Can a delightfully low-fi, three-dimensional, spatial, customizable immersive space save us from the uncanny valleyness of Zoom conferences? Andy Baio wants to find out.
After the pandemic cancelled XOXO last year, I started attending a bunch of virtual events, mostly out of boredom and longing for connecting to other people.
Unfortunately, many of them were pretty uninspiring, basically just fancy webinars with breakout rooms for Zoom. Others were just livestreams with little room for social interaction beyond a global chat room.
Almost all of them left me feeling like I’d either sat through a long meeting or watched a long YouTube video. Was this even an event? Did I actually attend anything?
In so many ways, this really is a perfect project for Andy, and maybe only Andy could have built this having cofounded the beloved XOXO conference and promoted a truly indie vision of the internet for going-on two decades. Everything about this looks delightful, playful, thoughtful, fun, and just different from what you’d expect from today’s platform mediated internet — the kind of virtual event you might actually want to attend, as The Verge puts it. I love it.
The obvious comparison is to something like Second Life but it honestly feels more like Game Neverending, er, Glitch — in all the best ways. Or maybe the kind of virtual conference Shigeru Miyamoto might have designed.