Is Decentraland Ready? Lessons From High Fidelity's Recent Dilemmas

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Attended by a diverse mix of humans, robots and monsters, a very insightful meeting took place in a different Metaverse, not so long ago.
In a very open, honest and frank discussion conducted in the High Fidelity (HF) Metaverse, Philip Rosedale (Founder & CEO) and his staff congregated in their VR HQ to make several announcements concerning big changes they are having to make to their platform due to difficulties of operating in the current VR market climate.
Will some of these issues apply to Decentraland, too? Yes.
Does Decentraland have a plan in place to tackle these problems? Possibly.
Can we be better prepared as a community to overcome these issues? Absolutely.
In this article we discuss a few of the problems HF is currently facing in their community, and take an honest look at where Decentraland currently stands with regards to addressing and preparing for these.
Below is the video of the full meeting where some of the points in this article are being discussed:
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Some Important Points Raised

HF closing down all public spaces due to costs and etiquette issues.

Is Decentraland ready? Unknown.
According to Decentraland, all content is currently running on 3 centralized servers, with the view to switching to a more Decentralized server solution in the future. Are costs manageable? Only Decentraland know.
It is still unclear how Decentraland will combat rogue users, although there have been some good indications from Tech Lead Esteban Ordano to suggest that this is certainly being looked at with a high level of priority.

VR not growing as quickly as it should be, so HF switching resources to focus more on browser use.

Is Decentraland ready? Ahead of the curve.
Although Decentraland will be available in VR, it appears that so far most of the focus has actually been on getting a smooth running Metaverse within the web browser. Decentraland has even gone one step further by partnering with HTC to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience on mobile.

HF raised more money than anybody else in this space, but still have a very “small” dev team.

Is Decentraland ready? Draw your own conclusion.
Decentraland has raised tens of millions of dollars, and at the moment there are similar projects which are running and gradually progressing on much smaller budgets such as CryptoVoxels, which is impressively being built by only 1 developer. The HF website isn’t very clear on exactly how many people they have actively developing their platform. It is believed Decentraland have somewhere in the region of 30 developers working on the Metaverse. WIth a budget so big, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to deliver an exciting Metaverse.

Creators not getting the support they need from High Fidelity developers.

Is Decentraland? Not enough.
There is a clear disconnect between HF developers and their content creators and developer community, both of which want to help support the platform in any way they can, often by working for free.
On the surface it appears Decentraland has a similar issue to address. It is not uncommon for developers and content creators in the community to offer their time or help for free, only to feel unheard, become disgruntled and eventually take their invaluable skills elsewhere to work on other projects where they feel more valued… and rightly so. Emails offering help or ideas to Decentraland are also frequently ignored and left unreplied to. These community members form the backbone of the project. Continuing these poor lines of communication is a very big mistake.

Struggling to get more users into HF.

Is Decentraland ready? As ready as it can be.
This is currently an industry wide issue in VR, however, with the Decentraland project spanning several other niches such as crypto, blockchain and NFTs, along with the current focus on primarily providing a good web browser experience, user adoption will likely come down to some smart, perfectly timed marketing strategies.

Catch 22 – HF want users to create content on their own servers, but the platform isn’t providing a good enough economy in order to warrant the costs for users to host their own domain (server).

Is Decentraland ready? Too early to say.
At the end of the day, if very few people regularly enter the Decentraland Metaverse then there will be no way for content creators to make a sufficient income to cover the costs of hosting on their own server, therefore little incentive to create more content. This is where Decentraland districts will play a vital role. We have already seen some large scale and encouraging investments in various districts, such the DCG investment in Vegas City. A successful Vegas would undoubtedly attract more users to the platform, and in turn help kick-start other businesses throughout Decentraland.

Community requesting better channels of communication with the HF team e.g. by way of a message board.

Is Decentraland ready? No.
This is a great idea from the HF community, which currently does not exist within the Decentraland community either. If you have a community full of coders who can code, designers who can design etc. then why wouldn’t you open up channels of communication, use this free resource and reduce the pressure on Decentraland employees to deliver? The deadlines are tight. We are all working towards the same goal.

Final Thought

Decentraland appears to have a handle on most of the concerns raised in this article, and often takes a pragmatic approach when serious issues arise.
It is often all too easy to become blindsided by a project and look at it through rose tinted glasses. The team is surely aware that failure to realise the importance of keeping one eye on the progress of similar projects, and indeed the industry as a whole, could have catastrophic effects on the chances of success.
There are clear and fundamental differences between Decentraland and HF, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be prepared for some similar challenges down the line. The best preparation for tomorrow, is doing your best today.
>> Read more Decentraland news
>> Read more about Decentraland districts
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