Proving the Potential of Virtual Worlds

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by: Matt Rhodes

I often get asked to explain why SecondLife (SL) is more than just a geek and sex fest. Millions of people have visited this virtual world only to give up and abandon their avatar on day one (over 10 million according to Wikipedia). I don’t blame them. SecondLife isn’t ready for the mainstream. And nor is it SecondLife per-se that’s important.

This is what makes SecondLife so exciting. It’s difficult to visualise what it represents; what virtual worlds will become online. It’s the same as how difficult it was to imagine what the internet would be like when the web was just a couple of computers connected together.

I think that the innovation that is being developed through the use of SecondLife will bring real change to our behaviour online. A company will make the innovation leap necessary to extend avatars and virtual worlds to the mainstream. I don’t know who, when or how this will be done, but the ingredients and beheviours typical of innovation are present and so it will happen.

Today I came across a company that shows one potential development of integrating virtual worlds into our online experience. RocketOn turns the entire web into a virtual world where your avatar travels with you. And as you read a page you come across the avatars of others’ who also happen to be visiting. Could this be the future of forums? Or online communities? I think it’s a fantastic idea and it seems pretty well executed (see the Techcrunch post) and watch this video to get an idea of how it works:

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