Want Virtual Worlds to Take Off? Simplify the Controls.

Controls

                        
Is that a Wiimote?


We just got finished reading a
well-researched and optimistic piece of Metaverse research by Shellie Karabell of the INSEAD Business School.

In his study, Karaball notes half a dozen reasons to be optimistic about the Metaverse over the next few years. But he also makes note of a major stumbling block to the wide adoption of virtual worlds without fully appreciating its importance:

For many curious potential users, logging in is easy. It's getting around that drives them away.

Continue reading Want Virtual Worlds to Take Off? Simplify the Controls.

2009 in Review: Virtual Worlds Take Over Hollywood

As James Cameron's 3D epic Avatar surpasses record after record for a newly-released film, many in Hollywood are looking for the next big film. A few years ago it was teen wizards. Last summer it was sparkling vampires.

2009 may well be known as the year virtual worlds got their big-screen endorsement.

Pixels and Policy looks back at how three major films explored virtual reality and attracted new converts to the world of interactive synthetic environments.

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2009 in Review: How Microtransactions and User-Created Virtual Markets Reshaped Business

Zynga_0 As we close out a rocky, recession-plagued 2009, many of the real-world companies we thought indestructible last January are no longer with us. But in the virtual world, business is booming.

Pixels and Policy takes a look back at one of the biggest developments of 2009 – how a few small social gaming houses became industry titans by harnessing the power of microtransactions.

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Audi Markets Real Car Through Virtual Test Drives

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Audi's electric R8: very very virtual

The old stereotype of the slick-haired, cheap-suited car dealer may be coming to an end, if German carmaker Audi has anything to say about it.

That's because this clever Volkswagen subsidiary is marketing their new electric Audi R8 by letting online gamers test drive it in a fantasy racing game.

Pixels and Policy investigates.

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Politicians Stump for Elusive Virtual Votes

Secondlife-obamaBarack Obama spent nearly $800 million pursuing the White
House in 2008
. Over half of that was media spending:
Television, direct mail, rallies, and internet infrastructure, including a virtual Second Life headquarters.

Compared to his expansive broadcast media strategy, Obama's foray into virtual worlds hardly ranks.

Yet the campaign's tiny investment in a corner of the Metaverse will make a big difference in 2012, when politicians begin to integrate virtual worlds into official campaign strategy.

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Army Veteran Builds Virtual Support Center for Army Families

Army-second-life You'd think after three successful decades working with the military, Jaque Davison would welcome retirement.

You'd think years watching the human cost of a professional Army would make anyone welcome a break.

As Pixels and Policy reports, Jaque Davison didn't retire from the Army to sit around. He built a virtual world to provide much-needed support to the families of men and women sent overseas.

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Pooky Amsterdam on 5 Reasons to Use Second Life as a Media Platform

Today's guest post is from the Second Life media guru and Treet.tv staple Pooky Amsterdam. In her post, Amsterdam argues for the expanded use of Second Life as a platform for ambitious virtual media operations.

Amsterdam, who needs no introduction, is the host of Second Life's "The 1st Question," a machinima producer, and an advocate of machinima and Second Life as emergent platforms for engaging both business and entertainment.

2nd_Quest-_Pooky_2_b Filming a live broadcast program for the internet where people can log
in from all over the world and participate is riskier than Formula 1
race car driving, so agreed Richard Bartle, the father of the MUD.

It
is very rewarding, and I am breaking the virtual ceiling with it, as my
show every Tuesday night, The 1st Question attests. It is an
increasingly popular weekly phenomenon.

Giving people rewards for
engagement is a trend likely to continue as you win peoples hearts and
minds when you give them something palpable to play with and of course
watch.I am also on the forefront of real time Multi User Virtual
Environment (MUVE) entertainment, and my company PookyMedia is award
winning for the machinima (Cinema done on machine) we produce.

Continue reading below the fold!

Continue reading Pooky Amsterdam on 5 Reasons to Use Second Life as a Media Platform

China Bans All Foreign Investment in its Virtual Worlds

Gold-farming-china-wow7go-530 This morning's policy report is a depressing follow-up to our recent story on how Brazil is aiming to join the ranks of major virtual world hubs.

China's General Administration of Press and Publication, the state's official video game regulatory body, announced today its intent to bar all foreign investment and partnership in Chinese virtual worlds and online games.

It appears Chinese gamers will be seeing Red for the forseeable future.

Continue reading China Bans All Foreign Investment in its Virtual Worlds

Virtual Flirting Responsible for 20% of Divorces, Law Firm Argues

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The worldwide spread of social media has distinct pros and cons, and increased communication between divergent groups is most often labeled as a major benefit. Now one law firm reports that too MUCH communication – often flirtatious communiques between married people and old flames – is causing a spike in divorce petitions.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at some great analysis on the subject and asks whether we're entering into a brave new world where privacy just ain't what they used to be.

Continue reading Virtual Flirting Responsible for 20% of Divorces, Law Firm Argues

How Online Gaming is Changing Parenting

Like me, a huge percentage of people exposed to games as children are still playing. The average age of a gamer is 35 – a generation ahead of mine. So it makes sense that Cecil Adkins of The Examiner would ask, "What happens when two gamers form a family?" From his thought-provoking article:

If you're a parent and you spend a lot of time playing MMOs, your child will inevitably become interested in them Children and MMOsas well.

There is a lot to be said about balancing quality time with your family with work and an active MMO life so that your kids don't feel neglected…So how do you handle it when your little tyke decides he or she wants to get involved in online gaming?

Is there a way to merge the demands of an avatar in a fantasy-based MMORPG like World of Warcraft with the real-world demand for parental involvement in a child's life? Does the spouse of ten years trump the Sword of Ten Thousand Nights?

Continue reading How Online Gaming is Changing Parenting