Friday, August 10, 2007

Rethinking Negativity About Virtual Worlds

First off, I am both a lover of and a pessimist of Second Life. I think it is a great first stab at a metaverse type of environment. It has a long way to go, and a lot of articles from Wired, the New York Times, etc... have recently been calling out Second Life, calling Second Life a pervert filled money sink of little or no "serious" value. I myself am pessimistic about SL, but let's step back a bit. Let's analyze some recent articles about virtual worlds in general and Second Life in particular headlines.

[HERE] is a link to my comments on virtual infidelity.

[HERE] is a link to how Ginko Fiancial went bankrupt in Second Life

[HERE] is a link to an article about a virtual/real life modeling contest hosted by Budwiser in Second Life.

So, let's take a 1000 foot view here. Where are we at with virtual worlds? Well, people are having cybersex, making money, going bankrupt, and starting modeling careers, hacking, selling real and virtual products, all within virtual environments (again mainly second life). If you saw this in 1980 you would think this was insanely futuristic and cool. I think we have a tendency to get down on the first generation virtual environments (actually more like the 4rth gen, but the 1st gen to gain some traction) not because they are failures but because we want MORE. MORE realism, MORE things to do, MORE ways to be entertained by them. Those who look at Second Life and other virtual worlds and turn away from them are turning away from them not because they are failed concepts, they just aren't feature complete. Skeptics critique virtual environments not because of what they can do, but what they are not yet able to do.
Something to think about before poo pooing the emerging virual environments.

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