Augmented Reality Is the New Second Life

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by: Ilya Vedrashko

People have been comparing Twitter to Second Life, but I think "augmented reality" is a more accurate analogy, with most advertisers getting lured by the futuristic wow-factor, riding the hype cycle, and pretty much misunderstanding the potential of the medium. The thing has officially entered the collective industry consciousness, too, now that WSJ picked it up.

It doesn’t mean that there aren’t any brilliant executions — I love this Coraline display, for example. But just like marketers three or four years ago would build a pretty deserted Second Life island, congratulate themselves on a job well done and send out a press release, today for many augmented reality means having users print something out, wave it in front of their webcam, and produce some kind of interactive 3D attachment:

Eminem’s 3D Art Competition promoting the Relapse album in the UK.

Fun for the first couple of times, but then the law of diminishing marginal utility kicks in. Compare to the much more exciting (and less laborious for the user) Coraline work:

A couple of related things:

— There’s a very prolific aggregator of augmented reality news on Twitter, @augmentedadvert.

— And a useful number from the WSJ piece: "Although the number of Americans who own a Webcam is increasing rapidly because most new laptops come with the device, only about 18% of the nation’s 68.5 million broadband households had one as of April, according to Parks Associates, a research firm.

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