Triller, a short-video platform, is the latest company to stake its claim in the metaverse, launching a new platform called “Metaverz” on Monday.
Triller claims that its Metaverz platform allows users to gather in virtual spaces to watch live music and sporting events, such as the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship or the Triller Fight Club, and interact with artists and other fans.
On October 22, DJ Sam Feldt will perform an electronic set from the Netherlands before dropping into Metaverz’s virtual nightclub as an avatar to mingle with guests. Triller and its subsidiaries plan to host 2,000 events in the coming year, the vast majority of which will take place in the real world and in Metaverz.
“We’re carefully curating all our events and experiences so people understand what they’re doing,” Christopher Taurosa, head of Metaverz. “It’s not like you walk around aimlessly … You get to engage around an event.”
Triller’s Metaverz will compete with more well-funded rivals such as Meta Platforms, which has spent billions of dollars to develop an immersive digital environment in which people can socialize, play games, and work. According to documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal, its flagship game, Horizon Worlds, has struggled to gain traction, attracting only 200,000 users.
Triller previewed virtual environments that the company has spent the last two years creating, such as a sports arena, beach houses surrounded by rippling water and palm trees, and a nightclub with projection screens, laser lights, and marble floors. Clusters of seating areas allow users to interact with one another, either as avatars or via live-streamed video shown in a dialogue box on the screen.
The Metaverz can be accessed using a browser on any internet-connected device.
The company is collaborating with Epik to develop games for its Metaverz platform. Players can earn Illr Bucks, which can be used to buy virtual apparel, create custom avatars, or purchase tickets to events hosted by Triller or its creators.
Triller, a video-sharing app, debuted in its current form in October 2019 and has sought to compete with larger rival TikTok. The acquisitions of live-streaming music platform Verzuz, founded by Grammy-winning producers Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, combat sports brands Bare Knuckle Fighting and Fite.tv, and Fangage, Julius, and Amplify.ai, whose technologies help creators connect with and monetize their fan base, added new content and features to the platform.
Triller recently raised $310 million from Global Emerging Markets, a private investment firm based in Luxembourg, in anticipation of going public as soon as next month.
Triller CEO Mahi de Silva stated that the company is losing money but expects to be profitable by 2023.
Sony Music Entertainment, one of the world’s largest music companies, sued Triller in August in a federal district court in New York, seeking millions of dollars in damages after the video-sharing app allegedly stopped paying licensing fees on March 22. De Silva described the lawsuit as a negotiating tactic for a license.
The Washington Post also reported this summer that Black influencers who were recruited to the platform a year ago with promises of $4,000 per month say payments have been erratic, if not nonexistent in some cases.
“We did have a few hiccups at the beginning of the year,” de Silva said. “But we are 100% up to date.”