THE metaverse is a virtual world where you can live out your fantasies, but VRChat, one of its most popular apps, is looking to crack down on illicit activity.
VRChat is a virtual playground, much like Roblox or Minecraft, where the users can build, create, and socialise in a world which is almost entirely unpoliced.
The difference is, VRChat is played mostly through a virtual headset, immersing you in the world, much like Ready Player One.
It’s one of the metaverse’s most popular apps, with over 35,000 players online at any given moment.
With a player base so big, it’s difficult for the creators to control what everyone gets up to in the seemingly endless world.
Despite being popular mostly with children, VRChat has amassed a number of players taking part in unsavoury activities.
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It’s been accused of allowing virtual strip clubs, where married people can cheat on their partners.
Even worse, there has been accusations of grooming, as kids enter these places filled with simulated sex.
Recently, the developer behind VRChat has been looking for solutions to its troubling issues.
A new EAC update placed anti-cheat measures in the game, which helps prevent people from using the metaverse in unintended ways.
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Members of the community have also claimed that they have been receiving legal cease and desist notices for modifying the game.
While the vast majority of mods for the game are harmless – inserting custom avatars, or replicating your favourite places to visit in its world – this sweeping ban seems to be in an effort to crack down on unpleasant activities.
The VRChat community has expressed disappointment in the way the developers have handled the issue.
In a Discord message where one modder announced that they were taking down their server over fear of legal action, they expressed anger at the way VRChat is heading.
They claim: “This is extremely dangerous behaviour by VRChat, and means not only that VRC modding is dead, but other communities could be next.
“As a reminder, NSFW content and activity are against VRChat terms of service, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that could be their next target.”
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Since the EAC update, player numbers have fallen to around 20,000 concurrent users.
It is unclear if the clean up of VRChat will eventually lead to a recovery of the player base, or whether the modding community was the main reason for its success.
Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.
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