AC – Living the dream (Virtual Worlds)

Business, Community, and Innovation at the Dawn of the Digital Worlds. Cory Ondrejka, Linden Lab, cory (at) secondlife.com. He’s a Mac user too. Linden Labs? That’s not the Linden I know! 🙂 Cory’s background: masters in weapon’s engineering and computer science from Naval Academy. At one point worked at the NSA. Interesting background.

It’s inevitable that community is going to work into the virtual worlds. The space will be modeled on the real world. John Perry Barlow The building blocks of digital worlds. 1) Internet (it’s large scale distributed creation–classic example is Wikipedia). The problem with the Internet, is that there’s no sense of place. 2) Multi User Dungeon (MUDD). Ancestry of Massive Multi MMORGP. They prove there is a market for intangible goods (like buying a Star Wars Jedi Master for a MMORGP). Their problem is it’s expensive to make the content. Users consume them incredibly fast. The cost of art creation is expanding faster than the market. 3) Virtual Reality, the third building block. Do they matter for getting a sense of place? Not really. But CAD has brought about modeling and simulation. 4) Avatars. Farmer and Morningstar.

Second Life launched in June of last year. Combine user creation and collaboration into one place. Everything in the space is built by users. Users can create things like weapons and then sell them to other users to use in the virtual world. In Second Life, you can get together with others and talk with others. The interaction is different when they are avatars versus chat boards. Second Life runs on a distributed grid of computers. Today 500 machines which equates to 32 square km in the Second Life virtual world. Recently was a million of user transactions.

Talked about how users created alien’s to abduct inhabitants (gave them an anal probe :-). They have 15,000 users hours per day. That’s 5000 users hours per day spending content. 2.5 years. The world scales and gets better as more users join the game. In Second Life, users own all the content they own. You can’t leverage things you don’t own. Creation as community example–users creation 911 memorials in the virtual environment. Users impact the developers of the game by creating avatars to protest what they want. Residents of the world recognize that they should help to improve the world.

Re-world constraints fall away. Users created a method to break down the Linden dollar into real US dollars. They did that within one of the game being on. Digital cool hunting. Users create fashion. Can fashion companies harvest those ideas? The interesting thing about SL is that there are economic pressures in the world which adds an element of reality to the virtual world.

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