LudoCraft Pilots Virtual World Aimed at Virtual Conventions

You may not have heard of LudoCraft, a small games designer responsible for the realXtend engine, but it wants to get to know you. In fact, it wants you to throw your next industry convention or cultural expo in its open-source virtual world.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at how one company is banking on an increase in virtual business conferencing in 2010.

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PBS Frontline to Take a Deep Look at the Social and Cultural Impact of Virtual Worlds

PBS Frontline is one of the few mainstream news sources really taking a look at how virtual worlds are changing our politics, policy and culture. They've looked at everything from the rise of religious organizations in worlds like Second Life to the development of a digital-age telecommuting workforce, and each area of study has advanced the discussion on virtual worlds as a permanent fixture in our lives.

Now, on February 2nd, PBS will take a look at its broadest and most interesting topic so far. In a special event called Life on the Digital Frontier, Frontline takes a look at the many ways online interaction and virtual environments are changing our culture and social norms.

Read on to check out the program's trailer and find out more.

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ComputerWorld, Consumers, and the Uncertain Future of Augmented Reality

Ever since Augmented Reality hit the mainstream, it seems like every sector of the consumer market is rushing to develop the next major "Augmented Reality capable" technology. Eagle-eyed consumers have been bombarded with everything from pop-culture magazines rendered in augmented animation to the music industry developing interactive AR albums.

Pixels and Policy has always been wary about the proposed miracle of Augmented Reality, even as we cautiously hope for its continued development and fine-tuning. If some recent articles from across the media are any indication, our skepticism about Augmented Reality is becoming a new fad.

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Facebook Integrates Its “Credits” System into Zynga’s Vastly Profitable Games

One of Pixels and Policy's favorite discussion areas is digital integration – whether we're looking at how augmented reality is finding a niche in the music industry or how virtual currency standardization is moving much quicker than many suspected.

Facebook's recent announcement that the social gaming titan Zynga would be accepting Facebook's pay-to-play "credits" in addition to Zynga's PayPal currency transfer method went relatively unnoticed, but it could be the catalyst for more major changes in how we fund our virtual lifestyles.

Pixels and Policy investigates.

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Companies Consider Virtual Employee Standards of Conduct

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Scantily-clad waitresses may move burgers and wings at Hooters, but companies like IBM are less than pleased to find employees involved in virtual worlds dressing in bondage gear and digital phalluses.

A recent press release from industry research firm Gartner, Inc. sheds some light on the obvious reasons why big business might not want its employees' virtual representations dancing around in a Department of Energy-themed ballgag:

As the use of virtual environments for business purposes grows, enterprises need to understand how employees are using avatars in ways that might affect the enterprise or the enterprise’s reputation

We covered the possible professional conflicts of real-world workers indulging in virtual fantasy last week. In light of the Gartner report, this controversial issue deserves a closer look.

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Onverse Challenges Old Impressions of the Metaverse

Square With all the virtual platforms coming online lately, is
there anything new under the sun? Do we really need more virtual dance clubs?  

The next big virtual world will scale Second Life Mountain
not on the strength of its dance clubs, but based on interactivity and social
networking. One game in particular mixes these strengths well.
 

Pixels and Policy guest-blogger Bruce Lehmann investigates Onverse,
a new online world now in Beta, and asks the question: What are players looking
for in a new world?
 

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Virtual World Growth is Slowing Down. That’s Not a Bad Thing.

Gold Like most creations in the fast-growing tech industry, virtual worlds have enjoyed stellar growth and profitability figures over the past few years. Some virtual economies have even doubled in size year-over-year, feeding hype that virtual technology may soon replace many aspects of our lives.

But as one magazine reports, profitability is slowing and growth figures are relaxing. Should this lead to disillusionment about virtual worlds?

Of course not – as Pixels and Policy reports, virtual worlds are just moving into the next phase of a successful transformation from techie novelty to everyday reality.

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Virtual Voices: Why Americans Need Online Voting

Pict_20090210PHT48991We’ve talked about how campaigns are changing to accommodate
both
a virtual presence
in games like Second Life and a real-world campaign
office.

We’ve talked about how government is increasingly involving itself in
virtual worlds as cheap, effective means of spreading information.

But what about the voter? When does the ballot box move online? Pixels and Policy explores the technological problems and hard work needed to bring online voting to America.

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Developers Should Open Virtual Goods Markets

Gamestop-sign We recently wrote that developers were fighting a failing battle by trying to restrict secondary virtual goods markets through tools such as account banning and eliminating in-game trade.

Now an article published by the CIOL Network seems to agree: Fighting the market in in-game goods will not only ruin the experience for honest players, it won't work.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at what CIOL recommends, and whether or not their recommendation could soon come true.

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Retail Outlets Jump Into the iPhone’s Augmented Reality

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Helping you find your latté

On the off chance you've ever had trouble finding a Starbucks – perhaps somewhere in the middle of Death Valley – now you can point your iPhone down the street and get instant directions to the nearest $5 cup of coffee.

Papa John's Pizza is also getting in on the augmented reality fun through a lucrative sponsorship of the iPhone's latest augmented offering: WorldSurfer by GeoVector.

Point your iPhone in any direction, so the idea goes, and the built in GPS will tell you where the nearest undercooked slice of dough is.

GeoVector and other augmented reality companies are making a lot of dough by catering to Big Pizza. Find out why augmented reality will make sating your lust for chicken wings easier than ever before.

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