Two SL videos, an interview with Little Big Planet, and the first presidential campaign to have an official SL presence. I suspect headline-writing is going to be the hardest thing about these D-Briefs I’ve started doing. By the way, does anyone have a “briefs” icon I can use for these? Feel free to send it along. Continue reading
There’s so much metaversal news these days that it’s impossible to make a blog post out of everything that crosses my browser. (It was impossible before, but it’s getting more impossible now.) In an attempt to cram yet more news onto the blog, then, 3pointD is happy to introduce “D-Briefs,” an occasional roundup of short news items, some big and important, some trivial but interesting. Look for D-Briefs to appear on a consistently every-so-often basis. Today we have news of a Sony/ClubPenguin deal, a new immersive world from Shanda, IBM getting Torqued, and a million bucks tossed at a startup world. Continue reading
I looked in at the Games + Entertainment Brands panel for a few minutes before I started feeling too rumpled and had to duck out. Here’s what I heard while I was there (some of it was even interesting):
Moderator: Robert Nashak of Yahoo! Games
Charles Merrin, VP NA Games at RealNetworks
Brian Ring, GM Interactive Content at Scope Sevem
Chris Charla, director of business development at Foundation 9 Network
As I arrived, Nashak was mentioning the importance of user-created content in building a brand around a game. Merrin, on the other hand, warned that brands were often wary of user-created content out of fear that it would hurt the image of the brand, and that this would be true for some time.
Charla talked about procedural safeguards. Sony has apparently done a lot of work on their new PS3 home service toward preventing untoward uses of user-generated content. Their Little Big World platform [which introduces something Sony seems to be calling “user-definable gaming”] allows users to create and upload levels, and to vote on other people’s levels. “Butit’s difficult to get swear words in there,” Charla said.
Ring related an experience he’d had recently when moderating a panel with someone from Whyville, who have spent years creating sophisticated technology, including nine proprietary algorithms, to filter all the chat sessions that run through the service.
Nashak: “Whyville is one of my favorite things. It’s basically a tween site for girls pretty much, and for the first time they seeded a product into the world, a Toyota car. It was the first time you could have a car in Whyville. Whyville counted on the nag factor, that girls would talk about it so much that parents would want to buy one for themselves.” He didn’t know whether the initiative had been a success.
Ring also mentioned virtual worlds like Second Life. “What we’re seeing is a lot of these things calling themselves ‘social games.’ That’s where I see a big thing happening. That’s where user-generated content has a big role to play.”
Merrin also spoke about Second Life. “It’s incredible what this tapestry allows you to do. It’s almost the brand within the user-generated content, rather than the other way around.”
Nashak: “What you’re going to start seeing is brands taking very seriously that their passionate users want to co-create the brand with them.” He advised brands to “think about creating engines for people to express themselves around brands,” and mentioned Bix.com, a Yahoo! property where users do things like create content for each other. “It’s infinitely scalable because users are creating it, you don’t have to keep feeding in content.”
Okay, my need for a PlayStation 3 just got a lot more urgent. Before you do anything else, watch the trailer above, which just went up on GameTrailers.com after being shown at GDC. It shows a PS3 service from Sony called “home,” which is, yes, a free 3D online space where you’ll be able to customize your avatar and your own private home, hang out with other users there and in various common spaces, stream your media into your virtual pad (as in Kaneva), and chat via voice, emotes, short pre-loaded phrases or with a USB keyboard, as well as hook up with other people and follow them into PS3 games. In terms of pushing the metaverse out to the mainstream, this is pretty huge news. And it’s got a great look to it, too. Many thanks to reader Victor PiÃ±eiro of pure west documentaries for sending along the link.
[UPDATE: Our spies at GDC have filed a few more details, which you can read after the jump.] Continue reading
Reuben Steiger’s virtual world services company, Millions of Us, has launched a new listening station in the virtual world of Second Life for Brooklyn-born “underground” hip-hop artist Talib Kweli, located in the company’s Millions of Us sim. Similar in nature to the one Millions built for Regina Spektor back in May, Kweli’s is a big Bed-Stuy brownstone, built out by SL architect Lordfly Digeridoo.
But as SL resident Tao Takashi points out in a BlogHUD post made from within the world, he was unable to find a link at the site to purchase a Kweli CD from Amazon or another Web-based service. Is there a missed opportunity here? It will be interesting to see what the Electric Sheep Company (sponsors of this blog) do for their project for Sony/BMG, which, according to The New York Times, “has rooms devoted to popular musicians like Justin Timberlake and DMX, allowing fans to mingle, listen to tunes or watch videos. Sony BMG is also toying with renting residences in the complex, as well as selling music downloads that people can listen to throughout the simulated world.” Continue reading
The latest announcement from the Electric Sheep Company (sponsors of this blog) is that they’re bringing Sony/BMG to the virtual world of Second Life. According to Sheep Giff Constable, the site, on the Sheep’s Media Island, will contain “fan zones for 8 leading SONY BMG artists with video and audio content, and two gorgeous lounge and club presences which will host some exciting future events with big-name acts. One of the really cool things here from my perspective is also that SONY BMG will actually be experimenting with selling music within Second Life directly to residents.” That’s definitely very cool.
The official launch is October 19, with a meet-and-greet andn then Q&A with Epic Records artist Ben Folds. Reserve a spot for the event by emailing frontdesk [AT] virtualaloft.com, which is holding its launch the same day. Slightly confusing, but that seems to be the way to go. [UPDATE: The two events are actually a joint event, which is why you have to RSVP for the one to get to the other.] Continue reading
Sony is introducing a new GPS device that will let you easily add geolocative information to digital photo files and browse your snaps via a Google Maps app using Sony’s Picture Motion Browser. According to a press release, the two-ounce GPS-CS1 GPS device ($150 when it goes on sale on SonyStyle.com in September) is about three and a half inches long and simply clips onto your belt loop or keychain and records your location over time, as near as I can figure. You then import the GPS information, and some Sony image-tracking software matches locations to photos based on timestamps.
Once synchronized, your photos can become virtual push pins on an online map by activating the Picture Motion Browser software bundled with the latest Sony cameras and camcorders released after July. You can easily add new photos and coordinates to the mapping web site, courtesy of Google Maps, and showcase years of globe-trotting.
Neat. Would love to hear more about this, if anyone has any links.
This isn’t strictly the kind of mobile connectivity I usually cover here, but it’s right in the pocket in terms of convergence. A company called TVersity has a press release today about a new version of their Media Server that lets you stream Internet radio stations to your PSP. Now, I’m neither a PSP nor a streaming expert, but as far as I can tell this is the first service, outside of homebrew hacks that users have created, that lets you do this. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.) What I like about it is that it harnesses the processing and adoption power of a games device to drive new kinds of connectivity. Anything that helps make the Internet more mobile is a good thing for the kind of 3pointD connectivity I’m always looking for: technology that helps people connect in the real world. Game devices feature some of the most powerful processing and some of the broadest adoption of any new devices out there (more than 17 million PSPs have been sold so far — though none to me, unfortunately), and have the potential to drive more generalized uses in a big way. I look forward to tuning in.
If you travel in virtual worlds, you may know that Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is a big EverQuest II fan. Now the rest of the world will know it as well, when Schilling takes on all comers in a series of virtual duels being held to raise money for the fight against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. According to a press release, it sounds as if Schilling is getting a new character just for the event, which will see Sony Online Entertainment donate $5 each time Schilling is defeated (up to a maximum $10,000). Does this mean Schilling, an EverQuest veteran, is going to throw his matches for a good cause? The matches will take place June 5-7, during a series between the Yankees and the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium — which makes me wonder whether it will actually be Schilling playing his character, or an SOE stand-in. In any case, it’s probably a good move for Sony and a great way to raise money for a good cause. It sounds like you’ll be able to get into EQII for free during the event here.
There aren’t all that many people around the LA Convention Center, where E3 is about to open, but that hasn’t stopped 3pointD from picking up a rumor here and there. Word today is that Sony Computer Entertainment America is looking to jump on the Major League Gaming bandwagon with a sponsorship of the organization. We blogged MLG a while back when they struck a deal to air their Pro Circuit tour on the USA Network. A slightly vaguer rumor: Wal-Mart may also be talking to the league about a sponsorship. I don’t follow these things as closely as some, but I don’t think I’ve seen this news before. (Please correct me if it’s out there already.) I believe Wal-Mart is the largest games retailer in America. The combined weight of Sony, Wal-Mart and a basic cable slot could do much to catapult gaming into the forefront of American consciousness in a way it hasn’t enjoyed before.