Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Communications GUI Software The Internet Entertainment Games

The Second Coming of Virtual Worlds 117

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the when-someone-asks-if-you're-a-god-you-say-yes dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Things have been a bit quiet on the virtual world front recently, but according to an article in Silicon.com, things are about to change. Apparently it's only now that virtual worlds are really going to become a force to be reckoned with. 'Now experts predict the virtual world phenomenon is entering a second phase in which businesses will become shrewder about their involvement in such environments and look more carefully at the tangible benefits they can realize. Emerging technology specialist at IBM, Robert Smart, is confident virtual worlds will become more important to businesses in the coming years.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Second Coming of Virtual Worlds

Comments Filter:
  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @02:32AM (#25538243)

    businesses will become shrewder about their involvement in such environments and look more carefully at the tangible benefits they can realize

    Translation: Business has realized the ineffectiveness of trying to do business against giant penis attachment and furry accessories in a world inhabited by idiots.

    • Real translation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moraelin (679338) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @03:00AM (#25538367) Journal

      Translation: Business has realized the ineffectiveness of trying to do business against giant penis attachment and furry accessories in a world inhabited by idiots.

      Real translation: some guy at IBM figured out there's money to be made from those who _haven't_ realized that yet. So, in keeping with the tradition of hyping technologies to people who don't actually need them, next you'll see IBM and a few others pitching something along the lines of WebSphere Virtual World Server 7.1 as the second cumming of Christ. To CIOs whose idea of staying on top of their branch is reading lists of buzzwords, from paid-for-PR articles disguised as technology news.

      See, there's this funny thing about gold rushes. Almost invariably the only ones who made money are not the miners. It's those who sold equipment and food to them.

      A lot of business in the IT world lately is creating your own fake gold rush by PR, and trying to sell picks to some people who won't strike gold because there is none. And this reads like yet another bubble trying to get started. The message is, basically, "OMG, there's so much money to be made from virtual worlds, and there are all these people who'd take you more seriously and give you more money if they could walk into your 3D virtual shop dressed as a furry. But you have to be careful about what virtual world and business kit you get, you know? Get ours." Have you heard that before? Right. A million times, probably.

      E.g., Web 2.0: you'd get so much money and be the only ones profitable online, if you only had forums, and tags, and wikis, and supported BitTorrent. 'Cause it's all about empowering the users, baby. Build a better community web site, and they'll just beg to give you their money. No seriously, that's what the Web 2.0 trademark was supposed to mean. Well, until it was hijacked. There wasn't enough to be sold with that idea, so it got hijacked to mean: buy our funky javascript frameworks and servers, and you'll get everyone wanting to buy stuff from you. People only take an e-commerce site seriously if it has a megabyte of javascript per page, ya know?

      E.g., portals. Everything has to be done using portlets, and reinvent in Javascript badly the multiple windows and window management that your OS already had anyway. Customers will only take you seriously and give you lots of money if you buy our portlet server. And here's a few strawmen and non-sequiturs about how if it's done with any different technology, it can't possibly be the view and the information that the customer wants. (Confusing content with a presentation layer technology, basically.)

      Etc.

      So now the next message and bubble will be: do it with 3D virtual worlds! Buy our virtual shop kit, and this time the customers will really take you seriously! Would we lie to you? Again?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by syousef (465911)

        All you said is true, but wouldn't it be much more concise to say that someone's got a virtual bridge to sell ya?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RazzleDazzle (442937)

        The real annoying thing is how everyone seems to be getting their own "MY" version of their already functional and customizable site.

        1. MYspace.com
        2. MY.facebook.com
        3. MY.Bn.com
        4. google has one but they call it i instead of MY
        5. MY.yahoo.com
        6. MY.nytimes.com
        7. MY.barackobama
        8. MYflorida.com
        9. yep even a MY.GOATSE.CX
        10. MY head hurts with all of these my my my!

        Oh the humanity it's a bandwagon epidemic.

        • 9. yep even a MY.GOATSE.CX

          Three questions.

          1. What would possess a person to discover this?
          2. Can you upload your own avatar?
          3. How YOU doin?

          • by TheP4st (1164315) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @05:55AM (#25539109)

            9. yep even a MY.GOATSE.CX

            Three questions.

            1. What would possess a person to discover this? 2. Can you upload your own avatar? 3. How YOU doin?

            1. The wish to be part of the ubercool my. group, whatever it takes.

            2. Sure, but only if it is a close up image of your expanded rectum.

            3. Bit sore in the rear, otherwise just fine. Thank you for asking.

        • All this stuff seems to happen right around the time Microsoft decided that they were no longer going to be calling their directories "My Documents" and "My Computer"... Go figure.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Teancum (67324)

        I couldn't have said it better myself.

        As the saying goes.... follow the money. There is also a whole bunch of, well I should say something a little more vulgar but I will leave this PG-rated, bolvine excrement.

        There are some amazing things that can be done with virtual worlds, and I've been a part of some of that effort myself (both as a user and as a software designer). Still, there isn't anything really new here nor frankly anything novel that has come around since text-based MUDs, MUSHes, & MOOs ot

      • ... Virtual World 2.0

        What's next?

      • Unfortunately, that process always works for a large number of the population. Look at politics, the only difference being that instead of selling a "[random tech here] business kit" they sell themselves.
      • by afabbro (33948)

        See, there's this funny thing about gold rushes. Almost invariably the only ones who made money are not the miners. It's those who sold equipment and food to them.

        1998 called and they want their analogy back.

        • And 1998 will get its analogy back, when it stops being relevant to the present.

          Because for example this (kind of) PR story is just that: "Hey, there's gold in them there (virtual) hills! Get yer gear hear and be the first to stake your claim!" That's it. That's the whole story in a nutshell.

          I even propose an empyrical test for detecting such scams: the anecdote of the medieval alchemist who goes to a king and tells him that he's discovered the secret of creating cheap endless gold. And only asks for a bag

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Certain bloggers that are sponsored by virtual world consulting companies keep doing this. Sometimes you can follow whole chains of postings implying virtual worlds are catching on because so and so said this.

      The current article looked like more of the same.

  • I think I've heard this before.
    • That the coming explosion in graphics power (SuperVGA and 386s) was going to push VR into the mainstream.

      • by QuantumG (50515) *

        I heard Jaron Lanier saying "dude, pass the bong."

      • by LS (57954)

        Jaron Lanier is a douche. He'll be 75 years old and still be sporting his dreadlocks while talking about virtual reality to wired magazine 5.0.

      • by w0mprat (1317953)
        So you think VR hasn't happend? As soon as SVGA and 386s popped up along came 3D gaming. VR is here in a way, we have the immersive 3d environments and massively multiplayer worlds, we've had the graphics hardware in desktop pcs for years. We even have bluetooth (for a while now) and motion sensing (Wii is almost 2 years old). VR as we saw on the technology shows (Tomorrows world, Beyond 2000 et al) never really got beyond the research laboratory, despite now being completely viable in terms of the necessar
        • by QuantumG (50515) *

          As someone who actually owns a VR headset [vuzix.com] (two 640x480 displays and head tracking) I can tell you that the problem isn't motion sickness. The problem is that the displays are not immersive enough. They make no secret of this... people, like me, just prefer not to acknowledge they know what they're getting.. "equivalent to a 62-inch screen at 9 feet." And that's really true. When you put it on you really do see a big monitor on the other side of the room.. a big black room. When you look up, or down, y

    • It will be the killer app for the Year of the Linux Desktop.

  • Things have... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MorderVonAllem (931645) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @02:35AM (#25538259)
    ...quieted down because the people who play second life or other such games don't *want* business to intrude in their virtual world. There's nothing to sell in virtual worlds because someone else can make the same "virtual object" and sell it cheaper so all it becomes is another advertising tool which seems to me that people are trying to avoid by going to a virtual world. ''The first and perhaps most obvious is collaboration. This includes holding real-time meetings in the worlds with each member participating via an avatar. It can be a big cost saver, as it removes the need to fly workers around the globe.'' seriously? And document collaboration in a virtual world? give me a break. There is much better software out there that does this a million times better...just doesn't have the 3d graphics... This guy probably bought a bunch of patents on this crap and is just trying to drum up interest for this...nothing more But I know nothing and the replies to this will probably refute or state what I'm attempting to state much better.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by QuantumG (50515) *

      There's nothing to sell in virtual worlds

      Wow. So all those people in Second Life are selling what? They've got a bigger economy then some small countries.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by daveime (1253762)

        Pr0n ... the only thing that infests every new tech breakthough on the net, and let's be honest, the only reason ANYONE spends more than 30 minutes online anyway.

        Bulletin Boards = Pr0n Boards
        Forums = Pr0n Forums
        Social Networks = Pr0n Networks
        Web 2.0 = Pr0n without the page refresh
        VR = 3D Pr0n
        Second Life = 3D Pron that you can sell for an imaginary currency you bought with real currency.

        And the list goes on ...

      • I meant that these companies have no products to sell that they make in the real world. Sure you can buy a car in the virtual world but since the cost to produce the car is just time and no materials or what-have-you, someone can just make it cheaper (or even steal your design) and then you lose your brand. So real companies can't really be as strong as they are in the real world. Thus really...nothing to sell...
    • Embrace the tech!
      Imagine that the NEXT boring meeting dominated by hours long powerpoint slideshows....

      *1. From your 'virtual' meeting, access a proxy, and hack/crack the presentation with flying penises.
      2.How 'uncomfortable' can you make your avatar?
      3.Bonus points for hacking the system and substituting a lip-sync'ed animation of Richard M. Nixon replacing your PHB in the next teleconference.
      4. Uhmm?...Use your creative imagination?*

      P.S.
      I agree with you, this is just marketing looki

      • Virtual worlds can have their place in the business world -- but I believe that place is not with traditional brick and mortar mega-corps --- aside from portals to their support/sales OpenSims - which ties directly to real world product - *NOT* virtual product.

        Virtual worlds are a much better fit for distributed and small businesses that want a global footprint, but don't have products or services that scale well in the real world. A distributed business can have workers/contractors all over the world, and

    • Re:Things have... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Aladrin (926209) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @08:29AM (#25540241)

      Quality goods always sell better than crap goods. And quality goods, even in virtual environments, aren't easy or quick to make.

      Second Life is a good example. Let's focus on 1 item that's pretty prevalent: Skins. (The replacement flesh coloring.) Crappy skins are cheap. Good skins are ridiculously expensive. This is because it's not easy to make them, even if you're an artist.

      The real problem for businesses is not the goods... It's making money from the game. In-game objects don't sell for real money, they sell for virtual money. You can attempt to sell virtual money to other players for real money, but there are no guarantees.

      Making promotional items is in the same category. Who in their right mind is going to wear a CocaCola shirt in a video game, just because it was free? The amount of time and money they'd have to invest to get people to wear them would be better spent on real-world marketing instead, and they know it.

      I agree that this is just an attempt to hype a market, though. Shouting 'Great things are coming!' usually means someone wishes they were, not that they actually are.

  • maybe their be a little chinese guy running arround saying "DVD"... like everytime i go outside mywork place for a smoke
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @02:54AM (#25538323)

    It's just that the real virtual worlds are facebook, google docs, myspace, amazon, craigslist, and so on... These don't attempt to copy "real life", they perform new functions that "real life" just couldn't perform.

    Someday, we will have much better virtual reality, and then avatar-based virtual worlds will become feasible - because, by then, it won't be about the avatar. But tell me how Second Life will help me collaborate with our team member over in Colorado? Let me tell you, the problem is not that we don't have an avatar to talk to. The problem is that we don't have the rich intersubjectivity, easy transitions between whiteboard, sketchpad, powerpoint, the subtextual awareness of people's available time/attention, the spontaneous conversations that everybody can listen to with half an ear or close their door to, and so on.

    Today's virtual worlds simply don't offer that. We're going to need a lot of new tech and interface development. Somehow I don't think exploiting Second Life as an e-commerce channel is going to be a game-changer.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      The problem is that we don't have the rich intersubjectivity, easy transitions between whiteboard, sketchpad, powerpoint, the subtextual awareness of people's available time/attention, the spontaneous conversations that everybody can listen to with half an ear or close their door to, and so on.

      You can do most of these with a webcam-equipped Mac and iChat AFAIK. Welcome to 2005~2006.

  • So we will be even more busy with real life and virtual life's. Will we also get virtual kreditcrisis?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by cjfs (1253208)

      So we will be even more busy with real life and virtual life's. Will we also get virtual kreditcrisis?

      First page of the article:

      "There's no credit crunch in Second Life"

      :-)

      • by Tony Hoyle (11698) *

        That's because there can never be credit in a virtual world. If I lend someone a virtual $1000 what's to stop them deleting their character the next day and running off with the money? Nothing at all.

        • Oddly enough, I have that problem in RL too. Except I don't think they deleted themselves.

        • by Ash-Fox (726320)

          That's because there can never be credit in a virtual world. If I lend someone a virtual $1000 what's to stop them deleting their character the next day and running off with the money? Nothing at all.

          Rent the money from a bank in real life and convert the money to lindens. This not any different from converting money to casino chips etc.

  • by cjfs (1253208)

    IBM's Smart predicts more web browser-based virtual worlds will appear over time, meaning users won't have to spend time downloading and setting up client applications.

    This would be a large step. One of the main issues now is the effort required to do the equivalent of clicking a link. Imagine installing a new program for every link you wanted to click.

    • I tried second life.Demanding that you download something so large and slow to see some 5year old graphics and badly coded game-like crap isn't appealing to most of web users.
      I think it has some potential if:
      They are moving to flash and making most
      resources download-as-you-go.Flash has Local Storage Objects for this.
      Disable scripts completely.They should be
      allowed for premium customers or staff if at all.
      Disable large/heavy ram textures.Focus on quality vs size.Alot of crappy textures
      don't i

      • by salarelv (1314017)
        Flash can't render real 3D. Maybe in 5 years when they have implemented hardware acceleration.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ash-Fox (726320)

        Demanding that you download something so large and slow to see some 5year old graphics and badly coded game-like crap isn't appealing to most of web users.

        It isn't five year old graphics, it's what computers can handle without prerendering. You cannot do prerendering on Second life due it's dynamic nature.

        They are moving to flash and making most
        resources download-as-you-go.Flash has Local Storage Objects for this.

        Flash would give terrible FPS.

        Disable scripts completely.They should be

      • You tried SL, but obviously you didn't get the idea. It's not a game with content dictated by a company, it's about the users being able to create what they like. (While you're at it, you could also complain about the lack of a storyline, which would equally miss the point completely.)

        Scripts are a necessity. Textures can be atrocious, yes, so what? In RL you can also design your own clothes, if you like, and make them as atrocious as you like.

        And yeah, the graphics may look 5yrs old, but unlike your

  • by DavidD_CA (750156) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @03:04AM (#25538383) Homepage

    Has any business, anywhere, recieved any tangible benefit from their participation in Second Life?*

    I hear about all these businesses and universities spending so much money on virtual places that are lucky to get a dozen "hits" a month. Are any of these visitors buying a product, becoming more brand-loyal, or spreading the word?

    *Linden Labs and Second Life developers not included.

    • Yes, many businesses can profit from Second Life. My University holds online courses there from time to time to do sociology experiments. I have worked with companies in SL who have made in the order of thousands of dollars per week. While it may start as 'virtual currency' it can all be traded in for real currency, and the truth is that I paid my rent for several months by building and programming items in SL. My qualm with businesses taking over with Virtual Worlds is that they may drive free counterpart
    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Since I was "grandfathered in" under an older weekly stipend in Second Life, Linden Labs essentially pays ME about $10 a year to be in Second Life (I pay about $75 a year for membership, my stipend is worth about $85 in U.S. dollars).

      So yes, some people are making money.

    • "I hear about all these businesses and universities spending so much money on virtual places that are lucky to get a dozen "hits" a month. Are any of these visitors buying a product, becoming more brand-loyal, or spreading the word?"

      Sounds like the beginnings of the WWW, doesn't it?

  • by Carbon016 (1129067) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @03:20AM (#25538437)

    The concept of "pure" virtual worlds (i.e. not a "game" with a massive community) is pure marketing hype through and through, an accidental but inevitable extension of the success instant messaging has had. The vast majority of people find very little use in the concept and even less in the execution. Part of this is the fact that such applications require someone to relatively social and extroverted (to find value in interaction for interaction's sake), yet also find a need to supplement or replace being social in the real world with doing it online. These subsets don't overlap too much.

    The reason this doesn't apply to instant messaging is because instant messaging allows people to do much more: they can add coworkers and friends they know in real life, and be able to imitate existing technologies like the telephone they would already use and supplement them with advantages like a more casual environment allowing briefer conversations (also see SMS), and creating grouped conversations. It's form over function - you don't need a "3D world" to do that. So the problem is twofold. If you create a product that uses a new technology, and doesn't need that technology, it's introducing needless complexity. If you create a product that uses a new technology, but fails to extend current technologies, it's a novelty.

    Existing "virtual worlds" have two uses: gambling and sex. SL is barren except for the "clubs", most of the others are too. The only thing keeping the concept afloat is the endless cycle of press articles on about how "innovative" it is. Businesses have no sales in these "worlds" because while advertising is something that people accept on TV, if they don't have to go to a advertising area in the game they won't.

    • Existing "virtual worlds" have two uses: gambling and sex.

      Yes, but think of the possibilities, just within sex. Your avatar is not as physically limited as yourself. If not in real life, you can deliver

      The Second Coming in Virtual Worlds

      (Happy-to-be-distasteful'ly yours --Jonas K)

    • by idlehanz (1262698)
      I agree with the general tenor of the comments that have been made so far, and would readily agree with the article being part of a hype machine. However, one thing that you said caught my eye:

      "Existing "virtual worlds" have two uses: gambling and sex. SL is barren except for the "clubs", most of the others are too. The only thing keeping the concept afloat is the endless cycle of press articles on about how "innovative" it is."

      I was thinking about how much this was analoguous to the state of the web i

    • Why is it that so many people in a computer technology forum are so resistant to the kind of endless change that computer technology brings? I find it ironic that this poster claims "If you create a product that uses a new technology, and doesn't need that technology, it's introducing needless complexity" but then uses instant messaging as an example of a successful new technology adoption. There is nothing in most IM offerings that you can't do with a conference call on a POTS phone.

      The article associat

      • by DrVomact (726065)

        Why is it that so many people in a computer technology forum are so resistant to the kind of endless change that computer technology brings?

        Because not every idea is really a change (i.e., new), nor is every change for the better. Some ideas suck. In fact, I would say that the overwhelming majority of ideas suck. I refer you to what is now known as the "dot com bubble"—probably one of the greatest concentrations of stupid ideas ever seen on this planet. Need I elaborate?

        Yes, the WWW was a good idea.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I never intended to imply that virtual worlds would replace IM. Your scenario of spontaneous communication with office mates was not what I had in mind. IM is actually very good in that situation because you already have a lot of face time with office mates. In that situation, brief text is all that is needed.

          Consider this situation. You have coders in Bangalore, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. You've noticed that their defect counts have started to escalate out of proportion to your local team in the USA. It's t

          • That's a whole lot of hypotheticals. Why would your coders be unresponsive via IM, yet have the patience to download a 200MB client and not fall asleep? Who's assuming that sitting in some pixel room "arouses your social instincts" any more than IM? Your coders also have to have a decent spec machine, find your e-place, and get there quickly enough, which seems simple but with the existing batch is horribly difficult.

            I think if I had a team of people across the world and asked them to start up a game client

            • I claim that virtual worlds is an approach to telepresence on a budget. Someone must think that telepresense is important because it is estimated [humanproductivitylab.com] to generate about 4 billion USD in annual revenues.

              Your other arguments are supercilious at best and show a lack of understanding, at least in the world of distributed software development. I would also guess that you've never used Second Life before.

              • Most developer machines need to be high performance due to the resource heavy nature of having to run a web
        • by khayman80 (824400)

          DrVomact, this is unrelated to the subject at hand, but I've been wanting to contact you for a while now. Over a year ago we had a productive discussion about quantum entanglement and parallel universes.

          I've recently put this discussion into a website at http://dumbscientist.com/archives/quantum-entanglement-and-parallel-universes [dumbscientist.com] . I just wanted to contact you to make sure this is okay with you. If you have any questions or comments, please email me at the address shown on my "about" page ( http://dumbsci [dumbscientist.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by blahplusplus (757119) *

      "Part of this is the fact that such applications require someone to relatively social and extroverted (to find value in interaction for interaction's sake), yet also find a need to supplement or replace being social in the real world with doing it online. These subsets don't overlap too much."

      You're assuming way too much here, I believe the audience would be for the introverts first. Introverts ARE social beings, it's the real world face-to-face stuff that throws some of them off. They recharge by being a

    • by Haoie (1277294)

      You never know what might happen in a few years.

      Maybe some sort of integration between Web 2.0 [yes yes, it's a buzzword] and increased computer capabilities will finally make it more viable.

      That and virtual reality, if that ever takes off.

  • by Rothron the Wise (171030) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @03:43AM (#25538521)

    The economics of virtual worlds are driven by synthetic scarcity. Indeed, any digital product is subject to imposed scarcity as an infinite amount of copies could be created at practically no cost.

    A big difference is that with virtual worlds, copy control and usage control can be enforced more rigorously to drive up prices. This is why you see people paying for virtual gifts on Facebook. $1 for the right to give a worthless icon to a friend. Here, the value of the product is not the product's uniqueness, but the product in conjunction with the limitations of use. You are buying back a freedom that was taken away from you by the implementation.

    Second Life allows users to create and sellp roducts and take advantage of the imposed scarcity, but will skim profits by controlling the
    conversion rate between linden dollars and USD. It looks like a real economy, but it's more like a pyramid scheme, as the profits will inevitably trickle up. It's like a casino. The house cannot lose as long as people keep coming.

    I suppose the positive side of this is that if people are happy spending real money on virtual objects, then they probably have enough money.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vadim_t (324782)

      Second Life allows users to create and sellp roducts and take advantage of the imposed scarcity, but will skim profits by controlling the
      conversion rate between linden dollars and USD. It looks like a real economy, but it's more like a pyramid scheme, as the profits will inevitably trickle up. It's like a casino. The house cannot lose as long as people keep coming.

      How's that any different from the real world? Your "casino" scheme is precisely the way land works in the real world -- whether you make any prof

    • "The economics of virtual worlds are driven by synthetic scarcity. Indeed, any digital product is subject to imposed scarcity as an infinite amount of copies could be created at practically no cost."

      Yes, however as has been pointed out repeatedly there are other aspects of content creation that aren't infinite and can't be ignored just to favor the one aspect that benefits only one particular party.

    • by xant (99438)

      I suppose the positive side of this is that if people are happy spending real money on virtual objects, then they probably have enough money.

      I'm afraid not. You mentioned the counterargument to this: casinos. See also: credit cards, the $10T national debt, balloon payments on houses. People are happy to buy things they don't have the money to afford.

  • When people go to virtual worlds, I don't think they want to be harassed by the same kind of advertising they have to suffer in the real world. That second coming will be more like a crucifixion if businesses think they can turn them into a giant money-raking playground. The only way it could work is if you could beat the crap out of the avatars of people who designed/sold bad products; a new approach to customer care!
    • by Teancum (67324)

      There are some virtual worlds who do use advertising as a means to pay for the server bandwidth, software developers, and equipment used to host the environment. This said, all of this is something that has been on the periphery and not something embedded into the game much.

      I can see it now.... you just slew the Mithril Dragon (level 575) with your +127 Vorpal Holy Avenger Sword. Now that you have been reduced to near death (but have survived!), the monster conveniently dropped a six-pack of Coca-Cola, th

  • Bottom line, how much will this add to the cost?
    Subscription, Pay as You Go, Per Bandwidth, Per bit/byte, etc.?

    I see this as another marketing Black Hole.

    It could have potential if it stays 'open'. Otherwise it is the same old 'good ole' boys network' it has always been...Bend over, and hang on...again.

  • It appears to me as a fairly long term, casual SL user, that people who make money in Second Life are obsessive enough to take the extreme lengths of time it takes to make a perfect skin / item of clothing / dance animation / etc, and are talented enough to make something that people want.

    Or they got in there first, eg xcite and sensations for sex attachments, who have been around for years.

    Or got there first before the "gold rush" days and bought up huge amounts of land and now make money renting to sucker

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vadim_t (324782)

      It appears to me as a fairly long term, casual SL user, that people who make money in Second Life are obsessive enough to take the extreme lengths of time it takes to make a perfect skin / item of clothing / dance animation / etc, and are talented enough to make something that people want.
      Or they got in there first, eg xcite and sensations for sex attachments, who have been around for years.
      Or got there first before the "gold rush" days and bought up huge amounts of land and now make money renting to sucker

      • Exactly two years ago I paid $72 for an annual premium account on SL, my first out of pocket expense. Within three months I had broken even, and by next month I expect to have total profits of $10,000 accumulated. That includes partnering in a failed club and generally losing money on land transactions.

        I've learned enough what not to do, so I don't make those mistakes any more, and now provide services that people pay me for. Electronic goods, being copiable, tend to zero price. Services, being custom f

  • I, for one, (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oodaloop (1229816) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @06:08AM (#25539173)
    would love to buy stuff in secondlife or some other virtual world. I mean rw objects, not virtual objects. I can't believe how many geeks here poo-poo the potential, just because secondlife et al haven't done much yet. I'm sure when online stores started, the 3-digit user IDs opined that they'd rather go to a real store thankyouverymuch.

    I hate surfing on sites where I have to click through list after list of things I don't want to finally see what I want. In a virtual werehouse, I could clearly see all the hanging signs, fly to the part of the store I need, wave my hand at a poster on a wall, and buy what I want with paypal or some other convenient form of payment. It combines the convenience of rw store layout, quick online payment, and instant access. I could teleport from store to store, listen to music, interact with virtual salespersons when I need help, meet girls (or furries or whatever), and (importantly for vendors) make impulse buys as I walk around. This has the potential to be a much more interesting and fulfilling shopping experience than simply searching through Google Products, eBay, or New Egg.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tnk1 (899206)

      For some things, a virtual store is not ever going to really help you. People go to stores to inspect what they are buying and to see how clothing looks on them, for instance. In VR, the item you buy is never ripped or threadbare or doesn't fit right, nor does it feel flimsy.

      Now, I imagine that you might someday get enough fidelity in color matching on your monitor to at least see the colors as they would be in real life, but you'll never be able to inspect the merchandise.

      For other things, you don't need

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Things like electronics and other things that you can't spot inspect in person can be just as well sold in 2D because all you really need are the specifications of the item and whether it is what you are looking for.

        Imagine, if you will, wanting to buy a computer -- a tower workstation -- and you want to examine it -- to see how easy it is to open, and work on - where are the memory modules -- are they poorly placed near the power supply, making replacement/retrofitting problematic?

        Wouldn't it be an application that is tailored to the virtual world? This is also an application that you don't often (if ever) get a chance to do IRL - as you say.

        Training and troubleshooting hardware is another area where this can be usef

        • Or...the company could just take the side off and put up an extra picture on NewEgg. Bit less hassle there.

    • by Tom (822)

      Real store or online shop is a non-trivial question.

      Some things I prefer buying online, some in a real store. Stuff that you need to touch and feel, for example. Some clothes are of that kind, as well as sports articles and the like. Stuff that's mostly digital anyways (software) or of a well-known form (books) is something I prefer to buy online due to the convenience.

      Building a "virtual store" in 3D that looks exactly like a real store strikes me as the most dumb thing you could possibly do. It combines a

  • Over the past few years a very quiet and innovative revolution has taken place in 3d graphics. I know this because I am immersed in it. Now I don't really know how much bandwidth will be required to make it all fluid. Without getting into brands or specific applications there is software that abstractionalizes all 3d entities into basically database records with a visual component. That visual component can then be placed and oriented into 3 dimensional space. This object can then provide as little or as mu

  • Besides being media darlings, virtual worlds never took off. A second comming requires a first one. There has been none. I predict there will not one this time round again, people are just not interested in this kind of thing enough. Again, the press falls for it though. Stupid.

    Reminds me a bit of the "TV on the cellphone" that was used to propagate UMTS in Europe. Turns out, nobody wanted it. Also turns out this was known in advance, but a lot of people were just to greedy. As a result, they then managed t

  • I guess he hasn't heard of video-conferencing...why would you need an Avtar when you can see the person's face?!?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Umm for same reasons people spend lifes in virtual worlds instead of real ones - your virtual alter ego is better looking, more succesfull and easier to live with than a real one

      • Yeah, isn't it strange? Whats so hard to understand about the concept of "It is what it is" and in truth things will only become better when faced in their reality and changed. Oh well, off to my second life ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Remember the Virtual World BattleTech Centers? http://www.virtualworld.com/ [virtualworld.com]

    These guys have been pushing the non-goggle & non-glove VR for use in entertainment for a long time.

    The system uses a mirror & beam splitter combo to create the illusion of 3D.

    On top of that, it has 7 monitors and over 90 buttons (they all work)

    Its a shame that this kind of 'Virtual Reality' is often ignored in favor of goggle tech, in spite of its success in entertainment and in flight and military simulations.

    After 18 years

  • by rhiorg (213355) <rhiorg@sarcasmic.net> on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @08:54AM (#25540561)

    From my experience, a virtual economy can support itself without any intervention or participation from outside companies. For example, there are lots of people who sell skins, clothing, accessories, you-name-it to the residents of Second Life, and *I* make money by providing business tools to them (for visitor counting/automated greetings/report services/surveys, etc.).

    I think Second Life paved the way for bigger and better things, but by no means should it be considered the model for the way a virtual environment should work. The utter lack of an interactive forms API and zero support for interaction with real-world documents (such as PDF, .DOC, Excel, PowerPoint) are big flaws that are already frustrating businesses that try to conduct meetings in SL. And don't get me started about their "land" approach to paying for CPU cycles.

    From the outset, SL hasn't been about business. Linden Lab created a barren virtual landscape and has let the residents create just about 100% of the content using a very limited (dare i say "primitive"?) set of tools. It has been a big hippie-furry-fetishfest that has concentrated on bugfixes rather than connecting to the outside world. Considering how long it's been around, Second Life shouldn't still be regarded as a place where cyberweirdos go to get their kink on...and yet it still is very much regarded that way by even hardcore geeks.

    Now that Linden Lab is starting to realize that their talk of SL as a place for serious business isn't just the hot air even *they* thought it was, they're trying to turn the ship around with some meager business-related integration. Fortunately for them, most other tech companies have watched them struggle and have stayed out of the game.

  • by gbooch (323588) <egrady@booch.com> on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @08:55AM (#25540571) Homepage

    Over the past two years, I've conducted close to 50 lectures and business meetings in Second Life. This has save me time - I can easily appear "live" to an audience half a world away without the attendant cost of time to get there - and it has saved IBM money - I'm shipping my bits, not my atoms. I created an avatar that looks very much like me in real life, and by using voice inside Second Life, the overall experience for those with whom I interact is close enough to real life to be good enough for real business use, especially given the economic benefit. Before the end of the year, I'll have started a virtual office on one of the IBM islands where I'll be holding regular office hours - something that many Lindens already do - for we do have an in world community that spans the world, and this will actually extend my reach.

    So, it's not about the economics of buying and selling virtual things in world; for me, it's using a virtual world as an extension of my real world. Being in world is subtly better than NetMeeting (which works ok for point meetings but not so well with multiple attendees...and besides, I prefer to use real operating systems, so I only have Mac and Linux machines around) and - especially when I'm connecting to places where the network infrastructure is less well developed - requires no special equipment on the distant ends. When all the folks with whom I'm interacting are in world, social interaction carries out much like in the real world, with small groups forming and reforming. This is better than video for me, as it to some degrees encourages serendipitous communication and addresses the watercooler problem.

    Lest you think I'm a shill for IBM, please note that I'm only a minor player in the larger metaverse community that has evolved at our grassroots. There's more going on than I can describe here, with regard to IBM's internal use of virtual worlds (as one brief example, we just held our first Academy meeting entirely in world; additionally, given these economic times, a life Academy meeting had been cancelled - but in its place there will be, among other things, an in world meeting).

    With growing energy costs, conducting business in world as an extension of the real world is where I, for one, am reaping economic value.

  • Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by foxalopex (522681) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @09:08AM (#25540747)
    I'm surprised there's so many negative comments on SecondLife in particular although in some ways I agree. Myself I've long been a user of MUDs, actually I'm still a part of one today. (Free Text-based Virtual Systems). I never did like SecondLife due to it's commercial content but I can understand it's attractiveness for many. I think businesses don't understand the reality of VR systems. For most people, it's about one's self in many ways. Think of it as a spiritual journey for many. Put it this way, I think VR Systems are an expression of someone's hopes and dreams. If your hopes and dreams only consist of commercial products... Well I'd say that's why your life feels empty.
  • by Grashnak (1003791) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @09:25AM (#25540925)

    I can explain every aspect of virtual world economics.

    Feel free to buy a virtual ticket to the lecture "How to Retire Your Toon", which my toon will be giving at the virtual conference centre in Second Life. Real world currency only.

  • "virtual" my ass (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @09:44AM (#25541149) Homepage Journal

    It's not a "world" until it advances a lot more. One of the reason that "virtual meetings" don't hold a candle to real meetings it that you have a what? 30 field of vision? That is if your screen is fairly large.

    See, in the real world you have 180 FOV, full positional full-duplex audio, unlimited resolution, and a much, much more intuitive user interface.

    Virtual worlds need to become a lot more immersive before they will take off. As long as a simple conversation isn't as simple as in the real world, there will be some early adopters and hype, but that's it.

    Me, I want touch. You don't even begin to realize how much touch and force feedback matters until you're in a "virtual world" where you have neither.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    They've just increased the lowest simulator monthly charges by 66%

    Everyone is going ape-shit

    http://blog.secondlife.com/2008/10/27/openspace-pricing-and-policy-changes/
    http://forums.secondlife.com/forumdisplay.php?f=354

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This only applies to 'Open Spaces' -- areas that were marketed as light use at a lower price for estate owners. Estate owners were renting these areas out -- and their CPU/resources utilization (16 open spaces sims on a server, vs 4 regular sims) was going beyond what was really 'light use'.

      This does not effect any other pricing.

      So -- greedy estate owners decided instead of using 'Open Spaces' sims as parks or ocean, decided to rent them out to residents instead. Hmmmmmm - I don't think I have much sympa

  • yawn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drfrog (145882) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @01:10PM (#25544593) Homepage

    they said the same thing with the advent of vrml 2.0

    its spin

    they asked if sgi and its cosmo division would lead the way to , get this...THE SECOND WEB!

    the problem with most of these 3d communities is they are encapsulated into a corporate environment requiring u to EULA to exist in their realm

    it equivalent to camping on private propery

  • Land Rush (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bitspotter (455598) on Tuesday October 28, 2008 @01:12PM (#25544637) Journal

    Just a few days ago, I finally installed and ran an OpenSim server [livejournal.com] on my own box.

    Given the absurdity of being effectively forbidden to make backups copies of the stuff in Second Life they claim I own the copyrights to (a deal breaker in my book), I'm pretty happy to finally see an actually open and complete virtual worlds platform (even if it is alpha).

    It wouldn't surprise me if the burgeoning openness of these and other VW software projects is what is driving business to take a second look at it, as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We can guess that most people's real-lives are going to be horseshit, so there may well be a higher demand for virtual-lives. My guess is that this means more/better mmorgs, probably ones designed to run on a cheap console because there is no way they are going to be able to afford high end PCs.

    XBOX and PLAYSTATION development may balloon in the next 5 years. (Or bubble...)

    How big does a balloon have to get before it is a bubble?

  • Just as long as we keep out the viruses spread by blood and bitmaps.
  • How many ranks lower is a specialist than a visionary? [slashdot.org]

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

Working...