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Kaneva about Kaneva

08.30.07

 Virtual World News published a very interesting interview with Christopher Klaus, CEO of Kaneva about the presence and future of Kaneva. Some key points I picked up:

  • Kaneva’s vision from the beginning is about online creativity
  • Combining an MMOG platform into social networking and integrating together media, people, and the 2D structure of a social network into the 3D environment
  • based on shared spaces (hangouts) or private  spaces
  • building blocks provided but no 3D modeling and texturing tools
  • 18-34 age range and about 50/50 male and female
  • casual games will be incorporated
  • integrating rich media possibilities
  • revenues from microtransactions and virtual goods

Klaus about interportability (more…)

Philips starts sourcing crowds

08.28.07

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Today I visited the first gathering of the Philips Design Group. Already since a couple of months Philips has been active in Second Life. They are developing an island that unfortunately is still closed for public. On the islands of ING Banks “Our Virtual Holland“, Philips build a few open air meeting areas where they started with there first steps of ‘crowd sourcing‘.

The discussion touched three subjects:

  • the future of packaging
  • the future of clothing
  • the future of self expression

After an introduction (more…)

Catching up with some recent news…

08.27.07

We have been away for a few days because of our visit to the Sarajevo Film Festival (yes we also produce old-school feature films), so now back in town! Some interesting news items I encountered the past days:

Business Week published an excellent article about Second Life, which for me was quite a relief after all the biased bad publicity of recent months. Mitch Wagner writes: (more…)

Dutch research shows strategic advantage for businesses

08.21.07

Recent research of the University of Utrecht on why companies establish in virtual worlds showed that Dutch companies feel they have a strategic advantage on competitors. Also they find themselves innovative and feel it gives them a better insight in the behaviour and preferences of tomorow’s customers.

At this moment, at least 34 Dutch organizations and brands are active in Second Life, 29 participated in the research. Almost half of them have a background in media or services. The participants expected to gain a first movers advantage above competitors and made them more innovative. Next to this,  contact, communication and curiousity are other reasons for virtual presence. Dutch companies also work a lot togethe and prefer to cluster their activities (like on ING Banks Our Virtual Holland). Budgets ranged from 2000 - 30000 euro.

The pressrelease can be found here (in Dutch though)

HiPiHi announces global strategy

08.21.07

The new Chinese 3D  virtual world HiPiHi already received quite some press coverage recently. I have not been able to run HiPiHi untill now, but still interesting to read about their global strategy announced in Singapore (reported on Virtual World News). Also they confirmed their strategic investors, including NGI group.

There are three parts involved in HiPiHi’s global strategy.

  • First, HiPiHi will cooperate with global leaders in the Internet and communication industry to establish a set of relevant hardware and software standards for the development of the 3D platform.
  • Second, HiPiHi will cooperate with other major 3D virtual worlds to finalize these standards, and bring the possibility for users to interact and transact between different virtual worlds.
  • Lastly, HiPiHi will actively build its “Global Market Partnership Project”, “Third Party Developer Project” and “Community Partnership Project”, to establish a HiPiHi virtual world global value chain.

(more…)

7 things you should know about Kaneva

08.18.07

Metaversed has a nice overview of some important elements of Kaneva, one of the many virtual worlds out there. Here’s the list: (more…)

Another toybased world for Kids: MyePets.com

08.17.07

 Yesteray I already wrote about the flood of new online worlds, this morning i read the pressrelease of MGA Entertainment, maker of Bratz and Be-Bratz.com, announcing its second toy-based virtual world: Rescue Pets: MyePets.com. Its based on the same model that Webkinz uses: buy a real toy and receive a code that gives you credits or other benefits in the virtual world. With Rescue Pets, users buy plush toys in the store and receive a code written on the dogs bone. Each pet has its own, completely private room, and there is  public space in the town square’s arcade where you can earn credits to buy more items for your pet and room. Users are responsible for keeping their pet healthy. Like other kids worlds, users communicate with pre-set messages, in open text messaging with approved friends, or completely free communication.

So kids, more pets to play with! (more…)

Big bucks for virtual worlds and online games

08.17.07

Now we see that the hype around Second Life seems to have calmed down a bit,  new startups are being put in the spotlights. For the last period of time new virtual worlds like Awomo, Doppelganger and Twinity seemed to get quite some media attention.  And not only that, also some big bucks. Awomo welcomed Sir Richard Branson as sugar uncle, aiming at 1 billion valuation, Doppelganger received several rounds of financing from venture capitalists, online gaming developer Trion announced 30million, Multiversed raised 4 million. Next to this, one can clearly see that big media companies are taking position in this industry. Disney took over Club Penguin for 350 million (+350 when targets are met) and MTV is planning to invest 500 million the coming 2 years in gaming (after their announcement to invest 100 million in online games and virtual worlds).

So it seems we will see an overload of virtual workds and online casual games the coming time, where big media companies buy into startups and new initatives in order to stay close to markets they obviously have a hard time tapping into themselves. Hope it wont make another internet bubble..

Sky News challenges residents to bring news

08.15.07

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Since a couple of months Sky News has presence in Second Life. Yesterday I discovered on their website that they launched a “Be a virtual news reporter” challenge. If you as SL resident feel you have a newsworthy story, you can submit your news reports (in the form of a machinima) to Sky News for use on their web site - and if the item is really good the virtual report may end up on UK TV. For this, Sky News has a virtual newsroom in Second Life where you can pick up the necessary tools for your broadcast, like a Sky News microphone and notecards explaining how to create a machinima.

An interesting project, because it not only shows that traditional news services are extending their real life commitment to citizen journalism into SL, it also shows how you can involve an online community (ie an audience) with your brand(ing).

Watch the promotional machinima here


Sony Home to Feature User-Generated Content and Sales

08.15.07

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Virtual World News pointed me at some interesting news about Sony Home. At the Edinburgh Interactive Festival, the director of the Sony Home group announced that “In the longer term, users will be able to share other content that they have created: photos and videos themselves and user-generated content tools such as their own t-shirt designs. We’ll also be giving out tools to allow scripting, java minigames and so on.” Now recently boh the new (but unreleased) platform Twinity and Doppelganger announced that their platforms would be much more controlled than lets say Second Life. Users can publish own content in their private environments and create items and objects, but certainly public environments will be controlled. (more…)

The end is near…or?

08.14.07

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.

(more…)

Metaverse redefined?

08.13.07

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?

08.10.07

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.

Virtual worlds safer for kids then the web itself

08.10.07

Dutch researcher Robert Langeweg just finished his study on ‘Threedimensional virtual worlds” for the University of Utrecht. For this he researched in what way virtual worlds like Habbo Hotel and Teen Second Life can be a safe learning environment for children.

His research showed that using practise in virtual environments (under guidance of a teacher) is a very good way of preparing them for safe Internet use. “It is important that kids learn to recognize unsafe or unpleasant situations in this way”, according to Langeweg. (more…)

Philip Rosedale (Linden Lab) on open source

08.10.07

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On OSCON2007 (O’Reilly Media Open Source Convention, July 27 2007) Philip Rosedale (CEO of Linden Lab) gave a presentation about Second Life and open source.

A very interesting presentation, making very clear that Linden Lab is clearly aiming at open sourcing Second Life completely. As he states, this is the only way to maintain scalability, growth and a leading market position.



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