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Virtual Mc Insight Final Version


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Virtual Mc Insight Final Version

  1. 1. Marketing in Second Life and Other Virtual Worlds October 2007 © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital
  2. 2. Lead Contributors TS Kelly SVP, Director of Research and Insight, Media Contacts Global Anthony Rhind Chief Strategy Officer, Media Contacts Global If you want to receive the MC Insight periodically, please subscribe to © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 1
  3. 3. Contents 3 1. Introduction 5 2. What really is Second Life? 10 3. Other Virtual Environments 14 4. Early Marketing Efforts 23 5. Virtual Marketing Challenges 30 6. What’s Next for Virtual Worlds? 35 7. Final Comments 36 8. Suggested Resources and Reading 37 9. Endnotes 38 10. Glossary 40 11. Contact us © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 2
  4. 4. 1. Introduction In October 2007, Linden Labs’ virtual online community Second Life welcomed its 10 millionth resident to its service. Its unprecedented growth over the past 18 months has vaulted this little-known San Francisco firm to the front pages of Business Week, Wired, MIT’s Technology Review and a host of other ‘physical’ publications worldwide. There has been some recent backlash, however, with some journalists writing that most of Second Life, especially areas developed by brands, is deserted. It is ironic that such an article would appear in an issue of Wired (August 2007), a usually tech-progressive publication. It is a serious point we will consider later when discussing how brands should take advantage of virtual environments. However, Media Contacts feels that dismissing Second Life and similar virtual services outright as nothing more than hype would be missing the point. To the uninitiated, Second Life may seem more like a geek haven than a thriving virtual community. In some ways this skepticism echoes comments made in the early days of the commercial Internet in the mid-1990’s. Three years ago it may have been fair to generalize that virtual environments were the preserve of a niche group comprising only gamers and hardcore techies; today Second Life has become, arguably, a leader in the rapidly growing area of virtual communities and the poster child for a new wave of metaverse-related products and services with a much broader demographic and behavioral appeal. Though Second Life (and similar platforms) may never reach ‘mass market’ status, the service has quickly become an intriguing opportunity for marketers to better understand how to interact with consumers within an immersive ‘virtual’ 3D environment, also known as a metaverse. Active users within Second Life are not only exposed to marketer brands and messages but can also choose to engage through exploration, dialogue, testing, customization, games and other forms of interaction. Second Life may also represent a critical early learning environment if, as we feel will be the case, ‘web 3.0’ in fact turns out to be ‘web 3-D’ … A topic we will consider within the scope of this MC Insight. Several marketers have already taken the plunge into Second Life (including a number of high profile initiatives by Media Contacts clients - Sears, Citroen and Lacoste). Retail companies have been most active, creating virtual consumer spaces as they would ‘real world’ consumer environments. Automotive firms such as Nissan, Peugeot, Pontiac and others have created virtual showrooms providing Second Life residents test drives and virtual ownership of their latest models. Adidas and Reebok offer virtual pairs of running shoes. Dell welcomes users into a virtual factory to customize their own PC for delivery (and purchase) in the real world. Sears allows customers to explore a virtual department © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 3
  5. 5. Introduction store, letting users in one area to design their own ‘dream’ kitchen. Even Starwood for a time had a virtual hotel, aloft, in which residents could explore, experience and add input on the future design of the new chain well before its physical launch in 2008. Recent academic research querying existing Second Life users suggests that virtual environments may help promote communication, collaboration and cooperation.1 Though still too soon for marketers to take full advantage of these positive user perceptions, early virtual advertising efforts may offer some positive impact on brand recall, affinity and purchase intent. Media Contacts, working with our network of offices and clients worldwide, has already utilized Second Life within a broader communication plan and also as a standalone tactic. To ensure we understand the impact of these actions we have and continue to undertake research into the consumer perception and usage patterns of this emerging platform. Our goal has been and continues to be - working towards an understanding of the marketing potential & acceptable process for commercial communication. Though virtual environments such as Second Life are still in their infancy, our efforts thus far suggest that marketers should consider a very limited exposure to virtual environments in the near term. Consequently, expectations on performance should also be limited as these services will likely not yield mass-media performance for at least a number of years (if at all). In the meantime, however, Second Life and similar virtual communities offer a robust environment for trial and testing. To share some of our initial experience with Second Life and other virtual environments, Media Contacts has produced the following MC Insight to help marketers decide if virtual environments should be incorporated into their future digital media plans. We would be delighted to discuss individual business issues opportunities, whether you are already a Media Contacts client or simply just interested in a more case-specific perspective. Please contact your Media Contacts Account Director, or either author to find out how Second Life and other virtual environments may play a role in your overall marketing plans. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 4
  6. 6. 2. What really is Second Life? 2a. The Basics Simply stated, Second Life is an online virtual world (or metaverse) in which user- generated 3-D personas, called avatars, interact, participate in group activities, create and trade items (virtual property) and services from one another. 2 Virtual worlds such as Second Life offer a unique combination of characteristics – gaming, community, and user-generated content. Together they offer users nearly infinite opportunities for expression, exploration, association, collaboration and social interaction. The gaming component in Second Life is not unlike other existing MMOG’s (massively multiplayer online games) such as Blizzard’s World of Warcraft or CCP’s Eve Online in which users create an avatar and interact with other players in tandem or in competition. For example, users in World of Warcraft and similar games combine their unique talents to perform specific scripted tasks such as slaying dragons or defending a village from attack, a key distinction being the range of behavioral options is structured to reflect game objectives. Second Life offers similar, but widely un-structured and un-scripted, opportunities to interact with other users in a whole range of virtual game-like activities from war games, fencing, skydiving, role playing, or kart racing to more cerebral pursuits such as trivia, debating or even 3-D board games. The community aspect of virtual environments is a natural extension of other popular social networking services such as Facebook or MySpace. In Second Life users can interact with people with similar goals or interests by joining virtual clubs or academic groups and sharing experiences or chatting (text or voice) in virtual meeting places. One major distinction between ‘real life’ social networks such as Face Book or MySpace and similar connections in Second Life, many users in virtual environments choose to keep their virtual and real lives completely separate (actually living two distinct lives). An indication of this clear separation between the real and the virtual is reflected in the current demographics of the service. While the majority of users of Second Life are male, the majority of the avatars in the system are female. User-generated content is probably the most personalized aspect of Second Life and similar virtual worlds. Users can customize the appearance of their avatar by designing unique body shapes, clothing and personal accessories. More advanced users can create pets, vehicles, homes and elaborate landscapes. As a bonus, residents possess virtual copyright privileges for unique items they create within the service. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 5
  7. 7. What really is Second Life? What is an Avatar? Its origin comes from Hindu philosiphy most commonly referring to the incarnation (bodily manifestation) of a higher being (deva) or ‘Supreme Being’ onto planet Earth. The word has also been used by extension to refer to the incarnations of God or highly influential teachers in other religions, especially by adherents to dharmic traditions when explaining figures such as Jesus or Mohammed. Source - Wikipedia More recently, the term ‘avatar’ was famously penned by William Gibson is his 1984 novel Neuromancer, in which people created virtual 3-D representations of themselves or ‘avatars’ for use in the metaverse. 2b. Early ‘Virtual’ Days Second Life, formerly known as Linden World, sprang to life in late 2002. Created by former Real Networks’ CTO Philip Rosedale and his company Linden Labs, Second Life has grown in just a few short years from a handful of servers to literally thousands worldwide supporting over 10 million residents (as of October 2007). There is an ongoing debate, however, to the ‘true’ resident population. The Second Life website currently defines a ‘resident’ as “a uniquely named avatar with the right to log into Second Life, trade Linden Dollars (currency in SL) and visit the Community pages” – currently pegged at over 10 million total residents (TR). There are some issues with this service definition. Regardless if a user has one or multiple accounts, each unique avatar is counted as a unique resident. Many unique users also try the service only once and never return; this may also inflate overall TR population figures. Other metrics are likely far more accurate such as RCO, residents concurrently online. This RCO figure currently averages roughly 30K, but can fluctuate anywhere between 20K and 40K residents concurrently online. Another SL population metric widely quoted is the figure for residents who have logged in the past 60 days. Though this metric also includes single-use residents, the 60-day figure may be a better gauge of churn and service popularity than either TR or RCO. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 6
  8. 8. What really is Second Life? Concurrent Residents Online and Total Residents data collected 08/2006 - 03/2007 GMT, excluding grid downtime 40’000 4’500’000 35’000 4’000’000 30’000 3’500’000 25’000 3’000’000 20’000 2’500’000 15’000 2’000’000 10’000 1’500’000 5’000 500’000 0 0 08/2006 09/2006 10/2006 11/2006 12/2006 01/2007 02/2007 Average Concurrent Residents Online Total Residents Trend Average Concurrent Residents Online Additional research studies conducted by professors and students at Rollins College and elsewhere have projected that Second Life will produce an RCO of 150K by March 2008, based on current growth and usage trends. In addition, Second Life’s TR during that same month will increase to 25 million. 3 2c. Early ‘Virtual’ Days Unlike your ‘real’ cost of living, there is no financial expense to basic existence in Second Life. However, if a user decides to plant roots and settle down in Second Life, by owning virtual property or setting up a virtual business, there are monthly fees for land ownership, maintenance, and other associated server and support costs. As a result, an economy of sorts has developed within the Second Life metaverse helping facilitate the exchange of virtual goods and services between residents. In order to buy land or other items within Second Life, one must use a form of virtual currency called Linden dollars. A floating exchange, called the Lindex, keeps track of the conversion between Linden Dollars and ‘real’ U.S. dollars. As of August 30th, the conversion rate posted on the exchange was L266 Lindens to the dollar. According to founder Philip Rosedale content creation is also a viable virtual world business. Residents of Second Life transact more than $1 million a day, and about 40,000 residents are cash flow positive, he said. In one Second Life shop, 830 residents are making greater than $1,000 per month from selling virtual clothing. “Just like the Web, a network effect business is driven by creativity and economic success.”4 © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 7
  9. 9. What really is Second Life? The First Virtual Millionaire Ailin Graef by day is a Chinese-born language teacher in Frankfurt, Germany. By night she is one of a growing number of virtual entrepreneurs doing business in Second Life. Buying and selling virtual real estate, creating a whole line of designer struc- tures, clothing and various personal items, Ailin Fraef’s virtual persona Anshe Chung (pictured at left) has become a bit of a celebrity beyond the realm of Second Life. Her amassed wealth within Second Life has blossomed into a growing busi- ness in the ‘real world’ worth millions of dollars. She now supports a growing worldwide team of designers and business associates all helping to run her virtual operations. 2d. Academic Pursuits As was the case in the early days of the Internet, academic institutions and researchers have been some of the earliest adopters of virtual environments such as Second Life. Conducting lectures, town hall meetings and other academic functions, Second Life has allowed schools and universities to extend the reach and flexibility of their ‘distance learning’ and collaboration efforts. Thanks to the metaverse, physical presence is no longer necessary to be an active part of intellectual discourse. According to Professor Rory Ewins of Edinburgh University, beyond email, IM and chat rooms, Second Life “replaces that sense of immediacy that you have in real life.”5 A sample of the growing list of schools and universities now in Second Life: Arcada University, Finland Edinburgh University New York University Aarhus Business College, Denmark Harvard University Oxford University Berkeley INSEAD Sogang University, S. Korea Columbia University Ithaca College University of Aveiro, Portugal Cornell MIT University of Sydney, Australia Duke University Murray State University University of Toulon, France Areas of academic study using Second Life as a platform include: chemistry, biology, meteorology, geology, architecture, urban planning, industrial design and any number of artistic disciplines. According to Anne Beamish, Professor of Urban Planning at University of Texas at Austin, Second Life provides an alternate palette in which to engage her students. “I use Second Life for students to explore ideas about public space and what makes a good public space,” she said. “Being in Second Life all of a sudden puts them in this different environment, which is similar but different, and it forces them to explore how they think about these things” 6 © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 8
  10. 10. What really is Second Life? No Peeking! As was the case with the rise of the Internet, DVD’s, satellite TV and other media platforms, adult content has found its way into the realm of the metaverse. Arguably, the appearance of adult content and gambling within Second Life and other virtual communities could be a harbinger of a growing interest in virtual worlds as both a social and commercial platform. In early May 2007, Second Life instituted several technical safeguards to block exposure to adult content and gambling services from specific avatars based on user age and location. In July 2007, Linden Labs went one step further, outlawing all games of chance in SL that are ‘connected to real life events.’ © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 9
  11. 11. 3. Other Virtual Environments 3a - A crowded virtual world Second Life is certainly not alone, nor was it the first virtual environment or community to spring up in cyberspace. In fact, there are literally dozens of virtual environments currently active or in their planning stages. Some are as unscripted like Second Life, while others offer a more structured environment. A sample of existing virtual worlds: Cyworld – Data stat: Reaches over 90% of all teens in S.Korea. Originally in South Korea, Cyworld has become extremely popular throughout the Pacific Rim and recently launched in North America. Members cultivate on- and off-line relationships by forming ‘Ilchon’ or buddy relationships with each other through a service called “minihompy”, which encompasses photo galleries, message boards, guest books and ‘mini rooms’ where users create their own personalized virtual living space. Source Wikipedia Habbo Hotel – Data stat: Over 50 million users worldwide Launched in 2000 by two Finnish entrepreneurs, the service has spread to over 29 countries worldwide. Users customize their own ‘Habbo Guest Room,’ with pictures and various ‘fumi’ or furniture. Users obtain fumi and other items through the Bank of Habbo, where credits are created and exchanged. Habbo has limited flexibility and tends to attract a younger user base than most other virtual community services. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 10
  12. 12. Other Virtual Environments Sony’s ‘Home Project’ for PS3 Data stat: 4.5m PS3 units sold worldwide (Sep’07) Home is the ‘soon-to-be launched’ virtual community built exclusively for the PlayStation 3 console. Users will design their own avatar and living space including a personal trophy room to review game achievements. Public or ‘common’ areas will include multiple lobbies and meeting places for conversation (both text and voice) and game challenges. There will also be theatres and museums to watch previews, videos, in-game clips as well as play mini-games. Club Penguin – Data stat: Over 12 million active users worldwide Club Penguin is a massively multi-player online game (MMOG) specifically developed for children ages 8 to 14. Using cartoon penguin avatars, players chat, play mini-games and participate in other joint activities. Users can design their own igloo homes and adopt pets called ‘puffles’ which are also customizable. The service was recently purchased by Disney in a deal worth nearly $700 million. Entropia Universe – Data stat: Over 600k registered users worldwide Similar in scale and scope to Second Life, Entropia Universe is a science-fiction game set on the planet of Calypso. Game players must help create a civilization on this untamed-virtual world. Similar to Second Life, users begin the game with virtually nothing and must build up skills and possessions to survive and then thrive. A currency system has also been established by which users can easily transfer funds between real and virtual worlds. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 11
  13. 13. Other Virtual Environments There – Data stat: 1 million users, mostly in North America is another competitor to Second Life and the rest of the emerging group of players in this space.’s claim to fame is an ongoing relationship with cable channel MTV. The Hills and Virtual Laguna Beach are online extensions of both hit cable shows on the network ( service currently boasts roughly 750,000 active users on its main services. Virtual Lego Community Staging a series of events in Second Life in 2006, Lego is no newcomer to the virtual world. Lego recently announced a partnership with MMO developer NetDevil to create a virtual Lego community set to launch in 2008. According to Valther Pallesen, EVP at LEGO, “The LEGO brand represents construction, creativity and problem solving – values that compliment the MMOG market. 7 3b. Let the Games Begin! The arrival of Second Life and similar virtual worlds should not be a surprise to anyone. In a sense, the early developments of video games on both the PC and various gaming platforms (Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft) provided increasingly complex and visually immersive user experiences. Classic single and multi-player games such as Castle Wolfenstein, Doom, Quake, Half-Life, Halo, Metroid Prime, and Call of Duty (usually labeled as first-person shooters or FPSs) evolved over time providing players with increasingly rich, yet scripted, virtual 3-D environments. Today Second Life has been compared to what are called massively multi-user online games (MMOGs) such as World of Warcraft (WoW) or Eve Online; however, it may not be a completely fair comparison. Though possessing similar social attributes such as their persistent nature (always active) and various community building characteristics, games such as WoW and Eve Online are much more structured and scripted, limiting users to specific goals, storylines, language, and codes of conduct. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 12
  14. 14. Other Virtual Environments Conversely, immersive services such as Second Life and Active Worlds are widely- unscripted and unstructured virtual environments. Apart from a few basic rules, users are allowed to create their own reality – appearance, environment, interactions, etc. Some critics cite that most new users do not know what to do when they first enter these worlds, that they are too open-ended. 8 Ironically, it may actually be this flexibility (or open-endedness) that could drive development in the virtual space. Could Second Life offer clues to a future Web 3.0? Though not all current or planned virtual worlds may be active 5 or 10 years hence, no doubt many will exist in some form or another. Perhaps one of the existing virtual environments will be the basis for a future Web 3-D platform, a ‘virtual’ standard in which future online services and interactions will be based? (discussed in Section 6) Though some sports and action video game titles have attracted some interest from marketers, the violent, fantasy, and adult themes in many scripted MMOGs games, such as WoW or Halo, may find it difficult to attract most brands. Alternatively, open-ended environments such as Second Life allow for multiple themes and multiple environments, suggesting brands may play an important role in their ongoing development. We will discuss this in more detail later in this MC Insight. Before Second Life… Early First Person Shooters (FPS) such as Doom and Duke Nukem 3D introduced consumers worldwide to the visual concept of 3D computing and gaming environments. Doom (id Software, 1993) Duke Nuken 3D (3D Realms, 1996) © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 13
  15. 15. 4. Early Virtual Marketing Efforts According to writer W. James Au there are now over 100 ‘for-profit’ corporate-owned islands in Second Life (actually 136 if one includes the non-profits) all considered ‘real life’ firms conducting business in Second Life since its inception in 2002. 9 The rudimentary advertising methods in use since the early days are more akin to outdoor signage than virtual marketing. Businesses post graphics and static displays on the sides of various structures and surfaces within SL’s virtual environment. By clicking on specific graphics, users are prompted with text messages from various companies within SL, offering special deals on virtual clothing, artifacts, body designs, real estate or even consulting on how to live a better ‘second life’ within the service. Many of these SL advertisements now include Second Life urls or ‘SLurls’ linking directly to specific web pages outside the SL environment. Signage examples in SL: SLurl example: Clicking on the Sears logo takes the user directly to © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 14
  16. 16. Early Virtual Marketing Efforts More recent examples of marketing within Second Life include store fronts, showrooms, audio clips, vehicles, digital sampling of merchandise, guest speakers in virtual reading and lecture halls, and even rock concerts - all taking advantage of SL virtual capabilities. Virtual consulting firm K Zero (UK) recently published brand timelines (retail below) of various industry sector activities within Second Life. As these timelines suggest, as the total Second Life population has pushed towards the 8 million mark (and now beyond), an increasing number of companies in a wide array of industry sectors - automotive, financial, retail, media, etc, have all staked a claim within Second Life. Retail brands in Second Life Bruna 8M 1-800 Flowers 7M Lacoste Kraft osMoz 6M Registered accounts Aveda Aveda 5M L’Oreal Calvin Klein 4M 3M Circuit City American Apparel Reebok 2M Adidas Sears 1M 0M J A S O N D F M A M Jun 06 Jan 07 Jun 07 Jul Aug Source: K Zero © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 15
  17. 17. Early Virtual Marketing Efforts Virtual Marketing Spotlight – Sears Launched in January 2007 through a partnership with IBM, the Sears storefront in Second Life, called the Sears Virtual Home, offers distinct showroom floors for automotive products and services, home and kitchen furnishings, as well as consumer electronics. Each floor highlights different Sears products providing consumers much more functionality than what is possible through a typical store web site. Of particular note is the kitchen design center allowing Second Life users to model and create their own dream kitchens using a wide array of colors, textures and hi-tech Sear products and appliances. Users can move around within their custom creations as they would in a real kitchen in order to get a look and feel for how the products would work in their own kitchen at home. The Garage and Automotive floor offers similar product possibilities for consumers. Click on a set of Craftsman cabinets and the tools perform a neat trick of flying through the air finally arranging themselves back on cabinet shelves. Like the custom kitchen, Second Life users can walk around the garage to see how they can design their own workshop. The Entertainment and Electronics showroom provides similar interactive functionality allowing visitors to test various home electronics such as televisions (watch movie trailers and other video clips) as well as test virtual sounds systems to find the perfect speaker arrangements for a specific room in their own home. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 16
  18. 18. Early Virtual Marketing Efforts Virtual Marketing Spotlight – Lacoste In April 2007, worldwide clothier Lacoste held a virtual modeling contest in search of the 100 most remarkable avatars in Second Life. Unlike American Apparel or Reebok, Lacoste chose not to have an ‘ongoing’ presence in Second Life, deciding instead to run a multi-week promotion allowing residents and artists in the virtual world to express themselves outwardly, displaying their virtual presence for the ‘real’ world to see. The top 6 contestants, as voted by the ‘real and virtual’ public, shared the grand prize of 1 million Linden Dollars. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 17
  19. 19. Early Virtual Marketing Efforts 4a. Additional Marketing examples in Second Life: Adidas Adidas launched a virtual store in Second Life in September 2006 to promote a new brand of shoe available in the real world, the a3 Microride. When worn in Second Life, the shoes provide SL users a little extra bounce in their step. Reebok also launched a store in SL. In their virtual storefront users are offered design options for shoes that can be purchased in the real world. aloft by Starwood In preparation of its ‘real world’ debut in 2008, Starwood launched a virtual model of it’s aloft hotel concept in Second Life. In May 2007, the hotel chain redesigned the interior of the virtual hotel space and announced they would donate their Second Life island to a worthy cause once their marketing efforts were concluded. American Apparel Launched in June 2006, American Apparel was the first ‘real world’ store to open up a counterpart in Second Life. The clothing company also was the first to connect virtual world sales with its real world counterpart. Clothing items selected by SL residents in the virtual store were good for discounts towards similar items in the real American Apparel stores. The AA virtual store experiment ended in July 2007. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 18
  20. 20. Early Virtual Marketing Efforts L‘Oreal Paris In early Spring 2007, L‘Oreal Paris and virtual modeling agency Aspire! hosted the Face of L’Oréal Paris Glamour fashion show within Second Life. The winner, Isabella Sampaio (pictured left) received a year’s supply of L’Oreal Paris products, a modeling gig with the Aspire! Modeling Agency and have their avatar displayed on a special VIP L’Oreal Paris website. Dell Computers Dell launched their Second Life factory in November 2006, allowing users to not only obtain virtual PCs, but design and order models for their real world counterparts as well. The Dell Island includes a walk-through of a late model Dell desktop as well as a mockup of Michael Dell’s college dorm, the founder and CEO of Dell. Scion (Toyota) Scion was one of the first automotive companies in Second Life. In addition to offering SL users a test drive of their new models, Scion allowed SL residents to create their own virtual versions of the vehicle, mimicking the personalized and exclusive touch of the brand in the real world. Other auto brands have quickly followed Scion’s lead including: Toyota (Scion’s parent), Nissan, Mazda, Pontiac, BMW, and several others. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 19
  21. 21. Early Virtual Marketing Efforts Coca-Cola – Virtual Thirst Contest In May 2007 Coke launched the Virtual Thirst contest in SL inviting all Second Lifers and designers to create their versions of virtual Coke machines. In addition to SL, Coke used a unique MySpace page and promotional site to provide entrants and other interested parties updates on the status of the contest. The winning design was announced in July 2007. Citroën - Brasil In April, 2007, Linden Labs launched the official Portuguese version of Second Life called Ilha Brasil. At the time of launch, Citroën opened its first virtual dealership, offering residents test drives in their new 2008 model, the C4 VTR, which they were allow to keep for use anywhere within SL. The complete virtual strategy also included a virtual Citroën plant showing the company’s automated assembly line. Penguin Books – William Gibson In August 2007, Penguin Books and Rivers Run Red hosted a book reading event in Second Life to promote the launch of William Gibson’s new book, Spook Country. Live book readings and Q&A sessions have become a staple within the SL universe. Bantam Books offered up Dean Koontz to SL residents back in March 2007, reciting from his recently published work, The Good Boy. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 20
  22. 22. Early Virtual Marketing Efforts Sky News UK In May 2007, Sky News launched a 24-hour news center in SL offering viewers the chance to sit at the anchor desk for a close-up view of what it looks like to work in a news studio. Sky News is certainly not alone. Other media firms such as the BBC, Reuters, Channel 4 and others have also made their presence known in Second Life. Kraft – Phil’s Supermarket In May 2007, Kraft launched Phil’s Supermarket, named after ‘supermarket guru’ Phil Lempert, food editor for NBC’s Today show in the U.S. Inside Phil’s Supermarket is a culinary school, holding scheduled classes on food and cooking, as well as a new product showcase, displaying various new product ideas from Kraft. NOAA – Weather Maps, Planetariums, and Hurricane Simulators In addition to the myriad of academic institutions inhabiting Second Life, non-profit organizations and government agencies are also using the platform to hold public forums, explore new learning techniques, or just experiment. The NOAA, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been a long-time resident within Second Life creating large scale ‘walk-through’ weather maps as well as other science-related environments. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 21
  23. 23. Early Virtual Marketing Efforts The preceding pages contain just a handful of the many companies and organizations joining the ranks of the virtual populace. No question, these are very early days for virtual environments. Brave marketers taking these first courageous steps into Second Life and other virtual worlds are learning and experimenting as much as they are reaching out to their target consumers. As a result, performance varies widely depending on brand, sector, and an evolving process of trial and error. Regardless of the outcome, Second Life has afforded marketers the unique opportunity to create new modes of interaction between consumers and brands. Lessons learned here will provide invaluable insight as other virtual media environments emerge, grow and evolve in the coming years. Sample ‘Must Reads’ from the Metaverse: Helped coin the term ‘metaverse’ Early use of term ‘avatar’ Terrific resource for anyone interested This densely written techno-thrill Boasts the first use of the word in learning how to maximise their time ride boasts the first use of the ‘metaverse.’ Snow Crash has in this extremely popular virtual world. word ‘avatar’ in modern literature. become the inspiration for any (2007) (1984) number of writers, developers and film directors making forays into virtual worlds. (1992) © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 22
  24. 24. 5. Virtual Marketing Challenges Second Life and its ilk have come under some scrutiny in mid-2007. Despite all the positive media coverage, increasing marketer involvement and a burgeoning resident population, many Second Life advertising efforts of late have been met with mounting indifference. Citing inaccurate population figures, empty virtual buildings and storefronts, technical glitches, scalability issues and inconsistent measures to gauge success, pundits, consultants and even marketers themselves have all begun to question the overall effectiveness of Second Life and similar virtual worlds as a viable advertising platform.11 A recent article in the September 2007 issue of Wired magazine has only helped to reinforce this growing skepticism, taking a bearish stance on the near-term marketing prospects of Second Life and similar virtual environments. 12 Considering the examples mentioned in the Wired article (Adidas, H&R Block, etc), a good number of marketers may have entered the ‘virtual’ space with unrealistic expectations. In this section we will explore some of the current challenges of marketing within Second Life and other virtual environments: Don’t expect ‘mass media’ results Managing expectations is absolutely crucial Treat virtual environments like event planning Do brands need a temporary or permanent presence in virtual worlds? By understanding the existing issues, we may find proper reason to either pursue/refine a virtual marketing strategy or hold off until more suitable opportunities materialize. 5a. Don’t expect ‘mass media’ results As detailed in Section 2, critics argue that multiple avatars could be owned by a single individual. The total resident (TR) population listed on the service tracks avatars and NOT people; as such, this TR figure could be grossly inflated. A better way to gauge audience size within SL may be to observe ongoing activity or residents concurrently online (RCO). Independent metrics released by Rollins College in June 2007 suggest that Second Life supports an RCO figure of roughly 25K.13 The same report projects that by March 2008, Second Life will be home to more than 25 million residents (avatars) and attract a concurrent online audience of roughly 150K. No question, an RCO of over 150K would be quite impressive. Realize, however, that this figure represents a worldwide audience. Audience figures (left) released by comScore in May 2007 reveal that the largest share of active users of Second Life is actually located in Europe, Germany in particular. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 23
  25. 25. Geographical Location of Second Life Residents Who Logged-in During January and March 2007 Unique People, Age +15 Total Worldwide Audience - Home and Work Locations* Source: comScore World Metrix Increase In Active Mar.07 Percent of Total Residents (000) Active Residents Mar.07 vs Jan.07 Worldwide 1,283** 100%** 46% Europe 777 61% 32% Germany 209 16% 70% France 104 8% 53% UK 72 6% 24% North America 243 19% 103% USA 207 16% 92% Asia Pacific 167 13% N/A*** Latin America 77 6% 26% Middle East & Africa 20 2% N/A*** * Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs. ** Sum of components may equal more than total due to rounding. *** N/A - Residents in January below minimum reporting standard source: Media Guardian As the destination traffic figures listed below suggest, many well-known marketer-focused SL destinations deliver limited audiences. Any marketing foray into Second Life at its current stage of development must expect similar results. IBM, one of the most prominent marketers within Second Life, currently attracts about 8,400 visitors per week. As with the overall TR figure (counting avatars vs. people), the actual IBM audience may be slightly lower. Marketers take note; even with a highly-marketed and heavily attended Second Life launch party, traffic in the proceeding weeks and months will likely decline without new or compelling content to promote repeat visitation. Est avg Est avg hourly Estimated total Site(*Native reality site) hourly visits visits (peak) weeks visits The Pond 53 19 9,025 (up 35%) IBM 50 47 8,412 (up 2%) Pontiac 33 44 5,676 (down 2%) The L Word 26 33 4,464 (down 14%) Greenies Home 26 32 4,392 (down 10%) The Weather Channel 17 25 2,880 (down 3%) Nissan 16 11 2,808 (down 4%) Microsoft 16 25 2,796 (up 2%) Virtual Holland 14 17 2,376 (up 9%) ABC Island 11 11 1,980 (up 3%) Source: New World Notes: Tateru’s Mixed Reality Headcount © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 24
  26. 26. Virtual Marketing Challenges 5b. Managing expectations is absolutely crucial American Apparel opened in Second Life with great fanfare back in June 2006. Despite attracting thousands of visitors from around the world, in July 2007 American Apparel shut its virtual doors. No doubt, the lack of consistent or ‘repeat’ traffic was a contributing factor for ending the SL experiment. Quoting from an American Apparel press statement: “…we’re closing our doors … for now. This doesn’t mean we’re finished with the virtual world. Stay tuned to see what we do next.” 14 As the Wired article suggests, it is not just a matter of ‘build it and they will come’ but creating compelling reasons for Second Lifers to frequent a location more than once. In the case of American Apparel, their virtual store would frequently lay dormant, devoid of shoppers or even store personnel. In the end, a Second Life virtual store likely did not generate sufficient ‘real world’ sales or exposure to justify existence in its current form. Considering a virtual storefront? The main question to ask, “Based on business objectives, will a virtual storefront generate enough ‘ongoing’ traffic or revenue to justify the ‘ongoing’ expense?” Consider the physical world responses if marketers faced a similar dilemma of minimal store traffic or revenue; no question the lack of patronage would set off alarm bells. Possible physical world response would be to increase marketing expenditures, alter the product offerings within the store, or perhaps even close or move the specific location. As we will see later in Section 5c, none of these efforts may bring immediate results in the virtual world. 5c. Treat virtual environments like event planning According to Wagner James Au, prominent writer and blogger on all things Second Life, “...entering virtual worlds, what you’re seeing is ‘who’s here now’ rather than the ‘who’s been here’ “ 15 As Wagner James Au suggests, perceiving a virtual location as always empty would be misplaced as a current user only witnesses its current state without any knowledge of activity over a specific period of time – a day, week, month or longer. That said, however, an empty store may have as much brand impact, if not more, than a store crowded with people. The lack of activity may suggest to consumers that perhaps this place has minimal value, unpopular, provides bad service, etc. No amount of advertising, virtual or otherwise, may reverse these perceptions. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 25
  27. 27. Virtual Marketing Challenges Media Contacts believes that it is inadvisable to conduct marketing campaigns within virtual worlds in the same manner as those running across traditional media channels. Virtual worlds like Second life require a different approach and subsequently a different set of metrics / measures to gauge success. Despite their virtual nature, Second Life and similar virtual worlds possess some of the same characteristics of the ‘real world’ environments they emulate. First, they generally exist in persistent state, continuing to function and run in ‘real time’ whether or not a specific user is active. Second, their 3-D environments are purposely designed to be explored, just as if one was walking down an unknown street or entering a new store for the first time. Driving footfall is therefore critical, in both the real and the virtual worlds. Ironically, while other digital media channels (web, audio and video) are all evolving into on-demand consumer platforms, virtual environments such as Second Life may require marketers and media companies to employ old-fashioned ‘real world’ advertising techniques, such as event planning or outdoor advertising, to successfully promote virtual exposure and repeated use. For example, some of the more effective marketing efforts in Second Life resemble similar ‘real world’ events such as book readings, music concerts, celebrity interviews, scholarly lectures and other ‘scheduled’ public gatherings. Thus far, ‘scheduled’ events such as these have attracted the sixeable audiences within Second Life. In fact, ‘live’ book readings by prominent authors have become some of the most popular marketing events in Second Life. In a way, one could argue virtual events such as these are far easier to organize (and perhaps even environmentally friendly) as no ‘real life’ travel is required of either the author/celebrity or the people attending the event. In 2007, Penguin and Bantam Books used Second Life to promote releases by authors such as William Gibson and Dean Koontz. Despite a few technical glitches, both authors attracted huge virtual crowds, especially William Gibson. Best known in cyber circles for his 80’s masterpiece Neuromancer, William Gibson is considered, by some, to be one of the earliest pioneers of virtual reality. The popularity of his book reading event within Second Life was of no surprise to anyone. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 26
  28. 28. Virtual Marketing Challenges 5d. Temporary vs. Permanent? Treating virtual worlds like event planning may provide marketers additional benefits - lower brand risk and reduced cost of entry. If marketers wish to test Second Life or other virtual environments without the enormous investment in either time or internal resource (to build and maintain virtual locations), teaming up with existing SL tenants may be both advisable and financially prudent. In the case of Penguin Books and William Gibson, they partnered with virtual developer Rivers Run Red for the individual event. In this case, brand exposure was limited to just the single event. Consider the current challenge of Kraft and many other brands supporting a permanent presence within Second Life. Though Kraft has a well-promoted schedule of virtual activities and events, the schedule is not full time; it is not even daily. Come at a time when no event is scheduled and one will likely find what amounts to a ‘ghost town’ containing few, if any, support personnel and more importantly few, if any, customers. Temporary vs. Permanent Virtual Spaces? Kraft, Sky News (UK), Reuters, Major League Baseball (shown below) and many other well-known brands have built sophisticated ‘persistent’ spaces within Second Life. Unfortunately, apart from a limited schedule of events, most days these amazing virtual spaces go unseen and unappreciated. Questions to ponder while exploring these beautiful, though frequently empty, virtual spaces: “Should global brands build long-term virtual spaces or consider more temporary opportunities?” “Do marketers need a persistent presence in Second Life to promote customer interaction and create buzz in virtual worlds?” © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 27
  29. 29. Virtual Marketing Challenges Kraft, Sky News, Reuters, the MLB and many other ‘persistent’ brands in Second Life face an interesting challenge – is it OK to support a mostly inactive virtual environment? In the case of American Apparel, the clothier recently decided (July 2007) to close its Second Life shop and consider its next virtual move – perhaps an event-driven effort such as a virtual fashion show similar to L’Oreal Paris? Considering American Apparel’s recent SL store closure, the argument could be made that temporary or ‘leased’ spaces provides better flexibility and control over virtual experiences. As detailed in the prior section, Second Life residents who come across empty virtual spaces may prove difficult to coax back, regardless of the updated value proposition. We feel that the Lacoste example detailed earlier illustrates a very effective ‘tactical’ approach for testing brand impact, engagement and relevance. It is fleeter than the American Apparel strategy which proved unsustainable from a resource requirement perspective. Perhaps it would be best that marketers for now treat advertising forays into virtual worlds like short-term outdoor events or promotions – here today and gone tomorrow? A good example of a temporary SL marketing effort would be the new Die Hard film. 20th Century Fox with the help of Picture Production Company (PPC) recently hosted an interview session with Bruce Willis within SL to promote the launch of Die Hard 4. Fox Studios held a similar event in 2006 supporting the launch of X-Men 3. The Die Hard 4 event was staged in a rather simple Second Life environment offering visitors the ability to view clips, photos, and interact with various animated elements from the new film. When the picture finally completes its worldwide run in theaters, the Second Life location built by PPC will likely be taken down. In this instance, Fox’s exposure would be limited to the event itself. If successful, subsequent virtual movie marketing efforts will likely follow a similar path – build and promote a movie-specific themed virtual location, run the event and then take it down when the entire campaign is completed. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 28
  30. 30. Virtual Marketing Challenges The Metaverse in the Media Over the past several decades, television programs and movies have used the concept of a ‘metaverse’ as fertile ground for innovative storytelling. Popular programs and films such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Minority Report and Tron have all made virtual environments a key part of their storylines. Tron Minority Report Star Trek: The Next Generation The Lawnmower Man Johnny Mnemonic Wild Palms machinima Most recently, Second Life itself has been the backdrop for some of the compelling use of virtual worlds in media. Using the Second Life application, SL residents can record activities as they take place in the virtual world. These clips can then be strung together and edited to make movies or other forms of video expression. These videos are called machinima. 16 © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 29
  31. 31. 6. What’s next for Virtual Worlds? In 1995 the web was regarded within most marketing circles as irrelevant. Those who dismiss Second Life in the same manner today may be missing the point. Just as the web (and HTML) eventually became the standard for browsing the Internet, the VR coding related to Second Life or similar virtual worlds may eventually evolve into a standard for 3D interactive environments as well. This will require Second Life and a host of other services to eventually find common technical language allowing users to seamlessly teleport from one virtual environment to the next just as easily as users now ‘surf’ from one web site to the next. Bottom line – regardless if existing virtual services become part of a larger interactive network similar to the existing 2-D web, virtual environments are here to stay and will only evolve and grow over time. Marketers need to keep close watch on innovations in the virtual space as consumers continue to discover new and innovative ways to communicate and share experiences with each other. Virtual trends to watch for in the months and years to come: 6a. Will a future Web 3.0 turn into Web 3-D? According to Wikipedia, beyond the sales hype, the term Web 2.0 refers to any next generation application that helps users communicate, collaborate and share. Considering the similar goals of immersive environments such as Second Life,, and others, could Web 3.0 actually turn out to be Web 3-D? Though it is still too soon to tell if immersive environments will be at the center of the next wave of personalized media, applications and technology (Web 3.0), early signs suggest we are moving in this very direction. Consider the latest technology out of Redmond called Microsoft ‘Surface’ (right), offering a multi- touch interface for communication, information and data retrieval, commerce, as well as media consumption. Microsoft is not alone in this innovative development; a U.S. firm called Perceptive Pixel is also working on similar multi- touch user interface technology. Microsoft has a second effort out of their Live Labs group codenamed ‘Photosynth’ that is also worth noting. This innovative virtual application creates 3-D images and environments from multiple 2-D images. For example, a large collection of still images taken of the Piazza San Marco in Venice are assembled to provide the user a 3-D like walk- © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 30
  32. 32. What’s next for Virtual Worlds? through of the entire piazza ( com/photosynth). Consider growing collections of images from Flickr, Photobucket, etc and the ‘virtual’ potential of this new application becomes quite clear. 6b. Watch the academics Fertile ground for communication, research and experimentation, academics and scholars were some of the earliest adopters of the Internet. Second Life and other virtual environments are now experiencing similar high levels of attention from academics and intellects worldwide. These are the folks to watch. Web browsers, online libraries, email clients and other Internet staples all had their beginnings from creative minds on campuses all over the planet. Imagine what students and professors are dreaming up for immersive environments like Second Life? No question, the academic world will be among the first groups to drive use of virtual worlds for learning, intellectual discourse, collaboration and visual representation. Commercial applications are bound to follow soon after. Examples of the many innovative academic and independent projects in Second Life: 17 UC Davis (U.S.) - In addition to the typical California beach accoutrements, the medical school created a simulation that mimics the audiovisual hallucinations associated with schizophrenia. Interesting experience; just don’t take any of the creepy advice whispered in your ear during the simulation. International Spaceflight Museum – This virtual science exhibit contains a planetarium, space demonstrations, and historic replicas of various satellites, spacecraft and rockets from various space-faring nations including Russia, China, the United States and elsewhere. Rocket simulators offer users virtual trips into space. Ann Myers Medical Center – Support site helping students become more proficient in initial exam history, physicals as well as analysis of MRIs, CTs and X-Rays. Virtual Amsterdam – a finely detailed recreation of this historic Dutch city replete with bars, shopping malls, parks, and all the popular tourist destinations. Not into Holland? You can also visit virtual Dublin, London, Barcelona, Singapore and many others. Virtual Skydiving - Not so much a destination as a thing to do. Go into the search function and type ‘sky diving adventure ride’ to find one of the more popular destinations. If you prefer more ‘physical’ virtual sports head over to the Ajax Arena either watch a scheduled virtual match or perhaps jump on the field and join a team. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 31
  33. 33. What’s next for Virtual Worlds? Great Northern Way Campus (Canada) – Virtual campus (pictured below) is part of a master’s degree program in digital media affiliated with the University of British Columbia and several other prominent Canadian academic institutions. Site in Second Life opened on the same day the new ‘real world’ facility opened in Vancouver. Excellent example of how to integrate ‘real world’ educational programs within an interactive digital media framework. One primary goal of the Second Life component will be to expose the curriculum and academic work to a global audience of prospective students. 6c. Emergence of Virtual CRM / Customer Service Geek Squad, Best Buy’s in-house technical support and repair team recently moved their operation into the virtual world of Second Life. In addition to a bumper car ride and a few exhibits on computers and electronics (seeing once is enough), Best Buy has also decided to ‘man’ the Second Life location with limited ‘live’ office hours (not 24/7). As Best Buy and Geek Squad are typically considered North American brands, their virtual office hours in Second Life tend to align with the late waking hours in the region (6pm – 3am ET). Outside these hours, the place can be pretty quiet. Considering the persistent nature of Second Life, perhaps Best Buy should man their island 24/7? Are we seeing the future of consumer support? Will the majority of users eventually interact with virtual operators and consultants for any number of consumer needs? Two areas that may see immediate impact if such efforts such as the ‘Virtual’ Geek Squad gain traction among consumers: (1) increased use of virtual product and purchase support specialists, and (2) 1-on-1 and group sessions for tutoring, counseling and perhaps even religious services. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 32
  34. 34. What’s next for Virtual Worlds? 6d. Look first to video game advertising According to eMarketer, video game advertising worldwide (figure below) is projected to jump from $692 million in 2006 to nearly $2 billion in 2011. Up to now, most of the investment is this sector has gone to scripted video games like Madden NFL, FIFA, Grand Turismo car racing series, and many more. Worldwide Video Game Advertising Spending, 2006-2011 (millions) 2006 $692 2007 $1,003 2008 $1,330 2009 $1,658 2010 $1,855 2011 $1,938 Note: includes static, dynamic and rich media in-game ads; product placemente/integration and advergaming; excludes mobile games. Source: eMarketer, April 2007 If, as projected, there is a significant increase in attention and advertising investment directed towards this segment, the marketing prospects for virtual worlds will most certainly benefit. In addition to watching the overall growth of the space, keep close tabs on developments from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo: 1. Sony Home – First off is the upcoming launch (Spring 2008) of Sony’s Home service, which will work exclusively with their new PS3 game system. Home’s ‘Second Life- like’ interface will act as a virtual meeting ground and personal space for all PS3 users. Players will have the opportunity to create and design their own virtual homes and invite other PS3 users over to chat, listen to music, view game clips and trophies as well as challenge each other to matches. If the Home service is just marginally successful, it may prove be an interesting platform for marketer experimentation, creating opportunities in both a virtual environment as well as specific PS3 video games themselves. One other item of note - unlike Second Life, Sony’s virtual Home service will utilize the larger TV screen instead of the PC monitor. It may be worth watching to see if the larger screen in a ‘lean-back’ environment impacts how people utilize a metaverse environment. It may prompt further ‘lean-back’ behavior as people increasingly ‘watch’ the virtual activities of others with less of an imperative to interact. 2. Microsoft’s Xbox Live Service – Already offering instant messaging (IM), video as well as game downloads (in some markets), Microsoft is now rumored to preparing the launch of an IPTV initiative on the platform. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 33
  35. 35. What’s next for Virtual Worlds? 3. Mii’s on the Wii – The Nintendo Wii has been a surprise hit in the gaming world attracting a whole new legion of casual gamers. One of the more popular features on the Wii system is the ability to create personal avatars or Mii’s as Nintendo calls them. The Mii’s represent players or competitors in a number of the games on the system. As the Wii platform evolves, Nintendo may allow Mii’s to do more than stay confined to their user’s home system, perhaps traveling online to interact with other Mii’s for IM, gaming and more. 6e. Will Second Life scale? In Snow Crash, the popular novel by Neal Stephenson, the main character Hiro travels throughout a metaverse supporting more than 150 million simultaneous users. Second Life has already eclipsed 10 million residents and frequently tops 35K-40K concurrent users daily. If projections are correct, SL will likely push towards 25 million residents by mid-2008. 18 Can it ever support the concurrent traffic of so many potential users as depicted in Stephenson’s novel? The answer is unclear. Comments from various blogs and news reports suggest that Second Life may run into very serious infrastructure problems if the population continues to grow at its current pace.19 No question, this scalability challenge will have to be addressed if Second Life is to survive the dramatic growth spurt expected by 2008. SL’s current challenge to scale online is not without precedent. Back in the mid-90’s when online service AOL switched from an hourly to a monthly fee structure, its system could barely keep up with skyrocketing demand. Too many users tried to sign onto AOL simultaneously, pushing the online service to the breaking point. Thanks to some clever marketing from CEO Steve Case as well as some extensive server upgrades, AOL survived and eventually thrived as an online service for the remainder of the decade. Expect Second Life to have competition. Social networking service MySpace has been challenged in recent months by the likes of Bebo, Orkut, Cyworld, Facebook and others, depending on the market; so will Second Life. Virtual world creators such as Multiverse, Entropia Universe,, and even the new Chinese virtual world called, all vie for ‘virtual’ market share from early mover Second Life. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 34
  36. 36. 7. Final Comments From the beginning, Media Contacts has taken an extremely pragmatic approach to the current marketing potential of Second Life and all other virtual environments. It is an experimental environment that will continue to evolve as technology and behavior move each other forward, perhaps into still unknown areas. First mover advantage is unlikely to be reflected in short-term or even medium-term sales advantage. The gain will certainly be learning, even by making mistakes at a time when the risks of failure are extremely low. On the upside we also feel there is an opportunity here for brands to demonstrate a willingness to embrace new and exciting technology to the group of consumers pushing the virtual world forward. These consumers are also certainly those least interested in engaging with traditional ‘push’ advertising models. However, with marketers understandably focused on optimizing return-on-investment, whether in a context of brand impact or customer acquisition/direct sales, Second Life and the other metaverse platforms should be considered for parallel marketing projects rather than a replacement for more traditional (including traditional digital!) investments. The traditional offline and now increasingly established digital marketing tactics enable experimentation with Second Life. As always, experimentation today fuels future success. Despite recent dismissive comments in Wired and elsewhere, 20 Media Contacts strongly feels that virtual environments such as Second Life should not be ignored. We will see any number of 3D worlds emerge and prosper in the coming decade. As they mature, marketers will eventually find opportunity and even utility in many of these services. © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 35
  37. 37. 8. Resources and Suggested Reading Resources: Media Contacts — Search ‘media contacts’ in Second Life Second Life Research - Second Life Videos (machinima) – Education in Multi-User Virtual Environments (M.U.V.E.) – SLEDucation - Second Life Homepage Forum - Annotated Bibliography of SL Online Resources New World Notes - Wikipedia - Forrester Research — Gartner Research — Suggested Reading: Fetscherin and Latteman, User Acceptance of Virtual Worlds, June 2007, Rollins College and Potsdam University Robbie Cooper, Alter Ego: Avatars and Their Creators, Chris Boot, 2007 T.L. Taylor, Play Between Worlds: Exploring Online Game Culture, MIT Press, 2006 Michael Rymaszewski, et al, Second Life: The Official Guide, Sybex, 2006 Edward Castronova, Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games, University of Chicago, 2005 William Gibson, Neuromancer (20th Anniversary Edition), Ace Hardcover, 2004 Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash, Spectra Reprint, 2000 David Gelernter, Mirror Worlds: or the Day Software put the Universe in a Shoebox, Oxford University Press, 1992 © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 36
  38. 38. 9. Endnotes 1. Fetscherin and Latteman, User Acceptance of Virtual Worlds, June 2007, Rollins College and Potsdam University 2. Wikipedia, Second Life, 3. Fetscherin, Lattemann and Lang, “Second Life Resident Statistics,” Second Life Research, (March 8, 2007) 4. Dan Farber, “The Future of Virtual Worlds,”, (August 1, 2007) 5. Jessica Shepherd, “It’s a world of possibilities,” Guardian [UK}, May 8, 2007 (,,2074240,00.html) 6. Daniel Terdiman, “Campus Life Comes to Second Life,”, September 24, 2004, ( 7., The Lego Group selects NetDevil to create branded MMOG, (March 5, 2007) 8. Caroline McCarthy, “ ‘Second Life,’ after the backlash,” August 23, 2007, 9. Wagner James Au, New Word Notes, Tateru’s Mixed Reality Directory, (July 2, 2007) 10. Fiona Harkin, “Virtual style? In another life,”, May 19, 2007 ( 11. 12. Frank Rose, “How Madison Avenue is wasting millions on a deserted Second Life,” Wired, August 2007, ( 13. 14. American, Sorry, We’re Closed, (July 2007) 15. Chris Anderson, “Why I gave up on Second Life,” The Long Tail Blog, (July 20, 2007) 16. Wikipedia, Machinima, 17. “Wired Travel Guide: Second Life,” Wired, October 2006 ( 18. 19. Ian Lamont, “Second Life’s population problems,” Computerworld Blog, (March 6, 2007) 20. I gave up on Second Life,” The Long Tail Blog, (July 20, 2007) © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 37
  39. 39. 10. Glossary Metaverse - The term metaverse comes from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel Snow Crash, and is now widely used to describe the vision behind current work on fully immersive 3D virtual spaces. These are environments where humans interact (as avatars) with each other (socially and economically) and with software agents in a cyber space, that uses the metaphor of the real world, but without its physical limitations. Avatar - Its origin comes from Hindu philosiphy most commonly referring to the incarnation (bodily manifestation) of a higher being (deva) or ‘Supreme Being’ onto planet Earth. The word has also been used by extension to refer to the incarnations of God or highly influential teachers in other religions, especially by adherents to dharmic traditions when explaining figures such as Jesus or Mohammed. More recently, the term ‘avatar’ was famously penned by William Gibson is his 1984 novel Neuromancer, in which people created virtual 3-D representations of themselves or ‘avatars’ for use in the metaverse. Linden Dollars - Second Life has its own economy and a currency referred to as Linden Dollars (L$). In the SL economy, residents buy from and sell to one another directly, using the Linden, which is exchangeable for US dollars or other currencies on market- based currency exchanges. Machinima - is both a collection of associated production techniques and a film genre defined by those techniques. As a production technique, the term concerns the rendering of computer-generated imagery (CGI) using real-time, interactive (game) 3D engines, as opposed to high-end and complex 3D animation software used by professionals. Engines from first-person shooter and role-playing simulation video games are typically used. As a film genre, the term refers to movies created by the techniques described above. Usually, machinima productions are produced using the tools (demo recording, camera © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 38
  40. 40. Glossary angle, level editor, script editor, etc.) and resources (backgrounds, levels, characters, skins, etc.) available in the game itself. Advergaming - is the practice of using video games to advertise a product, organization or viewpoint. The term “advergames” was coined in January 2000 by Anthony Giallourakis who purchased the URLs along with The term Advergames was later mentioned by Wired’s “Jargon Watch” column in 2001, and has been applied to various free online games commissioned by major companies and marketers. MMOG - Massively multiplayer online game is a computer game which is capable of supporting hundreds or thousands of players simultaneously. By necessity, they are played on the Internet, and feature at least one persistent world. MMOGs can enable players to cooperate and compete with each other on a grand scale, and sometimes to interact meaningfully with people around the world. They include a variety of gameplay types, representing many video game genres. Many MMOGs require players to invest large amounts of their time into the game. Most MMOGs require a monthly subscription fee, but some can be played for free. Source: Wikipedia © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 39
  41. 41. 11. Contact us We encourage you to contact us directly to discuss, in more details, any concern you may have regarding this MC Insight issue. We will be happy to assist you. GLOBAL OR contact the MEDIA CONTACTS OFFICE MC Banglore MC Amsterdam Address: 3570, Garden view, 1st Floor Address: Burg. A. Colijnweg 2, 13th G-Main, 4th cross, HAL II stage, Indiranagar 1182 AL Amstelveen Netherlands Bangalore 560 008 Phone: +31 0 20 408 90 00 Phone: +91 80 40365101 Fax: +31 0 20 408 90 01 Managing Director: Vishnu Mohan Managing Director: Björn Brouwe Email: Email: MC Beijing MC Barcelona Address: Avda. Sarrià, 102-106, 9ª. Address: Room 2001, 20/F, Tower B, Global Trade 08017 Barcelona, Spain Center Phone: +34 93 205 87 71 No.36 Bei San Huan East Road, Dongcheng District Fax: +34 93 414 72 13 Beijing, P.R.China, 100013 Managing Director: Gabriel Saenz de Buruaga phone: +86 10 5923 2923 Office Manager: Joan Grau Managing Director: Leon Lu Email: Email: MC Bilbao MC Bogotá Address: Alda. Recalde, 50 - 3ª Address: Carrera 7 Nº 71-21; Torre A, Piso 12 48008 Bilbao, Spain Bogotá, Colombia Phone: +34 94 470 64 18 Phone: +57 1 317 3010 Fax: +34 94 470 6419 Fax: +57 1 317 3464 Managing Director: Gabriel Saenz de Buruaga Managing Director : Viviana Toro Office Manager: Álvaro Andoin Email: Email: MC Boston MC Brussels Address: Rue de Hennin 67-69, Address: 101 Huntington Ave.; 1050 Brussels, Belgium Boston, MA 02199, USA Phone: +32 2 3491560 Phone: +1 617 425 4100 Fax: +32 2 3491570 FAX: +1 617 425 4101 Managing Director: Stephanie Radochitzki Managing Director: Edward Montes Email: Email: MC Budapest MC Buenos Aires Address: Talcahuano 833, piso 2B Address: H – 1119, Budapest, Petzvál József u. C1013AAP, Ciudad Buenos Aires Argentina 50–56, Hungary Phone: +54 11 5777 7400 Phone: +36 1 464 7272 Fax: +54 11 5777 7401 Fax: +36 1 204 1652 managing director: Lucas Mentasti Managing Director: Zsuzsa Czagler email: E-mail: © 2007 Media Contacts :: Havas Digital 40