MOB: Mr. Rauschenberger, the boathouse in Cologne was also affected by the corona-related closure of many clubs. This is why the so-called Metaverse was created about two years ago – what is it exactly?
Ulrich Rauschenberger: The boathouse was also affected by the Corona-related closure; at the same time, the hype surrounding the Metaverse grew. The Bootshaus actually wanted to dive into it even without a pandemic. It’s a coincidence that the two meet like this. We see the Metaverse as a very important international marketplace, especially when looking to the future. We want to be able to share our work and our passion with fans around the world. In the real club, we are confined, people have to move around, possibly book accommodation. It takes time and costs. In the metaverse, on the other hand, we can easily reach people all over the world, across (almost) all national borders.
MOB: What prompted you – apart from the pandemic situation – to take this new path?
Rauschenberger: We believe that people around the world can be reached much faster and projects can be monetized and therefore refinanced using new methods such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). It’s just an international market that keeps growing. We don’t want to miss this and want to actively participate and contribute.
MOB: How can you imagine the planned digital events and how do they differ from normal club visits on an IT level?
Rauschenberger: There is a digital replica of the real club that can be accessed through the web browser, whether it’s a smartphone, PC or Mac. VR enthusiasts can also immerse themselves in the boathouse in VR on PC. Green screen recordings of the booked DJs then take place in the club, conveying a virtual experience to all guests, who participate as customizable avatars. Here too there are no limits to the imagination, for example the interface of the avatar creation website “Ready Player Me” is given, so that the avatars are also compatible with other platforms .
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MOB: With the next event, you want to move from VR events to “Bootshaus XR”. What innovations await visitors?
Rauschenberger: Moving from Bootshaus VR to XR was the next step for us in consolidating our presence in the Metaverse. The biggest innovation here is the vastly increased openness of the platform. While Bootshaus VR required a relatively powerful Windows PC to participate, XR events can be accessed from most modern smart devices. Moreover, no download is even required as the software uses modern technologies to run easily in the web browser. A VR headset can be used but is not required. By removing the technical requirements for participation, we have multiplied the target group of the digital place and at the same time made the whole project more accessible. We are also working on the digital implementation of the other two floors of the club; previously, only the ground floor was accessible on the web. We want to allow users around the world to experience the entire boathouse conveniently in digital form. At the same time, we are actively following the topic of “NFTs”, which plays an important role in the metaverse. We see great potential in this to provide club fans, artists and events with unique countervalues that can perhaps extend beyond the digital world as well.
image source: Ulrich Rauschenberger