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After Second Life it REALLY gets interesting….


In the Dutch Financial Times I bumped into an interesting article by Jeroen van Bree of Nyenrode Business Universiteit. Here a quick&dirty translation.

Virtual worlds like Second Life are not particularly that interesting for selling products or virtual conferences. That is innovation with an eye on the past. Companies should study which new ways of working and collaborating arise in virtual worlds in order to stay ahead of competition.

De hype around Second Life has come to an abrupt end (especially in the Netherlands, DB). One year ago hardly anybody had hear about it, beginning of this year everybody felt it was a revolution and now everybody feels it’s a flop. Now we are passed the hype we can finally take the time to focus on the really interesting aspects of virtual worlds. Because that interesting things are happening goes without a doubt. But those seem to say invisible for most companies trying to gain from presence in Second Life, simply because they use virtual worlds without a vision and like an instrument. (more…)

The end is near…or?


We can all pack our bags, according to a variety of (traditional) media. Second Life is dead. End of story. Punkt schluss aus. The tide of the journalistic hype about Second Life has, surprisingly, turned. Wired (once a Second Life adept) published an article about wasted marketing million, Time last week writes about Second Lifes Real World problems and Forbes had a nice piece about vandalism and the effect for realworld brands. The articles talk about companies who have departed the virtual world, usually because of disappointment with objectives not realized, ROI not met, etc. Interesting to see that all those journalist who helped create the hype are now shooting their own baby.


Metaverse redefined?


Mike Sellers of Terra Nova has a compelling article about the analogy between what Neil Stephenson decribed as the ‘Metaverse’ in his novel Snow Crash and virtual worlds ‘as we know them today’. It is interesting to see how many people still believe that the Metaverse as envisioned by Stephenson will actually happen in the future, where we will all walk around in a complete immersive space with our brains connected to our avatars and the web has become a complete 3D space.

I dont believe this will happen, and I dont think we are heading for an immersive 3D web. Instead, I do feel that the vision as described in the Metaverse Roadmap is much closer to reality (and not the virtual reality, the real one), where the metaversie is described as the convergence of virtually-enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space. It is a fusion of both, while allowing users to experience it as either.

In other words, it will be a collection of virtual worlds, the web, 3D web tools and objects that will be embedded everywhere in our environment. Distributed worlds and spaces, both 3D and 2D, intellegently meshed up and (inter)connected. Certain activities we now typically associate with the 2D web will become more 3D and immersive, others wont. To quote the Metaverse Roadmap: In sum, for the best view of the changes ahead, we suggest thinking of the Metaverse not as virtual space but as the junction or nexus of our physical and virtual worlds.

Lets make sure that, now the Second Life hype is hopefully over its highest point, traditional media are not fed with a concept of ‘the 3D web’. Lets not give them new ammunition to create a new hype.

Advertising standards for kids in virtual worlds?


According to an article in Virtual Worlds News the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK has decided that advertisements aimed at kids within VWs are allowed as long as it happens on “sponsored land or sponsored activities”, meaning that ads in public spaces such as clubs or hangouts are restricted.

Quite an interesting viewpoint, given that most of the VW’s for kids are entirely sponsored at this point. How do you define a public space in a branded world such as Barbie Girls (owned by moloch Mattel), where everything is branded? Or other VW’s that contain sponsored clubs or hangouts (Dutch bank Postbank opened a lounge in Habbo Hotel, actualy aimed at teachin kids how to earn, save and deal with money - its education combined with commerce!). Now lets not forget these VW’s are platforms, channels and thus why not forbid commercials aimed at kids on television or banners on kids websites?

Its a dubious distinction.

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