BMJ Score: 4.2
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CommentaryAn epic game in virtual reality, VU is part game, part social network, and part social creation platform. It blends elements of Minecraft, Second Life and Simcity with innovative AI technologies that drive engagement. We are impressed with the team, which includes developers that worked on Halo and Assassin’s Creed, and thus already have a strong following. The gaming market is huge and always open to innovation, and the team already has a successful alpha prototype. The technology is advanced and includes effective computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning so interactions become smarter over time, omni-channel play, and blockchain to track ownership of assets and create secure currency within the game. The main area of concern we have is with transparency since their whitepaper is not finalized. VU is disrupting the gaming industry by putting the digital economy in the hands of the players. If they can finish their whitepaper and meet established deadlines on release dates, we are confident that this will be an incredibly successful project.
- How to invest: Interested investors must register on the whitelist in order to participate in the token sale.
- Discount: Investors enjoy a 25% bonus during the presale.
- Eligibility: Residents of China, Canada, and US are not eligible to participate in the Virtual Universe token sale.
- Token Price: 1 ETH = 6,000 VU
- Minimum Purchase: 0.1 ETH
- Problem addressed/solved: The massive amount of funding that it takes to develop advanced VR wearables, optics, sensors, and chipsets requires software that will be worth the price. Most VR games are in the cartoonish stages in that they only function in the most basic of ways. Virtual Universe aims to be the most advanced VR world to ever hit the market.
- Target customers/customer/ segments/verticals: VU will attract a range of different users, providing experiences that engage on a number of different levels. Participation will range from passive enjoyment to active creation. Industrious players will also find themselves able to create revenue streams from their participation in the world.
- Value creation: VU seeks to create a game unlike any other VR experience. The true value they create actually takes place inside the Virtual Universe. Within VU, an ever-evolving story-driven universe, users can participate in a thriving economy based upon the VU Token, an ERC-20 token with a fixed supply. Within the world, numerous opportunities are available for players to create, add, and exchange value. Virtual Universe makes it easy for players inside the game to earn cryptocurrency and other rewards based on their efforts and work.
- Competition: VU will have little competition in terms of blockchain use in the VR sector (as it’s an extremely new idea). Their main competitors include TerraVirtua, Metaworld, and One Game. It would appear that VU has superior funding for their project compared to other startups. They also have multiple unique features that include a freemium model, player profit model, and multi-platform system.
- Market size/potential: The combined Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality market is projected to reach $120 Billion (US) by 2020 (AR representing $90 Billion and VR $30 Billion of the total). From major brands backing VR video experiences, to game companies experimenting with full-fledged gaming, to Apple and Google’s battle for dominance in the AR space, the Virtual Technology landscape is evolving rapidly and it is here to stay.
- Regulatory risks: Regulatory risks are low in the virtual reality space.
- Investor value: Buying any amount of VU tokens will upgrade your account to Pioneer, giving you access to unique items as well as access to the VU closed beta. As for the value of the token, the VU Token is an ERC-20 token with a fixed supply. The value will be based on the availability and scarcity of the token itself.
- Disclosures: At first, it appears that VU put more time into the explanation of the game rather than the logistics of their token sale, but actually they have plenty of information on both. Their whitepaper is a lengthy 63 pages filled with token sale details. They also disclose the amount of pre-incorporation funding ($660k). Having said that, their roadmap is nearly useless at it is only short phrase descriptions with little to no detail.
- Token distribution: 45% token sale, 20% user growth, 15% VU team, 15% presale, 4% partners, and 1% bounty.
- Use of proceeds: Not explicitly stated in the whitepaper.
- Caps: No indication of a soft cap; Hard cap set at 100,000 ETH
- Track record: Virtual Universe has an astoundingly well-rounded team. They have VR experts who have worked on numerous projects such as the Grand Canyon Experience, and they have designers/developers who have starred on projects such as Halo and Assassin’s Creed. The three founders also boast some of the most impressive resumes on the market. Robert Curtis has over 30 years of experience as either a founder, CEO, COO, EVP or other titled position. He co-founded one of the earliest VR companies over 16 years ago and has been part of 11 startups/early stage companies (including a $1B and $60M exit). Ciaran Foley (CEO) received his Computer Science Degree from the University of California Irvine and jumped into a life of entrepreneurship, founding one of the first web application design firms in the world.
- Integrity: The impressive gaming backgrounds of the team show a level of passion for this industry. They want to create exhilarating gaming experiences that will change the video game and VR landscapes. It’s safe to say that the Virtual Universe team wants the project to succeed over anything else (especially since the upper management team has already had much success).
- Ciaran Foley, Co-Founder (LinkedIn)
- Jeroen Van Den Bosch, Co-Founder (LinkedIn)
- Robert Curtis, Co-Founder (LinkedIn)
- Charlie Hodara, AI Programmer: (LinkedIn)
- MVP: There is a working prototype/demonstration of the VU. On both the whitepaper and VU website, there is a video that will give investors an overview of the prototype and live demos have been conducted with individuals. You can register for use of the beta at the following link.
- Token use case: VU Tokens power the LivingVR™ economy as an in-game virtual currency to spend or earn in exchange for unique virtual goods, services, and experiences within VU. VU supports an ERC-20 token (“VU Token”) that allows for the exchange of value on the platform, in-game. With VU Token (a cryptocurrency that serves as VU’s in-game virtual currency), explorers, creators, and entrepreneurs will all have the capability to exchange value inside the game. As with other games currently on the market, players will be able to create opportunities to profit from their own efforts inside the game through the sale of goods and services to other players.
- Value-added: The VU token brings the concept of virtual reality to another level. It allows the entire ecosystem to operate like real life with people starting businesses, selling/buying virtual goods, and even mining cryptocurrency. In short, the VU Token provides a form of in-game virtual currency, which allows users of VU to exchange value in return for their creations or services.
- Decentralization: Virtual Universe will not initially have total blockchain capabilities as they want the success of the game to be proven first before implementing expensive blockchain tech.
- Max token supply: 1 billion VU
- Technical difficulty/investment expertise needed: VU is a massive multiplayer, online role-playing game set in living, AI-driven Virtual Reality. Although the internal aspects of the game will only appear familiar to gaming experts, the concept of Virtual Reality video games has become fairly popular in the world at large.
- Halo effect: Virtual Universe has some prominent past investors in Tech Coast Angels, Wharton Alumni Angels, Pasadena Angels, and Cove Fund. They also have a number of technical and legal partners, but they bring no added “brand value” to the project. Having said that, their past projects include stellar games in Halo, Assassin’s Creed, and Ghost Recon.
- Buzz: The project’s traction is demonstrated with over 17,238 registered users, 13,500 Twitter followers, and 15,600 Telegram followers (as of July 20th, 2018). Acquiring those registered users at this stage of the project is quite significant for a startup.