Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whether you dislike or hate him, set off a modern-day Gold Rush for people and companies to earn their fortunes in the metaverse.
It seemed, at first, that Zuckerberg would rule virtual reality, as he does Meta and his other social media platforms. He may not have realized it at the time, perhaps to his dismay, that he launched an armada of entrepreneurs staking their claims in this new uncharted world. This virtual universe is becoming widely diversified, ranging from gaming to showcasing NFTs and offering practical uses for safety training.
This new Web3 era feels like the early days of the internet when some adventurous folks started building simple websites. The metaverse today is also like when we first untethered from rotary phones to the precursor of smartphones.
In a wide-ranging interview with Rove cofounder Duy Huynh, he talks about his new virtual reality startup. He did not initially plan on building a user-friendly metaverse. Huynh, along with a small group of engineers from around the world, set up a makeshift office in a three-story walkup in New York City to work on a startup. They played around with a number of different projects until they agreed upon building something for the workplace. Autonomous started out offering cool, modern furniture and fixtures for people before the pandemic, then pivoted to products for the remote and hybrid world. One of their innovative products was a pod that looks like a sleek modern, teched-out shed, in which people could set up outside of their home to work in private. They quickly ramped up to over $300 million in revenue selling to Google, as well as other high-end companies and individuals.
The next dramatic step was to build a home for people in the metaverse. Like many people during the virus outbreak, the team got bored of nonstop Zoom, Teams and Google Meets calls. While recognizing the usefulness of the video apps, there was an absence of presence and belonging. You can only stare into a screen checking yourself out to see if your shirt is dirty, hair messed up, poorly lit and feeling-self conscious.
Huynh and his team boldly figured they could build something more unique, special and fun. Having relocated to Vietnam, the team started to develop a virtual reality product for their own internal meetings. They added 3D to make it more immersive. Avatars are added to free a person from the awkwardness of being seen on camera for hours on end. By having the avatar, it frees you to bring your true self to the conversation, without any worries about how you look or what’s in your background.
The new metaverse they built was called Rove. The motif is you can own a place on a rock that is part of a larger galaxy floating in space. The platform is designed to make it super easy for anyone to create and customize their own world.
Rove is an infinitely expanding universe of user-created 3D virtual worlds. These 3D virtual worlds are immersive, offering the feeling of presence.
The mission is to focus on social, interactive experiences. The belief is that virtual worlds are all about people, how they can come together, interact with one another in a meaningful manner and create beautiful things.
Rove is an open ecosystem. Members can create whatever they want. You may desire to showcase and sell your NFTs, host parties, attend concerts, hold work meetings, watch movies together and network with other people. Anyone can create a metaverse for their community, common interest group, shared cause or for any reason for people to come together.
Metaverse economies are powered by crypto assets and experiences. For instance, crypto assets may be used to purchase items at stores run by other users. Rovers can engage in social, gaming, commerce, work, learning and an array of other activities. To democratize the space, each metaverse is collectively governed by its inhabitants and not run by one owner or CEO.
You don’t have to worry about purchasing expensive headgear and glasses to take part in what Rove has to offer. Without the friction of needing to pay for an Oculus Quest 2 gear, figuring out how it works and getting frustrated, you can just jump right in and get involved.
Rove is for anyone with a vision. The team has wide ambitions to become a version of Shopify, where you can set up and build a 3D virtual store, create an art gallery to sell NFTs or other traditional products. You can engage with your customers on a whole new level by offering more memorable shopping experiences. Build brand loyalty and generate buzz, whether you’re selling NFTs or more traditional products. Interact with your customers in real-time. Easily host intimate and public events.
There’s an element of Behance, as you may showcase and discover creative work. Add on WordPress—drag and drop, no-code-required functionality—which turns your personal website into a 3D home where people can meet with you in person. Creating interactive 3D virtual reality environments is made as simple as applying a website template. Every template can be customized to the creator’s taste.
The use cases are open-ended. Members are free to pursue their dreams or you could just hangout with friends or meetup and collaborate with co-workers in a new environment.
Every website is someone’s address. Rove allows you to visit these 3D homes, stores, galleries, offices and community spaces–and create your own place to call home. Rove is user-owned. Your assets are your own property. Anyone can create their own website and operate it freely without the interference of any centralized body or person. This new universe can unite workers from around the world to collaborate in a virtual office. Attend or host networking events and build new relationships.