ENGAGE, the XR education and enterprise metaverse company, today unveiled its Link social platform which the company calls a “fully featured corporate metaverse.”

Previously codenamed Oasis when it was first revealed in June 2021, the Ireland-based studio calls Link a “professional metaverse,” as it was designed to host persistent virtual worlds which serve as gateways to individual spaces where employees, students and individual users can interact.

The studio published a six-minute first look at Link today, shown below:

In the video, ENGAGE’s Chris Madsen takes us through the basics of the Link platform starting with ‘Central Plaza’, a jumping off point to other worlds and as well as serving as a meetup location for events. Heading through any one of the portals takes you to what the company dubs a ‘Metaworld’, or virtual persistent locations built specifically for individual businesses.

Madsen then shows off two more hubs, ‘Enterprise Plaza’ and ‘Education Plaza’, which respectively organize portals according to business and educational content.

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Link also features an ‘Apartment Plaza’, which hosts configurable personal spaces for anyone who joins the platform, available as a sort of Home space not just for enterprise or education-focused users. The user’s virtual penthouse is what Madsen calls “an opportunity to have friends and family over, to socialize, hangout, watch movies and have a great time.” Besides being able to customize the apartment, Madsen shows off a ‘simulation room’ that lets you launch bespoke experiences.

This follows the studio’s €9 million (~$10.7 million) fund raise last year which spurred the creation of Link, which Engage XR said at the time would be pitched as an “opportunity for corporate users to expand their customer base and provide immersive services at a reasonable price.”

Engage is accessible via SteamVR headsets, Meta Quest 2, Pico headsets, Vive Focus Plus, in addition to desktop and mobile devices. To enquire about pricing and additional features, head over to the company’s website to learn more.

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  • Jan Ciger

    In other words, they have reinvented 19 years old SecondLife, only worse and more limited. Ah right, it is “meta”, so right that makes it better.

    It is a pity Linden Labs can’t get their act together and actually finally support VR on their platform. They have content, they have users, they have mature tools and persistent environment, including events.

    And yes, companies and education in SecondLife has been done too. The fad of having virtual car dealerships and Coca Cola promos has passed pretty quickly – literally nobody cared about it. And here we are about to reinvent it again …

    • I mean, what would you expect to happen? That we all in the field stop doing anything just because “Second Life already did it”? Also current headsets are very similar in shape and purpose to the ones of the 90s, but this is not a good reason not to manufacture new ones.

      Second Life had a technical advantage, but it is not exploiting it. It seems to care only about its hardcore community. So it’s fair that other platforms are built to serve other people in XR.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        I’d expect more in the field to start thinking about providing useful solutions to problems people have, instead of either only focusing on games/media consumptions, or trying to build yet another platform for others to provide actual useful solutions, for a fee of course. The only business model for many metaverse companies seems to be selling virtual space or taking a cut in transactions, things that only work for a few large players. Consequently these metaverse companies will add nothing to XR, only burn lots of investor money and confirm the view that investing in the metaverse/XR is a bad idea.

        I’d be much more impressed if someone would demonstrate a Spanish course on Mozilla Hubs that provides any actual benefit over a book plus audio, which isn’t even particularly difficult. Or a company offering assembly or repair instructions for furniture that you can train in VR before trying it in the real world. The 100th attempt to hype another proprietary version of Hubs that is supposed to enable others to come up with anything useful doesn’t deserve a lot of attention, unless they also offer the tools needed to implement them. Roblox is a way more useful vision of a metaverse compared to ENGAGE Link in that they provide these tools, and Roblox user actually use them to build new worlds.

  • Papias

    Impressive! The avatars have legs.

  • Go Chris, we love you!

    • ViRGiN

      that’s toxic positivity.
      this is borderline scam, and i haven’t learned a single usable feature here.

  • Pssst… hey, ENGADE….. guess you didn’t hear the news but…. “Metaverses” are stupid. Yah, just terrible ideas. Apparently was never a good idea. Yah, I was surprised too. Just a terrible game interface serving no purpose. Yah, I liked that movie too, but in reality, it’s a dumb idea with no redeeming value. Turns out a simple button menu is about x100 easier to use and wastes less time. Sorry bro, thought you got the news when all of the other metaverses crashed and burned. Please pass on the news to the next wave of idiots that try it.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    TL:DR: bound to fail, not because the metaverse itself is a bad idea, but for lack of concept where it could be actually useful and trying to steal the cut that Meta just spent billions on to steal themselves.

    I share Meta’s rather unpopular view that the metaverse is a good idea, will be useful and part of our daily lives, just like smartphones. I don’t think that Horizon Worlds, Rooms etc. are anywhere near that or particular useful yet. I also don’t think that Ready Player One or Second Life are good templates, as these focus mostly on presenting a “cooler”, enhanced 3D copy of reality instead of increased functionality. Our primary use of smartphones isn’t playing The Sims, but adding convenience. Messaging, checking Amazon or ordering a Pizza works well from a phone, while few people find much appeal in turning on their coffee machine, visiting concerts or having a virtual beer with friends on a tiny screen, just because they can.

    Like our smartphone enhanced world I’d expect a useful metaverse to be an added XR/AR/VR layer to reality, where you can blend in nutritional information over your junk food, try on shirts, have friends/colleagues appear in your room, walk around in a holiday resort before booking, or jumping into abstract cyberspace to understand those damn Excel numbers. And occasionally jump into The Sims VR to remove swimming pool ladders.

    Companies like ENGAGE have neither unique creation tools for building actual solutions, nor an established audience like VRChat, Rec Room, Roblox or Fortnite, nor the money to get them. All they offer is another cartoony meeting space with the label “for professional and educational use” slapped on. In game design terms they start with the graphics and the monetization and hope that some kind of game design emerges later all by itself. That may be enough to lure investors, hoping to jump in early and become the indispensable middleman everybody has to pay, but why should anybody want to do that?

    Just like with smartphones usage the metaverse will most likely be based largely on open internet/web technology, circumventing forced fee based platforms. With middlemen only payed to get access to huge user bases they spend billions on building. Looking at EU/US regulatory moves to break Apple’s and Google’s almost monopolistic grip on their platforms, even that might stop being a successful business model in the future.

    We may have a working metaverse in 10-20 years, but think of it as something like “Web 10.0”. And similar to todays online giants like Amazon, ebay, Netflix or Google new companies will rise from doing disruptive things with open tools and connecting to the rest in a messy way, not by launching on closed platforms with proprietary tools and a built-in 30% fee on everything.

    • kool

      I think the vr meta verse and ar meta verse are two different apps. VR has indoor use cases while ar can do both I think ar needs to have a professional platform so engineers, drafters and builders can all have on site input and weekly updates to plans. That’s just my field, I can imagine forklifts, trucks, hardhats and cop cars with huds. That’s the foundation that should be well established before the glasses can happen.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        Our current distinction between AR and VR is mostly due to technical limitations, with AR being much harder and further away from a useful state. It is inevitable that the two will merge at some point, and you simply pick a level of augmentation. The real world would be 0% augmentation, VR probably 95% augmentation, as you still need to “see” real objects like boundaries to prevent you from accidentally killing yourself. Every level in between will also be available, with no clear threshold where AR ends and VR begins.

        We already see examples of this. You can play Cubism and Puzzling Places on Quest with the elements floating in your room over the lowres grayscale passthrough. Some people prefer this partial immersion to feel physically safer, stay connected to others or protect their pets from getting kicked. And Varjo allows tracking real world objects with fiducial markers and then passing only the cutout passthrough image of an object like a steering wheel into VR, instead of reconstructing it and your hands there, thereby working around current technical limitations of VR.

    • – ‘Good point – that VR has to be more than ‘cute’, it has to be ‘useful’ somehow.
      VIRTUALITIES – EXPLANATION
      – From first principles, let’s agree that ALL virtuality (representations of things) has always had the useful function of contemplating, and then better understanding and managing and communicating about, the things represented.
      – Virtualities include all gestures representing things, all voicings, writings, pictures, videos, VR and AR, our entire minds, the entire internet.
      – While ‘in’ our virtuality mode, we also can creating fresh new virtualities that can teach us, and taken out and applied the originally observed physical reality.
      – We already have a very good, huge, excellent, trillion dollar useful value business metaverse of phone system, TV system and the internet. The VR metaverse just makes it a 3D TV experience.
      CONVENTIONS
      – With oil prices over $100 a barrel, there is competitive advantage by using VR for conventions instead of physical travel. You watch – corporations will stand or fall on whether they are awake enough to use that as their profit margin, just as camera companies did by going digital.
      EDUCATION
      – ‘Same with the trillion dollar education business, especially in a covid world. VR immersion, by sentiment, can double the learning retention. You can explode the number of helpful props for the learning (micro and macro, near and remote experiences and people). Mostly the education boom it’s just a matter of creating good courseware (‘many splendid AI tools automate-ease that these days), and giving access, at the brilliant low prices that internet access and broadcasting make possible.
      RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
      – As science increasingly wakes up to the fact that all biology is best regarded as an ‘information science’ domain- (e.g. genome sequencing, AI discovery of new drugs, ultra-high-res scanning of bodies – it will increasingly accelerate adoption of test-experiment modeling in VR. That does require 3D-authoring skills, and confirmation in real labs, but provides the same old fabulous physically-unlimited flexibilities (and 10-1000-fold energy cut) of virtuality compared with physicality.
      THE PROBLEM IS MAINLY AWARENESS
      – There’s insufficient ‘selling’ of such competitive ‘useful’ advantages. I can remember in 1981 helping to introduce the first word processors and spreadsheets to people. There had been no golden trumpet in the sky blaring their arrival or that they were good. Only when we taught people did things rage-fire through our engineering branches, revolutionizing everything by 1987
      – Mainly the gaming industry has caught on, earning its half-trillion.
      – I’d like to see a consortium of vested interest companies (Meta, Microsoft, Alphabet) pay Ogilvy and Mather advertising staff globally to ten-billion dollar creatively campaign to make it happen for the metaverse.

  • Christian Schildwaechter

    Another day… another metawhatsit

    First read it as “metawhatshit”, and found that a very appropriate description.

    • XRC

      I try to keep it polite in public

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  • kool

    I think devs are over thinking the meta verse. I think a more mature version of rec room is the closest thing to a meteverse as we can get without going too far into commercialization .

  • ApocalypseShadow

    I have no problem with this announcement. Looks good. I can see many use cases for open and truthful education. Just like Netscape, IE, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Brave, etc. There should be multiple companies creating their version.

    But there should be a base backbone that connects them all like the Internet where you are free to use any one of them. Again, use should be FREE. Only content has a cost. Am I for regular users using the tools? Nope. Not unless they get a license, provide information on who they are and how they implement their version.

    If you give anyone tools to build, there will be those that build backdoors, and nefarious schemes to screw consumers over. Just like browser companies have to meet a standard of security, these places should have the same security backbone. Yes, there should be sections where consumers can build things. But only in areas that make sense. If they wish to build anything bigger, they need to be a company with a license to build.

    I hope Apple, Google, Amazon, Sony, etc build their sections that connect together. If one of them fails to survive, it will be just like web browsers that have failed to be used. I look forward to many more options built. It’s the consumers that will decide which is best for them. Not gamers commenting that this isn’t good or that isn’t good or this should fail or that should fail. I use Chrome, Opera and Brave today to connect to the Internet. I used to use Firefox. And IE way, way back which is now being discontinued. I don’t wish other browsers not be made or to fail. We should apply this thinking to these portals.

  • gothicvillas

    I would rather prefer a Cyberpunk/GTA style city (or any other realistic mapped city) with little back streets, major streets and so on. A transportation systems, public and private, cars or trams- subways to move around. Each player would be able to own its UNIQUE flat/condo/villa etc, and also visit as a “tourist”. Then taking a car/bike/boat and visiting shopping streets, business districts, or perhaps going to beach to take part in sunset rave party.. Persistent and living world! One place for everything, do your grocery shopping, play games, work, do business etc etc. Thats what I call Metaverse.

    • Christian Schildwaechter

      I’m always amazed that people want to use VR to display multiple monitors, when we use monitors only because we currently need them to display things instead of just having images appear on any surface or in mid air. While in VR you can display anything anywhere, your “documents” can float above your head and follow you around, so there is neither a need nor a reason to limit them to simulated monitors.

      In the same way I am amazed that you want subways, cars and bikes in a world where you could simply teleport to wherever you want, or fly there if you prefer. In our daily lives we are limited by physics, which is why we even use things like energy wasting cars or obstructive doors or shopping centers with limited stocks. It seems quite strange to create virtual copies of these limitations just because we are used to them.

      Why would you want to drive to a shopping center in VR, when you can make every object you want simply materialize in your virtual world at any given time? And why would you want a Cyberpunk themed city, when the world can be whatever you want. Your preferred bar can be covered in blinding neon lights, while the person next to can see the same bar as covered in Hello Kitty merchandise.

      • gothicvillas

        I get what you are saying but then we will end up with some metro style MS windows type icons to click and choose. Sounds incredibly boring and I have no intention to spend my time in such environment. At least not to have fun. Perhaps fulfil a task or two but thats where it ends. No fun. No exploration. Nothing to put your finger on.

        • Sky Nite

          It all depends on the purpose of movement (Journey OR Destination). If you are traveling through a metaverse space with the purpose of exploring, then sure vehicles make sense. But if the goal IS the destination, not the journey, then instant teleport is better. No Man’s Sky the space exploration game would be greatly reduced by instant teleport to all destinations, but getting into a different game mode in Call of Duty would be worse if you had to run to different game areas instead of clicking a couple buttons.