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October 13th, 2022 | by Michael Barngrover

Report⎪Virtual Worlds and The Creator Community

Recently Michael Barngrover hosted a live panel discussion for the XRMust community on the topic of XR creator communities. The panelists invited to share their insights and to take questions were Sonya Seddarasan of UPWorlds, Lance Powell of VEDX Solutions, and Kris Rekers of Creator Jam. Each represents a distinct and unique perspective on both historic and emerging trends within XR creators, platforms, and the communities they both serve.

Sonya is the co-founder of UPWorlds (link), a marketplace for virtual world creators around the world to both showcase their work and to connect with potential customers and clients looking to source metaverse assets and creative talents.

Lance is the CTO of VEDX Solutions (link), a solutions provider in the educational XR space. Lance also was an early contributor to the academic research space around social VR and, specifically, harassment within it, and he continues to speak and write on the topic.

Kris Reker is perhaps better known in XR as Medra (link), the founder and host of the weekly Creator Jams that have taken place in Neos for several years. For most people, Medra is one of the first people they’ll meet in Neos, and he is certainly a lynchpin of the diverse creative community that resides within what is probably the most powerful creative VR platform out there.

We began with personal introductions from each of the panelists, before proceeding into a question and discussion phase.

Introduction(s)

Michael Barngrover - Sonya, would you please start us off by introducing yourself and your startup marketplace for creators, UPWorlds.

Sonya Seddarasan - Thanks, Michael. The names that I see here are very familiar to me. I've talked to each one of you personally. I think because each of you may already know Upworlds in your own way, I’ll probably just jump into what we do in UPWorlds and why. I guess we started UPWorlds like one almost one and a half years ago now, almost two years ago. We’ve always seen that there is a gap between the creators in the sector and the creator economy. I started teaching people about how to build virtual worlds from a 3D UX perspective, because I have an HCI background. A lot more people started subscribing to the Patreon and then eventually after classes we’d chat with each other and they were like, “you know, it would be nice to have a community”. And this was like two years ago. So we stopped the subscription and we started, we took out the money and then we started the product. Back then that was me and my other co-founders. We started building the product from the money and then a community in Discord.

S. S. - We kind of always see ourselves as an entry point to people who have the the skill to build virtual worlds, whether to build within the metaverse, whether to build the virtual worlds, or like a virtual asset, I would say wearables for like the avatars. But with so many platforms that are in the market, even if they have the skills, creators are very confused about where to start. So, initially we started the community from the angle to help people to start like, “Oh, this is where you need to go. This is the new platforms that are there in the market and this is what you can do with them. Depending on your long term goal, how you see you want to make money in the future”. We initially started like that, but with the product growing and growing and growing, we see that a lot more people started using UPWorlds as their portfolio, because they built things in different platforms but they don't have that one space for them to combine everything, like between like decentralized platforms and centralized platforms. And so people started appropriating the product in that way, which was not the intention of UPWorlds in the beginning. So we were like, okay, this was how people are using the product and we should just follow the market.

S. S. - And so with that comes the idea of, well, if we could get a lot more creators to join hands together and then put their virtual worlds or assets or wearables or anything that they design within UPWorlds, we can start building what we always want, an open metaverse. So, from a creator's perspective it's going to be easier for a lot more people to find all of these worlds together within one platform. Then we took the next step and thought, “Okay, what's next for them to experience?” So we create a system within UPWorlds for people to experience this world immediately, as from a first person's perspective, of course. And if they are looking to reuse this world or rent it or buy it or like as an entry point for their like NFTs, they can go to the original platforms, but we serve as the discovery vehicle.

S. S. - So that's kind of like where UPWorlds is and that's how we are building the features. I think some of you who kind of have known UPWorlds have seen how the product evolved over time. But it's a steep learning curve.

Thank you Sonya. Lance, would you please introduce yourself and your extensive background in the space.

Lance Powell - Yeah, no problem. As you said, I'm the chief technology officer at VEDX Solutions, which is an immersive education and training company. And we have a number of different projects. Some of them are exploratory, but others are fully funded projects, and I'm running them in parallel in my day-to-day life. But my background in VR began in 2016, when I was working on my master's and I was in search of a research topic. At the same time, the Oculus Rift DK2 headsets were coming out and I had access to them. So yeah, it became a very convenient topic, but I was immediately drawn to what happens to us socially within these 3D network spaces. Harassment started pretty quickly after social VR became a reality. I started reading about harassment, starting with a forgotten platform called QuiVR. And that, it kind of launched my interest into finding out how harassment manifests and what these platforms can try to do to stop it. And, that's gone on for the past just under six years, I guess. Most recently, I published the parental guidance for the metaverse, just some of what I believe are common sense tips for helping kids who are getting into those spaces, because they make up a big percentage of the population in social VR. I was also interviewed for that and recently gave presentations on it as well.

L. P. - In addition to that, I have conducted research into virtual worlds more broadly. I taught a virtual worlds course, an accredited course at Bahcesehir University, just on virtual worlds, extending beyond VR to other more legacy platforms like Second Life or Active Worlds. In addition, I've been active within the community at Rec Room. As you all know by now, it's my preferred platform. I spoke at RecCon the past two years, and I've also been a minor builder there too. It's been a lot of fun to be there and learn about it. But yeah, that's all I can think of right now. So yeah, I'll hand it over to Medra.

Medra - Oh, yeah. Yeah. I pretty much rather go by Medra, but my name is Kris Rekers. Basically I run a virtual community inside VR. I consider myself a VR inhabitant. I've been in the VR space for about four years now. Creator Jam is a collective of people that build out a world every week during an event that covers multiple time zones in one day. And we've been doing this for, let's see, three years. So we're on 166 weeks in a row of building a world every week, and basically we cover from the Japanese time zone, which is the Japanese, the Koreans, Australians, New Zealanders, and then have an additional session for primarily Europeans and Americans. But people bleed into all the different sessions.

Medra - So basically, I came into the space, not really planning to be a host or a founder for a collective, but just kind of falling into it like you do with many things. My original background is as a teacher of art, so I did that for about nine years. Basically, I taught subjects such as painting, drawing, photography, and computer graphics, which I did love quite a bit. And that's kind of where my first community building started, where it was a place for kind of misfits and people that didn't kind of fit in to find a place where they felt like they belonged and they learned who they were through creating.

Medra - Then just like if any of you have been in academia, you know, the kind of the red tape and bureaucracy and other nonsense that goes along with all of that. And so I felt the need to be able to create myself. And so just as I was leaving the field, someone showed me a collectible card game called Magic the Gathering, and I'm like, okay, what's this? Well, I actually ended up liking it and realized that I was better at the socializing part and at trading the cards themselves, like a bartering type of thing. And these things had value. And so if you ever heard of the idea of turning a paperclip to a house, I basically turned the cards into a store. And so that turned into an online store and then it ended up turning into an actual meeting space store, like a place you'd go and visit. And once again, I was just kind of plunked into building another social space. This ended up happening, the social space for people that didn't feel like going to a bar, and usually people happened to be on the eccentric side that were maybe into card games and Dungeons and Dragons and board games and other things like that.

Medra - The business didn't work out, but not long after was when I discovered Google Cardboard, which is pretty mediocre when it comes to VR experiences. But someone was looking at Catatonic. And when they looked at Catatonic in a headset, there's this moment when they were looking at this 360 experience and when they looked at someone, the person looked back at them and they had the shivers down their spine. And I thought, wow, the impact of this type of medium. We're just in the very beginning, burgeoning aspects of it. I was super excited so decided that this is for me. So I raised funds and purchased an Insta360 Pro and made an experimental film called “Raindrop Taste Test 68”. After that had been made or during some of the processes, I was working on the next project and trying out a bunch of different VR experiences. High Fidelity didn't really work. I didn't really see much going on there. VRChat didn't really run on the computer that I was on. And just sifting through things, I was like, “What is this NeosVR thing?” This is in 2018. So I realize you can just build inside here so easily. It was pretty clunky at that time when I was trying it out, but I thought, “I could do some visualizations here”. And so I realized that soon enough that being able to make experiences in there would be something that would surpass 360 filmmaking. And so a year later, the culture is kind of evolving in there, it's a very small community, and realizing there's no community leaders, there's no bedrock events, there's nothing for people to just do every week that if they're feeling like they need something, whether they're something really experienced or someone just wanting to learn, there's no place for them. And one thing I learned about Neos too that I just loved and it kept me here since is this type of helper community where people feel the need to help out others and learn and share the cool things that they're creating. And so I wanted to make sure that there was an event that would encapsulate that idea, the idea of helping out others, the idea of creating and the idea of sharing. That's really what started Creative Jam back on June 2nd of 2019. And every week since, we've been basically sharing this kind of open source ethos and gifting culture of coming into a world, building out things, whether it's code that people are making games, sculptures, worlds themselves, which encapsulate everything that we make and just sharing that out. And so basically flash forward to now, we've had competitions that are month long game jams basically, and we've been able to contribute over 580 worlds and help encourage the building of those things and touch about over 3000 people between the creator jam events and the metaverse maker competitions.

M. B. - That’s awesome. Thanks to each of you for introducing yourselves. Now, let’s get into a few questions that I’ve got for us.

XR Communities

M. B. - To start off, who are the creatives in XR? How would you describe them? Do you see creative communities changing, to either respond to new opportunities or to react to all the attention coming to “metaverse” platforms and virtual creative communities in the past year or so? Are creators changing or are new people and profiles becoming creators, coming into these platforms and virtual spaces? From the outside, it seems a bit like a gold rush for some people and platforms.

Medra - I think each population has different types of creators, but mostly I think because of the barrier of entry for VR generally, especially in the high end part of things requires a similar class of people that are like the people that enjoy Blender. Not that everyone has to be on that end of the spectrum, but you have people that are technically skilled, usually eccentric, which I do prefer, but usually people are highly technically minded, definitely creatives. Sometimes those overlap. A lot of times they do. We're slowly seeing more and more business-focused people and more variety in those terms. But yeah, I think that the technical and creative overlap is a core, core aspect.

S. S. - Well, coming in on top of that, I think something that I notice very much is that initially all the creator communities were filled by people that had an idea about how to build. Like they had a 3D background. I think initially, people always kind of understood, “okay, in order for me to be part of the industry or the community, I have to have some kind of background”. Then somewhere along the line, we saw a little bit of a pause. Because in order for you to learn Blender, Unity and Unreal, this takes a while. And so there was some period where it was very quiet, like maybe they're learning and they're like, come up. Then I feel that changed, especially with all the new NFT platform marketplace that came into the picture. All these NFTs platforms that eventually came up, they attracted a lot more people that had either no background but had a small community, or they attracted immediately people like architects. So people who are looking to transition. Then I think with that, I personally started seeing a lot more people in the industry and in the community building different things. Because initially they thought, “Oh, I need to learn how to use Unity or Blender”. But now because we have a lot of like architects, they started using other 3D programs and then export them to Unity and then from there they just export everywhere. So I think the talent opened up so much this year thanks to all these NFTs, these marketplaces.

L. P. - Unfortunately, I have not been able to integrate myself into a wider creative community just because I have two full time jobs and a family. But, I do pay close attention to what metaverse platforms have been doing to nurture creative communities, because there are widely different approaches. Some of them are just more grassroots or organic efforts, like people who discover their VR platform of choice and start creating there. They form friendships and connect with other people who are interested in doing the same without any direct input or influence from the platform. But I pay close attention also to platforms like Rec Room and Roblox, which well, first of all, they have like worlds that are natively built, so they don't rely on external game engines because for example, if you're building for Altspace, you need to run their version of Unity, the same for Engage and also also VRChat.

L. P. - So there are some dependencies there that are relied on, but I'm more interested in Roblox and Rec Room because when you build there you are using their native game engine or their native tools to build your worlds and they don't just take it for granted that people are going to build. Actually they have very formal programs for teaching people how to use them. So for both of them, you're enrolling in courses and, I don't know about Roblox, but Rec Room in particular they'll have a semester-long courses in virtual reality where people come together and build and then once your semester is over, you have a graduation ceremony where you collect a diploma and show off your work. I think for smaller platforms, just meeting with people at an individual level and forming different groups works really well. But if you're going to do it at scale, there should be some intervention from the platform itself.

The Right Platform

M. B. - There are so many platforms now, and seemingly more emerging. How do creators find the right platform for them or even find the right community to join?

S. S. - I can take this first. I guess, like what we see is that a lot more people join this community because of the opportunity that they feel would be the next level of their future. What I noticed personally is that more and more people started to look for different ways to become an independent worker, and entrepreneur. So having an opportunity to be part of something like build hackathons or competitions in a couple of different communities and then eventually having the possibility to earn from it is something that they really like.

S. S. - So we notice that whenever we have a new platform reaching out to us and saying, “hey, we are doing like a hackathon or something”, the community is running to that platform and saying, “okay, let's see what's there”. I think for them it's like, “okay, I want to learn what's out there,” and second, there is a lot of trial and error too in the market. But at the end of the day, I think we are moving towards a content creators' industry, like a content creators' world where everyone can be a content creator. Now, they are doing trial and error by testing all these platforms to see which one works for them. That was actually the reason why we thought the idea of a portfolio would definitely work for them. Because they are going to become, I don't know, like we want to call them like meta-preneurs, entrepreneurs. But I feel that the reason why the community of creators has explored a lot this year is because a lot more people are starting to want to be independent workers. This is my take on this.

Medra - That makes sense. What we see seems very parallel in Neos and seems like elsewhere, very parallel to the 90’s internet, where it's this kind of really wild out there thing going on and people aren't really sure how it's going to unfold, who's going to kind of take all the market dominance and what their role can be within that area. So basically what's going to happen is we're going to see some kind of consolidation in other aspects. I see a lot of people coming in from all walks of life that get a headset. They might be social, like, because you can build in here, there's a lot of opportunity and people are really excited for this kind of untapped opportunity. And so they say, “Well, I would like to learn how to code,” or “I'd like to learn how to model avatars,” or other things that they see as having massive value in the market itself.Since this is a social platform too, they'll use this kind of mixture of training and social aspects to kind of build up their skills and then test different groups saying like, “Hey, I'm really good at this thing. Where can I find a market for it?” And that's actually probably the biggest problem right now, finding markets for your work and being able to find an audience. People might have massive skills but not have the sales leads and things like that as we see.

S. S. - So I think this is where they do trial and error, right? Like maybe this platform is better to showcase me, maybe that platform, or maybe that other platform has these communities.

Medra - Oh definitely, definitely. Like AltSpace being just fantastic for events. VRChat also has its events and everything, but you also have some other things out there.

S. S. - More social.

L. P. - It's also a decision that marketers of commercial products have to make.Which platform am I going to choose for my film or my shoes or whatever? Michael shared with me recently that the new film “Nope”, which is in theaters now, I think they chose to promote their film in Meta Horizons. And to me that was so surprising. It was like, “ Yeah, that seems like a really bad fit, but. Okay, go for it.”

S. S. - Yeah, there's a really famous one WE MET IN VIRTUAL REALITY (see our interview, ed).

Medra - Yeah, yeah. Joe Hunting.

S. S. - Yeah. They go with Neos, right?

Medra - No, no. He made that in VRChat. And it's really nice. I think that's one thing that's a very big strength and weakness in the VR community right now is, you know, if you do something in the VR community for a little while, like Joe Hunting, everyone just kind of knows everybody. You're just like, “Oh yeah, I know this person”. So it makes it great for contacting people and being able to get to know others. And so, but that's a digression. Basically Joe Hunting, it became popular, and I'm showing this and he went around and showed it on the film circuit and it got picked up by HBO, which is really exciting.

S. S. - Well, yeah, this is very interesting because what we found before was UPWorlds becoming a discovery channel, right? People came into the Discord and started texting me individually like, “hey, I'm this is my skill. I want to start, but where, but where?” And so like initially I used to answer them one by one, but then after like months, I kept on saying the same thing again and again. So we had a discussion within the team. We were like, maybe let's just build a very simple questionnaire that eventually can give them some recommendations.

S. S. - And so we started this questionnaire. What is your motive? Why are you here? How do you see yourself? What skill do you have and how do you think that you're going to make money? Like, where do you see that you're going to make money? NFT or where you want to sell your work. Based on that, we started giving recommendations to all the platforms that are out there. If they are focused more on NFTs and then we say, okay, we have this A, B, C, D, we have Mona. Right now, we have this, we have that according to your skill. And then if you're more social, we have Rec Room, we have VRChat and we test this with some people within the community as well, and they were like, “This is really nice”. And I thought, “Oh, now I don't have to answer that question anymore,” but I think some people still need that for marketing. Like, what platform should I market my product on according to the target market? That would be cool.

Interoperability, inter-community?

M. B. - Medra, you predicted a kind of consolidation coming for this space, and many people talk a lot about the importance of interoperability. To me, the Oculus platform is the interoperability, or SteamVR and Windows before it. In the headset menu, I can go from platform to platform. Each platform is unique, but nothing stops me from easily hopping from one platform to another, not too different from the way that I go from world to world inside each platform.

M. B. - The idea of having the same avatar and going from platform to platform with the same assets, regardless of the aesthetics or the functionalities of the platforms, leads me to believe that it would require platforms to become much more standardized in their experiential design.

M. B. - Taken together, these hint at a future with perhaps less experiential variety and less choice for consumers and creators. Can you elaborate a bit more on how you see this near future evolving?

Medra - Okay. I think I should clarify better about the consolidation. I see metaverses like countries. They're like these big areas. Like you'll have VRChat, which is like this giant country and big cities, and then you have other platforms that'll spring up that'll grow and become bigger. The other ones, they’ll be tiny and hopefully we'll reach a point where there's interoperability, where these all kind of bridge together. So, you know, the avatar that you have in one world moves to another world moves to another world. And then we also have more creators with like platform agnostic, because right now some people are like very, very nationalistic in their country or their platform and creators want to be on all kinds of platforms. So I guess the best way to put it is I see large platforms growing, other ones collapsing. I don't know how Meta is going to pivot and be able to stay existing, but they'll find their demographic and stay whatever they are. But anyway, hopefully we'll see more like interpolation basically. And other countries kind of like being able to cross each other and cross over with people, being able to keep their embodiment and other aspects, virtual goods and other things.

L. P. - Yeah, I know. I was just going to say on this point, actually, it's an argument. I've heard a lot about interoperability, and since Medra talked about it in terms of nations, I can continue that because we do have or we have had over the past decades globalization. If you visit, for example, a shopping mall here where I am in Turkey or in the United States or in Japan or Korea, they mostly look the same. You're able to go from country to country and understand what you're seeing and experiencing and how to behave there. But for a lot of what we do within the metaverse now, we're just volunteering to be there. Even though there is some utility and so forth, we're kind of volunteering to be there and interact with those communities and engage. And I don't feel the same stress to make everything interoperable. So, for example, I don't like the idea of having the same avatar everywhere I go just because, like the places you visit, they have a different utility and a different mood and culture. I also want to respond to that. Like, I don't want to be like the ugly American of the metaverse and just expect people to respond to my preferences. So, like when I, for example, make a new avatar, I'll make like a version of myself. Usually I'll choose an avatar with a beard just because I have one. I like having it, but I enjoy different modes of expression as well. So yeah, I like to keep the metaverse small, as you say.

S. S. - I think, of course, your point makes a lot of sense, but if we are seeing this from a creator's perspective, the idea of interoperability itself is that I'm if I'm a creator and then if I build something, I want this to be able to be distributed to different platforms altogether. So as a creator, I would want to still have the same quality of work within different platforms. And I think this is what every platform is working toward right now.

S. S. - What we were seeing is that initially every platform was built on its own. Things like Altspace have their own version of Unity and then VRChat on their own and then new platforms that are coming in have their built in tools. But, I think if there is anything that we see as a trend lately, it is that more and more the idea of consolidation has started. Maybe they haven't started in like consolidating the worlds or the avatars, but it has started to consolidate the choice of program. A lot more new platforms that are coming into the market started using Unity. They started from there. So now we actually have like at least four, if not five platforms and are using the same Unity version, which means when builders build in one, they can apply it in these different five platforms. And this is kind of like where we see OK, it's going there. It started with the Unity versioning, but tomorrow we think it’ll be features. Like yesterday, Spatial released hosting tools. So now you're going to go to Spatial and have a good UI for hosting. Initially, when you think about an event, all you think about is Altspace. Now we have Spatial. A couple of months ago, we had Mona. This morning I was talking to some guys from Meta Mundo. They had the same thing today. They're building something like that. So eventually it's a matter of time until each of these platforms mature in terms of the features, whether they're going for social or they're going for events. But I would say that from the perspective of creators, that's what they want when they say interoperability.

S. S. - The idea that creators want to maximize the marketability of their creations, perhaps at the expense of utility and value created for platform-specific audiences and communities, is intriguing. It suggests that these creators are different from creators who created within a community for other members of their shared community. Perhaps we can identify members of a community of creators, who are pursuing emerging professional opportunities may be platform agnostic for commercial reasons, as distinct from creators within a community for whom they create.

S. S. - The creator communities thus really gain utility from interoperability, while those who create within a community may gai more value from developing platform-specific skills and create community-specific value. Are there different profiles of creators that you’re all seeing?

Medra - Oh, definitely. My community, since it's mainly an open source community, a lot of people might already have high level positions in the professional realm and they do this on the side. But one of the major demographics is like college age and others that are just trying this out. Because of where Neos is as a platform, we don't see as much commercial interest. There is interest, but we don't see people trying to find things because they don't know where that's at. One of my goals is to act as a bridge, so not just for commercial stuff, but otherwise. So if I know of people that are looking for opportunities, for instance, someone that runs a clinic for people with autism that are there trying to make a simulation for things that you can't teach someone in real life without being dangerous, I try and bridge the gap between this person looking for this to other people that I know who already have the skills and that have built those up for a while. I think a lot of people are building up those skills. I guess the point being is we're not seeing as much of that yet (commercial motivations), but everyone's trying to be primed for that. But that's not always the motivation. Some of the motivation is just because they enjoy creating, and it's like a need.

L. P. - I'll respond to Michael's question as well, because I think for people who are really involved with their community in specific platforms, there's a distrust of people who want maximum impact, people that want to reach multiple people across multiple platforms. Because if that's what you're doing, I mean, you're trying to gain influence or win in the attention economy for commercial motivations or maybe just your own narcissism. But what you're not doing when you're diluting your efforts across several platforms, what you're not doing is helping to build those communities out. Or do anything to help the other people in those communities, because it's like you don't care as long as people are paying attention to you. So, yeah, I've seen hostility towards anybody who will take and take and take but does not give back in those contexts.

L. P. - I’ve always been curious about whether there are, to continue the countries and nations metaphor, migratory patterns for users of platforms, particularly among creators. Do beginners start off in Meta Horizons, for example, because Meta pushes them there, but then after gaining some experience and learning a few things, do those users then move on to VRChat or to Rec Room where the creative tools are more developed and the communities more advanced? What do you think drives users toward exploring and ultimately settling in new platforms?

S. S. - Believe it or not, I have heard so many people actually met each other, either through Discord or through Twitter Space. And it's not even Twitter, but Twitter Space. I think a lot of us kind of undervalue the power of Twitter Space. It's really powerful. And at some level, I think discussions or introductions or touching base on some things happens maybe in Discord, but that would be like once you have the motivation to say, “oh, you know, I want to be part of this community and so I join this kind of event”. So then you know, maybe this person is good, that person is good, and then they start touching base in Discord. Discord could be like level two, but level one now is like Twitter Space. People go there just to drop in, then they start listening, and oh, you know this person makes this, this person makes that, this person makes this here. And then they started browsing a lot more. And then only they come to Discord. A lot of the people who join our community say, “Oh, we heard about Upworlds”. From where? From Twitter Space. One of the creators said, “oh, you can see my products in this platform, that platform, this, this, this, this and post example that”. So I was like, “Oh, Twitter Spaces is a good place to meet people now”.

Medra - Yeah, I would say that I have seen migratory patterns, but it's not in terms of whether they like this new one better or this or that. It's usually band-level friend groups. So you have a friend that moves over to a platform and maybe they're one of the maybe leaders of their group and then they bring someone over or maybe just some people come over to tour and then if they really like it, maybe they draw a little bit more. And then they go to both platforms. I'm talking mainly about a VRChat type of thing. I know there's a very small minority of people that like all kinds of the platforms I see like Rec Room, VRChat, Neos, Altspace and stuff like that. But usually something will hit it for someone. When they go to a platform, they say, “Wow, I really like the community here,” or “This has something that I'm looking for”. As far as sometimes being able to create in there and VRChat, certainly the events and the large community that's involved.

Medra - We're seeing a migration actually right now due to the easy anti-cheat in VRChat. I don't know what it's looking like in Rec Room, but this push to get rid of modders, which certainly there's some bad modding out there, but some of it's to do with accessibility, so it's quality of life and other things and adult and NSFW stuff. So people are saying, “I have something that I used a lot that was taken away from me,” and they're like, “Well, it's time to time to migrate and see what else is out there”. And we saw a major uptick in this last week. Neos went from, because of where the company’s at right now, we saw about like a 200 users online basis to going to 1300 users almost in two days, being online consistently. So that's died down now, but it's staying steady at 600, where I think people will decide to migrate primarily to chill out. I'd love to hear about how Rec Room is doing in that regard too. But basically people are finding new homes and seeing whether they fit there and a lot of that is friend based among other reasons.

L. P. - Yeah, I'll back up that point because I know the same thing happened with the builders in Altspace when they upgraded to a newer version of Unity. Some people were losing functionality in their worlds and they were pretty annoyed and they moved out.

S. S. - Yes, I agree. So they were like, I'm moving to VRChat. And once they experienced VRChat, they just didn't come back because I think during the process they moved their entire world database. But, I think I would comment on a different angle there. Right now, all the creators are trying to find homes in different places, but they're not actually trying to find one home. They’re trying to find many. It's fine because this is what the promise of all this marketplace has. Like NFTs, they're all nested up in different blockchains. For all these creators it doesn't matter. I can be part of a small, small, small, small community. Then I will invest my time according to the needs of the community. Like if community A, for example, is having a build hackathon, they will spend some of their time there and then they would jump to another one, they would jump to another one. They find a bigger home instead of just one place to hang out with. Because now they're thinking about like, “okay, I'm testing, I'm testing, I'm testing”.

S. S. - What I personally see and hear as well from the community is that creators really like the platform that gives them more control of their creations. A lot more people have their own opinions about Horizon because they didn't have control over their content there. Suppose they want to move it to other platforms or even they themselves leave the platform, their creation is still there. The number promise of the metaverse is to have more control. So, people who are coming into this space expect that kind of thing. We actually had some experience with a couple of world builders. So Altspace used to have that policy, to own your content. I think after the whole thing when they changed the version of Unity. A lot more people migrated to other platforms like VRChat, Rec Room like many, many other platforms. And then they found themselves kind of like, “oh, we don't have any of our content anymore”. Then they started duplicating that content like in the background.

S. S. - So even if you leave, your content stays and people get really upset, like a lot of like creators. It was part of the discussion in the community. A lot of people were very upset about that because they feel like, “oh, where is the control that I should have, and I need to be informed about this”. So eventually I think the platforms that are going to be home, like really home, are the ones that give users the most control, or at least more control, of their content.

M. B. - Medra, you’ve been hosting your weekly creator jam for years now. How can people join up? When and where?

Medra - Sure, we have them every Sunday. We have a Discord Channel and you can just come into Neos. It's a welcoming space so people can come in and check out at any type of part of the event. You can learn there and you can try stuff out so I can put up the times. It’s UTC-4 and UTC-19. If you have friends that don't know the language, we do have translation tools too. In Neos, you would go into the worlds and under active sessions, and then usually it's one of the top ones because we always have quite a few people. It would say “Creator Jam”. Like, for instance, this week would be 167 and then you could go into that and you just click join.

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