The virtuous circle refers to a complex chain of positive events that reinforce themselves through a feedback loop. A virtuous circle has favorable results, while the opposite, a vicious circle, has detrimental results.
Both circles are complex chains of events with no tendency toward equilibrium (social, economic, ecological, etc.) — at least in the short run. Both systems of events have feedback loops in which each iteration of the cycle reinforces the previous one (positive feedback). These cycles will continue in the direction of their momentum until an external factor intervenes and breaks the cycle.
A well-known example of a vicious circle in economics is hyperinflation. The subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 was an excellent example of the end results of a vicious circle.
In contrast, an Investment Fund based upon a large Token Economy is a prime example of a virtuous circle.
I have spent a great deal of time lately pondering the blockchain and its uses to benefit the universe. I have been drinking from this firehose of Blockchain information daily since August of 2017; however, my first exposure to it was hanging out with Jered Kenna of TradeHill in 2011/2012. Jered did his best to get me on the bandwagon back then and I could see its merits and uses but was too deep into my own thing — at the time I was preparing StartupIcon.tv. (at the time it was called Agora Startup Idol). StartupIcon.tv was like an online Tournament Shark Tank with a NCAA style 64-team bracket where everyone, including the judges, participated via video conferencing from anywhere around the world.
Jered did try and convince me to build a reward system into the online event based upon this new thing called Bitcoin. Bitcoin was around $2 at the time, added a new layer of complexity to an already overly complex production, and besides, we had no budget. As the saying goes — if I had only known then what I know now……
Breaking down the walled gardens of the network service providers fueled the explosive growth of the internet. Removing the barriers to playing together and leveraging blockchain to secure virtual goods transactions creates the perfect conditions to similarly ignite the game industry.
However, the VR and AR industry seems to be making the same mistake by trying to lock in content to exclusive hardware contracts. Creating silos around VR hardware with content as the restrictor will slow growth for both that content and the VR market in general. By opening the ecosystem, allowing more people to interact with their friends over all devices is the fastest way to achieve the critical mass required to create the tipping point, that takes VR and AR mainstream as everyday devices.
Just as ‘the fewer clicks = the greater the user acquisition’ rule works in web design, removing the user acquisition ‘friction’ will increase its Total Addressable Market (TAM), allowing the network effect of an excited user to attract more consumers who are able to join in on the fun.
In the 90’s, users’ expectations of VR were nonexistent. Consumers had nothing to compare VR with, which allowed startups to succeed from just the novelty of VR.
The landscape is different now. VR consumers have their “experience” expectations set by $100M+ development budget titles like Halo, World of Warcraft, League of Legends, Overwatch, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and Final Fantasy.
The Secret Sauce
So, what is the ‘Secret Sauce’ for breaking down the barriers of the current entertainment ecosystem? It lies in the differences between the devices. Consumer entertainment is designed differently than out-of-home; the former is meant to be played for hundreds of hours and the latter is made for throughput, meaning minutes at a time.
Consumer has hardware cost limitations to appeal to the masses, whereas, out-of-home is the opposite, the more expensive the hardware, the bigger the mass appeal. Across these platforms, you also have the differences in types of interfaces: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and standard screen interfaces all have different design parameters. The solution is in “Contextual Based Interfaces (CBI)” for one virtual universe. CBI is a broader concept than just the frontend interface, it includes how to pull off the backend infrastructure — everything we have learned over the last 30 years and more we must invent. Many smart minds will be challenged here to develop this. And that is how we like it!
CBI bridges together how we will Live, Work, Learn, and Play on the Experience-Net.
The SXVU Economy has an experience level structure. The more abundant areas are in the more advanced territories as opposed to the beginner areas which are less abundant. Cities and towns are safer areas than the wild.
Parcels of land derive value based upon their strategic nature, proximity to nearest major city, resource content, and safety.
Fuel and Alloy derive value based upon their proximity to nearest major city, safety and local availability. More advanced territories further away from major cities make supply of resources harder to come by due to the safety involved in transport from refining areas.
Mining and drilling bots can be acquired; however, require ownership of the land upon which to operate. Refining bots can be acquired; however, they too require ownership of the land upon which to operate. Safety of mining, drilling, refining and transporting always play a factor in resource supply and demand.
The more users on the system the scarcer resources become, the more valuable they become. Early pioneers are able to acquire more resources easier than later arrivals.
The SXVU economy is also analogous to the World of Warcraft economy in many aspects. However, WOW is limited to the user base of the PC / MacOS platform, whereas the SXVU Economy will be accessible from a wider variety of platforms, including over 2 billion mobile users. Therefore, the SXVU Economy must be equipped to scale accordingly.
While Bitcoin, Ethereum, Blockchain and smart contracts are relatively new to the technology world, Virtual Economies are not. Virtual Economies have been alive and well in video games for decades. Virtual Goods have harnessed real world value ever since someone flew across the country to meet another player in person to buy an epic sword in Ultima Online. This occurred because there was no way both sides could trust the other would perform their part of the transaction remotely and both sides of the transaction were irreversible with no recourse. The perceived value of the sword had that much draw to the player who wanted it, more than just the money, the prestige within the online community of owning it drove him to spend the extra time and money to fly across the country to ensure the transaction.
Since then, services such as PayPal have allowed for the transactions of digital goods to happen remotely. However, as transactions increased in value and frequency, fraud increased due to the extreme difficulty a 3rd party like Paypal has to prove compliance of the transaction. Yet peer-to-peer digital goods transactions between players are still estimated in the tens of billions of dollars per year. Digital communities policing themselves with Feedback and Reputation systems can be “gamed” as the bounties for being dishonest soar.
Convergence is working to solve this growing problem by basing its CORE virtual goods transactions on the blockchain. Users are still responsible for their personal passwords and encryption keys; however, the process for transferring virtual goods will be far more secure and simplified.
Nanites (Microscopic Nanobots) assemble to form coins so people can pick them up (ever tried to pick up a molecule?) They are also used to create the basic resource bots on the CORE planets of the Silica neXus. These basic resource bots are used in the collection and production of basic Consumable Resources (“Consumables”) such as Fuel and Alloy on the CORE planets. These Consumables will be used by the players throughout the CORE planets just like gas and steel are consumed in countries around the world.
Nanobots will be stored in users’ accounts, along with all of the other virtual goods they collect, until traded or put to use to create resource bots. Resource bots are installed on land parcels to acquire fundamental Crude or Ore for processing into Fuel or Alloy respectively. Fuel and Alloy can be used, stored or traded. Early Adopters through Convergence’s Crowdsource campaign can become first Resource Barons in the SXVU. As the number of users grows on the system, the scarcity of resources will create a natural supply / demand market. Very similar to the ecosystem of the World of Warcraft community.
As 3rd party developers create entirely different experiences on new planets, they may have their own internal ecosystems. However, these new ecosystems will always have the ability to be exchanged for virtual goods from the CORE planets through the SXVU marketplace at a conversion rate to be determined at that time by the community based on the demand and scarcity of the new 3rd party’s planets’ virtual goods.
Contextual Based Interfacesare interfaces to the Virtual Universe that take into “context” the type of device(s) the participant is using, combined with the type of display and other simulation equipment they want to engage the Virtual Universe with (i.e. VR, AR, standard screen displays, simulators, motion bases, tactile feedback suits, brainwave EEG sensors, etc…), we also have to take into account their environment (are they engaging from a consumer location – their home – or a Location Based Facility or Theme Park.)
These factors must be taken into consideration to develop the interface for interaction with others in the VU. Each Interface will bring with it a standard set of game mechanics, policies, procedures, and typical functions the interface can and/or should perform as a member of a larger group with a variety of interfaces. The possibilities are endless as people keep coming up with unique new VR, AR and Sim gear.
One way to look at the interfaces is on the power pyramid scale. The higher you get, the more powerful and costly is the interface. Silica neXus provides the low level backed layer linking the front end interface to the game engine. In this why we can allow developers to develop on with their tools of choice and use our protocols to link to the larger Virtual Universe.
The AR Interface: The base AR Interface will be the smart phone. The Silica neXus AR App will be like a multi-player geo-location experience for driving quests in the world around you. It will also be a means to quickly connect your account to out-of-home equipment. The AR interface will also allow for the use of devices such as the Hololens, and others once they are in mass circulation.
The VR home Interface: The base VR home interface will be based on a modern VR ready PC with an HMD and controllers, such as the HTC VIVE or Oculus Rift. It will allow for a variety of other consumer level devices to be added in the future. This is approximately a $3,000 per user set up based on today’s prices.
The VR Arcade Interface: The base VR arcade interface will be developed with specific partners as they come out with top quality arcade ready equipment. We have several we are working with today. This is approximately a $12,000 per user set up based on today’s prices.
The VR LBE Interface: The base VR LBE interface will be developed with specific partners as they come out with top quality arcade ready equipment. We have several we are working with today. This is approximately a $40,000 per user set up based on today’s prices.
The VR Theme Park Interface: The base VR Theme Park interface would be a full-blown simulator setup. We are currently partnered with MaxFlight Simulators here and are looking for other quality equipment. This is approximately a $150,000 per user set up based on today’s prices.
They are the only company in the world that produces a fully interactive simulator that can perform 360 degree motion over two axes. You can actually experience the G-forces as you take your own craft for a spin around the universe.
Because we’re an independent studio with big dreams for an amazing Cross-Reality Platform and Portal we understand that this project will require a substantial budget to realize its full potential. The CORE IP will take the bulk of this funding and we are planning to build this technology in stages. We are confident we can deliver the AR component of the Virtual Universe without any Crowdfunding support.
The most important feature of our technology will be cross-reality (XR). This will hinge on the CORE and will bring together multiple device interfaces into a single virtual universe. It will also provide the tools necessary for 3rd party devs to create their own levels and worlds.