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Virtual worlds on the updated hype cycle


Every year Gartner updates the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, included the newest technological trends and developments. A few months ago Gartner published the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2007. Interesting to see that according to Gartner web2.0 is already passed its hype (but this may be due to the typical 18-24 month lag between the U.S. and Europe).


Gartner identifies three key technologies:

  • Web 2.0: The community, technology and business innovations of the web continue to evolve and specific approaches and technologies have progressed including wikis, mashups, enterprise RSS, social network analysis and collective intelligence. The product and platform underpinnings have been more tightly defined in the 2007 hype cycle, with entries for web platforms and Web 2.0 workplace technologies.
  • User Interfaces: A number of emerging user interface technologies are entering serious commercialisation, including electronic paper (for mobile devices and signage), gesture recognition (as incorporated in the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Surface) and virtual environments/virtual worlds (such as Second Life).
  • Mobile: Mobile and wireless technologies, devices, and services continue to be an active area for emerging technology groups.

According to the Priority Matrix (see below), ten of the 36 key emerging technologies examined in this year’s hype cycle have been designated as having a transformational business impact and should be strongly considered for adoption by technology planners in the next ten years. These ten includes virtual environments:


I had the strong feeling that the virtual worlds are passed its hype, but actually perhaps Gartner has a point here. Its Second Life that perhaps blinds us a bit in our ‘post hype depression’ while indeed the whole spectrum of virtual environments is still not over its peak. And they define ‘portable personality’ as still in its early stage, presuming this also includes the whole thing with interportability of avatars and profiles this is indeed something that only just now is starting to develop with quite a big technology push of companies like IBM and Philips. What I think is interesting is to look at all those new technologies that are now starting to develop in the ’slipstream’ of Second Life. Mashups with television, widgets in virtual worlds, mobile services for virtual environments (or the other way around), etc….

Wheelchairrace, anyone?


The Dutch Fund for Sports for Handicapped (actually I have no idea if this is the right translation) offers a wheelchairrace! So,  take your wheelchair out and see who can roll the fastest!


Virtual Worlds Landscape


Bumped into a nice map of the virtual world landscape. Based on criteria of Business, Entertainment, Social and Game, Fred Cavazza made an inventarisation of the virtual worlds. I like it because it sort of nicely categorizes the different worlds out there, at least based on their most important features. Ofcourse one can argue that for example WoW is also a strong social environment, so its just a good overview. Additions are welcome ofcourse!


Audio from the Virtual Worlds Session@PICNIC Amsterdam


Thanks to my collegue Frank, here after all the audio of the Virtual Worlds Session

Some notes after the Virtual Worlds Session@PICNIC Amsterdam


Last week I was part of a panel discussion about virtual worlds at PICNIC in Amsterdam. PICNIC is one of the biggest cross media events/seminars in Europe with a very impressing lineup (ranging from Mr Sir Richard Branson to yoga guru and activist Woody Harrelson).

We recorded the audio for an nice podcast but it seems the output from the audio mixer was far too low. I will try to fix the audio, but let me just share my notes:

Jack Myers, author of the book “Virtual Worlds: Rewiring Your Emotional Future” talking about how Virtual Worlds are becoming an embedded part of our culture. Jack discussed how marketeers unfortunately try to bring their traditional marketing models into a changing media landscape. He stated that those marketeers need to rethink what they are doing and come up with new models for marketing, with a much more customer approach. Marketeers, CEO’s and other decision makers are in that sense confused and overwhelmed by the new media opportunities but are not changing their scope. This has leaded to marketing and branding initiatives in virtual worlds that focussed on experimenting and learning but not actually implementing and making true emotional connections with a community. Jack pointed out the importance of understanding virtual worlds and stressed that particularly virtual worlds for tweens offer huge opportunities. This age group is growing up with virtual worlds, online and serious games and online communities, which demands a radical reorientation for marketeers.

You can download Jack’s presentation here

David Burden of Daden discussed what happens when video games meet Web 2.0 and virtual worlds meet geospatial maps of the planet? David discussed the Metaverse Roadmap and stressed that the internet is mainly about Information where virtual worlds are much more about Experience. The ROI should therefore be more defined along the lines of creating experience and engaging your audience. David also showed some interesting forcast stating we will be moving from a media/social space to a transaction space, a entertainment space and ultimately into and agent space and a dream space.

Download Davids presentation here

After these two presentations there was a panel discussion (more…)

Platform virtual worlds launched in the Netherlands


 A few days ago a new initiative was launched in the Netherlands called Platform Virtuele Werelden (Platform Virtual Worlds). Its an initiative of EPN, a Dutch research institute and has the goal to gain and spread knowledge about virtual worlds and its possibilities to companies, governments, media and a wide audience in general. Also they strive to define and understand the meaning of virtual worlds and 3d spaces to society.

The platform is formed by a consortion of companies and universities, including Technical University Delft, University of Amsterdam, University of Twente, Erasmus University Rotterdam, ING Bank, ABN AMRO Bank, Philips and the City of Zoetermeer.

A very good initiative showing that virtual worlds are taken seriously and that those major institutes and companies were not blinded by the post-hype depression we seemed to be in the past few months.  ;)

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