Wed. Oct 4th, 2023

Virtual art galleries with non-fungible tokens are the new focus for Spatial, a pioneer in virtual reality workroom software. The news was disclosed together with a $25 million financing round yesterday. It could be a sign of the direction “metaverse” technology is likely to take in the near future, away from work-focused VR experiences and toward more fun ones.

NFT Art Platform

Originally, the idea behind Spatial was to create a virtual office area where employees could don VR headsets, hold virtual meetings with coworkers, and work together by inspecting virtual objects. However, this has all altered in the last year. In the past, 80 percent of its customers were using virtual reality headsets, but now that figure has dropped to 80 percent. Many of these users are more interested in social experiences than work ones, and the company has shifted its priorities appropriately. With the exceptions of Mattel and Nestle, it has ended nearly all of its relationships with big firms.

Instead, Spatial aims to work with artists who wish to showcase their NFT initiatives. The most recent version integrates with MetaMask cryptocurrency wallets and displays a list of all the NFT paintings that a user has purchased and owned. Avatars or live video that floats above the heads of the avatars can be used to allow guests to mingle and communicate with one another in gallery areas like virtual paintings. Artists can sell NFTs directly through Spatial, or they can import 3D spaces and mint the actual spaces as NFTs, which they can then sell. Spatial will enable them do this. At the moment, it only supports Ethereum, but this could change in the future to include other blockchains, perhaps with a smaller carbon footprint.) Renaud Futterer has planned a gallery and NFT launch for today, for example.

VR Workrooms App Spatial

Despite Spatial’s claims to the contrary, this transition could be a reflection of bigger industry trends, such as the notion that people will soon work in a 3D “metaverse.” This year, Meta, formerly Facebook, debuted a Spatial-like service for the Meta Quest VR headset platform called Horizon Workrooms.

Spatial’s CEO, Jacob Loewenstein, believes that this world is still a long way off. “There will come a time when I believe individuals will work together using headsets all day long.” His response is, “But that day is not today.” NFT art, on the other hand, has been more successful for the corporation since it gives an otherwise flat image some weight. Loewenstein explains that “art is quite typically a tremendously experiential medium.” Because “simply dumping anything on a plain old web page” won’t cut it anymore.

VR developers have faced similar challenges in the past, and it may be difficult for smaller companies to fight head-to-head with Meta. It’s also possible that requiring employees to use “metaverse” platforms for a business event is a recipe for frustration. A problem caused me to conduct part of an interview on Zoom when I entered Spatial for a meeting, and I’ve had a similar experience syncing up with others on Horizon Workrooms. As Loewenstein puts it: “In the realm of labour, convenience is truly everything.” When it comes to 3D, Spatial is wagering that the art world is a more welcoming place for individuals to try it out.

By Adam

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