Samsung held a launch event for its new Galaxy smartphones in a metaverse this week, but many people had trouble getting access due to technical difficulties.
The South Korean tech giant hosted the event on Wednesday at Decentraland, a cryptocurrency-focused virtual world that users can create, explore and trade.
Decentraland, one of many metaverse endeavors, is accessed via a desktop browser. Users create an avatar who can then navigate the blockchain-powered virtual world using a mouse and keyboard, something that isn’t exactly intuitive for non-gamers.
The metaverse is most commonly associated with gamers wearing headsets or smart glasses that 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 took place specifically at Samsung 837X, a virtual building that Samsung has built on top of Decentraland and is designed to be a replica of its flagship New York experience center. Samsung 837X is there all the time, but it turned out that there was an event inside the “Connectivity Theatre” of the building on Wednesday.
But CNBC, and many others, had trouble finding building 837X, and when we did, many of us couldn’t get to it.
In an emailed statement to CNBC, Samsung said that “Decentraland’s visitors and community have given us very positive feedback, seeing it as a new turn towards a fully digital world.”
He then added, “Unfortunately, a technical issue in one of the Decentraland realms prevented some people from accessing the event. As soon as we learned of the issue, we informed the community via Twitter and redirected our visitors to a new post.”
Trouble in Decentraland
When an avatar is first created in Decentraland, it lands in a kind of atrium where clouds seem to slide across the floor. There is 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 corner of the screen was filled with messages like “help” and “I hate this game.” A user named claireinnit#87fa boldly stated “we are in the —- in the future”.
On the opposite side of the intimidating pool, three large signs read “classics, events and public.” An ad for Samsung 837X hangs on the “crowd” board. Once clicked (easier said than done), you are given the option to “jump”.
After jumping you are transported to Samsung’s little world in Decentraland and you can see the 837X building. There is a pizzeria next door, but not much else.
CNBC immediately noticed a large line of people at the main entrance of the 837X building. People had a hard time getting in. Some users made their avatars jump over other people’s heads as they climbed to the front of the queue, but to no avail. The doors wouldn’t open and the chatbox was once 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 gained access by switching to the “ATHENA” server. It wasn’t immediately obvious how to do this.
“Many people couldn’t get into the Samsung 837X before the event started,” wrote CNET’s Russell Holly.
“Everyone outside the metaverse was enjoying a weird crossover with the popular TV series Bridgerton at the start of this event, while myself and dozens of my fellow metazens were switching servers to find one that would work. Once a server with open doors was located, the next challenge was to find the room within this virtual building where the announcement event was being broadcast.”
After about 30 minutes of trying to access the Samsung building in the metaverse, CNBC gave up and went back to the real world.