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Sony, Microsoft Begin Battle of Virtual Worlds 180

Posted by timothy
from the who's-your-hiro dept.
Slatterz writes "Sony and Microsoft are poised to do battle in virtual worlds. The console kids both announced Second Life-style virtual environments at the Tokyo Game Show today. Both games show striking similarities to Linden Lab's creation. Players are represented by avatars which live a virtual life — engaging in relationships, going about day-to-day business."
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Sony, Microsoft Begin Battle of Virtual Worlds

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  • "Oh yay" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KeX3 (963046) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:30AM (#25325621) Homepage
    So, two clones of something that is little more than a furry playground? My pythonic "yaaay" just isn't lethargic enough to express my feelings.
    • Re:"Oh yay" (Score:5, Funny)

      by Negatyfus (602326) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:51AM (#25325693) Journal
      I thought this was pretty cool, that is, until I read your post. Seeing the error of my ways, I will now live a life free of virtual worlds and offer my sincere apologies for having a different opinion. Please accept twenty self-inflicted lashes of the whip to my back to atone for my sin.
      • Re:"Oh yay" (Score:5, Interesting)

        by electrictroy (912290) on Friday October 10, 2008 @06:33AM (#25325883)

        Trivia:

        One of the first (perhaps the first) online virtual worlds was hosted by Quantum Link for the Commodore 64. Connections were made by modems with speeds from 0.3 to 2.4 kbit/s. Q-Link eventually renamed itself America Online, aka AOL.

        "Q-Link's Habitat is a multi-participant online virtual environment. A cyberspace. Each participant ("player") uses a home computer (Commodore 64) as an intelligent, interactive client, communicating via modem and telephone over a commercial packet-switching network to a centralized, mainframe host system. The client software provides the user interface, generating a real-time animated display of what is going on..." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_Link [wikipedia.org]

        Note that it says "animated". This wasn't some text-based BBS, but a fully-graphical interface similar to the world wide web, but with much lower resolution (320x200).
        .

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Random Walk (252043)
      Depens on what you're interested in. SL is not a game, it's more like a technical platform.. where you can implement games, if you like. What I like about it is that there's no fixed goal. You can just hang around, have fun roleplaying with others, explore creative builds.. be as lazy as you like :)
      • Re:"Oh yay" (Score:4, Funny)

        by Mr2cents (323101) on Friday October 10, 2008 @06:58AM (#25325989)

        be as lazy as you like :)

        Isn't that a very elaborate way to be lazy?

        • I know, it's like it almost takes work to be lazy in this case. I think I'll just keep being lazy the old fashioned way.
      • Interesting for me is that Microsoft creates an alliance of competitors by virtually going against the rest of the market. Every succesful business model gets less successful Microsoft competition. I wonder why they don't compete with Amazon and eBay.

        Microsoft seems to be very desperate. So Second Life is the next member of the anti-Microsoft alliance camp. All these companies are bent to kill Microsoft. They are like super-activitists and not driven by rational business choice, they really do want to kill

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Probie (1353495)
        why so people can fail in there virtual life aswell as in here real one? ....mmm twice the productivity! ;)
      • Depens on what you're interested in. SL is not a game, it's more like a technical platform.. where you can implement games, if you like. What I like about it is that there's no fixed goal.

        Dwight: Second life is not a game. There are no winners and no losers.
        Jim: Oh there are losers...

        • If you check out Jim's avatar in SL, his rez date actually predates Dwight's avatar's rezdate. And unlike Dwight's avatar, who looks like Dwight, Jim's is your stereotypical SL music scene attending "cool guy". So Jim's more of an "SL loser" than Dwight, he just doesn't want to admit it. Jim's avatar was also partnered with Pam's. The Office character's avatar profiles are a fun read.

    • So, two clones of something that is little more than a furry playground?

      "Furry playground"? Are you talking about Second Life or the Animal Crossing series?

    • by Ash-Fox (726320)

      So, two clones of something that is little more than a furry playground? My pythonic "yaaay" just isn't lethargic enough to express my feelings.

      There are more non-furs in Second life than there are furs.

      Nice troll.

      • Re:"Oh yay" (Score:5, Funny)

        by TDyl (862130) on Friday October 10, 2008 @06:16AM (#25325807)
        Posted by someone with "Fox" in his/her name???
      • Re:"Oh yay" (Score:4, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 10, 2008 @06:16AM (#25325809)

        There may be less of 'em, but, my god, what has been seen cannot be unseen.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        There are more non-furs in Second life than there are furs

        There is a MUCH higher (furs)/(non furs) ratio in Second Life than in meatspace and, face it, most of the internet.

        Nice try.

      • by ozphx (1061292)

        {citation needed}

        I mean seriously last time I installed this there was a "Virtual Badger Dick" lying on the ground at the first random place I went to...

  • Real Moneyz? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Icy_Infinity (1313035)

    Now the real question is will people be able to make real income off these clones as many have and failed in Second Life?

    • Now the real question is will people be able to make real income off these clones as many have and failed in Second Life?

      Nintendo appears to be printing money with its Animal Crossing series.

    • Re:Real Moneyz? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ash-Fox (726320) on Friday October 10, 2008 @06:07AM (#25325771)

      Now the real question is will people be able to make real income off these clones as many have and failed in Second Life?

      A lot of people are succeeding making money off Second life. Of course, the people who just go into Second life and have no understanding about it just go about setting up random stuff, trying to make a business without even trying to understand the economy in Second life, absolutely fail.

      A lot of people assume making a good amount of money off Second life is easy, it is not.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by WinterKnight (104994)

      As far as I can see, no.

      This isnt about your content: This is about them selling YOU content.

      Ofcourse, they may add some ways for you to make a buck, or I suppose other people will come up with ways to make a buck despite Sony's objections (e.g. coming up with gold farming in EverQuest).

      Heck, look at SecondLife: Its own in-world currency wasnt worth anything other then being a game token until someone decided it was worth real life dollars. And the rest is obsessed, greedy, overly-advertised history.

  • by AndyboyH (837116) <Andrew.Howat@blueyon d e r . c o . uk> on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:38AM (#25325653) Homepage

    Having RTFA, and also having a background as a games dev.
    Home is a virtual world, but isn't Microsoft's avatars pretty much just the same approach as Miis?

    I think the article's a little misleading in implying that Microsoft are making some virtual world (like Home or 2nd Life), when instead, it's just giving devs a representation of the player to put into their own games, like how Miis are currently handled on the Wii.

    • by somersault (912633) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:53AM (#25325701) Homepage Journal

      It's funny how the article also talks about home like it's only started development, yet it will be out in November. We've been waiting for it for something like 2 years now. If the MS thing is just like Miis then there is nothing like a 'battle' going on..

      I hope Home is as technically advanced as GTA with the ability to drive around and play minigames. I wonder if there will be any overlap between the two. Getting your Home avatar into GTA would be pretty cool, and I'd prefer a better method for finding multiplayer servers as well..

      • that's an interesting idea. Sony could get together with the major game publishers and establish a standardized player model format. you would be able to customize the model in the PS3's Home interface, and then load the 3D avatar into games as your player model. each game would render the model differently (different lighting system, character sizes, graphical style, etc.) but the basic features would still be recognizable as your Home avatar.

        i don't own a PS3, so I've never used Home, but they could also

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 10, 2008 @06:07AM (#25325773)

      It's actually another useless article from The Inquirer [theinquirer.net], republished on pcauthority.com.au.

      Sure, Home bears a glancing resemblance to Second Life, albeit a homogenized one, but the NXE bears absolutely no resemblance other than they both have avatars and feature text and voice chat. Virtual world, NXE ain't.

      Where is slashdot's bullshit filter when we need it?

    • From everything I've seen, Microsoft is allowing people to create 3D avatars just like Nintendos Mii. They will have games and applications where many of these players can mingle together online. This isn't exactly a traditional "Virtual World" like the PSN Home or Second Life.
    • by elrous0 (869638)

      Yes, the author is clearly talking out of his ass on this one. Home is a lot like Second Life--with the notable exception of not being able to create original content, which a lot of Second Lifers would consider the defining characteristic of Second Life (I don't). But the new Live Experience is NOTHING like it (nor is it in any way a "virtual world"). The closest thing Live Experience has to a "virtual world" is a lousy 8-person chat feature where you and 7 of your friends on live can show off your lame Mi

    • by sootman (158191)

      I found the headline to be misleading, but in a different way. "Sony, Microsoft Begin Battle of Virtual Worlds" to me sounds like they're both going to create virtual worlds and there would be a big LotR-style battle between the two. Now that would be cool! I'd pay to join.... except that I wouldn't want to be on either side. :-) Make an Apple or Linux virtual world and we'll talk.

  • 2nd Life? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by goose-incarnated (1145029) <lelanthran.gmail@com> on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:47AM (#25325679) Homepage Journal
    Using second life as a target displays a considerable lack of ambition.
  • If you look at the press, the Second life seems to be doing well. That is because they think they understand it and because fancy pictures are to be had. However if you look at the number of participants in MMO games, you find that second life is one of the worst performers still in business. As it is doubtful that these new attempts will draw more people (they will basically have to to draw people away from Second Life, everybody that is interested in thsi kind of thing is already there) these efforts are

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Random Walk (252043)
      If the rumours are true, a staggering fraction of people abandon SL very fast because the can't get along with the client interface. It may well be that the pool of potential participants is much larger than the current SL population.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by smellsofbikes (890263)

        I don't think it's precisely inability to get along with the client interface. As a (not exactly veteran) SL player who hangs out where the new players first show up, I can tell you why so many people quit:

        1. The client interface just doesn't even work. It's not that they can't get along with it, it's that they sign up for a character and the SL client program tells them that it doesn't work on their hardware. They consider buying a new computer just to play a stupid game, and think "that's really lame"

        • I see that literally every time I get on SL: a new person gets on, says "so what's the goal of the game?" and when people say "there isn't one" the person says "that's dumb." and logs off, most likely forever.

          The correct answer isn't "there is no goal", but rather "you have to define your own goal". And if someone can't do that, they're probably no loss if they leave.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ash-Fox (726320)

      However if you look at the number of participants in MMO games, you find that second life is one of the worst performers still in business.

      Second life isn't that bad as MMOs go, I mean, just look at Furcadia, Planeshifts etc.

      Maybe you could come up with some actual sources proving it's not as popular as the MMOs I mentioned? Thus proving that it's "one of the worst performers still in business".

    • by skribe (26534)

      There are a lot of people who are interested in virtual worlds but haven't enjoyed the experience that Second Life has offered them. We're talking millions, if not tens of millions. If these new worlds can learn from SLs mistakes then there is certainly a potential market there to tap into. Unfortunately the hype around SL led to the inevitable unfulfilled expectations and so people are likely wary. But that's really just a marketing problem.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      As a long-time Second Lifer (i.e., I'm a sad human being), I would say that Second Life does do one thing very well that very few MMO's do. It attracts women. Chicks really dig Second Life.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Ash-Fox (726320)

        As a long-time Second Lifer (i.e., I'm a sad human being), I would say that Second Life does do one thing very well that very few MMO's do. It attracts women. Chicks really dig Second Life.

        Second life might get slashdotted now.

      • That, or it attracts a larger percentage of men who pretend to be women. Maybe sexually confused men really dig second life?
        • You mean "transgendered" and not "sexually challenged". Sexual identity and gender identity are not the same thing. And while SL does have a following among some MTF (male to female) transgendered folks (it's a lot like IRC in that way), the majority of female avatars are played by women. You can figure that out just by using the built in voice chat.

  • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:52AM (#25325695)

    "engaging in relationships, going about day-to-day business."

    Strange how people will sit in a bedroom controlling an avatar which is decorating it's bedroom....

    Although I can understand to an extent. there have been times when I was unhappy and being able to spend a few hours in a virtual world completely disconnected from my real life somehow helped and overall made me a happier person. Don't play now that real life is good.

    I avoid WOW at all cost though. I want to play it but I've seen what it does to people and I know I'd get hooked.

    • Strange how people will sit in a bedroom controlling an avatar which is decorating it's bedroom

      And strange how people will buy stuff to decorate a virtual bedroom from a talking raccoon. Dedicated gamers can earn bells, gil, plat, or whatever virtual currency a lot more easily than dollars.

    • by dnoyeb (547705)

      May I recommend Eve-online. A solid single universe game without the cushy penalties of WOW.(not that I have played WOW)

      Playing games can be very relaxing. I remember when I was sick many years ago, playing starcraft took the pain away as well as any pain killer. But it worked faster. So I always played while waiting on the medicine to kick in.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday October 10, 2008 @10:07AM (#25327263)
      I've seen crackheads less addicted than some of my friends who play WoW.
    • Imagine WoW, except every object in the world can be scripted. It's easy to spend a *lot* of time endlessly tweaking your autonomous bird flock, or tuning the parameters on your vehicles...

  • Nice avatars to gather along -yeeah-...well I suppose that IRC wasn't enough graphical (or maybe too metaphorical in his representation for most people) and that you couldn't conclude serious business within all those Multi players games /sarcasm.

    The problem is that they are wholly boring. the best of the world would be to include a "second world" into an already existing -and even moderately successful multi player game-. Imagine a "low paying" WoW/Eve/Warhammer account where your user would be forced to s

  • Hurrah. (Score:5, Funny)

    by cordsie (565171) on Friday October 10, 2008 @05:57AM (#25325727)
    Bet nobody will buy Vista in their virtual world either.
  • Like Second Life? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Luminescence (1376745)
    Second Life certainly has its failings. However its big plus is that you can create anything you like from basic shapes like cubes. This seems highly unlikely to be possible from online console games.
    • However its big plus is that you can create anything you like from basic shapes like cubes. This seems highly unlikely to be possible from online console games.

      I had a PS1 game where I could build stuff out of cubes, and it came out in December 1995. It was called Geom Cube, a port of Blockout [wikipedia.org]. Nintendo even cloned it on the Virtual Boy [wikipedia.org]. As for texturing those cubes, Doubutsu no Mori (ported to USA as Animal Crossing) explored it in 2001, and MySims refined it.

  • by Holammer (1217422) on Friday October 10, 2008 @06:23AM (#25325849)
    My main beef with Home is the fact that the average real-life looking avatar seems to be a hip 20 something with a slim athletic build and angsty haircuts (what Sony probably believes is their main demographic). I'm not some fat dork but I'm close to 35 so I really having problems connecting with the avatar. Meeting up with pals in Home would be ridiculous when everyone looks like someone fresh from college. Miis and the new Live avatars while a lot more simple offer a better way to create a good caricature of yourself. Sony should watch and learn.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      Dunno about you but I'd rather have the avatar be a blue girl with horns and hooves than something that looks a lot more like me. Cartoonish representaions make sense. Make things too realistic and we'll see an entire generation of online idiots that not only use their real name as a username (and lose jobs as a result!) but use their real appearance (and will lose jobs as a result). Even if you don't do it yourself the odds of mistaken identity from somebody that looks similar to you could be fairly hig
    • by speroni (1258316)

      I'm a fat dork. :-) And proud of it!

      Wave your freak flag!

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday October 10, 2008 @06:31AM (#25325875)
    I have enough trouble keeping up with the first one.
  • by Otis_INF (130595) on Friday October 10, 2008 @06:52AM (#25325959) Homepage

    Sony's 'Home' is really not comparable with Microsoft's new avatars/Xbox UI. Home is a virtual world, MS' UI is just that, a UI.

  • What has been described in the press so far doesn't sound anything like Second Life, except at the most superficial level. These systems are targeting things like IMVU and Puzzle Pirates. There are more similarities between Slashdot and Livejournal than there are between Second Life and Sony Home.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by WinterKnight (104994)

      What has been described in the press so far doesn't sound anything like Second Life, except at the most superficial level. These systems are targeting things like IMVU and Puzzle Pirates. There are more similarities between Slashdot and Livejournal than there are between Second Life and Sony Home.

      Parent has it right.

      This is targeting the "We (corporate) create stuff - you buy it" market, that is populated by the mainstream typical user who doesnt want to learn how to create their own content or shape their own environment.

      This is about you coming in and buying like a good little consumerist, then going to a fancy club populated by other cool people and run a dance animation for 2 hours trying to get compliments for your self assembled looks and get people to go play a game with you.

      Ofcourse, this st

  • Porn and virtual sex?

    That was seemingly everyone's first priority the moment Second Life came out. It wouldn't surprise me if the first ever public construction on there consisted of 2 spheres and a cylinder...

    Can't see them getting as much trade if they don't :)

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Friday October 10, 2008 @08:36AM (#25326439)

    Sony announced Home a long time ago. And yeah, it does look a bit like Second Life. But given that Second Life is meant to be like real life, it is odd that other things look like it too?

    MS didn't announce any kind of virtual world at all. They have avatars now, but no world to roam in. It's not anything like Second Life or such.

    Honestly, this whole article reads like more Second Life PR. I can't believe how much PR these guys get. A guy on the plane next to me two days ago was reading an article that said explained how Second Life is hot again, that companies are "moving in" again. Which of course is absurd, Second Life was never hot before and it isn't hot now, and companies "move in" at times, rarely having any positive effect on their sales or Second Life for that matter.

    Linden Labs has some of the most amazing PR I've seen.

    • I don't think the Linden Lab PR success is all that strange. Second Life is an inherently more interesting concept that something like WOW. When writing about WOW you can sum it up in sentence: "Kill monsters online with your friends and do the same thing next year." That doesn't quite cover it... but it covers 90% of what WOW is all about.

      Try summing up Second Life in one sentence while simultaneously covering 90% of the truth -- you'll fail. There have been some terse summaries above but they miss
  • BOB II [wikipedia.org]
  • I vote... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thrill12 (711899) on Friday October 10, 2008 @08:42AM (#25326505) Journal
    ...to move all stock exchanges to these virtual worlds. We're practically using virtual money anyways, and this way we can easily 'patch' any bad stocks by adding an arbitrary number to badly going stocks ;=)
  • Companies are represented by avatars which live a virtual life

    Hello, I'm a Mac.

  • "Ryoji Akagawa of Sony said that around 24 game design companies would provide the content needed for Home - but didn't give much else away. "

    This is nothing like SecondLife, then - barely even an imitation.

    SecondLife is about user content and creativity while Sony's - and quite possibly Microsoft's - solution is about you paying them for the right to purchase items created by other companies. You have zero capacity to create your own content and items.

    In other words, this isn't a virtual world: This is a 3

  • Both games show striking similarities to Linden Lab's creation.

    You mean: "Both games, like Linden Labs' creation, show striking similarities to the Metaverse of Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash."

  • When I saw one of them was called "Home" I assumed this was the Microsoft one, as they have a history of hijacking common words for their products (Word, Works, Windows, etc.), which has even caused trouble for them in the past (paying Linspire millions in a settlement). However, I see that it is actually Sony's that is called "Home". Hmm...
  • The whole point of SL is user created (and owned) content. Sony and MS both missed the point, or the article missed it by drawing a comparison between animated chat avatars SL. What Linden did was alot harder. They have to deal with a continuous world (no fragments) entirely made up of user generated content with no chance to pre-calc or optimize before rendering. It's a bit like comparing Pidgin to Python.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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