The Virtual Worlds Blitz is Coming

March 03 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Economics   Year: 2012   Rating: 11

Chris Sherman over at Virtual World News noted yesterday that there are so many virtual world start-ups in stealth-mode that he’s lost count.

“They range in focus from virtual goods and economies to lifelogging to 2d and 3d virtual world destinations to platforms and tools companies and more,” points out Sherman, the producer of the steadily growing Virtual Worlds conference series.

Not only are myriad start-ups getting into the virtual frenzy, so are corporate giants like Google.

All this activity nicely reinforces a DFC estimate that virtual world revenues will reach 6 billion $ annually by 2012.

Even with the slowing growth of Second Life, it’s easy to imagine that between Spore, MetaPlace, Multiverse, Club Penguin, Google, Microsoft, Sony and all of the little guys, it won’t be all that hard to hit that 6 billion $ target.

Check back tomorrow for an in-depth interview with Jerry Paffendorf, co-founder of Wello Horld, one of the stealth start-ups mentioned by Sherman.

What will be the biggest virtual world in 2010?

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Virtual Worlds Finally Make the Jump to Mobile Phones

April 29 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Metaverse   Year: 2008   Rating: 7 Hot

This is a shot that was definitely not heard around the “real world”.

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.

Second Life FINALLY Allows In-World HTML

March 07 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Metaverse   Year: 2008   Rating: 6

Included in the latest Second Life (SL) code update is a feature that at long last allows in-world designers and programmers to incorporate html on objects. In other words, users will finally be allowed to import web content into the virtual world.

This comes as a relief to the many SL developers and futurists who’ve been clamoring for this for years, paving the way for myriad mash-ups and new forms of hybrid content.

Just imagine decorating your SL mansion with images found on the web, setting your avatar to display your Linked In profile when attending a networking event, organizing a wall of your favorite web feeds, or setting up just about any conceivable array of of web content. All of it linked and fully click-able. The collaborative, networking and entertainment possibilities are truly endless.

Thanks to these new steps, all of this will soon be possible on the increasingly popular platform, thus opening wide a whole new world of possibilities.

Also part of the new release is more physically accurate atmospheric rendering and lighting resulting in “vastly improved realistic water with reflections and glimmer” and ”’Glow” as a new object attribute.

(via Virtual Worlds News)

Intuitive 3D Camera Controller for Second Life Lowers Bar for Learning to Fly

April 21 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: Metaverse   Year: 2008   Rating: 2 Hot

Sick of using an obscure set of keyboard strokes to control your avatar? Have no fear, the 3D camera / semi-haptic interface for Second Life has arrived.

Developed by Mitch Kapor, technology investor and Chair of Linden Lab, and Phillipe Bossut, the new interface allows you to use your actual body, much like on Kamen’s Segway, to move your avatar through virtual space. Simply lean forward to move forward, lift your hands to elevate and fly, place your hands behind your back while descending for a graceful landing.

Check out this demo to see the new interface in action:

Clearly these are just the very first steps for this novel interface that promises to make avatar navigation more intuitive, opening the door to non-technical people of all demographics, lowering the complexity barrier to virtual worlds adoption (much like the Nintendo Wii controller). (cont.)

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