Use code MWVIP to get $200 off an all-access pass to Engage! Expo, happening September 23-24 at the San Jose Convention Center. Looks like a nice line-up, including:
* New keynotes include: Jeremy Liew, Managing Director, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Mark Pincus, Founder and CEO, Zynga.
* 125 speakers covering the subjects of virtual goods, social media, digital law and 3D learning.
* Best Buy’s innovative social media strategy keynote: With Best Buy’s Gina Debogovich and Jason Parker.
* Super Social media case studies from leading brands: Walmart, Best Buy, Intel, H&R Block, and Kodak
* Virtual goods case studies from Playdom, Six Degrees Games, MyYearbook. Plus hear from Habbo, Zynga, Social Gaming Network, Playfish and more.
* The venture capital point of view: Hear from Lightspeed, Rustic Canyon Partners, SVB Capital and Venture Capital-Private Equity Roundtable
* Get the latest market research from from Strategy Analytics, Interpret, Pearl Research, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, VGMarket and ThinkBalm
* Get your hands dirty on the expo floor with demos of the top new technologies.
* Understand the critical legal ramifications pertaining to games, social media and virtual goods
* Learn how to use the latest 3D technologies within your enterprise to save money now.
If you’re planning on heading to New York for the Engage! Expo (formerly the Virtual Worlds Conference) on March 10-11 — as I am — you can still get an early-registration discount today. (Prices go up tomorrow.) My co-conspirator Jerry Paffendorf will be jowboning there, and it looks like I’ll be moderating a panel as well. The conference has undergone a name change, but it’s still one of the most interesting gatherings of metaverse-related personages going. Join us.
(And don’t be surprised if you see more 3pointD posts here in the near future. I know, it’s been a while and there’s a lot of cleanup to do, but I think things may be picking up speed, if not here then in a related location. Stay tuned.)
I’ll be out in California for a few days in mid-February, mostly for the Metaverse U. event that’s being held at Stanford. This is a spin-off or evolution of the State of Play conferences that originated at New York Law School, I believe. Should be some very interesting brains there, all trained on virtual worlds and what goes on within them. Details after the jump. Official announcement below:
ANNOUNCEMENT: Metaverse U Conference at Stanford University
* WHERE: Annenberg Auditorium, Stanford University
* WHEN: Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th of February 2008
* WEBSITE: http://metaverseu.stanford.edu Continue reading
Mike Liebhold was one of the participants at the original Metaverse Roadmap Summit last year, which produced the Metaverse Roadmap Overview, and I remember him as one of the more forward-thinking and impressive presenters. Now, he’s presenting tomorrow at the first Metaverse Meetup at Stanford University, talking about “3D data for real world virtual worlds.” Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area — and you can also attend via the virtual world of Second Life Details below, from organizer Henrik Bennetsen: Continue reading
It seems like forever since we first started working on it, but at last our book about the Second Life Herald — and about the metaverse in general — is being published (in a matter of days), and we’re planning a party to celebrate the fact. In case you missed it, I’ve written a book with philosophy professor and Herald founder Peter Ludlow. It features a colorful cast of virtual characters from places like Second Life, The Sims Online, World of Warcraft, EVE Online and various other places, as well as numerous flesh-and-blood people. Titled The Second Life Herald: The Virtual Tabloid That Witnessed the Dawn of the Metaverse, the book not only chronicles the rise of the virtual world’s first and favorite tabloid, but looks as well at the increasingly important role that virtual spaces play in our everyday lives, and articulates the issues we’ll be facing as the societies now emerging in the metaverse grow in reach and influence.
It should be in bookstores momentarily, and you can already buy the thing online, but maybe the most fun way to acquire a copy would be to buy one at the party we’re having in Brooklyn on November 3. Continue reading
I’m off Monday for the Virtual Worlds 2007 conference in San Jose next week (online registration ends tomorrow! see below), where I’ll be moderating what should be a very cool roundtable on the future of virtual world platforms. We go on Thursday at 11am, on the strategy track, with a very flattering title: Visionary Panel: Where the Platforms Are Going Next. The panel features Christopher Klaus, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Kaneva; Raph Koster, President, Areae, Inc.; Michael Wilson, CEO, Makena Technologies; Hui Xu, Founder & CEO, HiPiHi Co., Ltd; Stephen Lawler, General Manager of Virtual Earth, Microsoft; and Corey Bridges, Co-founder, Executive Producer, & Marketing Director, The Multiverse Network. Should be some pretty fascinating talk flying around about what’s going to happen in the near and far terms, and where all of the things these people and others are working on are headed.
As noted, online registration for the conference (of which 3pointD is a media sponsor) ends tomorrow, Friday, October 5. The online reg price is only $795. After Friday, you’ll be able to register onsite at the show beginning 7:30am, Wednesday, October 10, for $995. Reg now and save your cash for drinks with Corey!
Despite the cancellation of at least 2 virtual worlds conferences in Germany this year, it seems there is still optimism among event organisers. I recently received a notification about Metaverse Summit 2007, to be held at the Estrel Convention Center in Berlin, on 6th and 7th, December. The notification, from Helmut Reul, the organiser, reads:
The Metaverse Summit is a two day conference focused on the emerging Metaverse and 3D-Web. One purposes of the summit is to bring together business leaders, venture capitalists, technologists, and industry participants to spend the two days discussing the present and future of the Internet. Estimated attendees, speakers, moderators are up to 500 from all over the world.
The recently published Metaverse Roadmap Overview looks at four key elements of the Metaverse future. According to this evaluation tracks of the summit are the four key elements:
+ Virtual Worlds
+ Mirror Worlds
+ Augmented Reality
As with other events of this type, vendor space will be provided in which companies can promotes their various wares.
If you want to know more, or participate as speaker or sponsor, then head on over to their website.
[UPDATE: As Bridget points out in the comments below, the summit is not associated with the original Metaverse Roadmap Summit. The Berlin summit lists some findings from that meeting, and gives them proper credit, but the two are not associated.]
It’s South by Southwest season again, or at least the run-up to it. For the last two years I’ve headed to Austin for the excellent South by Southwest Interactive festival, a fun week of geeks and great conversations that takes place each spring in one of the greatest small cities in America. The process of choosing who gets to take the stage there, though, starts early. Hugh Forest, who runs the place, has just posted this year’s SXSW Panel-Picker, the mechanism by which a fair portion of the panels are chosen. I’ve proposed two, which I’m going to insist you all go vote on forthwith. Here are the titles, links and descriptions:
â€¢ Presence: Building the Social Web
“Despite social networking, the Web remains a lonely place: a billion people browse it, each one alone. This session examines efforts to make the Web a more social medium by bringing “presence” online. Help us imagine a Web that works less like a library and more like a multiplayer game.”
â€¢ Kicking Virtual Ass and Taking Avatar Names
“What is it like to run the virtual world’s most notorious tabloid? Where do you draw the line between good taste and bad, between information and sensation, between virtual and real — if such a line exists? Explore the role of a very free press in the evolution of online worlds. Dual presentation with [Second Life Herald founder] Peter Ludlow.” Continue reading
The fifth annual State of Play conference on legal and social issues in virtual worlds is under way this week in Singapore. I had to cancel my trip out there, which is a shame, since SoP is consistently one of the most interesting gatherings of VW thinkers. Jerry Paffendorf is there, though, and reports that the chin-wagging is already gathering steam. Other reports form Singapore have the local government excited over the metaverse roadmap that was recently release (an effort Jerry led and I was one of the contributors to). I’m not sure, but I think the Singaporese government helped fund the conference as well. That’s some pretty future-forward thinking. Wish I was there.
The German Second Life Community Convention 2007, planned to be held in DÃ¼sseldorf from 21st to 23rd September, has been cancelled. This is the second cancellation of a German Second Life event, following the recent announcement about SL Conference 2007 in Berlin.
There is a small amount of good news for anyone who had registered for the Berlin event. Cocoate.com have worked out a deal with IQPC, organisers of Achieving Real Business Growth Through Second Life, being held in London on 25th and 26th Septemeber. The deal provides a substantial discount to registrants who want to switch over to the British event. Check the SL Conference website for more information.
I am waiting for an opportunity to talk with one of the organisers of the DÃ¼sseldorf event to find out what has happened since Thursday — when it was “all systems go” — to cause the cancellation.
I’m wearing my Virtual Goods Summit t-shirt today, which isn’t really interesting except that it gives me an excuse to tell you that videos from the event have now been released. This was an excellent day of deep-diving into various business models and approaches to virtual goods — and probably features more information and more angles than you expect. The summit was arranged by Susan Wu of Charles River Ventures, and Charles Hudson, who, until recently, was in new business development at Google. What is Charles up to now? No idea. But he is super smart, very well connected, and friends with the super-smart and very well connected Susan, so whatever it is, it’s probably going to be interested. Stay tuned to his blog for updates.
For those of you who are headed out to San Jose to join us at the Virtual Worlds Fall Conference and Expo, you can get 10 percent off your registration fees just because you’re reading 3pointD! That’s a savings of $60 to $100, depending on when you take advantage of this. Details after the jump. Continue reading
Groups are a standard feature of the virtual world of Second Life. They provide communities for avatars with mutual interests, and can range across every interest or specialization known to avatar-kind. Within Second Life an avatar can be a member of up to 25 groups. Sometimes they are used to restrict access to specific areas, but more often they are used as a communication medium, as it is possible to send messages to all (online) members simultaneously.
A couple of months ago a new group was founded by Nick Wilson (aka 57 Miles in Second Life) of the popular Metaversed blog. It was called “Things To Do” and was based on the simple premise that Second Life is a social environment in which it is enjoyable to share activities with people, and make friends. Things To Do has since grown into both a popular group and an effective communications channel. But it also illustrates some of the limitations of social tools in Second Life, and raises some interesting questions about how to reach and manage large communities of people within the virtual world. Continue reading
The Guardian had not a bad story the other day about the potential for virtual worlds, focusing mostly on business uses. In contrast to some other recent takes on this in the press, the Guardian story seems more balanced to me, acknowledging that things are still at an early stage, and also tipping their hat to a wider universe of worlds than only Second Life. The article also calls out one of my favorite subjects: the convergence of virtual worlds and Web 2.0, which is still at a nascent stage. Judging from who’s quoted there, the article seems to have been inspired in part by the upcoming Virtual Worlds Forum Europe (more on that here), which takes place October 23-26 in London. I’ve been hoping to make that, but it’s looking less and less likely. There’s an excellent roster of speakers that are going to be on hand, though, so if you’re in the area, go for it.
I won’t be able to make this, unfortunately, but what sounds a really interesting panel will be held this Thursday, July 19, in the virtual world of Second Life. Kicking off at 6pm SL time (9pm Eastern), the panel will be a “Virtual Roundtable,” discussing “what drives the virtual human connection.” Moderated by Giff Constable of the Electric Sheep Company, it features some great speakers: Susan Wu of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Charles River Ventures, Beth Coleman of MIT, Robin Harper of Linden Lab, and Chris Carella, creative director of the Electric Sheep Company. Continue reading
There’s yet another virtual worlds conference that’s just popped up in my email. This one’s Serious Virtual Worlds, September 13-14, in Coventry, England, of all places (it’s being put on by something called the Serious Games Institute and sponsored in part by Coventry University). It’s bloody expensive, as our British friends would say, but only a few of the speakers have been announced as yet. That combined with its location in what’s vaguely equivalent to the Research Triangle of the UK is another sure sign of the (pre?) maturation the virtual worlds sector. Any industry that can fill a conference center with guys in suits has certainly arrived. All that said, there’s the potential for this to be a vaguely interesting couple of days. If it can spread the word to wider quarters then it’s done its job. The press release for this one too leads off with the word “first,” however. Read it after the jump. Continue reading
The latest entrant to the raft of virtual worlds conferences planned for this year is the Virtual Worlds Forum that will take place in London on October 24-25. I’m going to try to make this, even though I’ll have been in California two weeks earlier for the autumn edition of Virtual Worlds 2007 (which we reported earlier), which takes place October 10-11. The London forum is already featuring an impressive list of confirmed speakers, including Corey Bridges of Multiverse, Mike Wilson of There.com, Raph Koster of Areae, Richard Bartle of MUD1 (the first virtual world), and many more. Registration should open later this week; we’ll try to give you a heads up. Text of a recent press release after the jump. (Pay no attention to the first word of the headline.) Continue reading
The virtual world of Second Life is often compared to the annual Burning Man festival in that both are a place where fantasy becomes reality and almost anything goes. But SL resembles another, more mid-90s slice of festival culture as well, at times, and never more so than this weekend, when it takes on the guise of a field in Hampshire (extra credit for catching that reference) with the three-day SecondFest that’s about to kick off, sponsored by the Guardian newspaper and Intel, and organized by Rivers Run Red with promotional help from the ever-brilliant Aleks Krotoski, who writes for the Guardian. The festival gets underway tonight with DJ sets from people like the Glimmer Twins and Tom Findlay, according to the schedule, and wends its wooly way through to a Sunday-evening set from none other than the Pet Shop Boys. Taking place over no less than nine sims (»start here«, and see map after the jump), and with multiple stages, screens and, of course, tents, and too many acts for me to bother to count, it sounds like SecondFest could actually be some kind of landmark entertainment event in Second Life — if no more than 500 people want to get in at the same time. Sounds like fun in any case. Check it out. Easier to park, and just as much chance for muddy casual sex — if you like your muddy casual sex virtual, that is. Continue reading
New media marketing firm crayon kicks off a series of monthly “thought leadership” panels in the virtual world of Second Life today, and guess who’s moderating the first one. Yep, I’ll be »on crayon island« from 9am SL Time today (noon Eastern), for a chat with some of the people who’ve been doing branding in SL, including:
* Michael Donnelly (Mickey Douhet), The Coca-Cola Company
* Linda Boff (Clementine Sinatra), iVillage
* Greg Verdino (Jiggy Stardust), crayon
* Steve Wax (Elliot Tao), Campfire Continue reading
Google’s Charles Hudson, a host of the Virtual Goods Summit, moderated the last panel of the day, on virtual goods and entertaiment.
Jim Greer of Kongregate
Erik Bethke of GoPets
Sean Ryan of Meez
Charles: What motivates people to stay engaged, and how do virtual goods play into that?
Ryan: For us it’s about self-expression. When our users spend 4-6 hours online, self-experssion as they show themselves in their IM, in their blogs, in the game, is incredbly impoertant to them. Our most loyal users are female. Unlike in Second Life, where they routinely blow up the American Apparel store, it has to be a conscious choice to engage with the brand. We find our users actually associate with brands. It comes down to, I’m online and I want to express something about my identity to everyone else. Continue reading
Nabeel Hyatt of Conduit Labs moderated a panel on Why Virtual Goods Matter, and What’s Driving User Adoption, at the Virtual Goods Summit at Stanford University.
Craig Sherman of Gaia Online
Daniel James of Three Rings
Amy Jo Kim of Shufflebrain
Byron Reeves of Stanford University and Seriosity
Reeves: The human brian is not specialized to differentiate between virtual and real. Same neurons fire when an avatar smiles at you as when a real person smiles at you. Seriosity is looking at what happens when you create an opportunity to do serious things with virtual currency attached, such as sending email messages with virtual currency attached. The result? You open the email faster when currency is attached. Virtual money changes real behavior. Continue reading
Min Kim of Nexon gave a presentation at the Virtual Goods Summit and said the company would probably announce the release of its KartRider in the US soon, which has been in closed beta. Kim also said Maple Story has been “kicking ass” in the US, with 3.5 million registered users. The company is also introducing prepaid cards at Target that can be used to buy virtual items, which it expects will push up sales as well. It also just released Audition, which already has 100,000 registered users, more than half of them female. Continue reading
Kyra Reppen of Neopets gave a presentation at the Virtual Goods Summit on MTV’s Neopets. Like other MTV presenters before her, she began her presentation with a video. Perhaps the most interesting part, though, was about the new NC Mall that Neopets will introduce in beta next week. It’s about customizing and self-expression. It’s complementary to the Neopoints economy, no exchange between the two. Themed items around Neopian events. Launching with PayPal. Why do we think this is going to work? Digital is real life for this audience. Technology is invisible. Emotional connection makes the pixels go away and it’s about these experiences. Virtual worlds and virtual economies are simply applications to achieve those four core goals: fun, self-expression, social needs, and control. Kids ages 6-14 have $60 billion in income. One important feature of NC Mall is try before you buy. Continue reading
Google‘s search czar, Udi Manber, gave a short pre-lunch presentation on what he has to deal with at the company:
“Search is hard, very hard, because of scale of what we have to deal with. The scale we operate at is almost beyond comprehension. The main thing is the diversity. The log boggles the mind. Also the expectations. If there’s one piece of information I can give you: 20-25 percent of the queries we will see today, we’ve never seen before.” Manber quoted Oliver Wendell Homes: “The law embodies the story of a nation’s development through many centuries,” but it cannot be dealt with like mathematics. Udi: We can say the same thing about search. Continue reading
Denise Caruso and Clay Shirky opened Supernova 2007 this morning by approaching the socially networked environment of the World Wide Web from two different directions. Caruso’s basic thesis was that people needed to break out of their insular social networks and take additional risks in order to bring in a greater variety of viewpoints and push innovation forward. Shirky called for the industry to rely more heavily on love, and posited that love would be a better indicator of where the IT industry is headed than business models are. Continue reading
I’m off tomorrow for California, where I’ll be moderating a panel at the Virtual Goods Summit being put together by venture capitalist Susan Wu and Google’s Charles Hudson. I’ll also be hanging around Supernova just to see what can be seen. I’m very much looking forward to the summit, especially because, as Susan points out, it’s now clear that “virtual goods represent a real, viable business model and will likely have a huge impact across all of the consumer Internet.” (More thoughts from Giff.) That means not just as part of gaming or even as part of virtual worlds, but most everywhere. I’m not sure what the recording and archiving plans are for the conference, but look for reports from 3pointD, since plenty of excellent speakers will be in attendance who hopefully will have plenty of interesting things to say.
A couple of events to briefly note today, including a new presence in the virtual world of Second Life, the U.S. State Department. Also, 3D printers are getting cheaper, but even the “home” versions remain prohibitive. Plus some microelectronics that could prove awfully cool someday. Continue reading
MacArthur Foundation president Jonathan Fanton will appear in the virtual world of Second Life on June 22, at 9am SL Time (noon Eastern), for a conversation with Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale on the role of philanthropy in virtual worlds. 3pointD hears that the appearance may be precursor to the MacArthur Foundation establishing a more permanent presence in SL in order to explore native, in-world culture. Regardless, my sense if that when Fanton is talking about “the role of philanthropy in SL,” it’s the in SL bit that’s important. As Fanton puts it on the MacArthur site, “I believe that the importance of virtual worlds may be less about their growth as economies, and more about their capacity for collaboration and human development. Activities in virtual worlds already are supported by MacArthur and other foundations, but we have much to discover about the right role for philanthropy itself in virtual worlds. We are interested in learning about virtual worlds and how to operate within them. We look to the residents to help us determine how to be helpful and are eager to share our on-going work in such areas as affordable housing, urban renewal, and human rights and international justice.” Continue reading
Book your tickets to Denmark. There’s yet another virtual worlds meetup in the works, this one being held by Copenhagen’s Innovation Lab, home of past metaverse meetup attendee and Terra Nova guest poster Peder Burgaard. The Lab will hold the LifeLike conference on September 26 [UPDATE: The conference is just on the 26th, not 26-27, as previously reported]: “Looking at the prevailing trends and technologies, the virtual worlds seem to be a natural effect of a series of causes: the game industry is perpetually redrawing the boundaries for graphic prowess; and their turnover has long since passed that of Hollywood. Social networks are forging virtual bonds between several hundred millions of people. Today, the sharing of digital properties, such as e.g. sound and images, constitutes the majority of all Internet traffic. Web 2.0 and open source are labels conveying a much more interactive exploitation of the Internet as a tool. Concepts such as CustomerMade and Crowdsourcing express a net-based and extremely active user involvement, where products or -â€“ in case of virtual worlds, entire worlds -â€“ are created by the users themselves. All this leads to an unavoidable and natural consequence: our lives are becoming virtual. LifeLike is an international stocktaking of the aspects and perspectives of the virtual worlds.”
These are busy days in the metaverse! Get your B-Town 3D on tonight with the latest metaverse meetup, which features Ogoglio’s Trevor Smith demo’ing his open-source 3D spaces project. The evening starts at everyone’s favorite Williamsburg retro video game bar, Barcade, before proceeding into the night — or into Jerry’s apartment. Also, check out machinima from IBM and CBS, food from Spain, and (presumably) naked avatars from Playboy. Continue reading
Advance word comes to 3pointD that the Long Now Foundation (which has to be one of the coolest organizations on the face of the planet) will bring Brian Eno’s art installation, 77 Million Paintings, to the virtual world of Second Life at the end of June, concurrent with the show’s real-world opening. The virtual show is being built out by a startup metaverse services firm known as blueair.tv. For those who don’t know it, the Long Now Foundation is developing the world’s slowest computer, which is meant to “do for thinking about time what the photographs of Earth from space have done for thinking about the environment.” As the site points out, “Such icons reframe the way people think.” The term “long now” was coined by Eno, who, for those who don’t know him, is one of the most influential contemporary musicians around, and also a Long Now board member. Eno has also been more closely involved with things metaversal of late, having hooked up with Will Wright some time back. (And if you don’t know who Will Wright is, you had really better start doing your homework.) No details yet of what the SL opening and build will feature, but if Eno is making an appearance it’s sure to be extra cool.
June 13 will see cable new network CNN kick off something it’s calling a Future Summit with a “landmark television event.” Why does 3pointD care? Because the series, which looks like it will unfold more on the Web than on the air, starts with Future Summit: Virtual Worlds, featuring everyone from Linden Lab CEO Phhilip Rosedale to Flickr founder Stewart Butterfield, Funcom CEO Trond Aas, and people like EA co-founder Trip Hawkins, Jimmy Wales and Nick Yee, among others. There’s precious little information on the site about just what’s happening and when, but it sounds like it should contain a lot of information of interest to metaversal types. Continue reading