One article argues that this means the ability to carry one avatar between worlds.
Pixels and Policy takes a look at why consumers may not stomach the shift.
Hosting Across Realities
From the article:
Australia’s DeepThink Pty Ltd. has launched an OpenSim hosting company, founder Adam Frisby announced today.
The new hosting company — SimHost — is a joint venture between DeepThink and James Stallings, who has been an OSgrid admin for nearly two years, with experience in maintaining and operating OpenSim-based worlds.
Price start at about $50 per region, with a $190 for a dedicated server that can hold up to 16 regions.
In a few words, DeepThink provides the space for virtual worlds while linking them with every other virtual world they host. The prices for monthly upkeep vary by size, anywhere from $25 to $495 a month for "heavy scripting" in a large world – but this is still more reasonable than Second Life's current cost structure for a private island, AND you retain access to every other business world hosted by DeepThink.
Of course, with Second Life you're paying for the premium of over 600,000 active accounts. Opening a region with DeepThink entails starting from scratch. But companies are willing to start from scratch, if the buzz surrounding Second Life Enterprise is any indication.
Carrying one business avatar across worlds remains a long-term goal of developers, though reader response to our piece encouraging one cross-world avatar was markedly less enthusiastic. The deeper we looked, though, the more we found that tepid consumer support was just the first of several major pitfalls to world standardization.
Reader opinion remained consistent that maintaining one persistent avatar cut down on the fun of character development and experience in a virtual world, and risked creating too much of a "corporatist" feel across the Metaverse. Lalo Telling authored a wonderful post outlining her concerns about moving through the virtual world with only one skin.
Players suspicious of the monetization of virtual environments into little more than corporate-backed shops feel the resulting single avatar would unfairly restrict creativity and world enjoyment.But what about the benefits of having one's real life linked to one avatar? As it turns out, there isn't much consumer call for that, either.
Avatars allow for anonymity and unrestricted creation. A player can be anyone they choose to be, though character creation tends to conform to both societal gender norms and racial preferences. Linking the choices made by an avatar to a real-world user opens up not only privacy concerns, but identity theft issues.
These are serious development issues, and world developers would do well to consider them carefully before moving down a path not supported by their player base.