Tagged: media

Second Life Herald Book Party, November 3

Second Life Herald book party, November 3It 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

Turner Uses Kaneva For Virtual World Presence

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 Kaneva’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 Kaneva’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

Cruxy’s Bitchin’ Music Map For Second Life

Cruxy music map for the virtual world of Second Life

This is one of the most bitchin’ add-ons for the virtual world of Second Life that I’ve seen in a while. Our fellow Brooklynites at Cruxy, who run a site that lets musicians, filmmakers and other artists promote (and earn from the sale of) their work, have released a music map for Second Life that lets you see which Cruxy artists are being played at which locations in the virtual world. Cruxy offer a Second Life player that lets you listen to Cruxy artists while you’re in-world. Their new music map of SL shows you what’s being played where, lets you filter by a particular artist, and just generally looks cool. Rock on. (And yes, that’s me interviewing Suxanne Vega if you scroll down the Cruxy home page. That was fun. And you can listen to the entire interview if you like. Well worth suffering through my questions to hear what such an interesting artist — and long-time New Yorker — has on her mind these days. Her new album is awesome.)

CMP Launches Metaverse Services Division

CMP Technology has become “the first global media company to be certified by Linden Labs as a full-service content developer in Second Life,” according to a press release. (Though maybe Linden Lab should be careful that their certified devs at least spell the name of the company correctly.) CMP, of course, runs the annual Game Developers Conference and the Austin Game Developers Conference (which leans more toward MMOs and virtual worlds), as well as a number of Web 2.0 and other tech events, and publishes sites like Gamasutra and publications like Game Developer and Information Week. CMP is now bringing the virtual world into its media offerings: “CMP’s metaverse division will work with customers to create unique builds and events that promote deep engagement and nurture community. The division will integrate Second Life and the web to reach global markets while leveraging CMP’s trusted brands to acquire highly-qualified audiences and bring them inworld.”

Does this spell the beginning of stiffer competition for outfits like the Electric Sheep Company, Millions of Us, Rivers Run Red and others? It has seemed to be only a matter of time before big media companies got into the metaverse services space in a big way; CMP’s entry may be the early sign of a coming wave. Other firms with global reach (Edelman, for one) are already operating in Second Life (despite the “first” claim in CMP’s release), and it seems logical that such firms would expand their operations to produce campaigns for this new medium. It will be interesting to see how the “native” firms react to increased competition. I’m still waiting for a big media company to absorb one of the main metaverse services companies. If the market holds up (a big if, but not huge one), I imagine it’s only a matter of time before that happens. CMP’s entry into the space could well accelerate the process.

The Virtual Brand, Today in Second Life

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

Destroy TV Directors Cut Now Available

Destroy Television directors cut now available
Ceedubs (in red t-shirt) looks out from the virtual gallery and through the screen, while Destroy, housed in the real version of the virtual kitchen cabinet at center, looks on, and the real CW (not pictured) looks in from outside. Confused? Good.

Electric Sheep Christian Westbrook reports that he has now posted a downloadable series of the adventures of Destroy Television in the virtual world of Second Life. (Downloadable series of enormous files, that is.) Destroy, of course, is the multiuser avatar who lifelogs her every virtual moment on Flickr. But because she’s taking a screenshot every five seconds, ceedubs has been able to cut these all together into a very cool series of short films. The films are taken from the ten days in which Destroy was on display at the Fuse Gallery in New York City, and includes the 683MB monster I’m downloading at the moment — downloading because I want to see how much of our wedding Destroy managed to capture. It sounds all good fun and games, but there’s a serious side to it as well: consider what Destroy’s up to in the context of things like Justin.tv and Ustream. The original plan (not sure if it’s still the plan) was to embed clickable information into Destroy’s home movies, using a service like Click.tv, which seems to be dark at the moment, but which lets you embed links and comments at any point in a video clip, displays them as an overlay on the clip, and lets you click directly to that point. Imagine that kind of digitized information overlaid on your own lifestream, complete with whatever other information was embedded in the environment around you. Second Life constitutes an excellent testbed for that kind of service. Useful? Not at the moment, but it will be.

D-Briefs: Ogoglio Demo, IBM, CBS, Playboy

3pointD briefsThese 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

Can Sky News Rise to Second Life?

Sky News in the virtual world of Second Life

Sky News, the leading satellite news broadcaster in the UK, assisted by brand consultants and SL builders Rivers Run Red, recently launched »an island« in the virtual world of Second Life. The launch event was tied into a broadcast from the Guardian Hay Festival, an annual literary festival held in the picturesque and distinctly bibliophilic town of Hay-on-Wye. Sky News are setting out to be the first real-world television news service to establish a permanent bridgehead in the virtual world, and thus steal a march on their opposition. Until now, UK television news and current affairs programmes have had only sporadic involvement in Second Life, most recently with the broadcast of BBC2‘s “The Money Programme” (also managed by Rivers Run Red).

I understand there were virtual queues of around 700 people trying to gain access to the launch event, which garnered a lot of good press in the blogosphere. However, as I tend to avoid such functions and their attendant lag, I did not venture into the island until much later, once the fuss had died down. To say the site is now quiet is something of an understatement. I have been back a few times, and on each occasion there have been at most 3 or 4 other visitors. Continue reading

Alternate Reality Games or Fiction of the Future?

Virtual wedding ring by Elexor Matador, bought by Walker Spaight for Destroy TelevisionThe virtual world of Second Life got a little bit stranger for me this week. I went over to see Destroy Television the other day at the gallery where she’s hanging out at the moment, and my avatar, Walker Spaight, ended up marrying her! (That’s Destroy’s rock at left.) Now, if you know me and you know my Second Life, this is slightly unusual, since for me there’s very little space between myself and my avatar(s) in the virtual world. I use Second Life as simply an extension of my first life; there’s nothing virtual about it. But here I was role-playing the lovestruck journalist to Destroy’s hard-to-get videographizing vixen. Walker even started a Tumblog about his romance. The formal ceremony was yesterday afternoon (Walker was all nerves — though he didn’t show it), and you can view images of the happy couple together on Destroy’s Flickr stream.

It struck me at some point that what I was doing — along with Annie Ok, who was driving Destroy at the time, and Jerry Paffendorf and Christian Westbrook, who conceived Destroy and brought her to life — was creating a little Alternative Virtual Reality Game, in a way. I don’t write a lot about alternate reality games (ARGs) — i.e., narratives that involve audience participation, which usually have some real-world component, and which often feature a prize or reward at the end — mostly because I don’t really roll with them as a genre. Things like Perplex City and World Without Oil are very cool, to be sure, and I’ve been fascinated to see how this stuff is developing, but I’ve always found myself rubbed the wrong way by this “alternate reality” moniker. But it wasn’t until I started getting my alternate reality on, via Walker, that I realized why. What’s going on in all these cases looks to me less like “alternate reality” than it does like fiction, and fiction being formulated on the same level as broadcast media like television — i.e., it’s just the same kind of fiction that’s happening in a TV show like Law & Order, for instance, only with the audience involved in writing the story as it goes along. From some angles, it looks like there isn’t any such thing as an alternate reality game at all — there’s only the fiction / narrative / media of the future. Continue reading

3D Holographic TV Closer Than You Think?

SeeReal working on holographic televisionHolographic television displays are apparently closer than we thought, according to a company called SeeReal Technologies. They’re developing 3D holographic display techniques that would work on flat LCD screens and would not require special glasses. The system tracks viewers’ eyes and directs output accordingly. For more detail, you can read a good FAQ page on their site. Or show up tomorrow (23 May), at the Society for Information Display’s International Symposium in Long Beach CA, where SeeReal will unveil some of their new tech, according to a press release. Sounds promising. But how does it look?

Channel 4 Radio Launches in Second Life

Channel 4 radio launches in the virtual world of Second Life

Channel 4 Radio of the UK has launched a permanent presence in the virtual world of Second Life, where they plan to offer a variety of programming ranging across entertainment, music, documentaries, news and current affairs. The island was constructed by leading UK virtual worlds consultancy, Rivers Run Red, and officially opened today. It comprises a shop, where a free radio wristwatch can be obtained, a studio (whose use is currently unclear), a dance area and “interactive archive pods.” High above the island is a single-seater pod, but there did not appear to be anything playing when I visited. There is also a link to the Channel 4 Radio Web site, where the station already broadcasts its content. Whether being offered in Second Life can add anything to that content remains to be seen. Continue reading

CBS Features Machinima in Upfront Presentation

The Upfronts are the week when television networks show off the season’s upcoming shows to advertisers, hoping to win them over and grab fistfuls of their cash. For that reason, they’re very important, and the networks make sure their presentations are top-notch and designed to entertain. CBS made its showing yesterday afternoon at Carnegie Hall — and kicked it off with a machinima piece (produced by the Electric Sheep Company, sponsors of this blog) showing an avatar of JoAnn Ross, the president of network sales, flying around the virtual world of Second Life, according to Paul LaMonica of CNN/Money (who wasn’t sure it really was SL, apparently). CBS hasn’t posted the video on YouTube yet, but it will apparently be up there eventually, 3pointD hears, though it could take a week or two. The network is definitely taking a brave step into the future with the use of machinima in such a context, but it isn’t yet moving around the present very quickly, it seems. You can look for more good stuff in this vein from CBS, I’d bet. What I like about it is that it’s the kind of thing that will drive adoption of virtual worlds.

New Second Life Movie Service Premieres Friday

vPods at InWorld Cinema's new cinema in the virtual world of Second Life

Jordan Bigel (aka Second Life‘s Dire Lobo) of metaverse development company InWorld Studios sends along the news that his company is launching a new movie service for the virtual world of Second Life. Set to premiere this Friday, 11 May, the service is known as InWorld Cinema and has some interesting features — and is opening with a full-length feature film. Audience members occupy individual “vPods” and access scenes or chapters within the film via a heads-up display. Tickets cost L$260 (about US$1) and let you spend as much time watching the movie in as many visits as you like over a 48-hour period. Continue reading

RuneScape Reports 1 Million Paying Subscribers

RuneScape reports 1 million paying subscribers
Not alone in the wilderness

RuneScape, the browser-based massively multiplayer game from Jagex, now has a million paying subscribers, the company reported today. Just $5 a month gets players “exclusive quests, skills and a huge map of the fantasy world Gielenor, to explore.” The fact that it’s being shelled out by a million kids (or their parents; the RuneScape demographic is reportedly very young) is fairly impressive. Among Western MMOs, only World of Warcraft can boast more than a million paying subscribers. (Most MMO subscribers, including WoWs, pay around $15 a month.) And, as Matt Mihaly pointed out some time ago (in asking whether RuneScape would reach 1 millions subs), the game reportedly has some 5 million players, including those who play for free, and concurrency rates above 200,000. Jagex says they have 150 support staff devoted to the game, if that’s any gauge. [UPDATE: Matt has more details from an interview with the Jagex dude, Andrew Gowan.] I think it’s pretty significant to the future of media that there are a million young teens paying for this game, and four million more playing it from time to time. More evidence that 3D multiuser environments are here to stay as part of the media landscape. Most readers of this blog don’t need to be convinced of that, but there are many, many people out there who aren’t yet clued in. Successes like Jagex’s should help with that.

Top Seller in CyWorld USA? NBC Tie-In Items

A mini home page in CyWorld USA

Thought it worth noting that the top-selling virtual items to date in CyWorld USA, which launched last summer, are tie-ins from the Bravo TV show Top Design, according to a press release. (Bravo is part of NBC Universal.) CyWorld’s Top Design club was apparently very popular during the show’s first season, and members were able to purchase virtual items that were based on the winning designs from the show. “These Top Design-inspired collectibles became the top-selling digital items to-date for Cyworld USA,” the release says. CyWorld is adding Top Design features during the show’s off season, including “an immersive social network and commerce platform from View22,” which does 3D ecommerce services, and a Top Design 3D Throw-Down. No surprise that networks are moving closer and closer to virtual worlds as the age of New New MediaTM takes hold. CyWorld is pitched at a younger audience than Top Design, but that may be perfect for Bravo: get ’em hooked early via the virtual world, then gather ’em up in a medium where advertisers will pay more for their eyeballs.

Kaneva Hopes to Insulate Economy From RMT

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

Destroy Television Returns for NY Art Exhibit

Just when you thought it was safe to watch lifecaster Justin.tv, or broadcast your own life with Ustream, along comes a virtual life you can not only watch on the Web but take part in controlling, a kind of collaborative stream of avatar consciousness — and one that’s going to be on display in a real-world art gallery from May 23 to June 2. Curated by the excellent Annie Ok of the GHava{SL} Center for the Arts in the virtual world of Second Life, the show will be designed by Electric Sheep Jerry Paffendorf and Christian Westbrook, and will involve Destroy Television, the interactive avatar-bot designed as a research project of the Electric Sheep Company, who streams live images of Second Life to her Web site (although that seems to be dark at the moment). Just what form the exhibit will take has yet to be revealed, but the show will take place simultaneously at the Fuse Gallery in New York (at 93 Second Avenue, between Fifth and Sixth Streets), and in SL at the GHava{SL} Center for the Arts, which is run by Annie’s SL self, Xantherus Halberd. Continue reading

Rivers Launching virtuallife.tv at MIPTV Cannes

Virtual-world services company Rivers Run Red will today launch its virtuallife.tv, a television network for Second Life, at the MIPTV digital content market in Cannes. This was originally slated to launch back in November, of course, so we’ll see what this launch consists of. But new details of the service have emerged, so it seems an infrastructure has been built out for the in-world television network, which is now awaiting content, some of which Rivers will try to gather at MIPTV. (NOTE: This is not to be confused with Virtualive.tv, a project of Morpheus Media, which will stream concerts live to Second Life.] Continue reading

See You Bright and Early at PodCamp NYC

The distinguishing characteristic of my Twitter stream lately has been the arrival in New York of so many of my fellow Twitterati, especially those with podcasts to their name. Why? Because it’s just about time for PodCamp NYC, which kicks off tonight with something that sounds less like a party than like a micro pitchfest, at a place called Slate (54 West 21st Street), and then continues on into Saturday, when I’ll be on an “informal roundtable” at 9am (an inhuman hour for a Saturday-morning podcast-related event, really), talking about “social media convergence and virtual worlds” with SecondCast producer and Fo3 John Swords, Joseph Jaffe, Greg Verdino, and Adam Broitman. To better navigate the event, which is open to all and features more than 100 different talks in 12 different rooms at The New Yorker hotel (481 Eighth Avenue at 34th Street), grab a pdf or interactive calendar of the full schedule. Should be fun, as there are going to be a ton of people in town for this (500 people have already RSVP’d for the party tonight), and you can even follow along to a certain extent in Second Life.

New Metaverse Session: Ethan Zuckerman

John Swords and I recorded a couple of new Metaverse Sessions while we were down at South by Southwest, one with Ethan Zuckerman of Global Voices Online and one with Jamais Cascio of World Changing. Johnny has just posted Ethan’s session (incorrectly labeled #9, even though it’s #10), and there’s some really interesting stuff there. Ethan talks about how Google Maps was used to heighten political awareness in Bahrain, how LiveJournal has become the blogging tool of choice for politically active adults (not kids) in Russia, and the “cyber-utopian dominant narrative” in which everyone gets along in the same online place. We also explore some interesting question of how cultural backgrounds inform the use of technologies, questions that don’t get much discussed (or thought about) in most our metaversal questions. A really cool guest to have for the Sessions, and highly recommended listening.

3pointD Turns 1: On The Metaverse Ahead

No April Fool’s joke this: 3pointD turned one year old today! It was in the early hours (early minutes, actually) of April 1, 2006, that I posted my first Hello, World! here. Something like 1,400 posts later (can that be? WordPress must be over-counting) and our mission remains the same: “At its most fundamental level, it’s about connecting people in new ways, and about giving them the tools to get more out of not just the Web but out of the real world around them.”

That’s still true, but in the year since then, the 3pointD space (aka the metaverse) has begun to resolve itself a bit — which is perhaps not surprising, since the word didn’t actually mean anything a year ago. What I’ve been trying to describe over the last year is the general direction of the future of connectivity. I still feel, as I wrote last March on my old blog, Walkerings, that “Web 2.0 is over like a hipster neighborhood when The Gap moves in,” and that there’s a new neighborhood to be colonized. That’s of course an overstatement for effect, but I don’t think it’s off the mark. Over the next several (many?) years, the most exciting developments in technology are going to be those that leverage our ever-increasing digital access to places both real and virtual to develop better connections between people in various ways.

The question is, What’s that going to look like? I hate making predictions, but as my birthday present to the blog and its readers, I’ve just spent the evening going out on a limb. You can read the details below or you can jump directly to a brief, fun scenario at the end of the post. Enjoy. Continue reading

Bantam Dell Brings Dean Koontz to SL 3/15

Dean Koontz to appear in the virtual world of Second LifeIf you dig the suspensful thrills of novelist Dean Koontz, then log in to the virtual world of Second Life tonight at 6:00pm SL Time (9:00pm Eastern), for the premiere of Bantam Dell‘s Authors in Second Life series (which we stumbled on last month). Koontz will read from his upcoming book, The Good Guy, then take questions from the audience. (Ask him about Odd Thomas, which sounds like it has more to do with the virtual.) Audience members will also have a chance to win a first edition of The Good Guy, which they’ll receive two weeks before it hits store shelves. Continue reading

SXSW Xcript: Will Wright Keynote

Will Wright gave the keynote talk at the Hilton Grand Ballroom on Tuesday, the last day of 2007’s South by Southwest Interactive.

Justin Hall introduces: Will Wright is a famous successful computer game designer. He created SimCity, which mapped birdseye urban planning into millions of minds. Working on a dollhouse for boys he created the Sims, which allowed all of us to manipulate suburban households. Billions of dollars of revenue, putting him in the highest echelons of entertainment. What does a guy like him do for a hobby? He runs the Stupid Fun Club in the East Bay. I visited the club, and the night I was there, there was a video shown of a robot laying on its side in theh street asking for help, and someone had taped the responses of passers-by to what was basically a homeless helpless robot. Then someone handed me a plastic visor and body suit, I put it on in the spirit of the evening, and suddenly this robot was rapid firing ping pong balls at me. I could see in the back of the room Will Wright behind the controls steering and watching and I think wondering how long I would stand there. This idea of experimentation and testing with things, he’s made it possible for all of us to experiment with the systems around us. Now Will Wright is building a simulation of the universe. Wow.

Will Wright (one arm in a sling): All those pictures you just saw [projected on screens before the talk] are from the Hubble. I broke my arm skiing, before you ask. I had way too much coffee today, so I’ll go fast. They asked me to speak here, I decided I’d come and talk about story. Then a week ago I read that I would be demoing Spore, so I’m mashing the two together. Continue reading

SXSW Xcript: New Media Goes to the Movies

I came into the panel New Dogs, New Tricks: New Media Goes to the Movies just slightly late, but caught most of it. It looked largely at marketing and promoting films in the new media environment, but didn’t seem to go very far past current services like YouTube and several recent launches represented by the panelists. The MTV rep, however, did venture into the land of new modes of storytelling that new media might make possible.

Moderator: Scott Kirsner from Variety
Panelists:
Rick DeVos from Spout.com:
David Gale of MTV New Media
Scilla Andreen of IndieFlix
Seth Nagel of iKlipz

When I came in, Kirsner was asking about who the new power players would be in the new media space, where long-form downloadable content was concerned.

Rick DeVos from Spout.com didn’t see any big new players in long-form downloadable content. Rick believes in the power of social recommendation and word of mouth to hook up niche filmmakres with niche audiences, which is what Spout is trying to do.

David Gale talked about what he looked at at MTV, which covers everything “from short films to a gaming mechanism. MTV launched the Daily Rage this week, wher the audience can win money in a gamelike mechanism.” They also bought a company recently that takes comic books and graphic novels and turns them into cool new media versions. “There’s a whole opportunity to take what’s been traditional media and turn it into new media. It really opens up another way of telling stories. Film is still its traditional media thing [in terms of MTV’s business]. My division is about taking anything that is not film- or televison-originated and looking at the platform and how you can create things in those mediums.” Continue reading

March Conferencing: VW07, SXSWi

The acronyms are flying this month, and I am too. First to the South by Southwest Interactive festival, where I’ll be running a panel in the Screenburn track on microcontent and user creation in online games and how that’s beginning to change the face of gaming. This should be fun, especially as it features Raph Koster, who’ll be able to talk a bit about Areae, the lovely Betsy Book of There.com, Corey Bridges of Multiverse, and Reuben Steiger of metaverse services company Millions of Us, who has been creating cool opportunities for user-generated content as part of corporate marketing schemes in the virtual world of Second Life.

Later in the month I’ll also be on a panel on the future of virtual worlds at the new Virtual Worlds 2007 conference here in New York. This is looking like a great conference, with panels that go beyond the usual fare and actually look closely at what’s happening in virtual worlds and where they might be going. There are four interesting keynote speakers lined up as well, including Matt Bostwick and Jeff Yapp from MTV (both of whom were featured in my Wired article on Virtual Laguna Beach, Steve Youngwood from Nickelodeon, and Colin Parris, VP of Digital Convergence at IBM. What I love about this roster is that it doesn’t include any world-builders. Instead, it features voices from the sectors that are going to drive virtual world development in future: media, entertainment and business. We need more conferences like this. See you there.

Second Life and Electric Sheep on Today Show

The Electric Sheep Company's Sibley Verbeck on the Today Show
Sibley on the right

Electric Sheep Company CEO Sibley Verbeck was finally on NBC’s Today Show today this morning, after being delayed twice already. The appearance was quite brief, and preceded by an edited sequence that made it clear that NBC doesn’t think there are many SL users in its Today Show audience (which I’m sure is true), but I get excited about virtual worlds appearing on national television, I always think that’s huge. And pretty interesting, to think that millions of people are peering into their TV screen and then peering through that into a computer screen at a virtual world. Does the remove of two screens make it feel safer to an audience like Today’s than if they were simply shown it on a laptop? In any case, I don’t think SL has been featured before in a venue with broader reach than Today. That’s good for adoption, which in turn is good for the metaverse. Good.

At Home With Cruxy: Multi-Platform Media

Nathan Freitas and Jon Oakes of CruxyJust took a nice stroll over to Park Slope from the 3pointCrib to have a chat with Nathan Freitas and Jon Oakes, two of the co-founders of Cruxy, the new(-ish) Web site for independent musicians, filmmakers and other artists to promote and sell their work. (The third co-founder is Web services wizard Will Meyer, who’s based elsewhere.) That’s Nathan on the left (aka Nat Mandelbrot in SL), with his pet AIBO, which, sadly, suffers from the classic symptoms of DHS. I got in touch with them after blogging up their music player for SL, and was happy to hear that they have more cool stuff on the way, and are in fact already working on some things that could make it a lot easier to do media-making not just in a virtual world but on the Web itself, as well as to cross over between the two. For musicians, filmmakers and artists in both the real and virtual worlds, it seems like Cruxy’s versatile player and format could provide a small boon. Continue reading

HBO Comedy Festival Coming to Second Life

HBO’s U.S. Comedy Arts Festival will be coming to the virtual world of Second Life on Thursday, March 1, according to Reuben Steiger over at Millions of Us. Thursday’s event, which will kick off at 2:00pm SL time (5:00pm Eastern), will feature some live streaming audio standup and MCing from emerging talent Hyla Matthews, followed by a streaming video roundup of talent from the festival. The event takes place at HBO’s »Virtual Comedy House« in the Playground region of SL. IM Baccara Millionsofus to RSVP for the event, or email baccararhodes AT gmail.com. Sounds like good fun.

New Episodes From SecondCast, Grid Review

Episode #53 of SecondCast is up on the SecondCast site (or can be listened to in the sidebar here, or downloaded from iTunes), and it’s fairly hilarious right off the bat. Like really hilarious, as in the first three minutes will have you on the floor. And the bleeps! Hear Lordfly file an abuse report against Johnny’s face. Pretty excellent stuff.

When you’re done with that, go check out Episode #1 of the relaunched Grid Review, the machinima news project being produced by Edelman and the Electric Sheep Company (sponsors of this blog). Now benefitting from the Sheep’s absorption of master machinimators the Ill Clan, as well as expert narration from SecondCast’s own Johnny Ming, the Grid Review is suddenly totally entertaining (whereas the old format was only somewhat entertaining in its own format, if you ask me, despite the presence of some great machinimators). Let’s hope they can keep it up.

Kaneva Aims For Social Media Consumption [+]

The virtual world of Kaneva resembles a 3D MySpace

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

Sheep To Get CBS Funding in $7 Million Round

Reuters has the news that the Electric Sheep Company (sponsors of this blog) will be getting a $7 million round of investment from CBS and Gladwyne Partners (the latter having invested in a previous round). Sheep CEO Sibley Verbeck tells the news agency, “Electric Sheep plans to use the financing to create software to make virtual worlds ready for mainstream consumption.” Nice going, guys. In fact, I was mentioning something like this idea at Friday’s metaverse meetup. Virtual worlds to this point have been the province of people coming out of the gamedev community, for the most part. I really see them as more of a media convergence phenomenon. Which means that media companies, which have been serving “entertainment experiences” to huge audiences for decades — and have massive bankrolls to show for it — are going to be huge players in the space, before long. Or even sooner.