Walking around my own private convention hall, marveling at my own mostly minuscule accomplishments, I thought, “I could get used to hanging out here on the Meetaverse.”
No, that’s not a misspelling. Allseated’s Meetaverse is a browser-based 3D meeting platform. Meetaverse creates these bespoke 3D spaces for conferences, businesses, and meetings. Or it will, after the platform launches this week. The company told me that they already have a catalog of hundreds of places that they have 3D scanned and rendered and 10,000 3D objects that they can place in the 3D environment.
As the name suggests, the finished Meetaverse spaces have a metaverse flavor. They are 3D virtual environments that include avatars, activations like articles you can immerse yourself in and read, videos you can watch, and, as I saw in my own space, details about the brand. To make me feel more at home, Meetaverse filled my space with details about me: there were walls with my photos, my social media stats, and articles I wrote.
The avatars, including mine, looked like a cross between EVE from Pixar’s WALL-E and a 1960s television set. The top half of each avatar is filled with a screen showing a live video feed for each contestant. the meeting. There were also a bunch of NPC avatars floating around just to fill the virtually cavernous space. To the left of my browser screen was a more traditional Foursquare live video feed of me and the three Meetaverse reps: CMO Cal Nathan, CMO Nick Borelli, and Project Facilitation Manager Lauren Holley.
Unlike the metaverse, Meetaverse is designed for browsers and not for VR headsets (although Mettaverse did work on Oculus-compatible builds for a while). They want it to work in any browser, but they told me that for now, the experience is better in Chrome. Watching the platform build my Meetaverse 3D space reminded me of the VR 1.0 meeting rooms of the late 1990s. Still, the graphics and movement through those spaces were never this good.
While not exactly a realistic representation of a conference room, Meetaverse looks good and is well designed. There was an entrance space, a welcome section, break rooms with semi-translucent glass walls, and a large presentation space.
First, I tried using the on-screen navigation buttons and then my mouse to move around, but it was hard to control my movements. At the suggestion of the Meetaverse exec, I switched to the arrow keys on my laptop and found the movement to be intuitive and relatively fluid. However, I didn’t like how, after releasing an arrow key, you kept moving forward a virtual step or two; executives insisted this was by design.
Even though he can walk through solid objects (again, another conscious design decision), there’s no way to quickly teleport from one place in Meetaverse to another (he can, however, dial in and out of entire Meetaverse events or gatherings). ). I was wondering if, in the case of a busy Meetaverse trade show, I could hit tab and jump from one booth to another. Borelli insisted that it will kill some of the system’s serendipity.
While my demo space was a conference room, Holly told me that the first use case is just meetings, much like you might have on Zoom or Google Meet. I asked them if their approach is excessive.
“It’s more in line with the experience than other platforms you mention. Adding more experiential elements makes it more of an oasis away from those kinds of atmospheres.” [ike static Zoom and Google Meet]”, said Nick Borelli of Meetaverse.
Really sure. I can imagine that Meetaverse makes a meetup more fun, but all those 3D avatars and weirdos can be a bit distracting.
Meetaverse can build an environment in three to four weeks and will charge $15 per head (with a minimum of 500 users). The price per seat goes down if you register for more than one year.
In the meantime, I need to figure out if I can start giving tours of my own Meetaverse.