In January I published a blog post of what we are working towards in 2015 and called out two important changes to improve the experience for Creators and enable new types of content. Although we’ve written to Creators twice on this topic, we reached another milestone today – so I wanted to share more details with you…
Today IMVU announced an API (an Application Protocol Interface – simply a structured way for two pieces of software code to communicate), enabling Creators and other developers to access IMVU avatars and 3D products that they own, even outside of IMVU’s chat client. We’re thinking of these new experiences like enhanced chat rooms, where Creators have full control of how interactions work in the rooms and you can join these rooms without needing an IMVU client.
This opens the door for Creators to deliver fun and engaging experiences beyond the chat we offer today. For example, Creators can make massive, interactive rooms that allow avatars to freely run, jump, and fly, or build games where your avatar is front and center, the star of the experience. Conceptually, the API will enable IMVU content everywhere – but initially we’re focussing on working with Unity because it has an amazing developer tool set and allows applications to be built for websites, desktop downloads, mobile applications and game consoles. Unity also happens to be the toolset currently powering 95% of virtual reality apps. The folks at Unity have been a pleasure to work with and they understand the value of expressive avatars and the astounding diversity of content our gifted Content Creators have generated.
That’s a lot of information to take in… since images can express more than words, I will share a video one of our team quickly threw together:
Today’s announcement – made in conjunction with our friends at Microsoft, Google, Unity and Amazon – was our introduction to the estimated 3,000,000-strong Unity Developer community (which includes numerous existing IMVU Creators). Their ability to build interactive experiences will provide more exposure for 3D products in our catalog today. We also expect to see collaboration between Creators building interactive experiences and Content Creators delivering customized content best suited for each experience. You can imagine somebody building a role playing activity and needing teams of 3D Content Creators to build the products that can be used and sold through the activity. Much like great meshes help Creators that focus on textures, great interactive experiences will strengthen the market for all 3D content.
What Does the Future Hold?
The initial release of the API focuses on enabling the delivery of your avatar and the avatars of your friends as players and participants. In the future we will add the ability to load a greater range of 3D objects and probably complete rooms. We will also add ways for these new rooms to enable direct purchases from the IMVU catalog, so that customers enjoying the activities can customize their avatar or purchase 3D content useful for the activity. Imagine being able to purchase a special shirt in the catalog that prevents you from suffering from “Icy Stare” in Walk Off, or a key that gives you access to a private room in a mansion.
Here is another video briefly describing the capabilities of our API.
But we’re not stopping there. We have under development yet another new, creative way for Content Creators to bring their imagination to life and delight our community. I’m looking forward to blogging about that before the end of the year!