As seen on Google Maps…..augmented reality?
For anyone who didn’t make the Virtual Worlds Expo event in NYC, here’s the K Zero presentation.
This presentation was part of the ‘Virtual Worlds By The Numbers: Today and The Future’ session, taking a ‘close look at the platforms currently available to marketers and content holders and goes into detail on demographics, user numbers and user behavior. Also the analysts polish their crystal balls and provide forecasts for the platforms and the industry going forward.’
I’ve taken the standard virtual worlds graph and split it into four age groups. Shown first below is the ‘up to 10 year old’ group. Neopets has the largest number of registered accounts and is also the longest established world.
What could really shake up this segment is the pending launch of Lego Universe. The applications of this world are obvious and extremely engaging. What’s of interest here is the element of content creation that could be on offer to the residents of Lego universe. Very few (possible none) of the under 10’s virtual worlds allow third tier creation (first tier: avatar, second tier: objects, third tier: environment). Allowing kids to make buildings etc could be a killer app and something we haven’t seen much of. Whether or not they engage in this activity remains to be seen, but I’d suggest it will be extremely popular.
In terms of where the growth is coming from in this age group, I think it’s in the following areas:
Crystal (foot, base, tennis, etc) ball time, focusing first on how virtual worlds and the sports sector could be in the next five to seven years.
But first, a recap on the current state of play in terms of virtual worlds and sports. In this context, this is more about real world sports augmented into virtual environments than pure MMOG’s with their own game functionality.
The sports virtual world category can be classified as ‘vertical worlds‘ (terminology created by K Zero), referring to a metaverse created towards specific genres or interests. And there’s several of these worlds already in development. For football (soccer), we have Football Superstars which is currently in closed beta with a launch date expected over the summer. Another sports world is Shot Online tailored for golf and another called Empire of Sports (in open beta), loosely based around some olympic events. Furthermore, Whyville creators Numedeon recently announced the launch of SportsBLOX, ‘the first vertical interest virtual world catering to sports fans of all types’. Hot off the press is another world, this time skateboard-based called Tech Deck Live, launching this summer.
And let’s not forget the activity taken place inside Second Life related to sports. IBM has done some interesting work alongside their technology association with the tennis grandslams, most recently with the Australian open. Other sports have also been represented in Second Life, such as Major League Baseball, the America’s Cup and the NBA.
But this is now, so what about the future?
I think the sports sector in terms of future metaverse development falls into one of three categories, namely spectator interaction for live events, spectator interaction for past events and virtual sports participation.
1. Spectator interaction for live events Continue reading →
The Google virtual world game plan. News stories of the last few days have been numerous reports about Google launching a virtual world. Here’s a few of those headlines:
‘Rumors of Google’s plans to create a virtual world that rivals that of Second Life have popped up once again over the weekend. The company could now be collaborating with Arizona State University to test the 3D social network, which may be tied into Google’s current applications of Google Earth and Google
‘Google’s venture could be competitive right out of the box. That’s because My World — the expected name for the venture — won’t be starting from scratch. It will likely be cobbled together from a bunch of technologies already in existence at the company, including Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google SketchUp for 3-D modeling.’
‘A few teasers have led most to conclude this must be a Google project:a major internet company – yep, that sounds like Google. Questions asking if you have a Gmail account – hmm, I doubt MSFT or Yahoo would be asking that. Google already has Google earth and 3D modeling software.’
The backbone of most of the circulating stories is the piecing together of core Google applications – Google Earth, Google Maps and Sketch-up – three apps based around the presentation of referenced spacial data plus the ability to create 3D modeling. So, on this basis it would seem like a logical step. Continue reading →
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