My home email received its regular update from gamespy daily today. I normally only read the headlines as with all the magazines and other content I feel fairly well informed, and as a gamer I just get on and play things.
However, today I clicked through to the PlanetFargo blog to see what they were saying about it all.
They have taken a suitably quirky view on it, and even managed to dig up one of the IBM songs from way back. They also have the greaterIBM video posted on Youtube by Kevin, referenced as a contrast.
There is also some interesting discussion on the ways interactions may play out in a corporate environment. Which strangely enough I have a nice post/article in the works on the role of role play at work. Its the first one that I have sat and tried to write as a piece rather than a gut instinct blog post.
As Adam is reporting on his blog over at Reuters Gartner sees 80% virtual world penetration by 2011.
When doing talks to people and evangelizing about why this is all happening now I often use the Gartner Hype curve, but not just for the virtual world/VR mapping.
The hype curve applies to the use of the web as a platform post dot.com days with people willing to contribute and share, the uptake in home internet usage, broadband and wireless and the generational effect of gaming technology not being an early adopter/tech geekfest but much more mainstream and acceptable.
The coming together of these factors have generated this massive interest and sparked the industry. Clearly Second Life has many of the elements that made this attractive to people.
As the report by Gartner says, “Find enthusiasts within your enterprise and support them.”
The five laws layed out have had Roo and I nodding our real and virtual heads, as they form a major part of what we have been explaining to all and sundry. (As have many other people we are not taking total credit!)
It is important that a group such as Gartner have made these statements. It all adds to the future of the industry and, dare I say, shows that we are going in the right direction?
If nothing else it will act as a lead in for people to start looking more deeply into virtual worlds.
This morning I have on one screen Eric Rice’s ustream broadcast from within Second Life. In another window Twitter, which is what caused me to click, and I am also in Second Life.
All the channels are feeding me perspectives. I can hear Spin talking, see where is going, but also join in on some Sim’s where appropriate.
It feels like a major convergence point.
As many of you will have already seen over on 3pointd here and here IBM is working with Hoplon on using high end mainframe machines powered by cell processors.
I am sure there may be a little bit of confusion when people hear Cell, and make the association to the cell powered Sony PS3, and also to what is going on in other virtual worlds like Second Life.
Now Eightbar is not an IBM press release vehicle, it is still us lot in Hursley talking about things going on in our lives, but this is an interesting extra aspect to the entire business of the Metaverse. It is also interesting as Hursley is the home of CICS which is the transaction system that runs on 90% of IBM’s mainframes.
IBM produces high end mainframe machines. Super computers and machines that run the banking systems that we all use daily. The web has encoraged the use of the smaller cheaper machine, but scales by adding lots of cheaper machines and allowing for failure of individual units in server farms.
The choice of “big iron” is made around robustness and constant scalabaility. The very powerful cell processor is not solely in home consoles, but is being applied to other major applications that need lots of power and speed and reliability. One of these is the virtual world server code for Hoplon.
You might also like to not a bit of historical information from back in 2005 with IBM blade servers being used host Eve-Online
So it is a nice evolutionary step in using computing power, and very exciting in the mainframe business.
The virtual world industry is certainly hotting up, having the mainframe business, which is core to IBM gives even more credibility to whats happening.
I am a big fan of formula 1 and any vehicle racing in general. So it was very interesting to see the ING/Renault announcement as blogged on 3pointd
It also coincided with this news article popping up on the work feeds about Honda F1 working with IBM
And keeping the coefficient of coincidence high I also bumped into this awesome car over on the plush nano sim
Photo from snapzilla
It remains to be seen if things like track data and positional broadcast information will start to flow into metaverses. Back in 2003 we had our business integration for games project out on alphaworks (By Chris Sharp of Hursley) quite often talk would move to considering real world data pumped into games via the infrastructure. Just search that whitepaper for racing. Racing beside Michael Schumacher in F1, matching times etc was something we all wanted to do.
I should mention that Roo was very much part of that development project, and I did a bit of work on a game demo too
There are going to be loads of write ups of this ITE convention/expo on Silicon City in Second Life. However, props to 57 Miles at metaversed as it was hit twitters that made me push the teleport button.
The sim was packed so it was an initially laggy experience. Once it all rezzed though, WOW!.
Lots of booths, staffed by the creators of the products. As I often explain you cannot underestimate the presence of others to engage in a human conversation.
The event had an immediate resonance for me personally as I saw this booth.
Jaymz Morahan was running this one. Now this stand was the one that was opposite our IBM virtual words 2007 stand so we had spent a lot of time in the same room. It was also where I happened to finally meet Spin Martin in the flesh
Anyway I was wandering over to say hi to Jaymz and make the connection when he said “hey we met at at Virtual Worlds”. So that was very cool. I dont think I had had the opposite of a Smeet quite in that way before.
Also whilst I was tweeting Renzephyr twittered “room for a little one”. So I TPed him in to the convention. Amusingly he ended up in the middle of the SAP booth.
making some amusing comment that he was not best happy at SAP this month as there had been some mix up in a SAP system meaning he did not get paid this month.
I also bumped into Tao Takashi, which was great admist a load of very nice looking but overly real avatars made me not feel so out of place with my geen spikey hair.
Anyway there are a stack of pictures and I need to go through all my freebies but there was some very cool stuff there. Fabjectory were there of course, with a quote from Juice of Prunes and the odd picture of me and walker on the back drop cycling around, very spooky. Despite all the other stuf they got my vote.
I snapzilled lots of pictures so check them out rather than filling up this post anymore.
I am sure it will soon get to the stage that not only are there more islands in Second Life than you can keep up with, that there are more metaverse instances than you can keep up with.
I have been going around revisiting some of the older ones again as well as keeping up with the new ones.
*** Updated with IMVU just missed the post
It is by no means straight forward to see the future of this, and it is clear that Second Life has opened many peoples eyes to the possibilities. It is interesting to wonder what it was, which magical element or event led to the rush of interest in SL.
I am remembering back to my very first experience of SL. What was it? What state of mind was I in than captured my imagination and exploded the possibilities and also then let us as eightbar, grab other people in the same way?
User experience is a subjective concept. The experience is now though also based on what others around are doing. You hit a traditional website for the first time, it is really unlikely that other browsers are going to dictate that experience. In virtual worlds that first conversation with the first person may set your mind for or against the environment or indeed the whole concept of virtual worlds.
I want to recount a story about a conversation that I seemed to get dragged into in one of the virtual envrionments. Just standing around getting to grips with the environment in a field on my own. I was approached by someone who wanted to discuss their trousers. Whether I thought their trousers may change peoples perception of their sexuality. I was honest with them, that I was really not bothered and their orientation either in the real world or the virtual world was up to them. The rest of the conversation seemed to involve them questioning my sexual preferences until they realized that I was not really bothered/shocked/interested that they suddenly said “I am back now, my brother was messing about with my login what did he say”. Yeah right! Still it was an experience.
Has that changed my view of this particular virtual world? In my case no, but I can see that some people would have had a problem with that particular “user experience”. Mrs epredator (or elemming as she is known) found it hilarious.
I think that my indeifference may be as I already have a meta user experience across multiple worlds and games and have done for years.
So the question is. Do we attempt to ensure people get a first experience on their first metaverse that is positive, and if so by who’s standards? Or, just let it sort itself out.
Over in SL we often used ourselves as the greeters, getting people to private islands, sharing the spirit of eightbar and then letting people go and find their own thing. That is not scalable from an individual evangelist point of view, but values can be shared across a very large group.
Now to go and explore another metaverse….