Increasing attention has been focused on livestreaming content such as movies and TV in the metaverse, while significant opportunities in the near future for streaming more organic, virtually grown content in the metaverse have largely flown under the radar, especially music-related content and alternative game forms.
In that regard, Sensorium XR has set its sights on exploiting the potential of internally streamed content in the metaverse. The company beta tested in August an in-engine streaming channel offering its first Empyreal Parties in the Sensorium Galaxy metaverse with original music provided by virtual DJs. The channel runs 24/7.
According to Sasha Tityanko, Art Director and Deputy CEO of Sensorium XR, the first episode streaming in its metaverse “places viewers at the center of the Meteor Vortex,” a remote location in the Sensorium Galaxy metaverse, which affords “astonishing views and the signature music of Sensorium’s AI-driven DJs Kàra Màr, Natisa Sitar, and Ninalis.” The company plans on “releasing new streaming episodes of other locations inside Sensorium Galaxy, including the volcanic surfaces of PRISM world and the unique interior of the Sensorium Starship, to name a few. Each episode will also feature new virtual DJs.”
Sensorium XR developed virtual artists last year powered by artificial intelligence, and introduced Kàra Màr’s Anthropic Principle album, which was entirely driven by the AI character, and aired on Apple Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud. Tityanko notes key elements that “make our AI virtual beings stand out from everything else in the market,” such as their “social component.” As she explains, “We power all our Virtual Beings, including the DJs and ordinary NPCs, which wander around Sensorium Galaxy, with a unique stack based on reinforcement learning and genetic algorithms. It allows our AI creatures to serve as true virtual companions and metaverse guides for users.”
Sensorium Galaxy is not the sole metaverse injecting gamified elements, including customizable avatars and social aspects, into virtually grown streaming events, further bearing out the existing and increasing crossover between the gaming and consumer metaverses.
“Gamers have already embraced digital content — aside from NFTs, at least outside of APAC — and when we consider the growth in live service games, including investments or acquisitions made by large players like Sony and Microsoft, these are likely the largest growth areas for the consumer metaverse,” says Michael Inouye, Principal Analyst with ABI Research. “We already refer to some game platforms like Roblox and Fortnite as part of the nascent metaverse.” Quite likely, he adds, the streaming of video content in virtual settings will gain stronger traction in gaming environments.
While gamers might represent a readymade audience, Sensorium Galaxy is hoping to reach across demographics to capture a broad audience. “We see our target audience as tech-savvy, open to new experiences, and curious about the whole metaverse concept. At the same time, Sensorium Galaxy is a product for adults,” says Tityanko. According to her, the channel has attracted more than 5 million views on YouTube. “Our metaverse streaming channel allows everyone to get a sneak peek into the metaverse, experience our next-gen parties, and learn what a full-fledged version of the metaverse would look like, without powerful VR headsets,” she adds.
While users can access Sensorium Galaxy through a Web browser, Tityanko expects at least 10 to 20 percent of users tune in via VR headsets. These head-mounted displays (HMDs) might offer users the most out of immersive video, but for Inouye, remain of “comparatively poorer visual quality.” According to him,” This also applies to virtual screens in VR environments, where users can either occupy a shared space with friends or watch a movie in a virtual theater — these virtual screens typically don’t match the visual quality of a typical household TV set.”
And even when these headsets are eventually developed to be able to deliver high resolutions, barriers might remain. “For example, usage would depend on the comfort and willingness — or ability — of users to wear HMDs,” says Inouye.
In between the hardware barrier and the need for greater consumer uptake, streaming events in the metaverse, like much of the Web3 space, remains a work in progress. According to Inouye, “The largest opportunities for streaming in the metaverse will come towards the latter part of a five-year window with the most transformative impacts likely coming in the 2030s.” In fact, “this gating factor,” he says, referring to the low quality of headset displays, “puts the largest streaming opportunities for the metaverse further out, likely beyond the five-year window for the largest market opportunities.”
However, he also notes, “Other streaming opportunities like cloud gaming will continue to grow as customers bundle services and these services reach new gamers. If we further extend the cloud angle to hybrid and pure cloud/edge computing, this is another area where streaming will play a role in the metaverse, especially to make devices less expensive and accessible.”