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27 Oct

Growth areas in 2009 for virtual worlds: 25+

Rounding off this series of expanding on the points from the VW London presentation, here’s the potential growth areas in the 25+ age group.


Mirror worlds as time machines


There is in my opinion a catch 22 with mirror worlds – the more realistic they become (visually) the less impact they have. So, mirror world operators always need to place creativity and purpose top of their list when considering the user experience.


One area which I think mirror worlds would have great impact is as time machines. By this, I mean recreating real places from the past – historical buildings, towns/cities and even specific events from history. This provides the compelling reason to visit.


Sure, visiting a virtual London or New York is interesting to a point but residents of these cities can step outside of their doors and experience them. However, being able to visit a mirror world London from the 1800’s is a different proposition entirely. Interestingly, Second Life has been used already for this purpose – Paris in the 1900’s being a great example.


Government / tourism


We saw early moves from govts and tourism boards last year in Second Life. These included the Second House of Sweden, Maldives Embassy and others.

In terms of more ambitious efforts in 2009, one area I believe could work well is from local governments using VWs to serve their real-world residents for issues such as urban planning and virtual town-hall meeting. Continue reading →

22 Aug

Photosynth – a fast track to creating mirror worlds?

Photosynth, from Microsoft is an emerging application that ‘stitches’ together individual photographs to create anavigabledigitalenvironment. It was demo’d first at the TED conference last year using Flickr photos of Notre Dame cathedral. It’s a product from Microsoft Live Labs, a development team and the website is here.

Rolling this forward a year or two, it seems obvious that this type of application could feasibly be used to create virtual world type spaces on the fly (real-time registration).

Here’s a video of Photosynth.

And a related application code-named Sea Dragon.

Continue reading →

23 Jul

Latest Twinity screenshots

Twinity, the German-based mirror worldhas opened the Alexander Platz area of Berlin to beta users. Here’s some screenshots – could do with a bit of sunshine maybe.

Continue reading →

22 Jul

Building Rome in a day

Mirror Worlds / ARG's

An inevitable and cheesy headline, but hey, someone’s got to do it right?

Procedural Inc, a 3D software company claims their CityEngine product has generated ancient Rome digitally in a day. The press release is below. I’m fascinated with the cultural and resonant influences of re-creating real places on digital platforms, be it virtual worlds or otherwise. They seem to bring a sense of content, relevance and association in otherwise chaotic environments (read more about real places re-created). From a category perspective, this proposition slots into the mirror world category along with Near, Amazing Worlds, Twinity and Geosim.

Here’s the press release…

CityEngine GeneratesRomein One Day

Procedural Inc. Ships New Urban Modeling Solution, CityEngine, Allowing Mass Creation of City Models 10 Times Faster for Film & TV Production, Game Development, Architecture and City Planning; Free Trial Version Available For Download. Continue reading →

Virtual Pursuits – Who’s on the Radar?

It’s been a week of talking about the future of virtual worlds with VC’s, investors and research companies. The over-penetrated sectors, the under-served niches and where the smart money should be placed from an investment perspective. It’s also been a week of looking at a lot of business plans for potential new worlds with the founders not always realising there’s already competition in the space they’re looking to enter.


On that note, I thought it would be be interesting and useful to segment the Universe graph by sector and genre to shed some light on the questions above.


So, I’m dieingto call this graph ‘The Wedgie’, but I’ll settle on the ‘Radar’ (or maybe even Vadar). Here we go:

There’s a lot going on – we know this, so to make this a little easier to assimilate, it’s broken out a little below (and a high-res PDF version can be requested here).


Socialising/chat, casual gaming and misc are shown below with bands reflecting age groups. There’s about 25 worlds off the radar (i.e. in stealth mode) not shown here. Blue dots refer to worlds in development or closed beta. Red are live or open beta.

Mirror worlds, roleplay/fantasy/quests and toys/real world game worlds are shown below. The toys and real world games sector is a hot area right now, set for continued growth in the next 12 months. Mirror worlds are one of the few categories tailored towards older users.

. Continue reading →

6 Jul

Google cameras hit the streets of the UK

Mirror Worlds / ARG's

Google continues to roll-out Street View, now turning attention to the UK, starting with London.

The Sunday TImes reports…..

The camera cars begun to trawl the streets of London and other British cities this week to take of pictures of unsuspecting people leaving shops, entering churches or perhaps kissing someone they should not be.

Those pictures will then be stitched together creating a panoramic virtual view of every public thoroughfare in London and other UK cities. The cameras captured random snapshots of the streets of San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, Miami and New York before expanding across first America and now the world.

Google refused to confirm how many cities outside London the spy cars are roaming but unconfirmed sightings have been made in Edinburgh, Birmingham and Cardiff.


The Google virtual world game plan

Is Street View illegal in Europe?

Street View prompts privacy fears

4 Jul

Updated: Virtual world analysis for 20 – 30’s

And here’s the segment tailored towards 20 – 30 year olds. Full universe charts are here.

23 Jun

And speaking of Mirror Worlds, here’s Moondus

Mirror Worlds / ARG's

Moondus is a mirror world platform created by the folks behind Virtual Italian Themeparks. Seems they’ve switched focus a little away from Second Life. FAQ’s are always a good way to understand how company’s view their proposition…….

1. What is Moondus?

Moondus is the new Virtual Reality platform from Virtual Italian Parks.

With Moondus, you can create realistic worlds that your users can visit connecting to them using the Internet.

2. How will Moondus help me with my business?

Virtual Worlds represent the new frontier of media advertising and content publishing.

It will bring your customers beyond the simple internet web page, inside an immersive world created and customized to your individual needs.

You can use a Virtual World to import a CAD model of a house you are building to show it to your customers, or organize training sessions, medical simulations, recreate mirror worlds of a tourist or archeological site and much more.

The limit is your imagination.

3. How is Moondus different from other Virtual Reality platforms already present on the market?

We developed our solution with a few key features in mind: state of the art graphics, secured networking, easy importing of most CAD and 3D formats, and extreme flexibility to suit our individual clients’ needs.

This space is hotting up, as this post explains, from a tourism marketing perspective. Shame they chose Times Square for the demo video though, as it’s been done before by Multiverse.

K Zero services

For brands

For virtual world owners

For investors and VC’s

23 Jun

Near intro video and background

Targeting an older audience than most virtual worlds at present, London-based Near is prepping for launch. Near can be classified as a mirror world – a digital space modeled on real world places, in the first instance, surprise surprise, London.

Near is being positioning as a ‘social entertainment platform’ and importantly is more about managed content than UGC. On this basis it will be interesting to see how Near resonates with older dems – most existing evidence from other virtual worlds suggests that ‘creation propensity’ increases with age.

From a busines model perspective, the company is looking at using Near worlds to generate advertising revenue from the company/brand shops/locations featured in-world. Another interesting aspect to keep an eye on.

Another different take on the virtual world experience is how Near handles avatars. The company is of the opinion that for this application, avatar visualisation (in the form of human-like characters) is not a fundamental requirement. Instead, they feel it’s more important to get a sense of who else is in-world as opposed to what they look like – you’ll see what I mean in the video.

Here’s the official intro move:

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