Avatar-based events platform SoCrwd arrives in Malaysia
By Tan Jee Yee May 28, 2021
- Created by Adnology Labs and Magnus Games
- Gamifies events experience with avatars, reward points, interactables, sociables
I WAS there when IMVU first came about in the mid-2000s, promising a virtual chatroom where everyone can digitally hang out in the form of virtual avatars.
It was fascinating, if not a little odd – it felt like roaming an MMORPG with no monsters to kill, though it does make online discussions on coursework a little less boring, since there’s a 3D pool to lounge in.
But I dropped out after a week.
But as it turns out, IMVU is still very much a thing. In fact, the Covid-19 pandemic has afforded more growth to the online metaverse and social networking site. According to Vogue, it grew by 44% over the past year, attracting 7 million active users a month.
There’s big money in it too. IMVU claims Its virtual store features 50 million items made by over 200,000 creators, handling US$14 million worth transactions each month. In May, it has spearheaded a digital runway show headlined by real-world labels.
Through this lens, the newly-introduced SoCrwd sounds like a fascinating proposition. The Malaysian-made application features an avatar-based virtual world with fully customisable characters and environments built to mimic life in the real world, so far, so IMVU.
SoCrwd, however, positions itself as a virtual platform created specifically for public events to take place in a more creative manner, said chief executive officer of Adnology Labs Ken Chai.
“More than a year has gone by since Covid-19 first started and the pandemic has affected many brands globally with many live events, both major and minor, either being called-off or postponed,” Chai says in a statement.
“This created a market gap for the requirements of a virtual event platform and this is where SoCrwd comes in,” explains Chai, who is also SoCrwd’s creator.
Chai says the creation of a virtual world application creates endless possibilities for marketing efforts, campaigns and events without the worry of the current circumstances and violating SOPs, whilst benefiting brands and consumers.
“SoCrwd hopes to provide brands, businesses and talents the necessary tools to not only sustain, but to grow as well,” says Chai
Chai believes that Malaysian brands have yet to tap into the gamification and marketing aspects of virtual worlds, a gap he hopes to bridge by gamifying the events experience with the addition of avatars, points, interactables and sociables.
The social features of the application allow consumers to connect with other users so, for example, you can meet with friends, attend virtual events, or even virtually visit a branded concept store, amongst others.
The idea here is to encourage 'cross-reality' branding campaigns, such as merging online and offline events and where consumers have the opportunity to play games on SoCrwd and reap their rewards through certain perks with the brand offline, and vice versa, according to Chai.
“There are a lot of one off virtual events websites and applications, but what we have built in SoCrwd is a content-driven virtual platform for brands, businesses and consumers.
“We want to create more opportunities for content creators, working with different industries, especially the creative and events industry, to allow for the creation of interesting consumer-centric content, experiences and events that keep consumers coming back for more,” says Chai.
SoCrwd is the brainchild of two entities: the aforementioned Adnology Labs, a branding and execution-based marketing firm known for bringing the Artbox pop-up market; and Magnus Games Studio, the Malaysian indie game developer behind Re: Legend.
“When presented the idea by Adnology Labs, we were sold and knew that we had to develop SoCrwd for both businesses and consumers,” said DC Gan, managing director of Magnus Games Studio.
“As both, a gamer and game developer, we were determined to design the platform with loads of fun elements injected into it to prevent it from being dull and boring.”
According to Chai, SoCrwd isn’t a temporary solution for events, but a complement to on-ground social events in the future.
“We will continuously work on developing the platform as we go on to make sure that we provide new and improved features with every learning and discovery we come across,” Chai says.
SoCrwd is available to both iOS and Android users in Malaysia now. The application can be downloaded at no cost, and Chai says there are no in-app purchases involved to join and participate in the public spaces of the virtual world.
Users can login and complete daily missions for coins, customise their avatars, host public and private rooms and join public spaces. More features will be added in phases.
In the near future, SoCrwd is looking to explore neighbouring countries.
More information can be found here.
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