The Reality Of Virtual World Shopping Is The Second Life Marketplace

Diana Budds has published an article over at Fastco Design; The Future Of Shopping Is . . . Second Life On Acid? The article features the work of British designer and filmmaker Allison Crank, who is based in Eindhoven, which is in The Netherlands, not Britain!

The basis of the article is that e-commerce is trumping the mall and therefore, the social experience of the physical mall is being lost. Allison Crank suggests that one way of bringing back the social side of the mall is to introduce virtual reality.

Allison’s concept is the basis of her thesis from June 2015; The Reality Theatre: Shopping In The Ludic Century and in the FastCo Design article we get to hear more of the concept:

Crank calls it “a new third place for the public to meet, perform, indulge, and play in immersive environments.” I call it Second Life on acid. The designer envisions her concept working with augmented reality devices like Microsoft’s Hololens or Magic Leap to superimpose this virtual world over our own. For example, if someone were commuting, he or she could strap on an augmented reality headset and participate in the Reality Theater.

The major problem I have with Allison’s idea is that we’ve seen malls in Second Life, lots and lots of malls. We’ve seen malls with impossible physics, we can teleport in Second Life. However, malls in Second Life have been undone not by a future more immersive product, but by the ease of point and click shopping that the Second Life Marketplace offers. This isn’t unique to Second Life by the way, I’ve seen people in OpenSim asking for web based marketplaces, indeed Kitely has a web based marketplace.

People love the ease of shopping that web based marketplaces provide. This isn’t to say that Allison’s idea is dead in the water, far from it, but it is a warning to people who think virtual reality shopping is going to be a popular tool of choice compared to a web based shopping experience.

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2014 Reviewed All In One Post

If you’re read my other two posts reviewing then there’s nothing new here in this one, it’s just a merging of the two posts to make it easier for future reference. This means it will be a long post, with pictures, videos and probably some errors.

January

January started with a look back to 2013 and the number of private region losses. The scores on the door from Tyche Shepherd displayed a slow down on the number of regions leaving the Second Life grid, something that would continue during 2014.

  • 2012 Net Private Region Losess – 2865 (12.0%)
  • 2013 Net Private Region Losses – 1719 (8.2%)

The virtual world of Kitely moved to a different pricing model which largely did away with the pay by the minute options as these had not been popular.

Blackened Mirror poster should be here
The Blackened Mirror Poster

Season 2 of The Blackened Mirror was taking a mid-season break but would return by the end of January. The show was recorded in Second Life.

Linden Lab were Raising The Roof : The HTTP Project. This project, which had started in 2012 was aimed at improving HTTP communications to improve the end user experience. Linden Lab would continue working on improvements during the year.

Second Life users were getting frustrated by tax and account information requests from Linden Lab. They would continue to be frustrated by these requests throughout the year despite Linden Lab improving their communications and information on these issues.

Second Life got a mention in the comedy show, 2 Broke Girls.

Then came the storm to warm up many a chilly January evening, Cloud Party announced that they would be closing their virtual doors on February 21st.

Pirates? Ahoy?

This was quickly followed by even more news to warm up January, Aston Villa fan and Linden Lab CEO, Rod Humble, was leaving Linden Lab. This created a Twitter storm.

Continue reading “2014 Reviewed All In One Post”

2014 Reviewed Part 1 : January To June

In this post I will review 2014 from a largely virtual world perspective for the months January to June. This is part 1 of 2 as part 2 is still a work in progress but will hopefully appear tomorrow. I’ll combine both posts into another post for easier future reference once they are both completed. These posts will miss lots of big and interesting stories because the nature of the beast demands some brevity. These post may well look longer than they actually are at first glance because of images and pictures. The aim of posts such as these are to give a brief overview of the year, rather than an in depth review. An in depth review is too long for a blog post, it may make for an interesting book.

Anyway, on with the show, as they say.

January

January started with a look back to 2013 and the number of private region losses. The scores on the door from Tyche Shepherd displayed a slow down on the number of regions leaving the Second Life grid, something that would continue during 2014.

  • 2012 Net Private Region Losess – 2865 (12.0%)
  • 2013 Net Private Region Losses – 1719 (8.2%)

The virtual world of Kitely moved to a different pricing model which largely did away with the pay by the minute options as these had not been popular.

Blackened Mirror poster should be here
The Blackened Mirror Poster

Season 2 of The Blackened Mirror was taking a mid-season break but would return by the end of January. The show was recorded in Second Life.

Linden Lab were Raising The Roof : The HTTP Project. This project, which had started in 2012 was aimed at improving HTTP communications to improve the end user experience. Linden Lab would continue working on improvements during the year.

Second Life users were getting frustrated by tax and account information requests from Linden Lab. They would continue to be frustrated by these requests throughout the year despite Linden Lab improving their communications and information on these issues.

Second Life got a mention in the comedy show, 2 Broke Girls.

Then came the storm to warm up many a chilly January evening, Cloud Party announced that they would be closing their virtual doors on February 21st.

Pirates? Ahoy?

This was quickly followed by even more news to warm up January, Aston Villa fan and Linden Lab CEO, Rod Humble, was leaving Linden Lab. This created a Twitter storm.

Continue reading “2014 Reviewed Part 1 : January To June”

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

We here at Ciaran Laval …. hmm might need to change that title in the new year! Anyway, we here at Ciaran Laval (*Editor* pssst there’s only one of you these days /*Editor*)….. Then who are you? Wait wait wait! Back on track.

We here at Ciaran Laval would like to wish all of our readers a very merry Christmas and a very happy new year, even those of you who don’t like us. (*Editor* It’s just you! /*Editor*).

We would like to wish Linden Lab, High Fidelity, Inworldz, Kitely and OpenSim a very merry Christmas too. We definitely want you to prosper in the new year (*Editor* I resign! /*Editor*). Obviously this is because this blog depends upon these ventures prospering!

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The Verge Asks : Can we build a virtual world?

An interesting post on The Verge : The Big Future: Can we build a virtual world? The question may initially seem odd to those who have experienced virtual worlds such as Second Life, Kitely, OpenSim and are keeping their eyes on future virtual worlds such as High Fidelity and Linden Lab’s next generation platform. However the question is one that goes beyond the current generation of virtual worlds :

The web is fine, but how do we get the internet we always wanted — a “real” space you can walk around in, like the Metaverse from Snow Crash? It’s not a new question, but it’s one that’s being taken a little more seriously now that a huge company like Facebook is putting its weight (and its money) behind virtual reality. In this week’s Big Future, we look at what it takes to build a convincing virtual world, why we’re not there yet, and what we might do if we got one.

The Metaverse that exists in Snow Crash has long been the inspiration and dream of many a virtual world enthusiast, but will we ever get there? Indeed do we really want to get there? That level of immersion may well read well in a novel but can it ever really be a place that will happily co-exist with the physical world?

There will be no real answers to this until we have an answer to the question “Are we there yet?” As The Verge article states, it’s easy to trick the eyes, it’s a lot more difficult to trick our other senses and natural motion. For example The Verge talks about walking in a virtual world and how that’s far more of a challenge than tricking our eyes. I remain sceptical because of the sheer number of peripherals required at the moment to achieve greater immersion. However over time those peripherals will become less intrusive and more intuitive.

Obviously the full on immersion that some crave may not be the route to go. Whereas I fully expect greater immersion to open many a great door, I do feel that some doors may be better if they remain locked. The Verge article does mention the current virtual world scene :

We already have examples of “virtual worlds” like Second Life, and they’ll only get cooler with immersion. But some of the most exciting possibilities involve blending the physical world with VR. Sharing experiences will become more intense, and online research takes on a whole new meaning.

However one area that The Verge article doesn’t touch upon is who will be running the bold new worlds.

Continue reading “The Verge Asks : Can we build a virtual world?”