and characters… so real that it could be difficult to tell the difference between real and virtual. Then in 1999, the first “Matrix” movie came out merging the two visions in a thrilling and disturbing version of a possible future vision of humanity’s destiny.
Our first version of the 3D Metaverse was VirtualSOMA in 1995. It was the first “world” that you could visit in a web browser. We were assisted by many friends including Barb Singer, Mark Pesce, Tony Parisi and Owen Rowley. Soon after launch, our site was hacked by talented programmers in San Francisco who added avatars and text chat. The Metaverse was born.
Over the years, many more metaverses followed including Black Sun’s “Point World”, “Onlive”, “Second Life” and more recently “Roblox”… each learning from the last and gaining the ability to engage visitors. This year, with the help of Facebook and the press, the Metaverse has been reborn or as the Wachowski’s term it, “Matrix Resurrections”.
If this history has taught us anything, it’s that a vibrant Metaverse needs great characters that visitors can interact with. SapientX’s focus has always been on giving an excellent voice interface to other peoples’ products. Since studies showed a truly superior user experience, when avatars were coupled with a voice, we began to connect to third party avatar systems to make it easy for our customers to add avatars. Today, we support WebGL, Unity and Unreal with their Meta-humans system making it relatively easy for new Metaverse builders to add compelling, conversational characters to their worlds.
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