Thursday, December 07, 2006

Virtual worlds ...

One of the many recent developments in the Internet economy are the emergence of virtual worlds (like Second Life). In these worlds, people can "live", trade and interact with others.

There were a few articles of interest regarding this particular virtual world.

  • In this article, Nicholas Carr performs a computation that shows that an average Second Life avatar consumes as much electricity as an average Brazilian. Thus, it may not be as "green" a hobby as one might otherwise have expected.

  • These virtual worlds have been discovered by real world organizations. This article reports that PA Consulting has opened an "office" in Second Life:
    The consultancy is already looking into new business applications in virtual worlds such as Second Life, where like many other enterprises, it has a virtual branch - in this case, though, all of the negotiations around building the virtual HQ have been done through avatars in Second Life itself.

    Godfrey said: "It was done by someone paid in Linden dollars, whose real name we don't know and who looks like an enormous rabbit."

  • Then, there are the potential tax implications, as reported here:
    Game publishers may have to send forms to individuals who receive nonemployee income they trade for valuable items like Ultima Online castles, EverQuest weapons or Second Life currency, even when those players don't convert the assets into cash.

Virtual worlds may thus be more real than you think ... maybe we need to open a SIS branch on Second Life ... would these enrollments count?


Martin Weiss said...

Posted for Bob Perkoski:

I’ve played around in second life and the Gap has a store where they sell virtual clothes. However, if a particular model becomes “hot” they consider making it in the real world. One of the more intriguing details of second life is they hired a real news reporter who writes about stories in the virtual world. So, you can go to a coffee shop and buy a virtual paper written by a real reporter about virtual events. One of the best events was a concert using great 3D animation and the guitar player was a real professional. Here is a link of them building the guitar

Prashant said...

The idea of SIS opening shop on second life is not just for fun. Thinking about our distance education initiatives (or lack thereof :)), how cool would it be to have someone's second life avatar deliver lectures for students anywhere? Recently, one of IBM's top guys (maybe CEO) gave a speech to their Beijing division using his second life avatar - so this is not a sarcastic comment. They recreated some Chinese settings on Second Life to enable this.

maria said...

Second Life has an educators program – intranet option – see

Create a Permanent Education Space for yourself in Second Life. If you would like a place of permanence in Second Life, Private Island ownership lets you create a secure "intranet" space with restricted membership for your students and faculty, or you can open it up to be accessible to everyone in Second Life. We offer a discount for Private Islands to educational institutions and non-profit organizations, and you can find details on the Private Island order page. You can also optionally buy a plot of land on the mainland of Second Life if you want something smaller and permanent (we don't offer any educational/non-profit discount for such plots).

Second Life has had university classes on line since 2004


Some 60 schools and universities have set up shop inside Second Life — most in the past year. They join a population that includes real-world business people, politicians, entertainers, and more than 800,000 other "residents" of the virtual world. For the first time this fall, a Harvard University class is meeting on its own "Berkman Island" within Second Life (SL). "Avatars," visual images that represent the students and teachers, gather in an "outdoor" amphitheater, head inside a virtual replica of Harvard Law School's Austin Hall, and travel to complete assignments all over the digital world. (If SL could be magically brought into the "real world," it would cover about 85 square miles.) Some 90 Harvard law and extension school students taking the course, called "CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion," can receive real college credit. But anyone on Earth with a computer connection can also take the course for free. Students are participating from as far away as South Korea and China.”

Now see this example: “Harvard class invades Second Life”
Posted Sep 12th 2006 (

And see: The Harvard Class – the entire product, web, blog, video, all of it - Excellent!

Watch this, I was captivated.

But, look at the production credits… it was a big team. Could someone find out what they spent? How long it took? And the feedback from the various student profiles?

Maria C.R. Harrington said...

Martin Weiss said...

Here is another article that pertains to the topic of virtual worlds, though this one is more focussed on the legal ramifications.