May 2015

IMVU’s virtual rooms are ready for social VR

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May 20, 2015 9:30 AM
Dean Takahashi, VB Gamesbeat

IMVU was founded in 2004, back when virtual worlds like Second Life were the hottest thing. They’re not as hot any more, but IMVU has figured out how to survive and adapt. And now it’s getting ready for the renewed excitement about virtual reality. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has had more than 111 million people register over time, and it still has 3 million monthly active users. Those users create their own 3D characters, or avatars, and build static 3D rooms where they can entertain friends in a kind of virtual metaverse.

It isn’t full of interactivity or movement of 3D animated figures like you would find in a game. But all of IMVU is already formatted in a way that it can be viewed in virtual reality via goggles such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift. I visited the company recently and saw demonstrations of the VR environments.

“Creativity is really at the heart of the world for us,” said Brett Durrett, chief executive of IMVU, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We see that virtual reality can be the future of social. We call it social VR.”

VR is going to be one of the bets that Durrett is making for the social world of IMVU, and it’s one of his interesting moves since taking over as permanent chief executive last year. He joined the company in 2005, and he replaced previous CEO Cary Rosenzweig.

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