Somnium Space is a blockchain-backed virtual reality world developed by Somnium Space, Lmt. Each piece of real estate in this VR world is tokenized and held on the Ethereum blockchain.
Somnium Space is a fully functional VR platform. The client for the platform is available for free on Steam. Users connecting to the world will currently find a bowling alley/arcade, park, cobblestone walkways, houses, roller coaster, planetarium, and other attractions.
We downloaded the client and spent some time in this new VR world. This article will explain what we know so far about Somnium Space based on developer reports and our own experience.
Somnium Space and blockchain
Somnium Space was originally funded using traditional methods and was fully centralized.
The developer invested its own money to create a prototype VR world, then raised venture capital seed money to develop it further. 500 parcels of land were also sold off in a crowdfunding campaign. However, the data for these parcels was stored in the company’s central servers.
In early 2019, the company started making plans to convert these 500 centralized land parcels into blockchain-backed tokens. In addition, it planned to sell off the other 4,500 parcels in token form as part of an Initial Land Offering (ILO).
The ILO was successfully held in early October. And today, all of the land within Somnium Space is tokenized.
The developer of Somnium Space did not release a whitepaper detailing what kind of information is stored in land parcels. So we do not know for certain that the VR world would survive if the developer were to shut down.
But we do know that ownership of land parcels is decentralized. So if a fully decentralized VR world is the goal, the developer does appear to be taking steps in that direction.
Somnium Space is available now
There have been other projects that have attempted to create a decentralized virtual world, with Decentraland being the most obvious one. But so far, these projects have not been able to deliver a fully functional client.
By contrast, Somnium Space is available today.
Compared to centralized platforms such as AltspaceVR, Somnium Space is still small. There are only a few events held in it each week, and most of the land is undeveloped.
But a user can download the client and walk around in the world.
How to connect to Somnium Space
Somnium Space is available for Windows, Oculus, VIVE, and Steam. To download the client, navigate to the official Somnium Space website and click download client in the upper-right corner.
The installation file will download. Open this file to begin installing.
Once the client is installed, the main menu will open. Click new account to register your account.
Enter your name, email address, birthdate, and country. Create a username and password. Then click create new.
You’ll receive a confirmation email. The link to confirm is buried within several paragraphs of marketing content, so it’s easy to miss. But here is an image showing where to click.
Once you’ve confirmed your email, you should be able to login to the client using your email address and the password you created.
Customizing an avatar
In Somnium Space, your avatar is the representation of you in the world. You can change your avatar’s color, body shape, face type, hair, apparel, and hat.
When you’re done customizing your avatar, click enter SomniumSpace in the lower-right corner to start exploring the world.
Somnium Space exploration
We logged into Somnium Space and spent some time looking around. This is what we found.
Bowling Alley/Arcade Hall
The bowling alley can be found near where your avatar first spawns. The sign on the front says Arcade Hall.
There is a bar near the front entrance. To the left is the familiar row of screens used to display scores in matches.
When we first arrived, the place was deserted. There was no one working the counter and no customers.
However, we did find a sign elsewhere that advertised an 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. PST weekly bowling tournament. So the place should be busy around that time.
If you’re not into bowling, there’s also a set of single-player basketball hoop shooting games downstairs.
Across from the bowling alley is the Somnium Mall. On the top floor is a Sony avatar store, as well as a teleportation system and movie theater.
Sony is selling Smurf and Spider-Man avatars, among others. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find an employee to ask them how much these cost. But they certainly look great.
Around the corner from the mall is a colorful concert hall. It looks like a great venue for a rave or a 1960’s psychedelic rock concert.
Roads and shops
Near the concert hall are a few cobblestone roads that branch off in different directions. Shops and/or houses line these roads, although none of the shops can be entered.
Down one of these roads is a park that contains several benches and a fountain. It’s probably a nice place to sit and talk with that friend you just met at the bowling alley.
Near the mall and bowling alley is the Somnium Space Planetarium. Inside, the planets and stars can be seen in all of their glory.
Somnium Space events
When we visited Somnium Space, we couldn’t find a single person to talk to. But we did find billboards advertising weekly events.
If you would like to socialize with others in Somnium Space, these events will probably be the best place to find them.
Here is a list of weekly events in Somnium Space.
Disco open mic night
This event is held in the concert hall every Wednesday from 2-4 p.m. PST (5-8 EST).
It’s not just karaoke. It’s disco karaoke. So depending on your musical tastes, you may want to participate…or just stay as far away as you possibly can.
Competitive climbing competition
Want to test your strength against others? Participate in the competitive climbing competition. This event is held in the Ancient Tower each Saturday from 2-4 p.m. PST (5-8 EST).
As noted earlier, this event is held in the Arcade Hall each Wednesday, from 11-1 p.m. PST (2-4 EST). And if you get tired of bowling, you can always play basketball downstairs.
Future plans and conclusion
We’ve spent some time exploring Somnium Space. Outside of events, there are still very few users at this point. But the platform is still being developed.
The developer plans to produce a “Somnium Space 2.0” interface soon that will result in more realistic graphics. This and other upgrades may lead to more user acquisition over time.
If Somnium Space could ever get more users, it could turn out to be a fun place to meet people.
What do you think of the idea of Somnium Space? Is VR the future of blockchain technology. Or is it just another tech fad destined to fade away with time?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
And if you would like more information on blockchain games and virtual worlds, check out our many blockchain game reviews. We publish new ones every week.