Virtual Worlds 2007 Data Dump from Day 1

WOW. All I can say, is that the last two days at this conference really opened my eyes to the possibilities for virtual worlds. I leave even MORE convinced of the potential for virtual worlds to change the real-world and being committed to finding a way to dedicating all my energy to contributing to making it happen.

Mark Wallace over at 3pointD is the most prolific blogger in this space. You can essentially see transcripts of all the panels there I gotta learn to type faster…I wonder if he has some kinda voice to text cos he does a masterful job.

Since it is now 1AM and I am going into the Game Change conference in Toronto tomorrow I can only do a data dump list for now. I will double-loop all this when I get some time on the plane tomorrow. But wanted to get raw ah-has out there tonight before I lost them.

Go to Mark’s page for more details, but here is what I had highlited as left-hand-column instances of brilliance in my experience of the conference:

Philip Rosedale Keynote:

    Second life is a playful place to make neat things.

    The thing that is cool about Second Life is not that it is 3D it is that it has other people in it and you can interact with them.

    When you go to Amazon to buy a book there are hundreds or even thousands of folks on that same page but you never know that. Virtual worlds are technology mediated experiences that include us in it!

MTV/Nickelodian KEYNOTE(Media Meets Virtual Worlds)

    The true potential is when linear content (i.e. programs on TV) meets user generated content. When watching TV becomes living TV.

    When individual and independent avatars can influence the story arcs for linear programming, audience consumption and engagement goes up.

    Our (Laguna Beach) audience lives in a world that is parallel to what they see on air, only they are the stars and they create their own experience.

    Media does not replace Media.

    In the new world of media it is about participation, personalization and customization. We have to move from passive consumtion to active engagement.

    In this new world the AUDIENCE IS THE CONTENT.

    We need to make the GLIDE PATH into vitual worlds a lot less onerous to increase adoption.

    NEOPETS: 11 Million monthly users, 150 million game plays per month

    NICKTROPOLIS: 2.4 Million users, 1.3 million rooms created 7.5 million visits, 50 million game plays, 21 Million items exchanged.

    Don’t sit this one out, join us and help us make it so!

PLATFORMS AND TECHNOLOGIES PANEL:

    Corey Bridges of Multiverse talked about the idea of a universal metaverse browser. This is first incling of the notion of intraverses where I can go from verse to verse (meta or intra). Their business model on the B2C side is cool…software is free and we take 10% of what you sell after that, but enterprise clients wanting to do B2E stuff will need another model to engage.

    Trilogy got in with There to do the Laguna Beach stuff. That is showing how the gaming capabilities of flow/addiction and slick visual rendering and some captivating elements of rendering are bleeding into the free for all UGC end of the spectrum that we find in SL.

    Entropia continues to be of interest with its hard wired real-economy dollars (PEDs). They are up to 600K users and the currency throughput has gone up from $150M to $360M in a year. John Bates brought up the notion of involvement marketing by showing a Video that an Entropia fan put together. There is more and more of this. Kinda like the meme of residents building stuff in world for Second Life tallies up to about $1.2B per year, here we have folks building commericals for the prodcut because they enjoy the experience so much and want others to grok it. Could not find the exaple John used, but there were plenty to choose from on You Tube. Here is one to give you a taste:

    Another issue the panel brought up was the notion of taxation and or regulation to stop laundering. Most panelists think that it is just a matter of time until government swoops down and slams VWs with taxation on casinos/gambling in VWs.

    One of the big dualities emerged in this panel and the meme propogated throughout the conference: User Generated Content on a fully open platform (SL) versus a heavily locked down platform where players are bound by narrative and rules and have little or creative liscence within world (WOW). This was further broked down into two types of platform: Blank Canvas (With No Vetting or Some Vetting) and Themed Worlds (with various graditions of allowing for UGC).

All in all I was blown away by what MTV is doing with their themed worlds. They are taking the aggregation of “couch potatos” and trying to turn them into “mouse potatos.” They went with There.com as a platform, but also leveraged Trilogy (game design folks) to make the world more nuanced and aligned with sensibilities of the demographic. The are now building highways between the themed worlds (Hills, Laguna and new Van Nuys build for Pimp My Ride).

Oh, by the way, 4 years from now the millions and millions of kids who have been living, learning, working and playing in this way will be walking thorough the hallowed halls of corporate America. What will we have that is as engaging and sticky as what MTV is doing to keep them passionate and engaged in endeavors that bring value to business and society? Time to get a move on folks!

Almost 2 AM gotta go to bed. I will do a dump on Day 2 tomorrow. My favorite was Future Panel and the Motorati story. But for now some shuteye. Carbon life forms need to recharge too you know ; )

Over and out from Toronto.

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