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!
Turner Broadcasting System has signed a one-year deal to use Kaneva to build out virtual-world extensions of its entertainment properties, according to a press release. “The agreement will grant Turner access to Kanevaâ€™s technology and tools to create and use Web communities and Virtual Spaces on the Kaneva Web site and in the virtual world of Kaneva. Each Turner Web Community and corresponding Virtual World space inside Kaneva will be enabled with embedded video players for video streaming of select Turner network content. One of the foregoing Turner Virtual Spaces will be an external space that will link to the other Turner Virtual Spaces, as well as other areas within Kanevaâ€™s Virtual World.”
It’s interesting to see a year-long deal being signed in this way. I’m not sure that’s been done before. Most of the projects we’ve seen so far has been one-offs, or involve the purchase and/or licensing of software.
Full release below: Continue reading
Kaneva, the social media virtual world, will be “launching” its economy in May, according to a press release. Members can already use Credits to purchase things like furniture, but a slightly more complex system seems to be going into place, one that attempts to guard against “real-money trade” — the out-of-game cash economy that parallels most virtual economies. Unfortunately, Kaneva seems to be missing an opportunity to make their world a more engaging place.
Kaneva members can already user “credits” to purchase things like furniture within the world, but an upcoming feature will let them purchase credits with real-world cash. No word yet on what the exchange rate will be, or whether it will be fixed or floating.
Members will also receive something called “reward credits.” It’s not entirely clear from the press release whether there are normal credits that are awarded for things like participating in “Stress Tests, special events, and contests,” or whether they’re a separate currency altogether. Their features are interesting: Continue reading
I had the chance to spend some time at Virtual Worlds 2007 with Nicky Morris from 3B, an interesting virtual world service I’ve blogged about before, and Nicky described to me some of the features of the 3B relaunch that’s planned for somewhere around May. According to Nicky, 3B is moving toward deeper Web integration and a more YouTube-like feel in some aspects. If you’re not familiar with 3B, it’s a service that basically grabs the content on your MySpace or other Web page, and uses it to automatically create a 3D space you can navigate as an avatar and invite your friends to. The space that gets created is more or less a room in which the various walls are textured with the images and videos from your site. I like the idea of making it easy to get content into a 3D space where you can hang out with friends, much as Kaneva does, although it remains to be seen which of the many similar services that are now popping up wins this. 3B is hoping to advance its cause with a raft of new features and ease-of-use enhancements. Continue reading
The presentation I gave in Berlin on Thursday was ostensibly on “virtual worlds, media and identity,” but as I’ve been going over it I’m finding it’s extending itself into a small picture of what the next generation of virtual worlds might look like and how we might get there. A lot of it was stuff that’s probably pretty basic to 3pointD readers, but it might be worth going over anyway. And since it marked my first PowerPoint presentation (and hopefully my last), I can even paste in some slides below. (If you want the full set, send me an email.)
I started out by comparing what can be conveyed via traditional communications media, or rather, what tools are at our disposal when we work in various media. In SMS text messaging, of course, we’re very limited in how we communicate (despite the fact that a lot can be communicated via SMS). In instant messaging, we have a little more leeway, and in email yet more. Voice adds a great deal of breadth to the channel, video conferencing expands it further, and of course the broadest channel through we communicate is face to face, since we have access to facial expressions, gestures, proximity and other “messages” at a higher “resolution” than in any of the other media in the chart. I actually thought this would be pretty unremarkable to most people, but more than a few audience members were quite excited to see things arranged like this — which means I’m going to stick with my habit of pointing out the presumably obvious; sorry, guys. Continue reading
Marketing man and podcaster Greg Verdino reports that the virtual world of Kaneva, which 3pointD covered in detail recently, is about to go into open beta on Monday, March 19. Get your media ready, kids. Kaneva gives members an apartment where they can upload photos, videos and other content to share in a 3D social environment — as close to a 3D MySpace as I’ve seen. It’s a potentially powerful idea, the ability to be present in the same space with the people who are viewing your content, but it remains to be seen how it takes hold. Two pre-emptive feature requests: (1) At present, you need to upload your content to the Kaneva site, and then link it in the world. I’d love to see the interactive picture frames and televisions in Kaneva be able to pull content directly from Flickr or YouTube. (2) I’d also love to see that content become clickable, so that you could see a photo on an apartment wall and click through to the Web page where it’s taken from. Neither of those things is possible at the moment, but Kaneva hinted to me that something like this might be coming. We’ll see. It’s a very interesting place nonetheless. Feel free to send word of your impressions once you get in next week.
I’m not saying Kaneva is the future; I’m just saying it could well capture a lot of little clicking fingers. [Now with further details.] I met with Kaneva CEO Christopher Klaus, COO Rob Frasca and marketing director Michelle Norwood yesterday at a Starbucks on the Upper West Side to hear what they’re up to, and I was surprised to find a lot of it dovetailed with some of the things I like to blah on about here on 3pointD. They won’t let me into the beta until next week because they’re moving some servers around at the moment — as well as barnstorming various bloggers and media outlets — but the demo reel I saw showed a system that seemed to combine the expressive power of MySpace with the social power of There.com, and which was a nice way to bridge the 2D and 3D online worlds without worrying too much about things like “immersion.” If it turns out people are starting to push the limits of what they can do on MySpace, this could be the natural next step for a lot of them. What it allows you to do, which MySpace doesn’t, is to engage in the kind of “social media consumption” (I just made that term up — I think) that has been one of the more powerful features of existing 3D social worlds, and which will increasingly come to mark our media habits in the future, if you ask me. Continue reading