Study Shows Virtual Therapy Outperforms Real-World Shrinks

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Could virtual worlds be used to provide therapy to those who lack access to a real-world practitioner?

That's the premise of a recent article outlining the multiple ways virtual worlds could provide essential mental health services to more patients than ever before. But what about the possible caveats of virtual head-games?

Pixels and Policy takes a look at the compelling academic studies of just how effective virtual world psychotherapy really is. 

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What Happens to my Virtual Stuff When I Die?

Funeral_004_500 Following up its Fashion Section puff piece on designer shoes in the virtual world, The New York Times takes a more nuanced look at some of the legal questions the Metaverse creates. We're taking credit for provoking the story, of course.

Chief among them: What happens to my virtual empire when I die?

As NYT's Chris Nicholson explains, that's a question with no definite answer.

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Are Virtual Worlds Enhancing or Destroying Our Sense of Self?

Secondlife_main_485 It's rare that I stumble on a piece of writing that makes me immediately hit the "Share This Story!" button, but a research piece sent in by one of our readers has me excited.

Bob Lloyd, a multi-degreed former techie with a knack for the pen, recently wrote a piece for BlogCritic where he asked whether online worlds were replacing our sense of self with an amorphous nothingness.

Pixels and Policy breaks down Lloyd's research and asks: Are virtual worlds making us into little more than an ever-changing combination of groups and avatar masks?

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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!

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Virtual Tourists Show Little Interest in U.S. Government Sims

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        The DoE's island is impressive, but empty.

Until recently, the Department of Energy''s involvement in Second Life has been limited to
hosting a speaker through the University of Delaware's Second Life
lecture series,"Global Agenda." This attracted a few dozen avatars, some of whom even stayed through the entire speech.

Fascination with virtual worlds, especially Second Life, has led several government agencies to construct outreach and public education centers in the Metaverse.

Now, after several years of concerted development, these virtual temples to the Department of Energy and the NOAA sit mostly unused, victims of what one tourist calls "the big empty."

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Why Virtual Gamblers Beat the Feds, the Developers, and the Law

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Virtual gambling never really went away

In the virtual world, bondage
enthusiasts
frequent the same nightclubs as conservative
Pakistanis
and Republican political
candidates

. Amidst this digital sea of acceptance, one thing is strictly
taboo: online gambling.
 

After the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling
Enforcement Act in late 2006, virtual worlds like Second
Life closed the books
on what had been a lucrative career for a few aspiring
online Trumps.
 

Or did they? As Pixels and Policy found out in a recent trip
to the virtual worlds of EVE Online,
Second Life, and Evony, illicit wagering
has found a way around the power of Congress and developers.

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Should We Preserve Important Virtual Creations?

Helm02 Virtual worlds are drawing in millions of new users, many of whom have no connection to their adopted world's original launch.

Is it worth the effort to preserve the history of virtual worlds for those who arrive late?

The Metaverse is an ethereal beast, with entire worlds flitting in and out of existence. Pixels and Policy looks at whether developers should make an effort to preserve especially important constructions for the historical record.

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Linden Lab Reforms Intellectual Property Protection Standards

Dmca As the heat from Eros LLC's lawsuit against Linden Lab ratchets up, the Lindens may be laying the groundwork for a possible negotiated settlement by giving Eros one of its main asks.

Will Linden Lab's tougher stand on intellectual property protections and speedier IP infringement reporting solve its legal woes?

Pixels and Policy takes a look at what recent announcements by Linden Lab mean for the future of content creation in Second Life, and why residents will learn to live with slightly restricted creation regulations.

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Second Life Enterprise Provides Huge Step Forward for Virtual Business

Secondlife_logo_qjpreviewth Linden Lab took a huge step forward in the growing market for virtual collaboration and business telecommuting with its announcement that companies could now purchase business-grade Second Life software.

Organizations as far-flung as IBM and the Navy are in on the new software, which also has an upscaled security and authentication process and the ability to protect sensitive company information, launches Linden Lab into all new forms of virtual interaction.

Pixels and Policy investigates what Second Life Enterprise means for the virtual business industry.

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Homeland Security Plans Virtual World Terror Attack Simulators

6a00d8341c4df253ef00e54f6667bd8833-800wi The next major threat to American homeland security could come in the form of a virtual simulation if the Department of Homeland Security follows through on a recently announced plan.

DHS, the government department responsible for protecting Americans from terrorism and major disasters at home, has expressed a deep interest in using virtual worlds to train first responders and disaster management officials.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at the proposed program below.

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