Does VRChat have any serious competitors? I’ve been looking and I can’t confidently say that it does. There are several popular UGC VR platforms, but I don’t think there is one that is as popular and as open as VRChat. On VRChat, you have a ton of freedom to create what you want. You don’t get that kind of freedom on most platforms. VRChat seems to be in a league of its own without any serious competitors.
When it comes to active players, I think Rec Room is a pretty good competitor to look at. Rec Room has raised more money than VRChat and has a super active community. They even have a player economy, which VRChat is still lacking. Even with all of this, Rec Room is much more limiting with creation tools than VRChat. To create in Rec Room, you must use their building tools and avatar customization. In this regard, it is much different than VRChat. While both platforms have thousands and thousands of active users at any given moment, I just can’t compare the two because of Rec Rooms in game creation tools.
Horizon is another huge platform funded by a giant company. Venues, Work Rooms, and Worlds by Horizon has a ton of potential, especially since its being created by Meta. Though, I have the same issues with Horizon, as I do with Rec Room. You must use their creation tools and their avatar tools to create with Horizon. I like being able to model something in Blender and create what I want. For this reason, I struggle with comparing it with VRChat. I don’t have stats on Horizon’s player base, but I have a hunch they aren’t getting the numbers VRChat is getting.
Microsoft AltSpace and Mozilla Hubs
AltSpace and Hubs are two platforms that offer similar freedoms that VRChat offers. You can create what you want and upload to their platform. In Hubs, you are limited by the Spoke game engine (in browser so its very limiting), and in AltSpace you are limited to the MRE tools in Unity. These platforms have their purpose, which works well. I don’t see these platforms as serious competitors with VRChat because they don’t get traffic like VRChat gets. AltSpace’s player base has never been that large. Hubs is an in browser platform, so those environments must be super optimized. Both of these options just don’t seem to compare to VRChat to me.
Pavlov is very different from VRChat, but I always end up comparing them. Pavlov is a VR UGC first person shooter. With the Pavlov mod kit you can upload your own maps and creations to the platform. This freedom of creation makes it feel very similar to VRChat. Though, its a first person shooter and not a social hangout game. Because of this, I also can’t call it a competitor to VRChat. That being said, I love this game a lot.
There are more platforms then what is mentioned here. MeetinVR is a great platform with very specific tools (mainly for meetings). If you have a MeetinVR account and work with the MeetinVR team, you can upload your own spaces. Thats great, if MeetinVR platform has the tools you want and you are willing to pay for the custom environment. This is just too different from VRChat to call a serious competitor.
Big Screen is another great platform where you can watch videos in VR. Its a social VR app, but there are no creation tools and is used for a very specific purpose. I can’t really call this a competitor to VRChat.
Other platforms like Neos and Chillout are more direct competitors to VRChat. Chillout feels like a VRChat copy cat. They don’t have the player base or funding to compete properly. Neos on the other hand has so many more tools it kind of stands on it’s own. Because it feels so different to be in Neos, I struggle with comparing the two.
All the platforms mentioned are technically competitors to VRChat. A lot of these platforms have a specific use, and they tend to be great for those uses. To me, VRChat just stands on it’s own and it continues to be my favorite platform to build on. It is still enjoyable to create on platforms like Rec Room and Horizon, even though you are limited by their creation tools. Going into VRChat is like walking directly into the internet and no other platform hits that same feeling for me.