Are Virtual Worlds Important?


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A presentation that explores virtual world technology as a natural follow-on to human communication/collaboration technical trends.

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Are Virtual Worlds Important?

  1. 1. Are Virtual Worlds Important? Brian White Author of Second Life: A Guide To Your Virtual World [email_address]
  2. 2. What are Virtual Worlds? <ul><li>A virtual world is a computer-simulated 3D environment intended for multiple human beings to inhabit and interact via avatars. </li></ul>Real World Virtual World
  3. 3. Why are Virtual Worlds Important? <ul><li>&quot;Man is a social animal.” - B.J. Gupta </li></ul><ul><li>We are spatial by nature </li></ul>Source: ,
  4. 4. A Brief History of Communication Technologies 1775 - US Postal Service established 1844 – First Paid For Telegraph Line 1969 – ARPANET 1914 – First Commercial Air Travel 1876 - Telephone 1971 – E-MAIL 1978 – Bulletin Boards, First MUD 1989 AOL 100,000 subscribers 1991 World Wide Web Protocols 1990s IP-based Video Conferencing 1995 Webex Founded 1997 AOL Instant Messenger 1998 AOL 14 million subscribers 1997 Ultima On-Line 1985 The WELL goes on-line
  5. 5. After 2000, The Pace Has Increased… Source:
  6. 6. Multi-Player Gaming Explodes Virtual Worlds Gain Broad Attention <ul><li>1999 Everquest </li></ul><ul><li>2002 Sims On-Line </li></ul><ul><li>2003 Star Wars, Second Life, There </li></ul><ul><li>2004 World of Warcraft (WOW) </li></ul><ul><li>2007 Lord of the Rings On-Line </li></ul><ul><li>A New Multi-Player Demographic Emerges </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Club Penguin, Habbo, WebKinz, Gaia </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. 2008 Enter The Primordial Soup of World Building Platforms <ul><li>MultiVerse </li></ul><ul><li>Ogoglio </li></ul><ul><li>OpenCroquet </li></ul><ul><li>Project Wonderland </li></ul><ul><li>OpenSim </li></ul><ul><li>Linden Lab? </li></ul>“ IBM cooks up internal virtual world for confidentiality, security” – ZDNet Dec 2007 Source:
  8. 8. The Internet ARPANET was becoming a human communication medium with very important advantages over normal U.S. mail and over telephone calls. 1978
  9. 9. You can quote me… “ Virtual worlds are the next wave in human communication technology allowing us to work and play together while being geographically distant.” – Brian A. White
  10. 10. What Makes Virtual Worlds Different? 1. 3D Space vs. 2D Surface 2. Avatars (Immersion & Augmentation) 3. Multi-User Interaction 4. Economies 5. User Created Content
  11. 11. Avatars and Immersion <ul><li>&quot;If we were meeting in Second Life or World of Warcraft to chat, we would both have the sense of being in the same place overlaid on our sense of physical location, The experience encodes into our memories as if we were in the same place.“ </li></ul><ul><li>- Daniel Laughlin, learning technologies project manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center </li></ul>Source:
  12. 12. Courtesy of NASA &quot; We want to help our remote explorers 'phone home' in a way that lets them sit around a dinner table with their family, help their children with homework and analyze the latest findings with their Earth-bound peers,&quot; - Jeanne Holm, chief knowledge architect at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  13. 13. Brian’s Slightly Stolen Trends for 2008 <ul><li>Massive Growth </li></ul><ul><ul><li># of worlds, # of users, # of companies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Industry Asked to Prove the Value </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evangelize and prove the ROI to businesses other than gaming </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prepare for Mainstreaming, Consolidation, and Government Scrutiny </li></ul>Source: Virtual Worlds Management Industry Forecast 2008 “ Within five years, the 3-D Internet will be as important for work as the Web is today.” – Forrester from “Getting Real Work Done in Virtual Worlds”
  14. 14. <ul><li>Are Virtual Worlds Important to You? </li></ul><ul><li>Then what are you going to do about it? </li></ul>
  15. 15. Additional Reading… <ul><li>Tech Digest - 20 trends defining virtual worlds in 2007 </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>TerraNova – Top 10 MMOG Trends? </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Virtual Worlds Management Forecast 2008 </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>