Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Second Coming of Virtual Worlds

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the when-someone-asks-if-you're-a-god-you-say-yes dept.

Communications 117

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.'"

cancel ×

117 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Coded speech (4, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538367)

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:Real translation (2, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538509)

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:Real translation (2, Interesting)

RazzleDazzle (442937) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538639)

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.

Re:Real translation (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538949)

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?

Re:Real translation (4, Funny)

TheP4st (1164315) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Real translation (2, Interesting)

Teancum (67324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538675)

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 other than much more intensive graphical environments.

If there is going to be something different that will be coming along, perhaps it will be some folks with Hollywood-class talent for telling stories to make something much more entertaining than exists at the moment. But how common is that, even in Hollywood (California)?

Otherwise, wake up me up with the holodeck is created. That is the next generation technology.... if it is ever built in the first place.

Re:Real translation (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538989)

>>>there isn't anything really new here

Precisely. I've been doing the Habitat/Club Caribe virtual worlds since the 80s - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habitat_(video_game) [wikipedia.org] - The only people who think this is "new" are the teeny-boppers. To them, everything is new.

-
- Posted with LYNX, a Commodore 64 web browser (using a 2 kbit/s modem)

Re:Real translation (2, Interesting)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539033)

P.S.

Here are some cool images from that 1985 game. Remember: This was all done with a primitive 0.064 megabyte computer and phoneline modems that barely ran 1 kbit/s. It's amazing that LucasArts was able to create a graphical world using such slow connections.

http://www.atarimagazines.com/compute/issue77/habitat.php [atarimagazines.com] - And a RUN magazine article: http://thefarmers.org/Habitat/2004/09/the_avatar_is_legal_voting_age.html [thefarmers.org]

Check out the cool Commodore 128 Pizza Box. I want one. :-) http://web.archive.org/web/20070221043915/www.fudco.com/habitat/archives/page05.jpg [archive.org]

They'll call it... (1)

fxkr (1343139) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539533)

... Virtual World 2.0

What's next?

Re:They'll call it... (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539767)

As long as "virtual worlds" get virtual enough that I don't hear about them any more, it's fine by me. I can't wait actually.

Re:They'll call it... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540959)

Virtual World 2.1?

Re:Real translation (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539909)

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.

Re:Real translation (2)

afabbro (33948) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543065)

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.

When it stops being relevant (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543515)

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 of gold in return for the secret. So the king gives him an empty bad and tells him something like, "well, you already know how to make gold. Fill it for yourself."

Someone who genuinely knew how to make gold, would just fill the bag for himself. And someone who really thought that the first to open a 3D virtual shop will earn billions, would just do that quietly and hope that the others give him at least a year before they start competing in that space. Or maybe even take some patents and try to prevent the others from competing at all.

But more and more we have the story of someone who believe there's a billion to be made in X, but _you_ should do it, not him. He'll just sell you the gear for it. Hmm.

Probably another astroturf attempt here too (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25544843)

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.

Again? (1)

mac1235 (962716) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538251)

I think I've heard this before.

I think I recall Jaron Lanier saying this... (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538301)

That the coming explosion in graphics power (SuperVGA and 386s) was going to push VR into the mainstream.

Re:I think I recall Jaron Lanier saying this... (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538339)

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

Re:I think I recall Jaron Lanier saying this... (1)

LS (57954) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538445)

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.

Re:I think I recall Jaron Lanier saying this... (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538805)

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 necessary hardware elements. There is just was killer app that made the leap - but there was something else...

Something about how 3D Glasses never worked out... I suppose all the predictions didn't foresee miniture projection / LCD taking so damn long to improve in price/preformance... or perhaps the real reason why we don't have demolition man style goggles on to do our computing is the human tendency for motion sickness.

So for now, we still have to hunch over a computer or squint at a undersize mobile display in order to have your dose of Virtual Virtual reality. Ah well...

On second thought considering how much damage has been done by people throwing their Wiimotes at their plasma screens, waving your arms around while in VR would be a whole new level of carnage.

Re:Again? (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538319)

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

Things have... (2, Interesting)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Things have... (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538305)

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:Things have... (2, Informative)

daveime (1253762) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538349)

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 ...

Re:Things have... (3, Informative)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539021)

Bullshit. I made a fairly significant amount of money from SL, and I don't do porn, nor even come anywhere near it.

It's easy, I script for money. What I sell is my programming skill, which is the same thing I do in RL.

Re:Things have... (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541085)

Forums = Pr0n Forums
Social Networks = Pr0n Networks
Web 2.0 = Pr0n without the page refresh
VR = 3D Pr0n

I have never seen any of those.

Re:Things have... (1)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538441)

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...

Re:Things have... (0, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538567)

Yeah, you're a retard. The scary thing about Second Life is that the entire economy is based on DRM. And all the value now is based on shit that is server side. It's really not that mysterious, this stuff is called software. All these business people in Second Life are software developers.

When given lemons, make lemonade! (2, Interesting)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538603)

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 looking for multi-bucks.
Since big businesses have noted the 'exposure' available on such sites as "Second Life", Google's clone of SL, etc. there seems to be a rush to exploit this perceived market/resource.

It's not about the advantages to businesses, but 'how much can we sell this "solution" for, with extended support contracts', and for how long?

Re:When given lemons, make lemonade! (1)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541977)

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 provide tight integration via low cost virtualization in the form of virtual NOCs, meeting spaces, and other activities on a single platform (either a private SIM on the Linden Labs grid, or an OpenSim implementation - so everyone is using just one client standard). This allows the 'Mom-and-Pop' businesses to regain a foothold, lost in the rise of the Walmarts of the world.

Some businesses that this would be a good fit for are businesses that provide network services or software, or provide other related services (e.g. an independent record label could operate in that environment to serve indy artists without the overhead of physical offices and the need to jet all over the world).

That being said I also agree that these efforts are small potatoes - but for the people involved it might be enough to keep the lights on and keep food in the fridge. For most it is just a hobby. For multinational corporations it is important to have portals there, certainly, but it is not going to eclipse their traditional customer interactions (2D web, telephone, retail face to face) any time soon.

On the other hand, in a recession I also see the benefits of having a virtual presence - particularly if you have traditionally been tightly aligned with a retail presence - because people will have less money to travel, and thus will spend more time entertaining themselves at home - which might drive them into virtual worlds more than has been the case in the past. If you provide a good experience in that environment - you could reap the rewards, while your competitors end up in a slump. Again tho - this is really the realm of medium to small business imho.

Re:Things have... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25538763)

"Shrewder"???
There is no such word...

I think the author meant to say "more shrewd"...

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Things have... (3, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

DVD (1)

Assassin_Caleb (1117477) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538289)

maybe their be a little chinese guy running arround saying "DVD"... like everytime i go outside mywork place for a smoke

Virtual worlds already came, saw, conquered (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Virtual worlds already came, saw, conquered (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541027)

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.

virtual (1)

Luke-SuperDude (1395171) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538325)

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

Re:virtual (2, Informative)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538365)

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"

:-)

Re:virtual (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25538643)

has already happened once, hence the linden dollar market became regulated

Re:virtual (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538755)

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.

Re:virtual (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540887)

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

Re:virtual (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541063)

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.

Effort to switch 'worlds' (2, Informative)

cjfs (1253208) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538331)

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.

Re:Effort to switch 'worlds' (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538429)

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 increase quality.Take hints from 3D gaming.3D gaming is successful platform.

Re:Effort to switch 'worlds' (1)

salarelv (1314017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538593)

Flash can't render real 3D. Maybe in 5 years when they have implemented hardware acceleration.

Re:Effort to switch 'worlds' (1)

Frozen Void (831218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538693)

Re:Effort to switch 'worlds' (1)

salarelv (1314017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539859)

I was talking about HARDWARE accelerated 3D not pseudo 3D effects. These plug-ins for flash turn it more slower as flash is today. Today, you can not make a decent 3D game or application with software rendering. Adobe has brain washed all the Flash "developers" (who don't know nothing about 3D) with the "3D" support.

Re:Effort to switch 'worlds' (2, Interesting)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539089)

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
    allowed for premium customers or staff if at all.

Why?

Disable large/heavy ram textures.

Maximum texture size is currently 1024x1024 - nothing wrong with that. If you have hardware that cannot handle that, it just won't fully load (progressive images).

Focus on quality vs size.Alot of crappy textures
don't increase quality.

Then use better textures. Note that this is all user created content. You go to a crappy user created area, you get crappy user created content.

Take hints from 3D gaming.3D gaming is successful platform.

Most of the things 3D gaming platforms do is entirely impossible on Second life due to the fact it cannot do prerendering.

Re:Effort to switch 'worlds' (1)

Random Walk (252043) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539179)

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 3D game, it can't come on a DVD (since it's user-generated, not made by the game publisher). There's a limit to what you can download over a DSL link.

Re:Effort to switch 'worlds' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25543379)

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.

Okay -- how is this any different than downloading a game from the web (e.g. via Steam)?

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.

No. I want a client that can handle high speed graphics. The reason video games are so snappy is that the textures and content is limited, and the game code is optimized for the specific purpose. Video games/sims are not a general purpose development platform. SL *is* a general purpose development platform. There is a difference that you don't understand/appreciate.

Disable scripts completely.They should be
  allowed for premium customers or staff if at all.

Again, SL is a general purpose development platform....the main idea is resident generated content.

Disable large/heavy ram textures.Focus on quality vs size.Alot of crappy textures
don't increase quality.Take hints from 3D gaming.3D gaming is successful platform.

As I said above - SL is not a gaming platform (although there are games built inside the framework) - it is a general purpose development framework. Since it is geared towards that, it stands to reason that not all residents will have good taste or understand resource utilization. That just comes with the territory - and any long term resident understands that. Eventually hardware and software will advance and these limitations will disappear - as recent improvements (e.g. mono compiler/virtual machine, bug fixes, and the standardization of the VR engine) indicate.

You just don't get it. Too bad, so sad.

An Honest Question.... (4, Interesting)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538383)

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.

Re:An Honest Question.... (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538587)

Have you been living under a rock? There's a dozen stories a week about assholes making money selling crap in Second Life. The most successful chick makes money decorating virtual houses. Yawn. Next you'll be asking if anyone really makes a living blogging. Catch the fuck up dude.

Re:An Honest Question.... (-1, Flamebait)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538773)

They make virtual money.. that's not a tangible benefit. And 'a dozen stories a week'? Total BS. There was a rash of it last year when it was being talked up then nothing.

The only reason people use SL is for cyber sex. It's not even a decent 3d environment - pretty much all the mmorpgs did better than that years ago.

Re:An Honest Question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25538945)

They make virtual money.. that's not a tangible benefit.

The Linden dollar (L$) is directly and legally convertible into US dollars. That's the whole basis of the Second Life economy, and it's why so many people work in Second Life as their main job.

Unless of course what you're trying to say is that the US dollar is not a tangible benefit, in which case you might have a point. But the L$ is more stable than the US$ anyway.

Re:An Honest Question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25539137)

if the L$ is directly linked to the US$, wouldn't that mean it's just as instable as the US$ currently is?

Re:An Honest Question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25540451)

if the L$ is directly linked to the US$, wouldn't that mean it's just as instable as the US$ currently is?

It is not directly linked. There is an exchange rate, just like any other currency.

Re:An Honest Question.... (1, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539139)

GP was talking about *companies* who got involved with Second Life, not individual entrepreneurs. Catch the fuck up dude ;)

Re:An Honest Question.... (1, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540167)

Have you been living under a rock? There's a dozen stories a week about assholes making money selling crap in Second Life.

During the Second Life PR stage, back during its honeymoon, I do remember the "people getting rich on Second Life" stories, though when you looked closer, "rich" ended up meaning "making far less than minimum wage".

The worst part is that these were the hand-picked best examples, and for every one chump even breaking even, there are likely worlds more failing miserably (albeit probably trying to spin a fiction to themselves and online to convince themselves that this is the next big economy). And even if they weren't directly fed to the media by Linden Labs, the media has a vested interested in overblowing these things: It doesn't make for a very compelling story to write "A bunch of assholes sit wasting their lives away, all while pretending they're entrepreneurs despite making less real world money than a kid cutting lawns."

And the stories about big business all rushing to set up their Second Life environments....you've been had, bitches! The only ones making money out of that deal are the pitchmen that sell the services to set up this garbage.

Re:An Honest Question.... (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539565)

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 counterparts like SL out of business and then we're left with IBM's pay-as-you-go AOL-of-VR-Worlds. If you really want someone to administer it, IBM, just make the hardware and find reliable developers and managing companies to actually implement and run the things. -R

Re:An Honest Question.... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540345)

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.

An Honest Beginning.... (2, Insightful)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540743)

"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?

I'm A Stud In The Virtual World (1)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538427)

I have 40 wives and 100 sluts at my disposal..........someone please sleep with me in the real world, I'm tired of being a virgin loser.

"Virtual worlds" will never take off (3, Insightful)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:"Virtual worlds" will never take off (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538563)

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)

Re:"Virtual worlds" will never take off (1)

idlehanz (1262698) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539797)

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 in 1993 when it was first commercialized. Ganlbing and sex sites drove the technology to improve. People that initially sold on the web were either mostly a) suckers, b) lucky, c) visionary?

One other poster noted how CIO's will look at their buzzword list and decide they need to get on-board. So the funding of the technology vendor cycle continues. Does the format achieve critical mass? Maybe. And that kids, is how a self-fulfilling prophecy is made. Half-funded by dumbasses and kept alive by hype.

Re:"Virtual worlds" will never take off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25540773)

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.

I am always deeply amused by the opinions expressed by people about SL who are just far too hip to bother going and seeing for themselves. Many of us are involved in creating rich content, not for business or "sex and gambling" but for fun and recreation. We spend RL dollars to do so. SL businesses profit from our expenditures. If you are too cool to actally log into SL, hit some of the online businesses that have sprung up. SLExchange (now XStreet or somesuch)is a biggie. There are a lot of us out there quietly doing our thing outside the buzz and furor.

Re:"Virtual worlds" will never take off (1)

anomalous cohort (704239) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541565)

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 associated with the OP really focuses on the e-commerce aspects of virtual worlds. Why is everyone here so resistant to this? Back in the mid 90's, if you went around telling these same people that one day most people would shop with their web browser, then you would most probably get this same resistance.

I believe that there is also some compelling B2B drivers for virtual worlds too. This poster claims that "you don't need a 3D world for" instant messaging. I don't agree. The geographically distributed work environment is quickly becoming the norm for knowledge workers. The challenge is how to keep up the high degree of quality communication needed for productivity. Text alone doesn't cut it. The TCO for tele-conferencing is still fairly expensive. Virtual worlds can be a low cost alternative that has more immersion than text based IM.

Re:"Virtual worlds" will never take off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25542667)

hmmm you obviously haven't seen/tried any of the plethora of games within SL...it is a pretty decent platform for various genres (RPG -- e.g. 'Bloodlines' vampire game, FPS games - 'Wastelands', and Tiny Empire - an RTS)

While it might not compare with purpose made games - due the the general purpose nature of it - there are other things to do in the world; and you only have one software platform to manage, rather than loading the latest game every few weeks.

Board games (Monopoly, etc) and other more creative attempts (Russian roulette - okay maybe not a board game..) are also available - as well as traditional video games (Asteroids, Galaxian etc) are also available for one to a handful of avatars to play.

This is in addition to more traditional social and entertainment interactions, like art, live music, classes and discussions on various subjects, standup comedy, and just traveling and exploring the world.

SL is a 3D development platform really. So there is more to it than clubs - and there is more going on than what you can discover by starting an account, wandering around aimlessly in world for a day or two, and then never logging in again - which is what I suspect all of these vocal experts like you did to gain their wisdom of it, if they even did that. PS -- there is no gambling allowed in SL - so you can't even do that...get your facts straight.

Re:"Virtual worlds" will never take off (2, Interesting)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#25543035)

"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 alone, they are drained in crowds in the real world. A virtual world takes away the "draining" aspect of socializing, it also gives introverts time to think and respond, instead of having to do it instinctually on the fly.

What is slashdot, if not one big socializing forum on a page? Most people come to slashdot for the comments, the stories are important in their own right. But they act more like a lens to focus discussion on relevant (and not so relevant) issues to people. What would slashdot be without it's comments section? People want to engage other people, whether they are introverted/socially mal-adjusted or whether they are extraverted.

The economics of a virtual world. (4, Interesting)

Rothron the Wise (171030) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:The economics of a virtual world. (2, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538939)

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 profit or not, you have to pay taxes. Same goes for webhosting, or renting an establishment, or...

SL has very little to do with a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are bound to collapse at some point, while SL doesn't really have to, just like a webhost or any other business that operates on the same model

The infinity of a virtual world. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540831)

"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.

Re:The economics of a virtual world. (1)

xant (99438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25544117)

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.

Businesses will save the day! (1)

FornaxChemica (968594) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538557)

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!

Re:Businesses will save the day! (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538761)

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, that cool, refreshing beverages, and heals you (of course) for 200 hit points.

Unfortunately I think you will be seeing more of this sort of garbage, and the virtual world "engineers" who put this kind of product placement into the environment should be railed against if/when this happens.

As far as more social virtual worlds like second life are concerned, it is already there. I guess this is a warning that it will intensify and you will be subjected to virtual billboards and virtual advertisements in-game for things that have nothing to do with the game.

Clarify? (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538677)

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.

Its all hype driven (1)

drsparkly (65767) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538715)

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 suckers or casual users.

On the other hand, there appear to be poor saps who get suckered in to paying huge amounts of money for a sim or an island. They build a club with the standard host / DJ / dancer setup, pay them virtual currency, and hope to get people who come and tip their dancers and their club, and then...??? Profit! I DJ at one of these clubs and I can't see how they ever hope to make any money. We tried building a club. But unless you have the time to spend 10+ hours a day in Second Life, there's no way it can work, and I can't see how people can live doing that.

In summary, the Second Life economy is funded by poor saps who fork out huge amounts of real currency to either pay pittances to virtual employees, who therefore don't really give a fuck, and just do it for fun, or pay the long established people who have all the land or have cornered the virtual niche market.

The people who profit out of this are the long time users or talented people, and of course, Linden Labs, who provide the land and rent out the servers.

It's all hype driven.

Re:Its all hype driven (2, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 5 years ago | (#25538929)

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 suckers or casual users.

And that's different from the real world how? Hell, Microsoft got started by being there at the right time and getting a lucrative contract.

On the other hand, there appear to be poor saps who get suckered in to paying huge amounts of money for a sim or an island. They build a club with the standard host / DJ / dancer setup, pay them virtual currency, and hope to get people who come and tip their dancers and their club, and then...??? Profit!

And that's different from the real world how? There are lots and lots of poor saps who pay huge amounts of money on an establishment and setting up a business because they think they can run a successful bar, turns out they can't, and go bankrupt.

In summary, the Second Life economy is funded by poor saps who fork out huge amounts of real currency to either pay pittances to virtual employees, who therefore don't really give a fuck, and just do it for fun, or pay the long established people who have all the land or have cornered the virtual niche market.

Sounds a lot like a large part of the real world to me

I, for one, (3, Interesting)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:I, for one, (2, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541637)

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 a silly virtual store, a web page will do just as well. 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.

At the very least, a mostly convincing store is going to have to wait for virtual worlds that are not stuck inside of a monitor, but rather exist as a "holodeck" or completely jacked in Matrix experience. In that case, you might finally be able to create an accurate enough representation of yourself to say, try on clothes. It still won't allow you to inspect the real goods, however.

Re:I, for one, (2, Insightful)

Lodragandraoidh (639696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25542933)

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 useful -- without having to incur the expense of a live system -- it can all be simulated in software in the VR world.

I agree you won't be able to try on clothes...but who thinks that is a valid application for VR anyway?

Re:I, for one, (1)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25542485)

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 all the limitations of the computer environment (limited FOV, lower resolution, etc.) with the total absence of any of the advantages it could offer.

I want a virtual store that knows its limitations and strengths. I don't want to wander down virtual aisles of stuff that all looks identical at the available resolution until you "move" closer (and wait for the high-res textures to load).
What I want is a store where I can enter a search term and get a 3D representation of the search results. The ability to click an object and say "pile up similar stuff left and right so I can compare". An interactive 3D object so I can test it out, look how the controls work. One button click away are colour or texture changes. That is the kind of advantages a "virtual store" could offer.

Please fuck off with virtual salespeople and impulse buy traps at the checkout. If your virtual store has a 3D representation of a checkout counter, it sucks. Double sucky points if it has AI customers to properly represent the queues at the checkout.

Re:I, for one, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25543111)

What I want is a store where I can enter a search term and get a 3D representation of the search results. The ability to click an object and say "pile up similar stuff left and right so I can compare". An interactive 3D object so I can test it out, look how the controls work. One button click away are colour or texture changes. That is the kind of advantages a "virtual store" could offer.

Thanks for the concept -- I will get right on it!

SL Denizen

All joking aside - some of the concepts you are talking about are already starting to make their way into some of the SL stores I've been to -- but mainly for online content/objects, not RL objects. That being said, the software to support this is being developed, so I would expect it to just be a matter of time before some enterprising real world business exploits it in the VR world.

there is a change afoot (2, Interesting)

methuselah (31331) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539707)

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 much information about itself as is required. So I don't think that poo pooing the idea is makes it a stupid one. For over a decade I have imagined a 3-d warehouse that can be navigated visually and then reorganized according to whatever criteria amuses the user. It can be done now rather easily with the right combination of skilled people and software that exists now. Of coarse the computational power is a huge factor. However back in the day when I had a 1meg 386 with a 40 meg hard drive I could not even fathom 500 gigs of storage so that is a relative thing too. I just wish I had the resources and the backers to actually do it. I envy those that are doing it. I smirk at those that don't have the imagination or the knowledge to understand just how feasible useful things can be created this way. So stand by to be wrong.

Nonsense (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539717)

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 to kill or nearly kill their companies because of the expensive UMTS licenses.

Remove need to fly? Store Documents? What?!? (1)

ashtophoenix (929197) | more than 5 years ago | (#25539787)

I guess he hasn't heard of video-conferencing...why would you need an Avtar when you can see the person's face?!?

Re:Remove need to fly? Store Documents? What?!? (2, Insightful)

Dark_MadMax666 (907288) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540479)

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

Re:Remove need to fly? Store Documents? What?!? (1)

ashtophoenix (929197) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540603)

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 ;)

Virtual World: Blowing up 'Mechs since 1990 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25540117)

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, they are still around. Sort of.

As a Second Life business owner/developer... (3, Interesting)

rhiorg (213355) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

business value of virtual worlds (3, Interesting)

gbooch (323588) | more than 5 years ago | (#25540571)

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 (2, Insightful)

foxalopex (522681) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Virtual World Economics Explained (2, Funny)

Grashnak (1003791) | more than 5 years ago | (#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 (2, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25541149)

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.

SecondLife Resident Backlash (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25541177)

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:SecondLife Resident Backlash (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25544069)

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 sympathy for these asshats. I am only sorry that educational establishments got caught up in this -- and will lose their discount, not to mention all the residents who were taken in - and suffered (lag city) because of it.

Don't make it out like LLabs is the bad guy here. Estate owners share the blame for misusing the open spaces sims.

Yeah and pigs fly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25544437)

I call bullshit, look at the extraordinary failure of secondlife.

it's basically a MMO. nothing special.

a lot of the players have been brainwashed into thinking it isnt a game, but actually reality superimposed on a computer.

that's why it will never pick up.

yawn (2, Insightful)

drfrog (145882) | more than 5 years ago | (#25544593)

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 (2, Interesting)

bitspotter (455598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25544637)

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.

With the econemy going into the shit tank- (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25544875)

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?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>