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Metaverse 1.0: Setting the standards

09.18.07

Last week I spoke with Jean Gelissen, Senior Director Strategic Partnerships at Philips Research about the Metaverse 1.0 project. I have combined the notes of this meeting with the information I took from the project presentation.

Metaverse 1.0 is a project developed within the framework of ITEA, a strategic pan-European programme for advanced pre-competitive R&D in software for Software-intensive Systems and Services. Metaverse 1.0 has the purpose to set global standards among real and virtual worlds and bridging the gaps within virtual worlds and between virtual and real worlds.

Metaverse 1.0 is an initiative of Yesha Sivan, an Israelean entrepreneur and professor at the Tel Aviv University. Metaverse 1.0 is pushed by the Metaverse 1.0 consortium, which includes over 40 participants of large and small/medium enterprises as well as several research institutes and universities from 8 participating countries. Among the participants are Philips Research, Philips Design, Forthnet, Alcatel-Lucent, Telefonica I&D, Siemens IT, Barco, Geosim Systems Ltd., Technical University Eindhoven, Utrecht University, Technical University of Twente, Fraunhofer Rostock, Nazuka and Bertelsmann. IBM will also be involved in the next phases.

The Metaverse1.0 project will provide a standardized global framework enabling the interoperability between Virtual worlds (as for example Second Life, World of Warcraft, IMVU, Google Earth and many others) and the Real world (sensors, actuators, vision and rendering, social and welfare systems, banking, insurance, travel, real estate and many others). Currently the consortium is also talking to ISO, the International Organization of Standardisation. (more…)

Sony Home @ E-Day Rotterdam (incl video of the beta version)

09.15.07

In the past months we have already been able to get some insight in Sony’s coming virtual world Home. It seems they will launch Home somewhere around 14 October. On 13 September, Folkert Langeveld, marketing Manager Playstation Benelux, gave a presentation about Home at E-Day in Rotterdam (where we are based btw!) and gave us some more details.

Home will be completely in HD, free of use for PS3 users and mainly focused on interaction, gaming and competition. Home will offer a game room where residents can play minigames and a variety of public spaces like a cinema where film and trailers s in HD will be screened. Also, residents will have their own private apartments they can decorate themselves with a variety of (preset) objects. Residents can launch and download PS games from within Home and play against eachother. In Home, residents wiill have a PSP that they can use to control their environment, change your looks and upload pictures from your harddrive to hang them on the wall of your virtual apartment.

Langeveld pointed out that Home will be a controlled environment. As for now, there is not so much users can create themselves, even though he pointed out that “the creation of games is more and more influenced by the users and users will have more and more influence on the games”.

Sony is planning connect offline sales to the online world. Think of buying clothing in a fysical shop that has a barcode attached, with which it can be brought into the virtual world. Sony will allow external brands to advertise within Home and to offer custom and sponsored events. Residents can buy products through the PS Store and Sony is considering to offer a consumer-to-consumer marketplace in Home.

With millions of sales of the previous game consoles Sony ofcourse has a potential great user base for Home. By bringing together games, film and music in a social environment, this could just very well boost the sales of the console but moreover of the games they’re going to offer for download. The graphics and movements look amazing, so this will be tough competition for Second Life and the likes. The fact that it will be a very much controlled environment with (as far as I can see) hardly any possibilities for resentents to create their own content, I am sure that the possibilities for self expression, creativity and community building in Second Life for example will stay very appealing to a lot of users.

Here a video of the presentation where Langeveld showed the beta version of Home live (its a bit dark unfortunately)

Sony Home@E-Day Rotterdam

(video by www.ckmextended.com)

Heres another video, same presentation, different camera angle :)

Italian music video set in Second Life, but i dont speak Italian!

09.14.07

So here we have a music video of an Italian singer. The poor girl wanders around in Second Life, it all looks quite dramatic but hey, I dont speak Italian! Can someone help me translate this??  The band seems quite popular in Italy, she’s 16th in the popcharts!  Would this be the first ‘crossreality’ music machinima?

Warner Bros. Entertainment will launch their own Virtual World: T-Works

09.07.07

 After Mattel, Daimler-Chrystler, Viacom, Disney and many others, Warner Brothers will also launch their own virtual world called T-Works. T-Works will bring together all of the key characters from the Studios animations in an immersive online environment. Think Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera and DC Comics.

According to the press release, T-Works will offer fans tools for self-expression and personalization in order to “brand” their digital lives anywhere on the Web. They can “incorporate a custom avatar into their lives, whether it’s on T-Works or utilized in the participant’s digital world (MySpace, Facebook, etc.).”

Some other features T-Works will offer:

  • Immersive virtual worlds where users interact with each other and assume a cartoon identity based on existing characters
  • Video channel featuring hundreds of hours of animations and series
  • A personalization channel to serve all aspects of fans digital lives from customizing social networking profiles, portable widgets, desktop applications and more
  • A games channel with over 125 games featuring never-before-seen character match-ups
  • Video Mash-Up Maker where users can create and share their own cartoon remixes
  • A reward system that gives points for all activity that the user does both within the virtual worlds and throughout the site

Now that is ofcourse a major player to enter the Virtual Worlds market, Warner Bros obviously has some prety good cards in their hands with their rich base of wellknown characters and cartoons. Some tough competition for Disney here. (more…)

ING Asia asks residents for new logo

09.06.07

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Well, a new logo for their inworld Cha-Lounge. Earlier this week I was on “Our Virtual Holland” for one of our projects. Our Virtual Holland is the collection of sims with which Dutch ING Bank has established their presence in Second Life since the beginning of this year. I bumped into a group of residents voting on a variety of logo’s. Now it seems that ING Asia/Pacific started their own lounge here, the ING Virtual Cha Lounge (”Cha” meaning “tea” in many Asian languages. According to their website it will “be a place you and your friends can hang out and share a cup or two, learn more about cha, and even get a free cha gift”.  They started a logo contest for residents, where you can design the logo for the Cha Lounge and win a bunch of prizes (L$100,000, a framed certificate of appreciation from ING, signed by the judging committee, a tea collection and publication of the logo in ING blogs and newsletters). A nice example of involving the community i would say…

Linden Lab releases Second Life Grid

09.05.07

Today, Linden Lab launched the SecondLifeGrid website, a resource for businesses, organizations and educators for creating a successful virtual presence on the Second Life Grid platform. Second Life is and will remain focused on Residents, but virtual world technology also has a lot to offer to organizations – educators, enterprises, brands, nonprofits, and others – and the Second Life Grid will enable these organizations to understand and create meaningful 3D immersive experiences. Through new programs like the Community Gateway Program and the Global Provider Program, Linden Lab will provide guidance and support for local and international organizations interested in maximizing their participation in the virtual world of Second Life.

The website is clearly focused on those who are interested in a corporate presence, creating clarity in what kind of opportunities presence in virtual worlds can offer for marketing, communication and collaboration. The good thing is that the site offers a lot of information about how to do business in Second Life, ranging from basic info about buying land to a range of business cases and succes stories. Also it offers some good resources about programs, APIs and source code. Considering the recent negative publicity I think its good to have a central point for information about business in Second Life. I am not sure if it can turn the posthype ‘panic’ (well at least thats how it is back here in the Netherlands, its actuatlly not panic, just complete silence). I feel we need much more showcases of intelligent branding, collaboration and experience. That is also the problem with a lot of the cases they present: some good Fortune500 names but where are for example The Greenies or the Weather Channel?

Read the official blogpost here 

After Second Life it REALLY gets interesting….

09.04.07

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…)

World Trend Map

09.04.07

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Ok, its a bit old news for some of us. But I just had mine delivered home, a nice big A2 version of the World Trend Map by Information Architects Japan. The 200 most successful websites on the web, ordered by category, proximity, success, popularity and perspective. A nice piece of work, stick it on the wall and stare at it…

A nice clickable online version can be found here.



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