Monday 21 May 2007

Brad and Matt on Virtual Life, and Coventry

I noticed this post the other day about virtual worlds, but Brad has commented on the topic before I could and says:

"Companies are using Second Life as an experimental environment to test collaborative spaces and new ideas, but don’t be surprised to see a massive growth in real world companies commercialising virtual worlds in the future (it is happening now but it will get much, much bigger). Simon Bucks from Sky News said: “We felt that Second Life has the biggest and most potential for growth.”

When the real world starts to run out of consumers, the virtual world might be the next best thing. As a consequence, this means not only a reshaping of our communication platforms, but also the content associated with it."

Locally I noticed that Telstra are also supporting the growth of Second Life as their ISP customers can access the software and site without paying any data charges, so I guess indicates how serious the media players see the opportunities.

I'm actually old enough to remember getting excited about the idea of MUDs as business tools - in this article from Wired magazine in 1993, Kevin Kelly and Howard Rheingold predicted:

"Until now, most MUDs have been written by fanatical students in their spare time. But recently, new MUD forms involving researchers and scientists have appeared. The dawn of commercial MUDs, where virtual goods can be bought and sold, or political MUDs, where lobbyists and politicians schmooze in virtual hallways, can't be far away."

So, were they ahead of their time or despite the improved graphics are we just seeing a repeat of the hype from a decade ago? Or as Matt puts it:

"I have to admit to being a trifle puzzled about Second Life. I have enough difficulty managing my first one so I can't promise that Ricardo5D Negulesco will get up to much but we'll have to see. Quite why crude 3D renderings of a fantasy world would be appealing to large numbers of people defeats me (except here you can choose the body you want without resorting to expensive plastic surgery). I spent a year living in Coventry (a crude 3D fantasy world of crazed 50s architects) and have no strong desire to inhabit its virtual equivalent."

Maybe if the technology continues to improve beyond crude 3D rendering that might really create broad adoption? Perhaps work will become more like a video game? I suspect the earlier adopters to watch will be the porn industry ;-)

BTW If you're not ready for Second Life, try MyMiniLife instead.

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