A logo sits illuminated outside the Samsung pavilion on the opening day of the World Mobile Congress at the Fira Gran Via Complex on February 22, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.
David Ramos | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Samsung held a launch event for its new Galaxy smartphones in a metaverse this week but many people struggled to gain access as they encountered technical difficulties.
The South Korean tech giant hosted the event Wednesday on Decentraland, a cryptocurrency-focused virtual world that users can create, explore and trade in.
Decentraland, one of many metaverse efforts, is accessed via a desktop browser. Users create an avatar which they can then navigate around the blockchain-powered virtual world using a mouse and keyboard — something that isn’t exactly intuitive for non-gamers.
The metaverse is more commonly associated with players using headsets or smart glasses which allow them to live, work and play in a virtual world much like the one depicted in the “Ready Player One” novel and movie. Depending on your point of view, the metaverse is either a utopian dream or a dystopian nightmare.
The event specifically took place in Samsung 837X, a virtual building that Samsung has built on Decentraland that’s designed to be a replica of its flagship New York experience center. Samsung 837X is there all the time but there just happened to be an event inside the building’s “Connectivity Theatre” on Wednesday.
But CNBC, and many others, struggled to find the 837X building and when we did many of us were unable to gain access to it. Samsung did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.
Troubles in Decentraland
When an avatar is first created on Decentraland, it lands in a sort of atrium where clouds appear to be gliding across the floor. There’s a round pool in the middle that has a worrying vortex in the center.
Our avatar was soon surrounded by around 20 others. A chat box in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen was full of messages like “help” and “I hate this game.” One user named claireinnit#87fa, boldly claimed “we’re in the —-in future.”
On the opposite side of the intimidating pool, three large boards read “classics, events and crowd.” An ad for Samsung 837X hang on the “crowd” board. Once clicked (easier said than done), you’re then given the option to “jump in.”
After jumping in, you’re transported to Samsung’s little world on Decentraland and you can see the 837X building. There’s a pizza store next door, but not much else.
CNBC immediately noticed a large line of people at the main entrance to the 837X building. People were struggling to get in. Some users were getting their avatars to jump on other people’s heads as they clambered to the front of the queue but it didn’t help. The doors wouldn’t open and the chatbox was again full of pleas for help.
A rumor circulated that a YouTuber had managed to find a way in, while a CNET journalist wrote on Twitter that they had managed to gain access by switching to the “ATHENA” server. It wasn’t immediately obvious how to do this.
“Many people were unable to actually enter Samsung 837X before the event started,” wrote CNET’s Russell Holly.
“Everyone outside the metaverse was enjoying a strange crossover with the popular TV series Bridgerton at the start of this event, while I and dozens of my fellow metazens were changing servers to find one that worked. Once a server with open doors had been located, the next challenge was finding the room inside this virtual building where the announcement event was actually streaming.”
After around 30 minutes of trying to access Samsung’s building in the metaverse, CNBC gave up and went back to the real world.