After running as a bit of a stealth operation, Playboy is finally ready to reveal all. The magazine and attendant
flesh lifestyle empire opens its »island in the virtual world of Second Life« today, with a party at 4pm SL Time (7pm Eastern). Playboy island will house a virtual Playboy retail store, and host a variety of events and “social opportunities,” according to a press release. Playboyâ€™s Second Life retail location will feature merchandise from its e-commerce sites, PlayboyStore.com and ShoptheBunny.com Residents will be able to purchase Playboy-branded apparel either for the real world or for their Second Life avatars. “The virtual store will be staffed by female avatar employees wearing Playboy-branded apparel and the famous Playboy Bunny costume,” according to the release. That leaves tons of space on the island to serve as a “social space” for residents to interact. It’s not entirely clear how Playboy will fill that space and time, but you can hear more about the project on C.C. Chapman’s Managing the Gray. (Note that Playboy is an advertiser in the Second Life Herald, a 3pointD sister site.)
After running as a bit of a stealth operation, Playboy is finally ready to reveal all. The magazine and attendant
If you check out the latest ad buy on 3pointD’s cousin publication, the Second Life Herald (see the right sidebar, top), you’ll see that the inevitable is finally about to happen: Playboy Magazine is entering the virtual world of Second Life. No word yet on what form Playboy’s presence there will take, but it would seem to be the perfect place for them. After all, constructing a sexy avatar for yourself is just an extreme version of the airbrushing that often goes on in the pages of higher-end skin mags like Playboy. The possibilities, of course, are very interesting: in-world girlie mag to compete with Marilyn Murphy‘s Players? A Playboy mansion where a virtual Hef and the bunnies will hang out? (Second Lifer’s won’t have any trouble finding things to do in the Grotto.) If there are virtual bunnies, will Playboy take as good care of them as they take of the real ones? RL Playboy Playmates are pretty much set for life; Playboy offers them jobs (albeit they’re usually jobs as professional cheesecake) and often does stuff like help pay for their education. In return, the organization gets a steady supply of buxom women to decorate their parties and functions with. Working as a virtual fleshpot is already a popular pursuit in Second Life; why not get paid a decent wage for it? And while it’s still exploiting the female image, you can’t say it’s exploitative of the women being photographed or hired, since you don’t know whether there’s a woman behind that curvy female av. All very interesting. The ad says Playboy won’t hit SL until June, but you can already sign up for email updates. The shape of things to come? We’ll see.
Second Life resident and Fo3 qDot Bunnyhug, one of the top teledildonics engineers in the world, has a new project: The Naughtyizing of Croquet. Yes, the humble roboticist from
Arkansas Oklahoma is going to spend the month of April hooking a variety of motorized sex toys to the open-source virtual world-building platform Croquet. qDot pioneered teledildonics in Second Life about a year and a half ago, and gave a great demo at SXSW06 of a vibrator that could be remotely controlled by an Xbox controller. Now he’s got his sights set on Croquet, which should provide fertile ground for the kind of remote sexuality of which qDot is a master. Plus which, if there’s anything that’s going to focus attention on a platform that’s not getting enough, it’s sex. What I loved about qDot’s rap at SXSW was that he sees teledildonics not so much as a tool for cheap Internet hookups as a way to bring couples who are separated for whatever reason closer together. For qDot, it’s more about the love than about the sex. Stay tuned at Slashdong, his blog, for continuing reports.
Finally! I’ve long thought the Rocky Horror Picture Show would be the perfect film to screen in the virtual world of Second Life. After all, it’s the original weird costumed participatory media experience, filled with sex, mad scientists and terrorized newbies — just like SL! Well, start working on your Frank N. Furter avatars, because the Pirate Cinema in Stockholm, Sweden (I think this is the link), is holding a Rocky Horror Picture Show Second Life-a-long that will pair a real-world screening with one in the virtual world.
The event is being held in collaboration with architecture students at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology, who are billing it as “a night in the spirit of Piracy and architecture, an attempt to destroy the firewall between the physical and virtual, to create a fellowship without limits.” The film starts Thursday, March 1, at noon SL time, in »The Office region« of SL.
The great thing about it is that the real-life screening will be streamed into the virtual world. (The SL screening will apparently be streamed to the RL theater as well.) If you’re not a virgin, you know that this means that the SL audience will get to see not only the film itself, but the antics of Sweden’s costumed Rocky Horror fans as they prance and dance onstage, and ask questions and give directions to the actors (which the actors, of course, answer and follow slavishly). One can only imagine what the experience will be like in Second Life. (It would be great to get a regular screening going there to see how the Rocky Horror cult manifests itself in the virtual world.)
Second Life resident Kitten Lulu amusingly points out that of the 10 locations in Second Life that Microsoft has chosen for Windows Vista‘s virtual launch party (at 2pm SL time, featuring Praga Khan), around half of them are places frequented by paid cybersex escorts. Microsoft “Enthusiast Evangelist” Miel Van Opstal has more insight on just why the locations were chosen. The SL launch seems to have been arranged by a European agency (One Agency) that I can’t find a link for. In any case, if you’re interested in seeing how Vista-compatible your Second Life sex life is, check it out. (SLurls here.) [Via World of SL.]
Only cricket fans will realize that I don’t mean 50 years here, I mean 50 episodes. That’s right, the 50th episode of SecondCast, Second Life’s favorite podcast, is now on the air. We’ll pass our one-year anniversary sometime in February, which means we’ve been keeping up a remarkably good schedule of almost a podcast a week. Once again, kudos to Johnny Ming for pulling it all together and keeping us in line. Tune in to Episode #50 for a long discussion with Aerdr1e Fabre of Second Life matchmaking service Tea and Sympathy (which can be found in the »Infamy region« of SL (in a skybox, natch), and hear what Cristiano’s looking for in a mate. And despite the fact that I’ve been having Skype problems lately (grrr), downloads are apparently higher than ever, currently running at something in the low five figures per episode. Wow. Nice to know that someone other than ourselves is enjoying what we’re up to. Special thanks to Matthew in Georgia for the extra cool illustration he sent along to celebrate Episode #50 — and for continuing to listen despite the fact that he hasn’t used Second Life in months! Interesting.
Four Eyed Monsters, the movie I’ve been blogging about periodically here, is finally getting its screening in the virtual world of Second Life, tomorrow at 5pm SL time (8pm Eastern). The screening will take place at the Sundance Channel‘s Second Life »screening room«, as part of Sundance’s entry into SL. (Sundance is a client of the Electric Sheep Company, sponsors of this blog.) The movie is a hugely interesting take on life and love both online and off, and addresses along the way questions of identity and how that’s changing in our increasingly virtual world. Check out the machinima invite that filmmakers Susan Buice and Arin Crumley have made for the film. They’ve really taken to SL since being introduced to it by me and Jerry Paffendorf a while back. Both filmmakers will be at the screening to chat with audience members. This is highly recommended viewing. [Oops: Forgot to mention that the film will simultanously be shown at a handful of other locations around SL, and you can even host your own. See the Sundance Channel’s Second Life page for more details.]
Second Life resident Tateru Nino has a very perceptive post on Second Life Insider yesterday. The post points out a new phenomenon in “camping chairs.” These are usually located at nightclubs, and allow users to earn a trickle of Linden dollars (usually something less than L$50 an hour, that last time I looked) simply for parking one’s avatar’s butt in a chair and remaining there for a period of time. (Most people simply walk away from their computers once they’ve sat down.) The users gets “free” money, and the club owners get high traffic ratings, which push their location up in the charts, making it easier to find, thus attracting more traffic and, hopefully, more revenue. But as Tateru writes, some club owners have recently started installing camping objects that put users’ avatars through the paces of erotic dance. “Is there a qualitative difference here between these and the regular dance-pad/camping chair vulturing?” Tateru asks. “Does this cross the line, or should we consider this more-of-the-same?” Interesting questions. Related: If you saw an avatar doing the erotic zombie dance, would that taint that avatar’s reputation for you? Consider the fact that there’s no one at the controls. It’s like the tree falling in the forest. If an avatar strokes its breasts in public while there’s no one behind the keyboard, does that make them naughty?
We’ve been twisting the arm of Brian Chirls, who works with Susan and Arin of the Four Eyed Monsters film, to get him to add the virtual world of Second Life to the map of cities in which the film has been requested. (See these two posts for more details; if you can garner 150 requests on the Web site, they’ll show the film in your town.) As you can see above, he’s done it. Thanks, Brian! Just dial up the map to see how many requests have been made (you have to zoom way out to see where on the earth SL has ended up), and don’t forget to put your request in. It would be great to see a movie as interesting as Four Eyed Monsters have a screening in Second Life as part of its worldwide rollout. Only 83 requests to go!
A few of us from the Brooklyn metaverse crowd went to see Four-Eyed Monsters last night, a very interesting feature film about a young New York couple who end up documenting their every move via videotape and handwritten notes, only because they’ve decided not to actually speak to each other. While the film is not a documentary, it was made by the couple who it’s about, and their real lives and dramatized lives do begin to converge toward the end of the film. While it’s a movie about relationships (you know, the kind where two people “slowly start to meld into one beast that has 2 mouths, 4 eyes and 8 limbs and takes up 2 seats on the subway!!!”), it’s in greater measure a movie about the act of recording itself, and what it means at a moment in history when you can store, play back and share as much of your life as you like, with as many people as are willing to pay attention. In this case, Susan and Arin have created a virtual version of their real life together, and it’s interesting to ask what the differences between the two may be, if any — especially in light of similar trends in things like lifelogging, and in the fictionalization of a life like lonelygirl15‘s. And if you stay with this long-winded post all the way to the end, you get to think about how this kind of logging of our lives might help enhance them in some future 3pointD world. Continue reading
If things are a bit slow around 3pointD on Wednesday, it’s because I’ll be on my way to San Francisco for the second annual Second Life Community Convention, which should prove to be a hoot, if last year’s event was any indication. This year’s will feature a number of announcements that could help spice things up, we hear (see below).
I’ll be chatting on a panel of journalists who cover virtual worlds, headed by New World Notes‘s Wagner James Au, who’s probably been doing it longer than anyone. We’ll try to make a SecondCast out of the conference on Sunday, as well, despite the fact that Lordfly and I will be the only cast members in attendance, everyone else being kept away by work, money or gall-bladders. (Feel better, Torrid!) Continue reading
Popular Second Life architect and content-creator Aimee Weber of in-world brand *PREEN* sends news that she’s just designed and built an in-world showroom for real-world fashion brand American Apparel. The store, located on a private island in Second Life, is set to open as soon as this weekend. The news has SL residents considering what it means that the first real-world fashion brand has made an entrance to Second Life. Fashion is one of the virtual world’s biggest industries, and the fashion business in SL is extremely competitive. So it’s not a surprise that the first real-world retail brand to set up shop in SL is a fashion retailer. Continue reading
The following link is definitely Not Safe For Work, but it is 3pointD: Red Light Center, “the first adults-only massively multi-user, online-reality erotica community,” recently launched in “pre-beta” and is making a limited number of basic memberships available for free, according to a press release. Of course, Red Light Center is hardly the first 3D adult world, but judging from the screenshots and video tour on the site, it’s pretty well put together — if you like that sort of thing. Continue reading