The very first Somnium Connect conference was held in Prague on December 20th, and the Somnium Times was there. The event was packed with exciting announcements from Somnium Space and presentations by partners and community members alike. This is the story of how a small VR startup grew into a major player forging the future of the Metaverse, staying 100% true to their vision to build an open, persistent VR platform with unparalleled immersion and open-ended utility. It is also the story about the future where Somnium Space – together with their partners – will push the limits to deliver products and features that will benefit the creative community.
Prague is beautiful. With historic buildings and narrow, winding, cobblestone streets, it’s a place where time seems to stand still. And then again, right there, surrounded by all that history, history is being made by a company that from humble beginnings has grown into a massive force: Somnium Space.
Ever since Facebook morphed into Meta, people talk about the Metaverse. But there is little substance to be found in the seemingly never ending stream of (mostly investment) articles and videos dedicated to the subject. Even Meta-Mark had little tangible to show. What a contrast with Somnium Space, which already is (and has been for quite some time) a fully-fledged VR platform where people socialize, play, build and make money.
During the conference, Artur Sychov, founder and CEO of Somnium Space, dedicated some time to go over the early beginnings, the subsequent expansion and where the company is today (before diving into the plans for the future). And the achievements are nothing less than impressive. Let’s share a few numbers in no particular order.
$500,000+ is the revenue avatar creators have generated in 2021 (using the Somnium Space Avatar SDK)
$11M+ is the total transaction volume across 5 Somnium Space Land Offerings, of which $7M+ was transacted during the TLO in November/December 2021.
$2M+ of the transaction volume in 2021 (across Road2TLO and TLO) was in Somnium CUBEs.
40+ community members pitched their business ideas during a Somnium Space Creators Fund event. Somnium Space funded projects and initiatives with $60K+ in Somnium Cubes.
A metric that wasn’t shared during the conference, but which we will add here:
500+ official meetings and events were organized in VR in Somnium Space in 2021. From daily meetups and dev meetings to concerts, disco nights, art exhibitions, grand openings, reveal events, game and e-sport events and much more. Note that this number does not include the numerous spontaneous meetups that people organized in VR, 2D and Somnium WEB.
There are other metrics we could have listed, but what shines through in all the numbers is that the platform is a virtual reality wonderworld for creators. Somnium Space has provided the platform and tools to be creative, and creators have used them to push themselves, the platform and the community to new heights. Avatar and WORLD creators, DJs, singers, (pole) dancers, artists, architects, they all find that Somnium is a great VR platform on which they can unleash their creativity.
The most anticipated parts of the conference were the plans for 2022 and beyond and one of the most exciting initiatives is the Somnium Space VR headset of which detailed specifications were shared during the conference by Artur Sychov. We will have a separate post to dissect all its remarkable specifications, but here we will discuss a few key features and why they are significant.
Many software and hardware companies produce closed ecosystems. It allows them to control user experiences, prohibit use of non-approved soft- or hardware and generally just lock the owner or user, who is heavily discouraged to exit. This in contrast to open systems.
This is where the Somnium Space VR headset comes in, which will be fully modular, open source, modifiable and programmable. Don’t underestimate this. It finally puts the owner and user in charge when it comes to consumer headsets. It will accelerate development and allow users to truly own their gear and not feel trapped in any way; Somnium Space wants you to stick around because they have the best product and the best VR platform, not because you find yourself within a walled garden.
Think about Meta and what their version of the Metaverse will look like. They will trap you, control your experience, monetize your data. We have been there and done that. We were lured into its platform by the promise of free and convenient services. Yes they are free and convenient, but the cost has been total surrender of ownership over your own data.
You have to see everything that Somnium Space is developing in this light. Of course they need to earn money like any other business. But their (lush) garden has no walls. You can freely enter and freely leave. And what’s more, you own your data and your creations. And you will fully own your Somnium Space VR headset.
Creators Fund 2022
Another exciting announcement was the new setup for the Somnium Space Creators Fund. The Creators Fund is a “Shark Tank” meets “Late Night Show” where community members have the opportunity to pitch business ideas in VR before a jury.
In 2021, Somnium Space funded projects for a total of $60K. For 2022 Somnium Space partnered with a number of companies and people, allowing them to raise a Creators Fund budget of $500K. This is very good news for any entrepreneur with a good business idea.
It is not only about the money. As the partners are Gemini, GSR, Chris Bell, MOCA and Admix, entrepreneurs will be able to get exposure, be seen and get funded by some of the absolute frontrunners in the blockchain and crypto space.
About Somnium CUBEs, Investments and Avatars
Somnium CUBE is Somnium Space’s utility token and Artur announced some exciting plans for the future to make the token an even more integral part of the platform. Plans include staking of CUBEs to get access to assets like parcels and WORLDs (hence giving people an opportunity to use these assets without purchasing them), using CUBEs for the minting of items (using Items SDK), using CUBEs in connection to the Somnium Wallet and Marketplace to seamlessly transaction assets in-world and more. There is no doubt that the CUBE ecosystem will expand significantly in 2022.
Somnium Space is not just caring about their own platform and VR headset; they also strongly support a number of companies that – they believe – will play a crucial role in building an open Metaverse. They announced that they have decided to invest in vrgineers, readyplayer.me, lynx, admix and teslasuit. This is exciting news for sure. It shows that the company is thinking strategically. Creating an open, persistent and decentralized Metaverse for the masses is not done overnight. But together with these partners Somnium is going full speed ahead to deliver on that vision.
Community members who create and sell avatars have generated more than $500K in revenue in 2021. This is truly remarkable. The announcement that Somnium Space is working on an Open Avatars API, allowing Somnium Space Avatars to be seamlessly adopted on other apps and platforms, will only increase the utility of these avatars. We expect nothing less than a whole wave of new and amazing creatures in 2022.