How the avatars are represented are a metaphor for of the evolution of virtual worlds. Virtual worlds have always had a sense of virtual place, and of a representation of each player/user within them. The first representation of the avatar was text – the name of the character. Then 2D graphical avatars evolved (Lucasfilm’s Habitat and Worlds Away shown here) Low poly 3D graphics emerged (Bruce Damer’s Traveler avatar seen here) Then 3D with textures and a full bodied avatar (Blaxxun shown) More natural postures and more polys added (Second Life shown) For the 2010s - More photorealistic avatars are emerging and possible with high end graphics cards. Another innovation here is that this avatar is made by a company other than the virtual worlds platform provider (Daz3D shown) The point is not that avatars are becoming more photo-realistic (because an art director today might elect to use a charming, cartoony style over a photorealistic one). The point is that the expressive power of the graphics and features in virtual worlds have evolved considerably, as have the virtual worlds business options. The industrial uses of these technologies has paralleled the consumer offerings. In the late 1980s, “Virtual Reality” enjoyed a hype bubble. Virtual reality exploited interfaces that immersed users in computer graphics (eg, stereoscopic goggles, head-mounted displays, data suits and gloves) – usually on a standalone workstation. Virtual Reality still has not enjoyed widespread commercial success, but recently the media and even some journals have begun to conflate the term “Virtual Reality” with “Virtual Worlds” It was in the early 2000s that we began to repurpose what we now call virtual worlds to major industrial applications. Healthcare comprises one group of these industrial applications.
We have been witnessing a shakedown in the virtual worlds arena over the past 18 months. Several high-profile companies and endeavors have gone out of business or have been discontinued or disowned by the company that developed them. At the same time, we’ve seen the business model for virtual worlds in entertainment validated: Virtual Goods are generating $100s of millions in revenue now. That is fueling rapid growth in the social networking and entertainment arena of virtual worlds. As examples – offerings such as “Real Life Plus” are moving in to capture audiences like those for there.com and Second Life; and Branded Worlds such as those recently announced by Disney (Cars), National Geographic; also LEGO Universe being launched this year On the enterprise side, the virtual tradeshow and meetings companies are showing stability if not rapid growth to date, and the technological emphasis on browser access to virtual worlds promises to expand the reach of the technology (with mobile phones not that far behind).
Entertainment and social networking worlds are moving ahead; Industrial virtual worlds are running behind. There was a peak of expectations around 2007/2008. Many major companies were considering or engaged in pilot VW programs when the recession hit in 2008. The funding for implementation of these programs never seemed to materialize. Customers were not willing to fund full development and adaptation of the products to their environment and needs.
Virtual worlds development is occurring at many different layers and levels. Today, a developer can focus on the “Applications” layer to create a business – it is not necessary to build your own platform to create a virtual world offering. For industrial virtual world to succeed, the top layer of “Use Cases” or training “Scenarios” needs to be supported by the virtual world content. For instance, in a hospital scenario, it may be critical to provide medical professional avatars, and the ability for the patient avatars to lie down and exhibit symptoms of disease or injury.
Why is it important to specialize? A key element of a business plan is the calculation of the market size and the percentage of the market that can be addressed by the business, calculating the “total addressable market” Virtual worlds is a communication medium with applications in all industries - it’s like the telephone or the internet in this regard So it’s tempting to identify all markets as target markets - seeing all markets as “totally addressable” - resulting in a multi-trillion dollar TAM In the next phase of development of virtual worlds, it’s their specialization to meet the needs of the marketplace that will position them for commercial success. That is the theme of this workshop today!
Cashing In on Virtual Worlds: Inflection Point
Cashing in on Virtual Worlds: Entrepreneurial Insights for the Healthcare Industry “Inflection Point” Laura Kusumoto Virtual Worlds Development Consultant [email_address] MediaX at Stanford University August 19, 2010
Evolution of Virtual Worlds a 1990 2000 2010 Virtual reality Industrial virtual worlds
<ul><li>Virtual tradeshows & meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Browser emphasis (mobile not far behind) </li></ul>Shake, Baby, Shake <ul><li>Google Lively </li></ul><ul><li>Vivaty </li></ul><ul><li>Metaverse </li></ul><ul><li>There.com </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual Goods, real revenue </li></ul><ul><li>“ Real Life Plus” </li></ul><ul><li>Branded worlds </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Disney, LEGO, National Geographic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Forterra Systems </li></ul><ul><li>Sun/Oracle Wonderland </li></ul><ul><li>SL Enterprise </li></ul>Recent Steps Back Recent Steps Forward
Where are We? “ Public Virtual Worlds” Entertainment and social networking worlds are moving ahead; Industrial virtual worlds are running behind. Gartner Group, 2009 Gartner Hype Cycle, Emerging Technologies 2009
Virtual-Worlds-Related Products Applications Virtual Worlds Virtual Worlds Development Toolkits Graphics Technologies / Internet / Component Technologies Use Cases / Scenarios 3rd Party Development Tools