Another post about something the few of you who read this have no reason to care about! VRChat+ is the new and very first step of VRChat monetization and was just announced to a lot of hate and a hilarious shitpost filled official discord server. Edit: I wrote some of this right after it was announced and just didn’t finish until the full thing was out so pardon things like me saying “just announced”.
What is it? VRC+, formerly 4chan Gold, is $10 per month or $100 annually for very little in return but JUST enough to cause problems. To avoid getting banned for opinions, I’ll mostly just use random screenshots that aren’t really identifiable, though it’s not like I’ve really hidden my name in general so hopefully they aren’t shitty enough to hunt for people to ban for disliking something…even though they do it in their discord to lots of people! Let’s go through their official announcement step-by-step;
Custom User Icons — We’ve got brand-new nameplates that everyone gets. With VRChat Plus, you can customize your nameplate with an icon you create! Take a picture in VRChat, or upload your own on the VRChat website. Save up to 64 icons to swap on the fly.
Supporter Badge — Show off your status as a VRChat+ Supporter with a badge on your social profile.
Early Supporter Badge — Get in on VRChat+ early, and your badge will permanently upgrade to an “Early Supporter” version. Time to flex!
This might seem really meaningless, especially if you don’t play, but “classism” is absolutely a problem in VRC. VR users against Quest users, VR and Quest users against Desktop users. Nametags already have colored ranks and every color is treated differently by the others – or in some cases, like mine, as a Trusted (purple nametag) User, I tend to go out of my way to avoid OTHER Trusted Users because they’re all fucking trash but the oddly frequent way it goes is that trusted won’t even acknowledge lower ranking users and treat them like subhumans and will just outright pretend they aren’t there or block them purely for their rank being lower and such.
By adding custom user icons they’re creating another issue to end up in the same class warfare situation – and this time it being literally about expendable money you can blow on stupid bullshit. I tried typing out a list of all the various ‘class’ problems in the game but it really got far too long – so why add ANOTHER one? Especially when the last one they added with the user ranks has continually caused so many problems among the userbase or when Quest users – even with the Quest 2 being one of the better and more accessible headsets out there now – are still continually treated as less than others for not having a PC headset (don’t ask me why fucking nobody on quest links it and uses it as pcvr though, I mean they are pretty stupid I guess…) and because VRC specifically ruined the entire game to cater to the Quest making everyone permanently bitter about it? It’s so bad for Quest users that even when I just say “oh, you can’t see me because you’re on Quest” they feel like I’m attacking them at this point because how often that is the case.
This just opens up a situation for more harassment of people based on dumb bullshit. No, not “just” – you can upload images with no sort of screening system, so guess what? It’s gonna be endless cocks, hentai, porn, THE DREADED N WORD, swastikas, and everything else you can think of.
100 Favorite Avatar Slots — Save an avatar for every situation with this massive amount of favorite slots, split out into 4 rows. Collect and organize! Everyone gets upgraded to 25 favorite avatars.
Locking basic parts of the game behind a paywall after claiming they couldn’t give people more slots for real reasons is also not exactly a great decision. For one, this is meaningless if you make avatars (or just upload ones from, say, VRCMods or something you bought off another creator) as uploaded avatars have never counted against favorite slots. Most people who will consider paying for VRC+ probably know how to make avatars.
Second, they have given two official reasons (that already clashed) for why they limited favorites so much. Their original excuse was something about muh servers can’t handle it somehow. Then their next and still current excuse is about how avatar creators complained because if you have a lot of favorites you’d never check their worlds for updates and it would lose their popularity. I’ve known almost every big avatar creator (and world creator) in the game, I used to hang out with the devs even, and not once at any of their meetups about VRC or content creation did someone ever actually make this complaint. Regardless, if it did happen, it’s still nonsense.
Servers wouldn’t have a hard time keeping a lot of favorites, it’s a string of text and numbers – that’s it – and creators worlds are still visited constantly even with favorites but they’d also be losing out with VRC+ existing anyway so if that IS the reason then they’re now being fucked over for cash anyway. If they really cared so much about keeping creators worlds visited then they’d never implement this, and the same goes for servers – if they couldn’t handle it how can they magically do so now? Not to mention the modded clients which have LIMITLESS favorites, how can those exist without one user alone destroying the servers by having more than the limited amount if the servers are so fucked up by a string of numbers?
Increased Trust — You’re supporting us, so we’ll support you. Enjoy a little boost to your Trust level.
This is another problem going back to the class issues in the game. The reason they put the user trust rank system in the game was to keep bad elements from doing things like ban evading and simply uploading more crasher avatars and things like that immediately to a new account. Now they can just pay $10, skip immediately to being able to upload, do their shit, get banned, and chargeback the $10 to do it again. At some point they may as well just let you pay real money to remove a ban. It also means the “shield system” no longer matters that much because the whole point of the rankings played into the shield system which lets you control which ranks have which features shown or blocked by default. Like if you run into a lot of visitor ranks who use shit avatars or crashers, you can just disable all the effects, audio, and even the actual avatar itself just by default within those settings…but now people can skip past that, or skip to purple if they’re orange already. Basically the point is people can cheat the system in multiple ways by just paying, which not only leads to problem users but makes the shield system half useless.
And, uh…that’s it. That’s all you get for $100 a fucking year. A useless thing, a stupid “look at my special badge ;)” thing, and fuckall else aside the problems that brings. So, even if you ignore all the other issues, how can anyone truly justify spending this amount of money per-month on what they’re getting out of it? This ties into another problem which is the claim of VRC “simps” who defend it with the usual things you hear from these types of people; YOU’RE ACTING ENTITLED, THE GAME IS FREE STOP COMPLAINING, IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT JUST DON’T PAY FOR IT.
This isn’t like much else; you’re paying $10 for what, exactly? User generated content. NOTHING in VRChat is made by the staff with the exception of people they pay later to bring on the team so they can look like they make content (and those people make like 1 thing ever and that’s it, and it usually is ass), and so is still user made as these people then immediately stop creating content and are still paid anyway. That’s a bit off topic, but the point is VRC itself is really just a groundwork for ACCESS to user generated content. VRC provides you with fucking nothing aside a couple free Unity asset worlds and avatars that are also free to use basic assets. Basically every avatar, every world, every interaction in this social game, are all content VRChat did NOT provide or create.
Of course I’m entitled to bitch about this when I’ve created 8 worlds and about two dozen avatars and spent around 6,000 hours beyond the time I spend making things also creating ‘social content’ for other users and myself. Plus if they start locking out features that existed already – as it seems they intend to with their mention of dramatically furthering their monetization model – then everyone loses. What’s stopping them from – like other VR social games – making you pay to upload content, for example? What about not being able to enter certain instances or worlds or use certain avatars without Plus? Mindlessly blindly supporting things like this is how things get worse, especially in a case like with VRChat’s staff where they do nothing to actually fix the issues of the game. And I understand the counter which is “well those other games DO make you pay for that stuff so why complain now?” – because they started with that clearly in mind, clearly stated, and most importantly implement it while working on the game properly and the money clearly goes towards bettering the game and regular positive updates that fix rather than break. You can even compare it DIRECTLY to those other games because many VRC creators have uploaded their worlds and avatars to those games as well…and oops, they (especially ChilloutVR) run way better due to proper optimization and development of the base game, and even look and feel better, and when there are issues they get addressed pretty fast. The only reason competitors aren’t defeating VRC is due to VRC being first and so having the userbase stuck with it, but that’s another rant for another time.
This is doubly insulting when you consider some of the staff (Ron) has been caught using TOS-breaking mods, ones you get permanently banned if you’re caught using, and which they’re taking features from for their + without actually working with the mod creator but just stealing their ideas even down to the custom nametag stuff. Modded clients not only unlock a lot of things – some very bad like GPU crashers and such, but also simple things like infinite favorites, stuff that PROTECTS YOU from crashers and malicious things, stuff that makes the game RUN BETTER by forcing it to try and use more than one goddamn thread, and so on. Things that SHOULD BE BUILT INTO THE GAME ALREADY and after several years the staff hasn’t even BOTHERED with.
One of the last points before my two biggest – this one being less important and more of a response to those claiming people who have issue with this are “entitled” and “could just not pay” as I just touched on – even beyond the things I just went over, claiming entitlement or “it’s fine because you aren’t forced to do it” are always the fucking dumbest most unsubstantiated excuses for anything ever. Stop using that as some cure-all for situations that shouldn’t exist because it just shows you have absolutely no real defense for your side of things. I tried getting into this more and then it went into an essay length thing so I deleted it and am leaving it like this.
I had to add in one more smaller point – they shoved in an obnoxious button forced on everyone’s menu that also changes the order of the menus and confuses people into accidentally pushing the button, all to try and force VRC+ on people in the most annoying possible way.
Back to it; one of the biggest problems with this whole thing and most mentioned in the community is that all this money goes to supporting the staff rather than the game (their own words say so in the official Medium post). They’re selling premium subscriptions for a few incentives yet there isn’t a single mention of fixing massive bugs, huge security issues, making the game support basic multithreading or multiple cores, or anything else like that – all they said it “is supports the Team!”. And all the staff has said about it is mostly meme emojis in the discord in response to all the complaints. Which leads to another big VRC problem which is all the staff is not actual professionals in any field but people who are either friends with the staff and who get the job from that or people who are popular VRC content creators who are brought on with no experience for the position they get placed in. Nepotism which all this money is going to, just like the HTC and Valve money, rather than towards real staff and real fixes for real issues.
That’s a big thing too; unlike the competition, VRChat is the ONLY social VR game that was given FIFTEEN MILLION DOLLARS from the start and given little stimulus boosts of millions (I say “little” but just last year they got 10 million more dollars!) from Oculus and Valve as well throughout their development…and done fuckall with it. These competitors MUST charge as they aren’t being given a free ride, and yet they actually WORK FOR THAT MONEY, while VRC devs got millions upon millions that have no explanation of where the money went – as it certainly did not go towards bettering the game.
The second biggest concern is the payment itself. VRChat is NOTORIOUSLY lacking in security of your information – how can anybody trust them with credit card data when even the most basic shit is not protected properly? A single sentence is enough for that issue, however it seems like the payment might go through Steam so maybe it’s fine.
I’ve supported this game in multiple ways including playing it myself for over 6,000 hours of my life now – that’s more than pretty near EVERYONE ELSE on the game, I am literally one of the highest hour players of this fucking game (especially if you consider the fact those were basically all real playing hours and not sleeping in VR which is how most people rack up time and that I only started in December of 2018). I’ve supported it plenty, I’ve even talked about it on here, made videos about it that I’ve been told (even with the low view numbers) by random people I’ve met that they had gotten into the game BECAUSE of seeing some of my videos (mostly of Virtual Market as I was the ONLY PERSON covering it before the more recent ones). Yet, even putting in all that time and effort, because I’m not some big name, I don’t matter. My opinion is irrelevant, my feelings are irrelevant, my actions are irrelevant. I’ve been, early on in my vrchat time, closely around the devs (including VRpill) on a regular basis, with the community staff (i.e. Tupper), with the biggest world builders, biggest streamers, and biggest avatar creators. I’ve spent hundreds of hours around these people, mostly as a silent observer they didn’t even care was around and sometimes as a very close friend or even romantic partner – I’ve seen everything from private meetups of development staff and creators discussing how the game should be developed to much more intimate situations. I’ve seen myself personally how their relationships are intertwined and how much both pander and cater to the other, AND – most importantly – how all of those groups see themselves as a higher class than the ‘average user’.
VRChat+ isn’t just some optional paid thing, it’s gazing down loathingly on the lowly normal players who don’t have worlds with 20,000 favorites, who don’t get 500 viewers per-stream every day, who don’t have their avatars used by half the fucking game. The saddest part is those groups; none of them actually play the game much, they “create content” and yet don’t participate in that content, meaning they are the least important aspect of the game itself. A streamer with 10 trillion viewers doesn’t matter much when he’s in a private world contributing nothing to the game by never interacting with the real true game, a world creator who makes all the most popular worlds contributes nothing to the actual true content of the game because of the same reasons as they are notorious for just NEVER playing the game yet are some of the loudest voices about the game, and so on. These people who are all interconnected and self-obsessed are the ones deciding the future of VRChat and are the only ones who “matter” and who are allowed a relevant voice because they all believe themselves to be celebrities and deities, so being told we should be thankful to be allowed to give them money is nothing short of an insult.
In the end this will be supported plenty anyway; all by the streamers, and the youtubers – people who tell themselves they are both celebrities AND believe they are basically VRChat’s staff. I wrote most of this back when it was in beta and on the same day it got ANNOUNCED – but looking back now on the day it just got officially released as a thing you can buy now on Steam…guess what all the comments are on twitter to VRC’s official tweet about it and every comment in the official Discord server?
Every twitch streamer and youtuber praising them and thanking them and supporting it (the big because they’re deities and the small hoping to get there by ass kissing) and pretending even to be EXCITED TO PAY MONEY FOR NOTHING, while the actual normal userbase is still as pissed as when it got announced.
The game was basically developed to where it’s at now entirely on nothing but streamer feedback for years because the staff simply doesn’t care about you unless you’re an out-of-game content creator who can bring new users in, so they obey and deify them and everyone suffers for it because the stuff that really needs fixing or changing or adding doesn’t happen because these self-titled celebrities don’t want them and thus do not ask for them and so they don’t happen. They don’t “want” those important changes and fixes and additions because of simple reasons; they all have top of the line set-ups thanks to fans which means they don’t have problems with crashing and lagging, they all stay in private worlds all the time meaning they don’t know how the real game is, the few times they go into public worlds they’re surrounded by their posse and typically vote-kick anyone who is not part of their ‘group’ so same problem then. These are people who are not playing VRChat but some entirely different sub-game on super-beast computers and never experience the real game, the real problems, the real issues or anything else and yet are treated like community leaders…for a community they refuse to be part of, like if your governor lived in another state and only ever saw the place they’re in charge of like a tourist seeing all the pretty nice things and seeing it with a full security team as well. So where does your VRChat+ money even go to? To the devs, to the devs friends, to figuring out more things to monetize all while leaving the game broken, busted, and nearly unplayable due to very simple issues that mods already fixed but you are permabanned if you get caught using those fixes because they want to end up making those fixes part of VRC+ down the line.
The game staff do not care about you if you are not contributing to the popularity of the game by creating highly viewed content of the game, and that is truly the sad reality of VRC’s “upper class” and development process as a whole. VRChat+ just adds another layer, another “fuck you” to the tens of thousands of “normal player” plebeians, where these groups take advantage of them for money in exchange for a broken game and sub-par content pushed to the front purely because of whoever making this or that shit world knowing someone on staff or who streams. VRChat+ is ironically the staff acting and feeling entitled to your money rather than the complainers being those behaving like the entitled.