Metaverse: An interconnected set of virtual worlds and media where data and identity can move from one place seamlessly into another. This includes 3-D, 2-D, social networks, text and instant messaging, and game-worlds.
Virtual World: A world that exists on computers and accessed by multiple users simultaneously.
Virtual World Platform: A software platform where the primary or third party developers develop virtual worlds tailored to specific needs.
Examples: Active Worlds, VastPark, Metaplace, Second Life, There.com
User-Creation World: A virtual world platform where the user can create / upload their own creations and add it to the space.
Examples: Second Life, There.com,
Game World: A virtual world that has a restrictive environment to focus activity.
Examples: Habbo Hotel, Webkinz, Sony Playstation Home, any one of many adult MMOGs, and specific game worlds within various Virtual World Platforms.
Note the distinction between Game World and User-Creation World. Hrmmm ... I bet this is easier with a Venn Diagram. Be right back. *shuffles off to make a pretty picture*
(right-click and open in new window for larger image)
Okay, so essentially what I'm saying is:
1. All game worlds are virtual worlds.
2. Not all virtual worlds are game worlds.
3. Some virtual worlds have the capacity for both game and non-game applications.
4. "Virtual World Platform" is not the same thing as a virtual world. It is a subset of virtual worlds.
5. Traditional "Metaverse" type virtual worlds like ActiveWorlds, etc, actually *are not* user-created worlds. They're platforms and you need to be a pretty decent artist to actually build stuff in there.
And some reflections on my chart:
- Not on the chart: Google Earth or Google Sketchup, but they could so easily be if Google would think social!
- Also not on the chart: Facebook, though its flexible enough to couple with virtual worlds (like Metaplace, for starters), and easily fits in the overall picture of the Metaverse.
- OpenSim potentially does more than Second Life, if it ever became fully functional. Further, I have my doubts about the scalability.
- Conversely, if Second Life branched off and allowed people to have mini-grids, or 1-off walled garden type environments that were able to be behind firewalls, they would have the potential to expand their presence so much more than OpenSim.
- User-created content worlds that are successful are exceedingly rare.
- If you're given limited resources with which to build stuff, and especially if you have to buy these resources, it's a game world, not a user-created world.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on edits / additions I could make to this chart. Thanks!
(disclaimer at bottom)
I just received notice today that Linden Lab, makers of Second Life, have acquired two competing third-party virtual goods sales websites. The sites, X-Street (formerly SLExchange until Linden Lab changed their trademark policy) and OnRez (formerly SLBoutique until Electric Sheep Company purchased it and rebranded it.)
Here's the link to the press release.
So what does this mean for the various parties involved? Here's my run-down.
X-Street and OnRez:
Will obviously be merged together at some point.
Linden Lab and Second Life:
1. Linden Lab intends to improve product search, and integrate sales on the merge site into their internal browser.
2. They will likely add features to objects themselves that will allow users to click a checkbox and automatically list them on the merged site.
3. Linden Lab gets another revenue stream in taking a small cut of sales.
4. Linden Lab will exert control of what's being listed, and prevent banned items - griefer tools, gambling games, and, more importantly, copyrighted and trademarked items.
5. Linden Lab will likely integrate their L$ purchasing system into the site so that you can buy items more quickly.
1. You should be able to find stuff to buy easier - and potentially, a lot easier, if Linden Lab makes it as easy to list as clicking a checkbox.
2. Don't expect to find any banned items on the site anymore. Get your griefer bombs elsewhere, find your trademark-violating items somewhere else.
3. Does this mean that Linden Lab may finally get to implement try-before-buy permissions? It could be, and certainly would be wise for selling detailed 3-D items, which pictures do not do justice.
Sellers of virtual goods in Second Life:
1. If you're playing by Linden Lab's rules, expect higher visibility of products.
2. If you're not playing by Linden Lab's rules, expect to have your trademark-violating items banned.
3. Expect that Linden Lab will probably maintain a similar cut of sales as they do for L$ exchange.
4. Now that the marketplace is centralized, it's reasonable to assume that the tax-man may come knocking on Linden Lab's door and expect Linden Lab to force people to charge sales tax.
3rd Party Brands:
1. Linden Lab will probably bend over and kowtow to any of your DMCA / takedown notices on copyrighted and/or trademarked information.
2. Linden Lab will probably negotiate some licensing deal with third parties and then find a third party developer to fill orders.
3. Existing SL-grown brands will have greater control over preventing knock-offs.
Mall Owners in SL:
Say bye-bye to your biz unless you innovate. I believe shops will maintain their headquarter shops in world, but malls that offer little more than collecting different vendors together will get far less traffic. Your best bet is to become a themed attraction, and sell items appropriate to the theme.
Agree? Disagree? I want to hear your thoughts!
Gwneth LLewelyn's take.
Disclaimer: In the interests of 100% transparency, I should mention that I won 10,000 "Linden $" last fall from X-Street in a raffle at SLCC 4, and that I have friends who founded / developed software that went into OnRez. I don't think it's a big deal, but you know how people get. ;)
No offense, Chris Sherman, but Sony PlayStation Home Director Jack Buser? As your keynote? The only rationale I can see in that choice is "ZOMG SONY IS A BIG NAME COMPANY!"
Otherwise, every other colleague and blogger I've read and/or talked to has agreed:
Sony Home sucks. It's an utter waste of time and, according to multiple reports, it's an unsafe place for females to be.
Oh, and "Engage" as a concept for virtual worlds is so 2-4 years ago.
That's all I have to say.
To my readers: You can extrapolate whatever you'd like for what this means for the tone and contents of the rest of the expo.