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Coldwell Banker To Sell Second Life Properties 175

Dekortage sends news of what may be a new development in the attempted mainstreaming of Second Life. We've seen plenty of examples of real-world news media, politicos, and PR campaigns setting up in SL. But so far most of this action has been about first-life organizations trying to gain real-world publicity by their forays into SL. CNN is reporting that the real estate firm Coldwell Banker is moving into SL for the purpose of selling and renting in-world properties. From the article: "Coldwell Banker has bought extensive tracts of property on the central 'mainland' of Second Life. (Most companies own 'islands' scattered all over.) It subdivided this digital land into 520 individual houses and living units, half of which it will sell and half it will rent... 'A small number of land barons mostly control real estate in Second Life, and we thought we could bring real estate to the masses,' [a VP explained]."
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Coldwell Banker To Sell Second Life Properties

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  • Re:Whoa Cowboy! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Asztal_ ( 914605 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @12:55AM (#18476147)
    No, but you could have your account warned/suspended for abuse(shooting someone can send them flying quite far, depending on how the weapon is made). You can't kill someone, by the way - even if you trapped them in a box or whatever, they can teleport out.

    (PS. If you ever go into the sandboxes in Second Life, you'll see all sorts of other types of abuse too - floating batman cubes/bananaphones which follow you around playing an annoying/catchy* loop, hundreds of stupidly high-detail models just left lying around by their long-gone creators, bendy penises which follow people around annoying them, thousands of physics objects which attempt to waste the simulator's resources, etc.)
    *delete where appropriate
  • Re:Supply and demand (Score:2, Interesting)

    by paladinrocks ( 1079717 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @01:31AM (#18476299)
    Am I the only person who doesn't get this? This must be the point in time when I must call myself old. I played MUD games (text-based) online games twenty years ago. I don't understand how a real company buys up land in a world that doesn't even exist, except in an online gaming forum?
  • by Mondo1287 ( 622491 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @02:38AM (#18476577)
    I've seen the press for this roll by for the last couple of years. Finally after seeing this post I said well I better see what all the hype is really about. I, like your friends, installed it and laughed. Anyone remember MTV's Tikki VRML world from about 10 years ago? Well I was instantly reminded of it. Someone at Coldwell must be delusional, or Linden Labs paid them a heafty sum and gave them free land. It's the lamest thing I've ever seen as far as modern content goes. Is this what they mean by Web 2.0? I think I'll be sticking to my first life with the occational raid in World of Warcraft. Who has time for a second life anyway? I just can't believe businesses are pumping money into this, or is it just media fluff? There is just no way this is going to be very profitable for anyone but Linden Labs. Any company looking to diversify into a market like this really ought to consider sticking to the real world.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @03:44AM (#18476805) Homepage
    I think trying to create an economy that allows for proper speculation while at the same time being completely under another company's control, it like asking water not to be wet. While there's clearly a monetary value to virtual items (like selling MMORPG-equipment on ebay), it's temporary. They could change the rules at any time, but that'd destory gameplay so you can be fairly sure the powerful sword you bought today is a powerful sword tomorrow. That predictability is the only thing that gives it value. It's not just a matter of regulating the content itself, SL could do all sorts of tricks like making TARDIS-like housing, choking the amount of new users which would force a price drop, rearrange the map/view/default starting locations to make the "center" be somewhere else, anything and everything. By the time you have it regulated in well enough, it'll be about as fun as investing in the stock market. Take it for what it is, it's basicly an e-penis. As long as you pay more than Joe Average (both for starters and in upkeep), you'll have this fancy thing to show off to your friends. This speculation is in that SL will be the next big e-penis thing and that it'll somehow be a status symbol to show how much money you've wasted on this. How can you possibly regulate the value of a SL property when the only value it has is perception? Might as well try to regulate the market for pet rocks.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @05:57AM (#18477133)
    Of what happens if people stop giving a shit about a given game or perhaps "virtual universe" if you prefer. In the real world, while certain areas may experience a net loss in people, population keeps growing so overall there's more people who are in the market.

    Well games, that's not the case. The player base can leave. UO and EQ are two examples of that happening. Once both were major players, and were able to claim more people playing them than any MMORPG before. Both now have dwindled to be minor players (about 1% marketshare in the case of UO). Thus if one had gotten in at the peak and banked on them continuing to grow, you'd have lost out. WoW is now the big dog by far, shattering every record before it and still growing, but for how long? At some point it will probably be supplanted by something else.

    Thus speculation in game markets doesn't make sense in the same was as real markets. Expansion aside, people can simply move on, and if they do it isn't like they move to a new part of the world, they move to a completely different world (or worlds) with different rules.

    Then, of course, there's always the question of what happens if the company pulls the plug. The servers go off, all of a sudden your investments are worth precisely zero.
  • by cruachan ( 113813 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @06:38AM (#18477287)
    It's easy to miss the point of Second Life, because the eyecandy is nowhere near the same level as WoW or similar. Graphically it's certainly around desktop game circa 2000 and the Lindons certainly do have a bit of a blind spot about upgrading it - largely because they seem predominantly focused on server-side issues at the moment.

    However SL isn't really a WoW competitor. It's more like IRC in 3D - think of it as a chatroom where you can actually do things with the other people there. And of course virtually *everything* in SL has been constructed by the people in it. True the building tools have limitations and there's vast amounts of crap. but equally there's some very imagenative stuff too. The scripting language is by no means a toy too, even though that has some major flaws.

    It's also an interesting question who does play it. I see several groups :-

    1. Newbies. Vast numbers of people sign on, hang around the public welcome areas briefly, do a little touring then never play it again. It's quite common to see later reactions from them on /. and the like saying 'I looked and the graphics were crap' - which misses the point about SL being a social thing as above.

    2. Wankers. Literally. A friend of mine who owns a SL club believes 50% of signups do nothing else but cybersex fot the first month. I think she's proberbly right.

    3. Designers, Builders, Coders. Although the tools are limited with imagination there's a lot that can be done. SL seems quite a common outlet for amateur designers, coders and 3D artists. It may not be cutting edge, but you tend to get a lot of attention and feedback. If you're a professional coder then SL is well worth a look as it does have potential and some of the Lindons actually hold open office hours so you can talk to the game designers directly if you wish.

    4. Roleplayers. There's large communities of roleplayers - most of whom spend 90% of their time in roleplay sims so will never be encountered by newbies. A quite common scenario is for a group to jointly buy a server, construct an enviroment, then play in that. Sort of like design your own game and play it using SL simply as an environment to do that. Roleplay covers a wide range from extreme characterization to mild 'wouldn't it be nice to live in environment X' types. Tends to be very hardcore players who spend a lot of time in SL.

    5. Social players. Similar to roleplayers in that they have a community of friends but without the roleplay angle. Again these people hardly ever go near the common meeting places so a newbie will never pick up on them. A large part of the 'core' SL players are in this group.

    6. Others - musicians, speculators, educators etc etc

    People can belong to more than one group of course. Myself I am uncertain about the future of SL. Against it it has

    a. Relatively poor graphics
    b. Architecture limitations - the *bloody* asset server is a major pain point. It's not clear how far it can scale. The 50 avs in a sim limit is laughable for example.
    c. It has a certain reputation in some influential quarters
    d. The Lindons appear to be a bunch of bloody hippies :-). Certainly their business methods need to take a step up.

    But for

    a. Because the world is user constructed and designed to be at a fundemental level - and not given, as in WoW or other games, then in theory it can evolve. Games with Everquest, WoW, Eve etc cannot move forward in the same way.
    b. It is one world and not sharded
    c. It does provide enough tools that there is room for professional level interest in it.
    d. It's totally generic
    e. It has an established user base of people with graphic, building and coding skills who can jointly take it forward as the tools and capabilities improve. Real first mover advantage that.

    On balance I think it likely to be here to stay and evolve as the prime metaverse. However I expect it to be the first among many (possibly with interconnections) and remain a minority interest for many years yet. It is worth your time though to look at it on a deeper level than simply 'ooh the graphics are crap' or 'it's just full of wankers'.
  • by DaleGlass ( 1068434 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @08:32AM (#18477777) Homepage
    Yep, I do.

    I've been using SL for a little more than a year so far. Went there with the explicit idea of that I'd probably script something, as the idea sounded interesting. So I got a SL account, and now it got to the point I pretty much have a monitor dedicated to it.

    I use SL mostly as a glorified chatroom, and don't move around much, primarily hanging around in Luskwood. If you want a concentration of furries then check it out, but have in mind that right now it'll be quite empty, as most of the population is American. There will be a lot more people in a few hours. I'd say the problem with SL is the same as with any IRC server, until you find a place for yourself it's hard to figure out what to do there.

    I also like SL as a base for certain coding ideas. I run a reputation system as an alternative to the one provided by SL, and also do some work on the SL source code. In that sense, SL is appealing because it's already there, so I only have to add my ideas to it, and it offers a large potential user base. I think that SL is appealing for a programmer, builder or artist in that it's a very convenient medium for saying "hey look what I made" and getting a reaction (and perhaps even cash). You see people working on all sorts of interesting stuff.

    So what do I do in SL? I mostly hang around and talk to people. It's a bit nicer than IRC in that you can have a more RL-like conversation. People can easily gather in a group and talk about whatever they want without having to form a separate channel. Sometimes I wander around and check out cool stuff [] people made. I try building a bit. Sometimes I try playing chess [] with rather bad results. I script and change the SL client. IMO, SL is a bit overhyped right now, but it's still pretty fun to be in.
  • Re:Supply and demand (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DaleGlass ( 1068434 ) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @09:26AM (#18478071) Homepage
    Well, it's something that will probably stay.

    Imagine you could teleport instantly anywhere. No downsides. You could live in a cabin in the mountains, and instantly appear on a chair in the office. But even then I don't think people would just go live in a random place. If there's nothing but strangers around, you can't look of the window and say "Howdy, neighbour!". Teleporting would still take a conscious action, and suddenly appearing at somebody's house would be a disruptive way of trying to start a conversation (that's something you can do in SL, and which many people hate). Simply seeing somebody nearby is a perfect excuse to start talking, without being disruptive.
  • Re:Ok I dont get it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CronoCloud ( 590650 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <noruaduolconorc>> on Sunday March 25, 2007 @05:18PM (#18481349)
    I have said this before:

    SL is what the "player" makes of it. It has no goal, other than what you set for yourself.

    Me, I hang with the SL fashionistas. I've done a bit of scripting with gadgets for the SL fashionistas in mind. I wander around and visit interesting places now and then, go listen to music now and then.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak