Maggie Shiels

Avatars a go-go

  • Maggie Shiels
  • 9 Jul 08, 08:33 GMT

Do you ever feel like there is something you are missing out on? You know you have those little pangs of anxiety that make you feel like you are on the outside looking in?

Well that's kind of how I have been feeling the last 24 hours when I consider the world of virtual reality. It seems everybody is having a whoop-de-do party and I haven't been invited.

Image from Google Lively Everyone from Google to IBM has just jumped on the virtual bandwagon in the last day with offerings to unshackle ourselves from the humdrum life we have here on planet earth.

And if you don't believe me that it seems like everyone is starting their own virtual world, then take the word of Virtual Worlds Management. In a new report it says that in the second quarter of this year, $161m has been put into 14 virtual world investments. Add in the first quarter investment and we hit more than £345m. That's a lot of moolah.

Google, who seem to be taking over the world, unveiled Lively, a three dimensional application which lets you enter virtual rooms. The industry watchers suggest that Google's entry into the market place will take the world of virtual reality into the mainstream.

Chris Sherman of Virtual Worlds Management maintains "With a player like Google jumping into this, you're going to see a lot more peole understand this space and pay attention to it."

Computer character from Second LifeSecond Life, which was out of the gate first, isn't resting on its laurels. It has teamed up with IBM to teleport avatars from one virtual world to another. It's history, not as we know it, but as the world of virtual reality knows it.

In its blog, Second Life owners Linden Lab says "This is a historic day for Second Life and other virtual worlds in general. It marks the first time an avatar has moved from one virtual world to another, an event with implications for the entire virtual world industry."

Am I missing out on something here? That's a lot of hyperbole. They didn't come up with a cure for cancer did they?

Another company that has also just opened its virtual doors in the last 24 hours is Vivaty which is offering users a 3D chat room that runs on Facebook.

Hell's bells, even Britney Spears is getting in on the virtual act with plans to make a virtual appearance on Madonna's upcoming tour. The fact that these two gals are still trading on the "open mouth" kiss they made during an awards ceremony five years ago seems pretty desperate to me. But hey, what do I know? I am just a real life gal trying to get by in the real life world.


  • Comment number 1.

    I think its going to be really strange when all this becomes hugly popular, as many people are aready used to 3d online avatars... take MMORPGs for example.
    Already millions of people worldwide play games such as World of Warcraft. Before virtual reality was solely for the computer nerds and geeks (myself included), but now this is all becoming very mainstream!
    It reminds me of the social network boom. One day the only people with personal sites were geeks who coded thier own (myself included), or paid a geek to do it for them.
    When all of a sudden one day everyone had a My Space or Facebook or Bebo page. Giving everyone their own little corner of the web.
    I think this shows brilliently how when a new technology comes out (like virtual reality online) first of all it is very confined, held with in select social groups, developing and getting better all the time; when all of a sudden.... BANG!!!
    Everyone has it and it changes from something seen as "nerdy" or "wierd" to a mainstrean norm in society.
    All very strange....

  • Comment number 2.

    Your teleport avatars link is a dead link. Being able to use the same avatar in different MMORPGs/Virtual Worlds will provide the user with a greater sense of an online identity, but no not a cure for cancer - more the invention of the sandwich. Mmmm sandwich.


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