This article is much longer than I would have liked, yet I wasn’t able to dive into each of the subtopics in as much detail as I would have hoped for. Still, it provides some foundational material for a later examination and proposal for a metaverse implementation. If you are a serious virtual world or metaverse enthusiast, this article is probably for you. The more casual reader may want to skip this article.
If you are involved in a metaverse project, you may find it referenced below. Nothing you read here should be considered a harsh criticism of any one particular approach. In most cases, these implementations are named to illustrate an example or a counter-example. This article doesn’t attempt to perform a complete review of platforms or to call winners.
Previously, we identified seven issues which hold back our current metaverse implementations. Can a metaverse actually break through all of these issues to become a major platform?
What if we build on a distributed services architecture? Should we position the desktop client as a 2D/3D content browser? What if we use open standards, or build upon a proven engine? These and other suggestions may turn out to be very good ideas, but we don’t know. We’re still trying to understand the underlying issues which are holding us back.
SPECIFIC PROBLEMS ILLUSTRATE SYSTEMIC ISSUES
Clearly, there are more problems than the original seven which were provided in the first article, but those seven create a pool from which we can look for more systemic issues. Read More…
The company formerly known as Oculus Info reported that in 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office refused to register Oculus VR as a trademark, and as a result, Oculus VR initiated proceedings with the USPTO to try to cancel Oculus Info’s existing trademark.
This isn’t the only trademark-related court case with Oculus VR, the first being Oculu vs Oculus VR.
Our original research unveiled more about this new case which barely made it into the public eye. In the end, the two parties reached a confidential settlement with undisclosed terms, and the case was dismissed with no further litigation. The trademark for Oculus Info was cancelled. Oculus Info became Uncharted Software Inc in February 2015.
If you would like more information about case, it was filed as a civil case in the Virgina state court, case #1:14-cv-00436-AJT-TRJ. You might find additional interesting information inside some of the supporting documents.
Timeline of events (as seen in public records and as told by Oculus Info):
- 2008 July – Oculus Info applies for a trademark
- 2011 May – Oculus Info’s trademark is registered
- 2013 February – Oculus VR applies for a trademark
- 2013 May – Oculus VR warned of issues by USPTO, given chance to respond
- 2013 November – Oculus VR responds
- 2013 November – USPTO communicates with Oculus VR, sends suspension letter
- 2013 November – Cancellation proceeding initiated (reported to be on behalf of Oculus VR) at USPTO against Oculus Info
- 2014 April – Oculus Info takes Oculus VR to court on trademark issues
- 2014 June – Settlement agreement between Oculus Info and Oculus VR
- 2014 August – Oculus Info’s trademark is cancelled
- 2014 December – Oculus VR’s trademark is registered
- 2015 February – Oculus Info becomes Uncharted Software
Was Oculus VR trying to bully a smaller company? Was Oculus Info trying to leverage a weak or improper trademark? Did Oculus VR pay Oculus Info for the trademark? These are good questions, but we do not expect to find those answers. It ended in a confidential settlement agreement.
This is the third article in a series on the Valve/HTC Vive Ecosystem. If you you need additional context, please begin with the first article in the series.
A famous quote from Gabe Newell is about a lesson that Valve learned early-on when dealing with the Internet. You can find it in Episode 306 of the Nerdist Podcast at 00:12:14.
Don’t ever, ever try to lie to the Internet because they will catch you. They will deconstruct your spin. The will remember everything you ever say for eternity. -Gabe Newell
At this year’s Game Developers Conference where Valve announced their Virtual Reality partnership with HTC, and at that time, Gabe made an incredible claim about the Lighthouse tracking technology:
So we’re gonna just give that away. What we want is for that to be like USB. It’s not some special secret sauce. It’s like everybody in the PC community will benefit if there’s this useful technology out there. -Gabe Newell (Valve)
The story which accompanies the interview describes Lighthouse as a way of providing infinite input solutions into Virtual Reality. “As long as tracking is there, anything can be brought into VR, like how USB ports enable you to plug (virtually) anything into your computer.”
What the Technology Brings
In the previous two articles, we’ve dug into the technology itself, and it supports what we’ve been told. Spend perhaps $100-150 for two of Valve’s Lighthouse units and mount them in opposite corners of the room. At that point, you can almost forget about them. But any enabled device that you bring into the room can take advantage of:
- Rock-solid positional data with high precision and resolution
- Rock-solid orientation data with high precision and resolution
- Very low additional power use (passive sensors, undemanding electronics)
If this is your first time visiting Metaversing, please read:
This blog is about going beyond the science fiction descriptions of the Metaverse and actually fleshing out some of the concepts, designs, and details that are useful in bringing it to life. The ideas described here are not to be interpreted as the exclusive way for the Metaverse to be designed. We’re here to put a stake in the ground. We hope to start the conversation (where it doesn’t already exist) and to move the conversation forward.
How do you navigate between unrelated virtual worlds?
Back in August 2013 when I first envisioned how I wanted a different model of the Metaverse to work, one of the fundamental questions I had was in how to glue everything together. Instead of building one large Metaverse and splitting it into pieces, as has been done before, I looked at a different solution. How do we start with a bunch of unrelated pieces of software and combine them together to form a larger Metaverse?
Our universe starts with completely different and unconnected virtual environments, games, and virtual worlds. There are different authors, languages, graphics libraries, and more. If you wanted to create a way for players (avatars) to actually move between them, how could it be done? How would you move from JanusVR to Minecraft? How do you walk from Minecraft into VRChat? Read More…