How could we not start our Virtual World update without letting us know what’s happening in the world of Second Life…?
Second Life users need to be cautious with Quicktime embedded videos in the game as it may be used to pick your pocket of Linden Dollars. Charles Miller and Dino Dai Zovi, of Independent Security Evaluators, have found that by using a flaw in Quicktime, they can not only pick the pocket of any user within 100 virtual feet of the player, they can take complete control of the avatar. Once the account has been taken over, the hackers can then use that avatar to go to other lands, embed their virus loaded video, and it will continue to spread from land to land.
Since Linden Dollars can be converted to real money (L$250 = $1 USD approximately), someone using this hack could turn this in to quite the money making venture.
With more and more real life commerce happening inside of Second Life, and some people making their livings via the game, people need to be as careful as possible.
Second Life is prohibiting the offering of interest or any direct return on an investment, whether in any currency, from an object such as an ATM within Second Life, without proof of an applicable government registration statement or financial institution charter.
That’s a mouthful, but it boils down to heavier regulation of money that can be made in Second Life–more importantly, how that money is made. It sounds an awful lot like a governmental role, but it’s an important step for the virtual world, especially if it would like to avoid actual regulations from the real government. Second Life has in fact been receiving complaints from residents regarding banking activity, and in order for Second Life to remain the entity that it is, it has to self-regulate to a larger and larger extent. Part of what made Second Life an almost-household name was the bickering about virtual property that eventually led to a real lawsuit (in real life).
The Electric Sheep Company is best known recently for its work in creating the CSI:NY build in Second Life. The company offers its own Second Life browser “OnRez”, and provides services to companies looking to establish a presence in Second Life.
It would be easy to suggest that Electric Sheep Company’s failure here may be indicative of a broader downturn in Second Life; however, the more likely scenario is simply that this is a company that added too many staff in the expectation of ongoing and future work that didn’t happen, and they would be far from the first startup to be caught in this situation.
Compound this with a highly competitive market and unfortunately for 22 people at the Electric Sheep Company, Christmas this year wont involve dreams of electric sheep.
The report makes the big claim that “within five years, the 3-D Internet will be as important for work as the Web is today”. But before we get too carried away, the report also notes that right now virtual worlds are not user friendly to the enterprise crowd - “you’ve practically got to be a gamer to use most of these tools”.
Forrester cites investments in this area by big organizations like BP, IBM, Intel, and the US Army. The use cases include:
“Information and knowledge management professionals should begin to investigate and experiment with virtual worlds. Use them to try to replicate the experience of working physically alongside others; allow people to work with and share digital 3-D models of physical or theoretical objects; and make remote training and counseling more realistic by incorporating nonverbal communication into same-time and place interactions.”
WebWare reports on Habbo going to Hollywood:
Habbo, a virtual world for teens, signed a deal with the William Morris Agency, one of Hollywood’s oldest and largest talent agencies. As part of the deal, WMA will promote its celebrity sports and entertainment clients within the digital world and help Habbo forge new promotional partnerships in Hollywood.
Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but the two companies will likely seek shared revenue by selling virtual goods to teens. Habbo, which is run by Finland-based Sulake Corp., draws as many as 8 million teen visitors from around the world, with 1.3 million coming from the United States, according to the company.
Stable Media, LLC has teamed up with Wyndstorm to create the upcoming virtual world for social networking, called riplounge.
The beta version launches today. Now, we’ve seen a great deal of virtual worlds that have launched in the past couple of years, some of the more recent have had the blatant approach to self-promotion.
There’s nothing wrong with that. I’d rather have an ad-supported virtual world, with digital banners and commercial-ridden video clips than a downloadable tool that requires my credit-card number. From there.com to Wells Fargo, virtual worlds are finding themselves as good use towards niche communities, with a variety of interactive options presented to the end user.
The various virtual locations will be used as multimedia channels for content distribution and advertising purposes. For instance, the night club could have a virtual DJ release a new song. It’s the interactive and custom options that spin off from such promotions that will provide value to the users on the other end of riplounge, however, so it will be rather interesting to see what Sable Media plans to do towards this end.
For an extremely inspiring look into the future of virtual user interaction, you simply must check-out this update from Smashing Magazine, which discusses and demos some of the following products:
Reactable is a collaborative electronic music instrument with a tabletop tangible multi-touch interface. Several simultaneous performers share complete control over the instrument by moving and rotating physical objects on a luminous round table surface.
Multi-Touch-based devices accept input from multiple fingers and multiple users simultaneously, allowing for complex gestures, including grabbing, stretching, swiveling and sliding virtual objects across the table. While touch sensing is commonplace for single points of contact, multi-touch sensing enables a user to interact with a system with more than one finger at a time, as in chording and bi-manual operations.
The full article has many more technologies and examples to see…
To conclude, we have chosen an article from our recently launched advertising and marketing blog (AD8) that covers Elle MachPherson’s new interactive store fronts:
We discovered this on Geek Sugar, where during New York Fashion Week, Elle MacPherson Intimates launched a new high tech interactive storefront that allows passersby to revel in the video footage of models through the window with their movements.