My friends and I have a habit of dismissing new trends we do not understand as “Gen-Z things”. But when our social media feed was flooded with cute avatars of our friends, we caved and downloaded Bondee.
Bondee, a social app conceptualised as a virtual plaza where users can interact with up to 50 friends, was launched earlier this year by Singapore-based tech firm Metadream.
Essentially, you join the app to chat and hang out with your friends in a metaverse setting, all while dressing up your avatar and designing your surroundings – in 3D. After all, Bondee’s proposition is for you to “live” with your friends and break the boundaries between the digital and the physical world.
Already, the app has topped charts in app stores across Southeast and North Asian countries. According to a press release, the firm’s teams are based in Japan, South Korea and the United States, with still more to be established in Thailand and the Philippines.
WHAT’S BONDEE ALL ABOUT?
Remember when Bytedance took the former lip-sync app Musica.ly under its wing and made TikTok? In the same vein, Bondee comes on the back of Metadream’s 2022 acquisition of full intellectual property rights to True.ly – a virtual world that, like many of its kind, was part of the metaverse conversation.
But unlike the Roblox, Fortnite and Decentraland types, Bondee is a breath of fresh air.
If you remember Habbo Hotel, you probably grew up in the nineties. But, if you don’t, you may well be Bondee’s target audience. To associate the two would be selling Bondee short, however, since Habbo Hotel’s pixelated avatars are far less cute than Bondee’s 3D-animated ones.
For diehard believers of the metaverse, this superficial detail would hardly matter. But I would wager that more users joined Bondee for the cute avatars than for the promises of decentralisation. I don’t know about them, but it’s my first time on anything remotely related to the metaverse. Learning about cryptocurrency twists my brain into a pretzel, but picking out an outfit? That I can do.