Beyond Second Life: Philip Rosedale’s Gutsy Plan for a New Virtual-Reality Empire

High Fidelity’s decentralized architecture aims to power the next generation of virtual-reality worlds

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Philip Rosedale, the Willy Wonka of virtual reality, is giving me a tour of his bustling office in San Francisco in August when his blue eyes sparkle with a better idea. “Let’s just go in-world instead,” he suggests. I follow him to a windowless back room. Waiting there for us are a large HDTV screen, a computer, a few cardboard boxes, and two small, black infrared light-emitting beacons that point down from the high corners.

We slip on our beveled, black HTC Vive headsets, and my eyes adjust to the virtual world. Instantly, I’m teleported to a large living room filled with playthings. A dart board hangs on the wall, a jukebox sits in the corner, a craps table stands beside me. Bows and arrows litter the floor. “My God, it’s a mess in here,” he says through my headset.

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