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…
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
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 or
De hype around Second Life has come to an abrupt end (especially in the
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.
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…)
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…)
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:
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)
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.
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…)
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..
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
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…)
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.