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#RadheShyamOnMetaverse: A Great Marketing Tool, But A Poor Metaverse Experience

#RadheShyamOnMetaverse: A Great Marketing Tool, But A Poor Metaverse Experience

The movie features Prabhas and Pooja Hedge in the leading roles, and will be out on 11th March

The website hosting the metaverse has crashed minutes after the interactive trailer was released

More than 2 Lakh users joined the metaverse within three minutes of the site going live

Radhe Shyam has become the world’s first movie to release content on the metaverse; as the movie, starring Prabhas and Pooja Hedge, recently released a companion metaverse experience.

The metaverse is created and hosted by Spatial.io, a New York-based startup founded by Anand Agarwala and Jinha Lee, that specialises in creating metaverse based experiences for people, such as exhibitions, virtual events, meetups, and so on.

Interestingly, within three minutes of the website going live, more than 2 Lakh people rushed to the metaverse, immediately crashing the servers. It seems that the people behind the metaverse highly underestimated the hype created by their own movie.

However, the website is currently live, and you can access it here.

What Can You Do In The Radhe Shyam Metaverse?

TL;DR, nothing much.

Inc42 decided to access the metaverse and see what the hype was about.

Accessing the website brings a login screen, where a user is asked to give microphone and webcam access to the metaverse. There is also an option to proceed without the microphone and webcam access, and that is helpful for some incognito browsing in the metaverse. If you give the metaverse access to your camera, you can be there in real-time, with your real-time image present by your avatar.

The metaverse allows a user to create an avatar, and enter the world. There are no elaborate ways you can edit your avatar; the website will assign a random avatar, which can walk and talk. The avatar is in the first-person perspective, to give an immersive experience.

The user is transported to a dock, where a cruise ship is docked, aptly called ‘Radhe Shyam’. Apparently, in the movie, there is a ship that plays a crucial role in the story, but according to the trailer, it is a container ship. So, not really sure why there is a cruise ship.

Then, the user can enter the ship via a bridge, and travel to the top of the ship, where there is a large screen that plays the actual trailer, released on YouTube. Though when we accessed the metaverse, it displayed just a static image of Prabhas.

The users can also communicate with others in the metaverse and walk around with the help of the arrow keys and the mouse scroll. To turn, one has to click, hold, and drag. Though, it could have been calibrated to the movement of the mouse, as is done in FPS games.

When we accessed the metaverse, there were 45 other people there as well, but the rendering was on the poor side of things. It really took a while to render all the digital assets, and the avatars were missing a pair of legs – quite an avant-garde experience.

There is nothing else one can do, really. The ship is doomed to be docked forevermore, and after moving around the ship, which takes under a minute, you can choose to interact with other users within the metaverse.

Is It All A Marketing Gimmick?

Notably, Radhe Shyam has become the first movie in the world to have created a virtual experience for the viewers. While it is being seen as a great marketing tool to generate hype around the movie – the metaverse is making its public debut – the experience is anything but.

However, treat it like a novelty or otherwise, it has surely generated a great buzz for the movie. For the last couple of days, it has been among the top trends on Twitter India – given that we are in the middle of a conflict in Europe after eight decades, that is something.

This is, however, not the first time that Indian pop culture has dipped its toes in the Metaverse. 

On 26th January, the Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi became the first Indian artist to perform in the Metaverse on the occasion of India’s 73rd Republic Day. Mehndi took the stage in a metaverse created by Partynite Metaverse for over 14 minutes.

On 28th February, VoD platform ALTBalaji launched a fantasy-based metaverse game for its reality show Lock Upp, where users could have their own experience of the reality TV show.

Around the same time, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and Tech Mahindra, three of India’s largest IT companies, have announced their interpretations of the metaverse.

Metaverse has fast become a rapidly used buzzword in technology and entertainment circles, and while a part of the attention it gets is understandable, right now, the technology just has not caught up with the experiences being imagined and envisioned by everyone.

Note: We at Inc42 take our ethics very seriously. More information about it can be found here.