The new site should serve as a nice complement to the already
invaluable Terra Nova, a blog by committee
of industry experts that has been been discussing the MMOG and Virtual World terrain for some time now, and
the increasingly valuable Virtual Worlds News which
does a great job reporting the most ground-breaking metaverse
The Journal of Virtual Worlds has put out a call for papers
related (but not limited) to the following topics:
- development of new metaphors for visualizing and interacting
effectively with rich information spaces
- governance and taxation diversity
- methodologies of research in virtual worlds
- education in virtual worlds, virtual worlds in education, virtual
worlds in the classroom, virtual worlds as pedagogical tools,
curriculum in virtual worlds
This is a shot that was definitely not heard around the “real
A company named Vollee has at last enabled fluid access
to 3D virtual worlds, namely Second Life, via a mobile phone.
Check out the video of their new service, currently in Beta:
While this product won’t matter to 99.9% of us (barring the SL
addicted) in the short term, it’s a big milestone for the broader
evolution of the web.
As such, we can use it to extrapolate what changes an
increasingly interactive 3D web might gradually enable:
Perhaps we’ll visit real-time representations of stores from
hundreds of miles away or more efficiently navigate shops in real
space, or more easily find jobs that allow us to work from afar, or
surf 3D social networks to see what our friends are currently doing
and where, or hop into virtual games tied into real-life locations
when we’re bored, or search the web in 3D and 2D as well as through
text and semantic search, etc.
The main point is that as we endeavor to simulate the near term
future of other domains like health, business, transporation, etc.
it’s important to consider the impact of new products like Vollee
so that we don’t miss the larger, more disruptive products and
events just over the horizon.
Millions of users log on to virtual worlds, such as the highly sophisticated and popular Second Life and the user-friendly Lively every day, positioning virtual worlds to become the future of internet browsing.
A recent Rezzable poll asking “Which virtual world will rule one year from now?” concluded with an overwhelming vote for the already popular Second Life, while Google’s new platform Lively came in a distant second; other platforms barely made the chart.
Second Life is the most developed platform right now, with almost 15 million total residents. By far the most stable and capable of the flock, SL has become a meeting place for many adults, especially appealing to gamers, artists, and entrepreneurs.
According to self-reported data, Second Life users are primarily male, with an average age of 33. Features of SL that set it apart from other Virtual Worlds include sophisticated avatar customization, the ability purchase land, and a large and thriving economy. Linden dollars allow users to create, market, and sell virtual products and services, a feature similar to that of World of Warcraft – which has kept WoW users shelling out the big bucks for years. There are currently over L$ 5 billion in supply, with an exchange rate of approximately L$ 250 to the US Dollar.
User generated content (UGC) is probably the most important feature keeping SL at the top of the list. The Second Life platform allows for creative users to design an infinite variety of content (i.e. objects, clothing, buildings, real life recreations, virtual businesses, etc.).
Note: Make sure the movie loads fully before watching. I am trying to upload it to YouTube, but the feature is still buggy as Xtra Normal is in beta.
Using the new Xtra Normal platform, the above video took just 30 minutes to produce. This forward-step in super-user-friendly machinima brings us just a little closer to a scenario that I like to call The Toon Point, the time when virtual-world-generated video equals the average quality of a Saturday morning cartoon created in 2005. (Why 2005? Because that’s roughly when I began thinking about the notion of a Toon Point.)
Ever since my days in the West Hollywood Metaverse House, as my buddy and former roommate Jerry Paffendorf likes to call it, I’ve been a fan of virtual worlds and looking forward to The Toon Point. Due to their ability to incorporate and network other communication technologies, the potential of virtual worlds as an Interactive Communication Technology is simply astounding, and is reflected in their rapid diffusion patterns.
On January 29 at 6pm, Carnegie Council Senior Fellows Joshua S. Fouts and Rita J. King will present findings from their Understanding Islam Through Virtual Worlds project. After a year of exploring digital Islamic communities, Fouts and King conclude that engaging with people in virtual worlds who self-identify as Muslim can be part of a broader public diplomacy strategy to foster inclusive perspectives on religion, society, and coexistence.
How can virtual worlds serve as new windows of insight into real life social dynamics?