Sansar Trailer Teases High-Fidelity VR Social Experiences, Open Beta Starts This Spring

Linden Lab released a trailer for its long-awaited virtual reality social platform, Sansar. The video gives us a glimpse of the detailed worlds available to explore, the realistic avatars you can use to represent yourself in the virtual world, and the tools available to create your own experiences.

We first caught wind of Sansar from Linden Lab in September 2015 (then known as “Project Sansar”). At the time, we had the chance to speak with Linden Lab’s CEO, Ebbe Altberg, and Peter Gray, the company’s Senior Director of Global Communications, and the two executives laid out their vision for their company’s upcoming product.

Nearly two years ago, Linden Lab started building a product for the future. The company created Second Life more than 13 years ago, and its virtual social experience is still going strong, but the technology powering its backend is outdated and not well-suited for emerging technologies such as VR. Sansar is Linden Lab’s answer to the shortcomings of Second Life’s antiquated platform.

Altberg envisioned an open platform that would democratize the creation of virtual reality “simulators.” The platform would include tools for creators to make and sell virtual assets, which would, in turn, be purchased by people who wish to build something interesting, but lack the time or skill to create 3D objects. Linden Lab would take a cut of the digital marketplace sales, and it would sell “land” to people who wish to host VR simulations.

Even in 2015, Linden Lab was surprisingly accurate in its launch projections. Altberg told us that Sansar would launch in open beta “before the end of 2016.” The company missed the target, but not by much. By February 2016, Linden Lab released the first images of Sansar. In April, the company began accepting applications from creators who were interested in working with the Sansar platform. In August, the company announced that the first round of creators was selected and invited to build assets and experiences for Sansar’s “early 2017 release.”

During CES 2017, Linden Lab finally revealed details about Sansar that proved the company is serious about the platform’s imminent launch. We saw the first video footage of Sansar, and its editing tools. We also had the chance to speak with Altberg again, at which time he explained the platform’s Sansar Dollar monetization system.

The latest video reveals more about Sansar than we’ve ever known before. Linden Lab selected scenes that highlight the visual fidelity offered by the Sansar platform. The avatars are more realistic than any social VR application we’ve encountered so far, and the environments are rich with detail and color.

The video also highlights a selection of assets that are already available to creators from the Sansar Store, as well as a glimpse of the selection of virtual simulators available for you to visit.

Linden Lab hasn’t yet revealed Sansar's official launch date. The company is currently running the invite-only creator preview, but the open beta isn’t far off. The end of the trailer indicates that the Sansar open beta is scheduled for “spring 2017.” Spring officially starts on March 20, which means that in three months or less, you’ll be able to explore what Sansar has to offer. For now, enjoy the teaser.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years. 

  • jwcrellin
    insert best answer here. lol looks like a cool bit of vr tech.
  • jaber2
    2nd life vr?
  • bit_user
    If they were smart, this would be a cross between Steam and a virtual meeting/play space, like some of the others we've seen. You could buy assets, you could pay for virtual experiences (i.e. games, simulations, 3D movies, etc.), or you could just login to hang out with your friends in some public spaces or their "rooms".

    it would sell “land” to people who wish to host VR simulations.
    I always hated the virtual realestate play, in 2nd Life. I hope they don't really mean "land", in the Euclidean world sense, but rather a virtual room that you can visit and leave stuff.

    Anyway, this doesn't seem as ridiculous to me as 2nd life did. If they're reasonable about it, I wish them luck. I hope they have deep pockets, because I don't see this being profitable for a while.
  • alidan
    What we could use, and let me VERY loosley use the word use here, is a 3d avatar chat program, not a world you can modify, not a place you can import you own models to, but a program that has some physics, ability to share images, and talk to be people. think table top simulator if it had some face tracking and voice chat.

    I could see such a program overtaking google hangout.

    but this can not be made by the second life people, they took an interesting concept and made it unusable.