Why Do Government Islands Frequently Fail?


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Lots of cool info, few interested avatars

NIC Inc
. is best known as the company
behind dozens of state government websites. You know those countless
labyrinthine portals you click through to pay your speeding ticket online?
Thank NIC. 


As it
turns out, NIC decided to expand its business by promoting its e-government
solutions through an expansive and beautiful Second Life island.
 

The
only problem? No one seems interested in discussing government IT solutions
when there’s a dance party only a teleport away. We spoke with NASA’s Learning
Technology Project Manager and Second Lifer Greyark Hightower about why so many
government islands are isolated museums. 

Continue reading Why Do Government Islands Frequently Fail?

Touring the Corporate Graveyards of Second Life

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     Cisco's virtual hospital is a spooky wasteland.

In the spirit of Halloween, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the corporate ghost towns scattered across the fickle landscape of Second Life.

InfoWorld did a great write-up on the history of corporate failure in the Metaverse, and one thing is certain: Large or small, tech or apparel, Second Life has swallowed up some of the best companies the real-world has to offer.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at why so many companies are failing in the Metaverse, and why the U.S. government is the newest body in the graveyard of corporate hopes.

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New York Times Report on Virtual Worlds Totally Misses the Point

Chainedpromo Ruth La Ferla of the New York Times published an extensive write-up yesterday all about how virtual fashion is surviving and thriving in the recession, clocking in at over 1,400 words.

It's a real shame that La Ferla failed to cover any real news in her story. At least she succeeded in inflating the estimated earnings of virtual worlds from the currently-accepted $1 billion mark to a totally unscientific, Bear-Stearns-in-the-sky estimate of $2 billion.

Pixels and Policy explains why La Ferla's article does nothing to advance the cause of virtual worlds, and quite a bit to hold it back.

Continue reading New York Times Report on Virtual Worlds Totally Misses the Point

Can Virtual Worlds Promote Social Activism?

Haiti If you're one of FarmVille's 60 million active players, you've probably seen the option to invest your farm bucks into some truly special sprouts.

Zynga, the owner of addictive Facebook games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars, launched the "Sweet Seeds for Haiti" with the goal of lifting hundreds of impoverished Haitian families from destitution. It may just be working.

By channeling the power of its hundreds of millions of active players across multiple browser-based games, Zynga hopes to be the first major success story in the field of "virtual awareness." Pixels and Policy investigates.

Continue reading Can Virtual Worlds Promote Social Activism?

Burning Life, Taunter Goodnight, and the Rise of Virtual Musicians

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Taunter Goodnight rocks the house at Burning Life on October 19th

Seven years ago, Linden Lab got the clever idea to host a digital tribute to California's famous Burning Man festival. Second Life's 2009 Burning Life festival pays tribute to the same themes as its spiritual father: unbridled creativity, shared culture, and entertainment.

Just ask Taunter Goodnight, a Second Life musician whose hour-long Burning Life set inspired raucous audience participation and more than a few donations. She wasn't the only performer raking it in yesterday.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at why Burning Life and performers like Taunter mark the rise of virtual music.

Continue reading Burning Life, Taunter Goodnight, and the Rise of Virtual Musicians

The Virtual World in 2015: Our Readers’ Predictions

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Could holodecks be in our future?

In the Pixels and Policy Sunday Edition, we asked readers what they thought the virtual world would look like in 2015.

We received some great comments, e-mails, and Facebook messages with a variety of visions for the future.

Industry news source Tech News World is also looking at the future of computing and the Metaverse, so Pixels and Policy compared notes and made this outline of what our readers think the next big step will be in virtual technology

Continue reading The Virtual World in 2015: Our Readers’ Predictions

Where Do You See Virtual Worlds in 5 Years?

Url 10 years ago, Ultima Online hit the mainstream and ushered hundreds of thousands of fantasy-seekers into online gaming.

The Metaverse has expanded by leaps and bounds since then, evolving from rigid fantasy worlds to boundless virtual communities with applications in education, international business, government, and medicine.

Pixels and Policy wants to know: Where do you see virtual worlds in 5 years? Will increasing technology allow virtual worlds to exist around us at all times? Will we be voting for our Senators online?

Share your thoughts in our comment section, and we'll post some of the best for the Monday P.M. edition of Pixels and Policy!

Misguided Headline of the Week: Second Life Economy “Too Big to Fail?”

Gink4_wideweb__470x341,0 Miranda Marquit of the science and tech website PhysOrg asks us whether virtual world economies like Second Life are "too big to fail." Pixels and Policy wonders if the patchwork economy of Second Life might be too ethereal to expand.

Enthralled by Ms. Marquit's seeming comparison of Second Life to the major banks and lenders bailed out by the United States last year, we did a bit of investigative work on just how solid the economy of second life truly is.

Turns out the virtual grass isn't as green as imagined.

Continue reading Misguided Headline of the Week: Second Life Economy “Too Big to Fail?”

Number of Colleges Offering Degrees in Online Worlds Skyrockets

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          Students can build their own classrooms

Pixels and Policy has one more sign that virtual worlds and the development of online environments are more than just passing fads.

An article published in today's Kansas City Star points out that over 250 colleges have added degree programs in online gaming and virtual worlds, with specialties ranging from content creation to graphic design and persistent world programming.

The Star also reports that colleges investing heavily in virtual world technology are already reaping the enrollment dividends. Read on to find out why it's a good time to be a nerd.

Continue reading Number of Colleges Offering Degrees in Online Worlds Skyrockets

Zak Claxton and the Business of Music in the Metaverse

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Zak Claxton: Live in Second Life

Could major radio stations soon be playing the music of artists best known for their Second Life avatars?

If one well-known Metaverse rocker has his way, the tunes that have players lining up in the virtual world will soon find their way into a real-world album release.

Zak Claxton is a big deal in Second Life. His live music performances and audience-pleasing style have over the years grown into a true fan following. So when Claxton had to decide whether to release his first real-world album using his real name or the Claxton nomme de Metaverse, the choice was easy.

Pixels and Policy spoke with Claxton to find out why virtual music is bringing him real recognition.

Continue reading Zak Claxton and the Business of Music in the Metaverse