JanusVR, Inc. is now JanusXR.org
February 12, 2020
We're pleased to announce that JanusVR, Inc. is now JanusXR.org. This change reflects Janus's transition from a corporate entity to a community-run project, and signifies a new focus on our WebXR client, JanusWeb.
All existing JanusVR services have been moved over to community-supported servers, and all accounts, data, and code will remain available.
Why the change?
Unfortunately, JanusVR, Inc. never really found its footing as a financially successful company and has been forced to close. We built a lot of amazing technology over the years, and our community built tens of thousands of spectacular worlds showcasing all kinds of interesting use cases - game worlds, arcades, movie theaters to watch movies with your friends, chill spaces, art galleries, meeting rooms, conference centers, interactive children's storybooks, data visualizations, and more, all shareable with nothing more than a link.
JanusVR started in a time when optimism for the future of VR was at an all-time high, and we aimed to build a system which made it easy even for people with no development experience to start building whatever they could dream up. We saw thousands of developers experimenting to see what they could do with this new medium, and there was seemingly no end to their creativity.
It turns out, however, that it's very hard to monetize social VR at its current scale. This past year has seen the closure of a number of other social VR platforms who, like us, struggled to find their market fit. The sad fact is, the VR market in general has seen slower growth than many of us expected, and even within that small market right now social VR remains a niche of a niche - not large enough yet to support so many platforms all vying for peoples' limited attention.
A core group of passionate fans have stuck with us from the beginning, and we're eternally grateful to them for accompanying us on this journey. Seeing their creations take shape is what motivated us to keep building all these years, and JanusXR.org will ensure that this content - which belongs to the community, not to us - can still live on.
We're not giving up just yet. Many of us still feel strongly that there's a bright future ahead for immersive computing, it's just taking longer to get here than we had hoped, and JanusVR, Inc. couldn't sustain forever. The team at Janus was always aware that this was one possible way it could play out - maybe even the most likely - and that always factored in to how we designed our systems.
To that end:
- JanusVR, Inc. may no longer be in operation, but its worlds aren't going anywhere. These worlds were built by and belong to the community, and are hosted all over the internet, not just on our servers.
- All of our client and server software is open source, and will remain available on GitHub
- The servers we do provide (presence server, JS CDN, and Vesta hosting) have been transferred to community-run servers.
- A snapshot of all of the content on Vesta has been saved, and will be preserved for historical interest on Archive.org. The details of this are still being worked out, more on this later.
- We've removed our native client from the various app stores, but will continue to make old versions available on https://janusxr.org/
- Our web client, JanusWeb, is still under active development and is currently being updated to work with the latest WebXR features that are rolling out to browsers now.
I'd like to thank everyone who made this journey possible, especially the Janus team members who stuck with it to the end. The passion and dedication that they showed - not just for our own project, but for the industry as a whole - is inspiring. If you're looking to hire or consult with people who have spent the past 5+ years helping to pioneer the immersive web, please do reach out to them!
- Joseph "Spyduck" Trammell - Joseph went above and beyond for Janus, acting as the lead developer for Vesta as well as being one of the community's most prolific world builders. He built a huge number of interactive elements which pushed the limits of what even the engine developers intended, and was always eager to share what he'd built and learned with others. He also did a lot of cutting-edge work with automated agents, chatbots, and advertising drones in virtual worlds, as well as a number of experiments with spatialized user interfaces. To call him a full-stack developer wouldn't do justice to exactly how large of a stack Joseph has built. If you need a reliable, thoughtful, positive, and experienced developer, I couldn't recommend anyone more highly.
- Hunter "FirefoxG" Fox - In his time with Janus, Hunter Fox built hundreds of amazingly detailed high-quality 3D environments for Janus, our clients, and himself. Medieval villages, futuristic offices orbiting distant planets, Tron-inspired grid worlds, online casinos, space ships, architectural visualizations, western towns, movie theaters - too many to even scratch the surface! He was always eager to learn new graphics and modelling techniques that would let him take the realism and visual quality of his worlds to the next level, and was always pushing the envelope of both our native and web engines. If you need a 3D environmental modeller experienced with a wide range of styles and content creation methods, check out his amazing portfolio and get in touch with him!
- Allan "Aussie" Parker - Officially, Allan worked as Janus' business development and community relations manager for four years, but unofficially he was the heart of our community for much longer than that. In a company made up almost entirely of developers who were more than happy to hack away on interesting technical problems in isolation, Aussie was our lifeline to the community, and to each other. Always level headed, cheerful, and ready to help, he treated our community members like friends, and our team members like family. He spent countless hours engaging with the community, encouraging their creations and listening to their complaints, and communicating those back to the rest of us in actionable ways. When conflicts arose within the team, it was always Allan who helped mediate and bring us back together. If you're looking for that rare type of manager who understands the technology AND the people, look no further
And of course, thanks to James McCrae and Karan Singh for starting this journey and seeing it through. Thank you to our investors who made it possible. And thank you to our community, who made the whole journey worthwhile.
-- James "bai" Baicoianu
P.S. I'm also looking for a job, and have my own interactive resume online as well.
JanusVR Through the Ages - a look back through 6 years of exploring Janus worlds