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29 Jul

BBC News: Game worlds show their human side

BBC News: Game worlds show their human side. The BBC News website is carrying an interesting story about how researchers are using virtual worlds to study human behaviour.


Online worlds offer great potential to social scientists because they overcome some of the problems these researchers encounter when gathering subjects in the real world, Dr William Bainbridge, head of Human-Centred Computing at the US National Science Foundation, wrote in the journal.

For instance, he wrote, social scientists often face problems finding subjects fast enough or securing funds to carry out the research.

The popularity of online worlds such as Second Life and World of Warcraft meant there was a ready pool of subjects that could be recruited over long periods of time for little cost, he said.

K Zero is also exploring this field. This post explains the two main types of ‘person’ in Second Life, augmentalists and immersionalists. The BBC News story discusses the number of avatars created per resident, which as this analysis shows, is higher than they suggest. Continue reading →

29 Jul

How we use Second Life

Virtual Research

How we use Second Life. Looking at the relationship between total registered accounts and unique residents sheds a lot of light onto the types of people using Second Life. This post explains the types of individuals interacting with SL from a technology adoption perspective. The graph below shows total registered accounts per unique resident.

In the period prior to brand adoption of SL, the average number of accounts per unique resident was in the 1.25 – 1.3 range. This coincided with the Innovator group being the main element of consumer type.

However, as shown clearly in the graph, from May 2006 onwards (as brands started to enter SL), this metric started to go north quickly, shifting from 1.3 up to the 1.58 range. This is explained by the entrance of Early Adopters into SL. These individuals began to use SL in two different ways, hence explaining the increase in avg accs and the requirement for more than one avatar account. Continue reading →

28 Jul

UK academia in Second Life

UK academia in Second Life. Not-for-profit professional IT services group Eduserv, has recently completed an evaluation of UK academic instiututions in Second Life.

The report (available here) is a ‘state of play’ evaluation of several colleges and universities present in Second Life.

Real places recreated part four: Historic landmarks

Real places recreated part four: Historic landmarks. As this series of posts is showing, Second Life has been used in great ways to recreate real life places. Also, shown has been the effect these types of places has on building communities of people who spend significant dwell times there.

Real world modern-day cities are probably the most effective at driving and retaining visitor traffic and related to this, historic landmarks have the same effect. An additional benefit (to visitors) by creating historic landmarks in Second Life is educational. As shown below, there’s been some incredibly detailed builds of famous tourist attractions and some of these projects have been able to accurately recreate not only the design element and also the cultural spirit of the time.

Here’s some historic landmarks:

Continue reading →

Unofficial brands in Second Life – the options for marketers

Unofficial brands in Second Life – the options for marketers. Although over 100 brands are now in Second Life, the number of brands represented on an unofficial basis is much, much higher.

People reading this post may well have their company or brand in Second Life without them even knowing. This raises some interesting decisions for companies in terms of managing this risk. But, as this article will illustrate, with risk sometimes comes reward.
Which categories are prone to unofficial representation?

As the typical evolution of avatars (residents) from a virtual consumption perspective leans towards personal customisation, the category most prone is fashion. This includes branded items such as jeans, t-shirts, shoes and other clothing. Lifestyle accessories are next on the list with items such as watches and jewelry frequently copied.

Cars are also extremely popular. Although there’s already a high number of automobile brands already in Second Life, there are just as many unofficial brands present.

Here are the options:

1. Ignore

There’s no such thing as bad publicity right? With revenue streams in Second Life for virtual products still comparatively low, there’s no real loss of company income. And, with SL being full of influential early adopters what’s the harm in our brand being presented to them? Doing nothing is an option, but it’s probably the worst option to take. Continue reading →

26 Jul

Europ Assistance


Europ Assistance. Think about what service your company offers in the real world and see how this expertise can be leveraged and made relevent to a virtual world environment. This is a backbone strategy for companies considering entrance into Second Life [Request the Seven Point Plan for Marketing in Second Life to learn more about this].

Europ Assistance, a European provider of automobile, travel, health and home insurance has recently entered Second Life and is offering residents protection against accidental teleport accidents.

Here’s the press release.

As the world’s leading provider of modern assistance services, the Europ Assistance Group has once again demonstrated the pioneering spirit one would expect of this inventor of medical repatriation and travel assistance services, this time by launching the first ever assistance policy for virtual journeys in Second Life?Ç¬Æ on June 29, 2007.

Available from the Europ Assistance island, this virtual assistance policy symbolised by a belt and an aura surrounding the protected avatars can be taken out free of charge by any avatars keen to avoid becoming victims of teleportation accidents, which are today increasingly numerous according to a rumour currently circulating in the Second Life?Ç¬Æ world. This rumour, spread by means of a video filmed in the Second Life?Ç¬Æ world, humorously portrays a series of imagined accidents befalling avatars during their journeys through Second Life?Ç¬Æ (teleportation).
True to its goal of making life easier for its clients in both day-to-day and special situations, this “virtual” assistance service in Second Life?ǬÆ, (the first of its kind to be offered by an assistance company), is accompanied by a software-based training programme to help “newbies” adjust to the Second Life?Ç¬Æ virtual world, and to show them how to get around, to meet people, to chat or to change their appearance, etc.

Also in keeping with the Seven Point Plan (integration), Europ Assistance has created a supporting website called in support of the metaverse efforts. The island also offers orientation guidance for new residents, which is a clever strategy to integrate into a wider plan, as this post explains further.

Comparing virtual worlds: age vs content creation

Comparing virtual worlds: age vs content creation. One thing is clear – although virtual worlds are a new phenomenum, different worlds attract different types of people.

To date, this has been more of a ‘push’ strategy, with metaverses positioning themselves into particular ages ranges. The teen worlds such as Habbo, Whyville and Gaia Online are obvious examples of this with specific age bands for membership.

  • Habbo: 13-16
  • Whyville: 8 -15
  • Gaia Online: 13+

But other worlds, both in development and currently live place less emphasis on being a certain age or demographic type and openly invite anyone over the age of 18. So, if the age ranges for these types of metaverses is anyone over 18, you might expect the average ages/demographic sweet-spots to be very similar.

As shown in the graph below, this is not the case. Factors are causing different age groups in different worlds (reds are live virtual worlds and yellows are in development).

Note that for the metaverses in development the average age/sweet-spot is a K Zero assessment, not derived from actual data – because they are not live yet. The degree of content creation is based on information released to date and K Zero first-hand discussions.

What is content creation? Continue reading →

24 Jul

Real places recreated part three: Office buildings


Real places recreated part three: Office buildings. This is the third in a series about Second Life being used to recreate real places.

As highlighted in part two, recreating modern-day cities attracts a lot of visitors with high dwell times – residents like to be in places they are already familiar with as it brings a strong sense of context to their virtual activities.

We hope you enjoyed this article. Using the coupon code ‘TOURDEC’ you are entitled to a 25% discount off the Travel and Tourism case study.

This post discusses the reasons why in some instances building virtual versions of real life office buildings can be a good idea.

Firstly, let’s remember that for the majority of companies in Second Life it is a marketing exercise – at the very least, it comes out of a marketing budget. Marketing budgets are generally geared towards attracting new customers. Recreating office buildings therefore provide a point of reference for potential new customers – a link between the real and virtual worlds. It’s possible (and this is an upward trend) that some potential new customers will see the virtual version before seeing the real one – so in a way this is building brand recognition.

Request the K Zero technology sector case study here. Continue reading → vs Second Life: demographics vs Second Life: demographics. Ben Richardson from has kindly given me an insight into the demographic profile of the population of This virtual world has almost 1m registered members and is growing strongly. [read more about comparitive virtual world analysis]


To date, the most recognised brand in was MTV, running a walled garden version of Laguna Beach, although several major brands including Capitol Music Group are implementing this platform into their marketing strategies.

. is a virtual world geared towards a slightly younger age profile than Second Life – the average age of a resident is 22, over ten years younger a typical Second Life resident. positions itself much more as a ‘hang-out’ social destination than a creative platform, although content creation and in-world currency (therebucks) are both available.


Here’s an age range comparison between the two:


The minimum age threshold for the main grid of Second Life (18 years) may be a reason why younger dems reside in As shown above, 32% of the registered population are in the 13 – 17 bracket. Although Second Life does has a teen grid, this is kept completely apart from the adult population and does not have a currency or allow commercial activity.

Continue reading →

23 Jul

Inter Milan follows Ajax FC


Inter Milan follows Ajax FC. Italian football club Inter Milan, or to be technically correct, F.C. Internazionale Milano have followed the lead set by Ajax FC supporters and opened a themed venue in Second Life. This time however, the project is officially endorsed by the club.

The use of virtual worlds to position sports and sporting organisations is a growing trend in Second Life. The main driver for this is the ability to not only tap into the affluent early adopter community of Second Life in the respective countries of the sports/clubs but also to grow global fan bases. [read more about the sports and leisure sector here].

Here’s the updated timeline for the sports and leisure.

Visitors to the venue can obtain club merchandise free of charge such as shirts and scarfs (giving is better than receiving) . The venue also includes a virtual trophy room, football pitch and official vlub building. Continue reading →

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