Metaverse virtual rave receives negative reviews

Last week, the metaverse hosted its first virtual rave. On Thursday, January 20 hundreds of online users visited Decentraland (a metaverse virtual reality that encourages people to buy plots of land with cryptocurrency) to experience what metaverse nightlife might have to offer. The event, hosted by Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard to celebrate the release of his new Lightbulbman NFTs and featured headliners Prins Thomas, Lindstrøm, and Might Be Twins. The results were not favourable, nor a worthy “celebration” of Melgaard’s otherwise incredible work as a visual artist. His ongoing Lightblubman series, which comprises drawings, paintings, sculpture, and now NFTs, ruminates on themes of transgression, confession, and addiction while the Lightbulbman character has been interpreted as a metaphor for AIDS. 


Alex Moss, CTO of NFTU, member of The Mutant Ape Yacht Club (see here for further explanation), and co-host of the event tried to paint it as groundbreaking with a single Tweet. “This is the #metaverse…” he wrote, attaching a video of the “live rave happening right now in [Decentraland] for the upcoming [Lightbulbman NFT] release by [Bjarne Melgaard].” The video, which shows some lost looking and lo-fi avatars standing aimlessly in space while rave music blasted, drew instant criticism and became the subject of jokes on Twitter which the rave, titled THE LIGHTBULB MAN HATEFUCK METARAVE,” has received an overwhelmingly negative response from those in attendance.


Writing for Vice, Jason Koebler recounts the experience, “I walked up to the stage and about 10 people were there. One or two were moving; the others were staring off into space, clearly away from their keyboards. A video screen where people were previously DJing showed a static image.” The graphics have also been widely criticised, with many calling into question just how much better than real life the metaverse could be. Koebler also noted how the event had visible rendering issues, his avatar having at some point “walked up a spiral staircase, through an invisible wall, and fell through the stairs back to the ground.” Meanwhile, journalist Zito pointed out the obvious corporate agenda of the Lightbulbman event, and the concept of NFTs at large. “NFTs and the Metaverse are such a strong demonstration that money and funding is more important for making something ‘big’,” he said via Twitter. 


The tagline of THE LIGHTBULB MAN HATEFUCK METARAVE read, “F*** everything, we are going full on metaverse,” a somewhat chilling proposition to consider. Surely this is not the future of shared social experiences, or at the very least rave culture? It makes one question: If the metaverse is designed to be an idealised form of reality, yet some of the most essential communal experiences like raves or music events fall short or are vessels for larger corporate agendas, what is the point of it anyway? Drawing comparison with popular virtual reality platform Second Life, one user on Twitter mused, “The Metaverse is the worst possible incarnation of Second Life where u can either digitally shop at Wal Mart or hang out with Bored Ape bros & chat about the price of Ethereum as your avatars stand still at a ‘rave’ with tech house pumping in the background.” 


Watch videos from Jason Koebler’s experience at THE LIGHTBULB MAN HATEFUCK METARAVE below.