Then Came XR …
VR gaming has spent the last few years fighting for prominence with mobile AR gaming and more traditional gaming platforms that already hold the attention of massive audiences around the world.
For the most part, XR (a relatively fresh term referring to VR, AR, and other more specific forms of enhanced reality) gaming experiences have waited their turn behind mainline video games and video game streaming.
But here in the future, renewed pushes into that fabled land of immersive XR experiences are coming into their own. In particular, Wormhole Labs’ streaming capabilities are taking a science fiction-style dream and making it a reality.
Into the Wormhole
Wormhole™, to put it simply, is a worldwide social-centric technology platform that merges the real world with the virtual world. Recently, at TwitchCon 2019, Wormhole received a huge number of sign-ups from Twitch Partners, affiliated streamers, and fans.
What Wormhole does is let users teleport, in a sense, traveling to virtual spaces that use elements of the real world and are populated with avatars of other people.
Wormholing™ prides itself on being a unique and deeply immersive experience where players can have a social experience as well as playing games, watching and interacting with streamers, and even doing some shopping.
The platform combines elements of XR, gaming, and digital marketplaces.
At TwitchCon, early adopters were quick to note that the experience feels quite a bit like a real-life version of the kind of fantastical interactive XR experiences we’ve seen in movies like ‘Ready Player One,’ ‘Summer Wars,’ and even episodes of shows like ‘Danny Phantom’ and ‘Adventure Time.’
Popular streamer D1 (username @xD1x) saw the potential the platform could offer to professional streamers like himself, as Wormholing™ allows for travel and interaction without the stress, difficulty, and logistics of real-world travel:
“Being able to stay home and go to other locations from the comfort of my bedroom is exciting. I also think that being able to see the live streams of the avatars will help with discoverability, which is so important to growing on the platform.”
Twitch has been the end-all hub for streamers to interact with their fans and even play games with them.
With Wormhole™, fans will have a visual presence in this groundbreaking virtual space, making it more real, more immediate, and, hopefully, a whole lot more fun.
Among the long list of pro gaming streamers who have already signed up for the platform are Disguised Toast, EE, Amouranth, Pettans, Chloe Lockley, and OMGitsfirefoxx, just to name a few.
What it’s Like
If you haven’t checked out any videos of Wormhole™ yet, you might be wondering what the experience will really be like.
Having already launched a Beta version in more than 100 countries around the globe, the platform is constantly evolving, finding ways to give both streamers and all of their rabid fans a great place to hang out.
Streamers will each have the ability to create their own specific space for their content and their fans. These spaces will be known as Clubhouses, and they can be customized to fit a particular streamer’s style and fanbase.
Fans will also be able to acquire custom and limited avatars and skins, all within the virtual space.
Among the leadership at Wormhole Labs are founder/CEO Curtis Hutten and co-chairman Rowland Hanson (formerly of Microsoft and responsible for naming Windows).
Hutten explained that the gaming community is already starting to pick up on the massive potential of a platform like Wormhole™:
“The response has been phenomenal from the community. People from across the globe see the potential of how Wormholing can empower streamers and content creators and create a new level of intimacy, immersion, and interaction for all levels of gamers.”
Meanwhile, Hanson has no doubts that the platform will quickly become integrated within the worldwide gaming community as a whole by bringing together several key features that gamers already love:
“Wormhole™ consolidates XR, Search, and Immersive Commerce all into a single platform, and combines it with a social experience. The application of the Wormhole™ technology is endless and I believe this has the power to be bigger than Windows.”
Predictions and Hopes
It shouldn’t be a surprise that many of us here at LNGFRM are longtime gamers ourselves. There are some of us who even have 2,000+ hours in XCOM 2 (I’m looking at you, Jeremy in the graphics department).
We each have our favorite Twitch streamers and we’re not too shy to pop in once a week or so and maybe tip a few dollars while we’re there.
It can sometimes be difficult for non-gamers to understand, but streamers, and even fellow fans, can start to feel like very good friends.
Since learning about Wormhole™, the whole team has been pretty wrapped up in the idea of finally being able to reach that near-mystical fantasy land where our avatars can spend time and interact.
In the past, our brief tussles with early-stage VR offerings, from the Oculus Go all the way up to the Vive Pro, have been a bit disappointing. Sure, the technology is still relatively new and not enough developers have dipped their toes into VR game design, but we’ve admitted that there’s a gap present, both in the technology and the audience.
We optimistically see the real value of Wormhole™ as its proposed integration with types of gaming and game streaming that are already massively popular.
Wormhole™ doesn’t have to wait for years of XR world design. Wormhole Labs has already made the space, and that space is ready to accept streamers and fans as they already are, playing whatever they want, whether it’s a slick WoW remake or flash games from 2007.
If you’re still curious about how Wormholing™ will work (and admit it, you definitely are), go ahead and check out the official site, where you can get some more information as well as your own Wormhole™ username.
Who knows, maybe we’ll even see you out there in a clubhouse of our choosing. Until then, go ahead and rewatch ‘Ready Player One’ a few more times.