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Second Life rings the changes with Avaline

Linden Labannounced mid-week that its AvaLine: Dial an Avatar service completed its beta program (launched in May) and is now available for subscriptions online. It claims that use of the AvaLine application “makes it easier than ever to connect with the real world.” For 1,200 Linden Dollars per month, a Resident can sign-up for the service to call and receive calls from anyone in the world, given that the Resident is inworld. The application will also be offering a voicemail service (price to be announced) to subscribers.

Taka Linden, SL’s new product and business manager of communication services, explains that the service allows SL Residents to take calls while staying immersed in the virtual world without having to manage an independent application – it’s built directly into SL. Taka clarified how the AvaLine works in his blog:

“To talk with a Resident, a caller simply dials a nearby local access number (available in more than 40 international cities), and enters the Resident’s personal connection code. If the Resident is online and accepts the call, the two parties can begin talking immediately, just as on a regular phone call or inworld voice chat. If the Resident is not inworld or declines the call, the caller may leave a voicemail message that the Resident will receive as an email attachment. The caller pays only what’s required to connect to the local number, and the Resident pays only the flat-rate AvaLine subscription fee, regardless of the geographic distance between the parties, the number of calls received, or the number of minutes used.”

Sounds like Linden Lab is working hard to address the alternatives of inworld communication platforms. Will it work given the global popularity of Skype? Maybe not, but it might be a solution to chopped off IM messages commonly noted in community forums.

More Avaline discussion over on Massively.

14 Jul

Updated Kids, Tweens and Teens in Virtual Worlds report


32 pages of virtual goodness are contained within our latest report on Kids, Tweens and Teens (KT&T) in virtual worlds.

Included in the report are overviews of many worlds in the sector as well as strategies for success for both marketers wishing to take their brands in-world as well as companies considering developing worlds for these demographics.

Order the case study here. Continue reading →

21 Jun

Hands free with Natal


Another E3 demo worth checking it is Project Natal for the XBox. It’s a controller-free gaming interface. What’s really important here is the fact that brand-new categories and genres of games are on the horizon. Here’s a selection of videos showcasing Natal.

So much for gamers (that’s all of us) turning into couch potatoes. I’d be worried if I was in the fitness club/gym industry….or maybe I’d be really excited ;)

29 Jan

Where in the world is everyone?


Just a little map showing the head office locations of companies operating virtual worlds. Here’s the direct link for the map URL.

100 Rules of Second Life

This made me smile. Prad Prathivi over on the Metaversally Speaking blog has a list of 100 Rules of Second Life. Here’s the first 50 and second 50. Arguably NSFW.

My favourites:

2. If her breasts are bigger than your head, shes a man in RL.

17. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers.

37. If youve been DJing to an empty room for over an hour, its probably time to go home. Continue reading →

9 Jan

Predictions for 2009: Real world brands


The success of real world brands such as Mattel, Buildabearville and Disney creating virtual worlds coupled with pending launches from Lego and others confirms our believe in high growth potential for this category. Here’s a link to a press release from Mattel specifically about their digital plans in 2009.

Companies with strong real-world brands and of course existing brand awareness and customer bases have a major advantage over pure-play virtual worlds in the KT&T space.

Continue reading →

9 Jan

The Mattel Digital Network


Mattel announced today at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Kids@Play Summit that it will be transforming the companys online strategy from brand Web site platform to interactive programming and content provider. The aggressive initiative is called the Mattel Digital Network, a new online destination for kids and families that is being driven by the companys experience and observations about how kids play today. The Network is a gateway to a world of open-ended online play ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú it will be user-focused and will become the portal to Mattels powerhouse brands, such as Barbie?ǬÆ, Hot Wheels?ǬÆ, Matchbox?Ç¬Æ and Radica?ǬÆ.

Todays kids don’t recognize technology, they recognize magic that engaging play experiences deliver, said Chuck Scothon, General Manager and Senior Vice President Mattel Digital Network. Mattel is known for providing magical play experiences through traditional toys, and now with the launch of the Mattel Digital Network, we extend our great play experiences into the digital space for kids of all ages.

The network is being created with a simple, defining touchstone – that it will be the place where the kid in all of us comes to play. Even its name, the Mattel Digital Network, was thoroughly dissected. More specifically, it is truly an all-brand initiative (Mattel), ensures a continued focus specifically on the space (Digital), and requires an ongoing commitment to keeping both the content and each target audience – from kids to tweens and teens to adults and collectors ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú in mind when building their online experience (Network).

Continue reading →

1 Dec

European Funding & Investment Summit for virtual worlds


I’ll be in London this Friday (5th Dec) at theEuropean Funding & Investment Summit for virtual worlds. Here’s a link to the registration site if you’re interested in attending and here’s the session run-down.

1.30 – 2pm: Data and Trends. Focus on the Growth and Opportunity in Casual Online Games, MMOs and Virtual Worlds.

2 – 2.20pm: Spotlight on Media Tie-Ins

2.20 – 2.50pm: Early Stage Public & Private Support, Finance & Funding

3.05 – 4.30pm: Financing Growth – The Legal and VC Perspective

4.30 – 5.40pm: Financing Growth: The Developers’ & IP Owner Perspective – Case studies and panel discussion

1 Dec

November marketing news


Come on in. Digital Dollhouse opens the door to a brand-new ?¢‚ǨÀúold type of fun. Offering a brand new world of fun, charm and creativity, Digital Dollhouse will open its doors today. Aimed at girls of all ages, Digital Dollhouse is an online ?¢‚ǨÀúPlayspace enabling children to combine the traditional dollhouse play with the latest technologies associated with immersive communities and creativity.

Habbo Global Youth Survey – Tri-country analysis.So, the full Habbo report is here and shown below is comparative data for the UK, Spain and Germany.

GAXs Working Worlds 3.0?¢‚Ǩ¬? VWs Job Fair.Most subscribers to our K Zero blog, virtual worlds residents and professionals alike, will know something of the challenges facing agencies in implementing successful in-world campaigns for real world clients, even when brand and product line seem optimally suited.

Black holes in the VW universe.In the virtual worlds universe we see new planets created all the time, but not so many disappearing. Following this analogy, black holes (closed/closing VWs) are now shown in the K Zero universe chart.

Clan shopping with Far Cry 2.Gaming isnt really a sector we cover here (although Im a gamer, well, a COD nut), but every once and while something creative hits the inbox.

Metanomics show video.Heres the link to the Metanomics show (Unpredictable Spaces) from earlier this week.

Running the numbers: Habbo UK.As part of the Global Habbo Youth Survey, 58,500 teenagers between the ages of 11 and 18 from 31 countries were questioned in terms of their profiles and usage patterns. The research examines the interests, values, attitudes and media habits. These reports are compiled into a report that helps build understanding both for Habbo and for potential brands considering entrance.

IMVU goes musical.Not content with having the worlds largest set of virtual items, IMVU has decided to up the ante and introduce a social music aspect to their virtual world.

Revolution Magazine features K Zero.The November edition of Revolution Magazine carries a three page article this month on marketing in virtual worlds. Part of the Masterclass series, Im one of the panel along with Ian Hughes (IBM / Eightbar) and Alistair Williams (Habbo UK).

Digital Dollhouse media pack now available.For brands and organisations interested in developing revenue streams and brand marketing campaigns from virtual goods, K Zero has developed a media pack explaining the benefits of Digital Dollhouse.

Socnet data.Its all about networking right!

Running the numbers: Habbo Spain.Following on from this post showing the Global Habbo Youth Survey for UK members, below is Spain. Some interesting nuances are coming out. And on a related note, heres some insight into Spanish Second Life residents from last year.

Looking back to look forward: 20 trends defining virtual worlds in 2007. Just over a year ago Techdigest did a great job of live-blogging the Virtual Worlds Forum event in London. They also came up with a list of 20 trends defining virtual worlds in 2007. Now then, a year is a long long time in the virtual worlds space so lets go back and look at these predictions and see whats happened a year later.

K Zero in The Guardian.The rise and rise of virtual worlds. From virtual cities to virtual conferences and football matches, online worlds are the way of the future.

16 Nov

K Zero in The Guardian


The rise and rise of virtual worlds. From virtual cities to virtual conferences and football matches, online worlds are the way of the future. Nov 14, 2008.

Full article here.

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