High Fidelity (company)

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High Fidelity
TypePrivate
Founded2013
Headquarters,
USA
Key people
Philip Rosedale
Websitehighfidelity.com

High Fidelity is an American social virtual reality company headquartered in San Francisco.[1]

Company[edit]

High Fidelity was founded in April 2013 by Second Life founder and former CEO Philip Rosedale, Ryan Downe Karpf, and Irena Freidrica Heiberger. The company was formed to create a next-generation virtual reality platform featuring low latency, spatialized 3D audio, high-detail environments, realistic avatars, and a working economy built on blockchain.[2][3]

High Fidelity raised 2.4 million dollars in early 2013,[4] led by True Ventures and Google Ventures. In 2015, it raised an additional 11 million dollars from Vulcan Capital,[5] and in December 2016, it raised another 22 million dollars in an investment round let by IDG Capital and Breyer Capital.[6] In June 2018, it raised 35 million dollars. The round was led by blockchain investment firm Galaxy Digital Ventures, which invested $20 million from its Galaxy EOS Ecosystem Fund. Other new investors included Blockchain Capital. Existing investors Breyer Capital, IDG Capital Partners, and Vulcan Capital also participated.[7]

Products[edit]

High Fidelity provides a virtual reality platform for users to create, deploy, visit, and interact with virtual worlds along with other users. These virtual spaces can host up to 500 people at once.[8] The software is free and open source.[9] It can be used with most VR headsets[10] or a traditional monitor in desktop mode.[11]

To promote commerce and protect content from forgery, digital assets in High Fidelity are certified on High Fidelity's blockchain-based Digital Asset Registry (DAR),[12] which gives each item a unique fingerprint and provides a decentralized, publicly auditable ledger of transactions. Users can buy and sell virtual goods and services using High Fidelity's stablecoin cryptocurrency, High Fidelity Coin (HFC).[13]

On April 27, 2016, High Fidelity entered open beta.[14]

In July 2017, High Fidelity ordered six episodes of a VR talk-show titled Glitched: A VR Talk Show from Studio Capon[15] and followed up with a weekly streamed dance party series in VR with DJ Tha Phlash.[16]

In 2018, High Fidelity staged a speaker series featuring VR conversations between High Fidelity CEO Philip Rosedale and academics, futurists, and VR experts such as Jeremy Bailenson,[17] Courtney Cogburn,[18] Peter Diamandis,[19] and Jessica Outlaw.[20]

In November 2018, High Fidelity hosted FUTVRE LANDS, the first music and entertainment festival hosted completely in VR.[21] The four-hour event brought together 466 avatars from 47 countries and included live entertainment from actors, artists, and musicians across multiple stages in a virtual festival venue. High Fidelity advisor Thomas Dolby performed a live concert set.[22] Other attractions included live art, bingo, trivia, and limited-edition festival merchandise to buy and download from High Fidelity's marketplace.[23]

Plans for gatherings on the High Fidelity platform to use virtual reality were scrapped by the beginning of 2019, and the platform became audio-only. Users appear as dots in a birds-eye view of a space, and can move their dots around the space to have conversations with individuals or groups. Audio is spatialized, so that users will hear other users at different volumes depending on their relative locations within the space.[24]

In March 2019, High Fidelity hosted Multi-Con, a comic con inspired VR event featuring cosplay, fanart, and celebrity panelists.[25] Kari Byron, Tory Belleci, and Grant Imahara, the stars of Emmy-nominated MythBusters, hosted a panel and shared stories from MythBusters with the audience.[26][27] James Arnold Taylor, voice actor of Fred Flintstone and Obi-Wan, debuted his show “Talking to Myself” in VR at Multi-Con.[28]

In May 2019, High Fidelity announced it would focus its efforts on an application for remote and distributed teams.[29] The yet-to-be-named application, accessible through both desktop mode[30] and VR,[31] provides a virtual space where people can collaborate using High Fidelity's spatialized 3D audio and realistic avatars.[32]

Interest in High Fidelity's virtual meeting platform ballooned during the COVID-19 pandemic.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Melnick, Kyle (8 November 2018). "Social VR Platform 'High Fidelity' Announces Its First VR Festival". VRScout.
  2. ^ Kushner, David. "Beyond Second Life: Philip Rosedale's Gutsy Plan for a New Virtual-Reality Empire". IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  3. ^ Ha, Anthony (2013-04-19). "True Ventures Confirms Investment In Second Life Founder Philip Rosedale's New Startup High Fidelity". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  4. ^ Rao, Lenna (2013-04-04). "Second Life Founder Raises $2.4M For New Stealth Startup, High Fidelity". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  5. ^ Russell, Kyle. "High Fidelity Raises $11M To Build Deployable Virtual Worlds". TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  6. ^ Lang, Ben. "VR Metaverse Company High Fidelity Raises $22 Million in New Funding". Road to VR. Road to VR. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  7. ^ Hayden, Scott (2018-06-28). "High Fidelity Raises $35M Series D Financing to Further Develop Social Platform & Blockchain Tech". Road to VR. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  8. ^ "High Fidelity Presents FUTVRE LANDS Virtual Reality Festival". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  9. ^ James, Paul. "Watch: 'High Fidelity' Live Demo at SVVR 2016, Beta Client Access Available Now". Road to VR. Road to VR. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Use Your VR Equipment — High Fidelity Documentation". docs.highfidelity.com. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  11. ^ "Install High Fidelity — High Fidelity Documentation". docs.highfidelity.com. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  12. ^ Carbotte, Kevin (2017-12-06). "High Fidelity Introduces Blockchain-Backed Digital Asset Registry, Economy". Tom's Hardware. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  13. ^ James Au, Wagner. "High Fidelity's Stable, User-Friendly Blockchain-Based Cryptocurrency Now Exchangeable for US Dollars". New World Notes. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  14. ^ Durbin, Joe. "High Fidelity Social VR Beta Released". UploadVR. UploadVR. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  15. ^ Schultz, Ryan. "Glitched: A VR Talk Show Set in Virtual Reality". Ryan Shultz. Ryan Schultz. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  16. ^ Takahashi, Dean. "The DeanBeat: High Fidelity takes us dancing in a virtual reality club". VentureBeat. VentureBeat. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  17. ^ Seeing Climate Change Through VR with Jeremy Bailenson and Philip Rosedale, retrieved 2019-08-22
  18. ^ Face-to-Face with Courtney Cogburn and Philip Rosedale - Can VR Make Us Less Racist?, retrieved 2019-08-22
  19. ^ Peter Diamandis and Philip Rosedale Talk About the Future of VR — in VR, retrieved 2019-08-22
  20. ^ Jessica Outlaw and Philip Rosedale Talk About Facilitating Positive VR Experiences, retrieved 2019-08-22
  21. ^ Spring 2019, Jeanette Der Bedrosian / Published (2019-03-18). "Thomas Dolby headlines FUTVRE LANDS, first-ever virtual reality festival". The Hub. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  22. ^ James Au, Wagner. "Thomas Dolby, Pop Star & VR Enthusiast, To Perform Live in High Fidelity". New World Notes. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  23. ^ Rogers, Sol. "Are VR And AR The Future Of Live Events?". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  24. ^ a b Russell, Anna (September 17, 2020). "Zoom Fatigue and the New Ways to Party". The New Yorker.
  25. ^ Melnick, Kyle (2019-03-09). "High Fidelity's Multi-Con VR Event Will Feature $10K Avatar Contest". VRScout. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  26. ^ Byron, Kari (2019-03-16). "This whole experience is a wild ride. Please come share it with us! @ToryBelleci was laughing like crazy walking through the festival grounds. Maybe @grantimahara will do an #incognito walk just like #ComicCon". @KariByron. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  27. ^ Imahara, Grant (2019-03-15). "Doing a run through in VR with @KariByron & @ToryBelleci for our #MultiConVR Festival panel tomorrow at 10am on @HighFidelityVR. Join us! It's FREE and you don't need #VR". @grantimahara. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  28. ^ "James Arnold Taylor's Talking to Myself The Podcast: The JATcast Ep 021". jatactor.libsyn.com. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  29. ^ Hayden, Scott (2019-05-08). "'High Fidelity' Refocuses on Enterprise Market, Lays off 25% of Staff". Road to VR. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  30. ^ "Explore in Desktop Mode — High Fidelity Documentation". docs.highfidelity.com. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  31. ^ "Use Your VR Equipment — High Fidelity Documentation". docs.highfidelity.com. Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  32. ^ Takahashi, Dean (2019-05-07). "High Fidelity VR firm lays off 25%, focuses on virtual offices". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2019-08-22.

External links[edit]