The U.S. Government is More Wired than Ever. But Is It Secure?

PH2008121903097 Over the past few years, the U.S. government has led the way in integrating virtual world technology in to the physical workspace.

From the Department of Energy to the Marines, government is a major consumer of cutting-edge virtual world and simulation technology. But is Uncle Sam getting too dependent on virtual platforms?

Pixels and Policy takes a look at our government's avatar addiction, and the potential downsides of the habit.

 

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China Struggles to Evolve in the Age of Online Gaming

Worldofwarcraft_chinaChina is an interesting case, a society where strict cultural censorship gives way to a vibrant community of online gamers. But this online freedom only exists up to a point, as both Google and World of Warcraft can attest.

China's educated middle and upper classes are voracious online gamers, and many are unhappy with several proposed changes to the popular Chinese online game "Legend." This caps off a tumultuous few months for a Chinese government struggling to come to terms with the emergence of virtual worlds.

Let's take a look at why some Chinese gamers are staging virtual world protests, and why the Chinese government is moving to shut down offending servers in a bid to control the potential threat of unchained protest.

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Is the Metaverse Falling Victim to Large Platform Monopolies?

6a0120a51c39be970b0120a597d2b4970b-800wi There's no denying it – despite a worldwide consumer recession and spiking unemployment, virtual worlds are still growing with impressive speed.

A report by the Virtual Goods Summit shows that purchases of virtual clothing, weapons, and accessories will top $1 billion for the first time, and will nearly double to $1.6 billion by 2010.

There's only one thing missing: competition..

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Thinking Virtually: Helping Companies Succeed in Marketing to the Metaverse

 

From Audi
digitally marketing their new electric car
to a slew of virtual
reality themed Hollywood blockbusters
, focusing on virtual worlds as a
potential revenue source is all the rage. But as companies have repeatedly shown by high-publicity failures, marketing in the virtual world is a tricky proposition.

Pixels and Policy looks at how to effectively market products to eager eyes in the Metaverse.

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Is Brazil Set to Become a Virtual World Superpower?

Brazilflagshirt China and the United States have shared dominance of the
virtual world market for years on the backs of games like Lineage and World of
Warcraft, but a new entrant may be on the horizon.
 

According
to a study by Deloitte,

rapidly industrializing Brazil is prepared to sate
its citizens’ craving for virtual worlds by expanding its commercial Metaverse
presence. Wired Brazilians are prepared to build virtual worlds that appeal to
the Latin American community.

Who’s ready for some creative destruction? 

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Media Hype Could Permanently Damage Augmented Reality

6a00d8341bf7f753ef01157203c76e970b-800wi The media appears quite smitten with augmented reality technology, the webcam-based tool that allows graphical, interactive overlays to be placed over most objects sporting a special bar code.

The problem is, excessive media hype could end up damaging augmented reality's much-needed development, turning a possibly great future product into a barely useful current one.

Let's look at why augmented reality is a promising technology almost certain to underwhelm, especially after the hype treatment heaped on its promise by the mainstream medi


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The Growth of Cybercrime and Cybercrime Prevention in Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds are no longer the backwater playgrounds of a few computer-adept programmers. They are multi-billion dollar worldwide industries spanning the fields of entertainment, communications, information technology, and increasingly law enforcement. In short, there's money to be made, and with an expansive, loosely-regulated product like virtual worlds comes the potential for cybercrime.

I wrote several months ago about how law enforcement agencies are increasingly turning to virtual world account information to provide breaks in real-world legal cases, but what about crimes committed entirely within a virtual sphere?

Several news outlets from around the world are increasingly looking at what is required to secure a profitable industry from brazen exploitation by scammers, money launderers, and cyberpirates. Regulators are calling for cybercrime task forces within physical police departments. The frontier of virtual worlds seems poised to get some new lawmen.

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Trademarking Avatars and the Future of Virtual Ownership

Aimee_weber_tm_bling

               
Aimee Weber (TM)

Back in late October I wrote about how how Second Life content creator Aimee Weber sought to have her avatar's name made into a registered trademark. Well, all legal hurdles were cleared and a bit of virtual world history made in the process. 

 

This is a natural progression of any technology that allows individuals to make profit. Many virtual worlds journalists have been predicting an "avatar singularity" – where the user creates and owns a single avatar for use in virtual worlds as far afield as Blue Mars and Everquest.

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Virtual Worlds are Reshaping How Indians and Pakistanis Think, Act and Socialize

Taj-mahal-3d-screenshot-1_reference You may not be familiar with The Hindu, India's national newspaper. I recommend it to anyone who wants to read some insightful work from an up-and-coming world power.

A fascinating article by The Hindu's reporters looks at how the technology powering virtual worlds is evolving, and how the way people communicate is evolving with it.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at why India has such an interest in virtual communication, and what their research tells us about the importance of the Metaverse across cultures.

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Could Standardizing Virtual Worlds Turn Off Consumers?

3059934552_c9b5be27d9 One of the major impediments to widespread use of virtual worlds is standardization. What virtual worlds need for mainstream success, the theory goes, is unification across platforms.

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.

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