Linden Lab, best known as the creator of Second Life, is starting to take the wraps of its new virtual world: The company is sending out first invites to Project Sansar to creators this week, and plans to launch it to the public in early 2017.
Linden Lab is pitching Project Sansar as a 3D virtual world for virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Many key details about the project are still under wraps, but Project Sansar will host a number of places designed by brands and hobbyists alike. Users will be able to explore the world, host meetings there and even play games.
One of the key differences to Second Life is that Project Sansar will be more scalable. In Second Life, a location could only be visited by a few dozen users at a time. Project Sansar on the other hand will essentially allow for replicas of a place to run in parallel, meaning that a brand could build a virtual gallery that can be visited by thousands of users at the same time without ever feeling crowded.
Linden Lab CEO Ebbe Altberg has previously described Project Sansar as a kind of WordPress for VR, telling Variety in an interview earlier this year that the goal was to simplify the creation of VR experiences. “Creating social VR experiences is too hard and expensive today, and that limits the value and growth of this incredible new medium,” he said. “Creating your own VR experience shouldn’t require an engineering team, and Project Sansar will make that possible.”
Project Sansar isn’t the only project exploring social VR. Facebook has its own dedicated team working on social VR. AltspaceVR is already offering VR comedy hours and meetings on a variety of headsets, and San Francisco-based VR startup HelloVR is working on its own 10,000 square mile VR world dubed MetaWorld.