IBM, free movement between metworlds
In the not too distant future, a click could be enough to fly across the snowy expanses of World of Warcraft astride a hippogriff, to the synthetic basilica of Assisi on Second Life, to resume flight and land in your hangar near the wild planet Calypso from Entropia Universe. Of course, not before picking up some IMVU credit for the Chinese instant messaging service at the counter of Anshe Chung’s bank, a controversial real estate developer in the worlds.
Promote the free movement of goods and avatars in view of new business models and even more ambitious goals: this is the renewed goal of the mind of Second Life Linden Lab and IBM, already engaged at the forefront of the metamondo, gathered in the autumn edition of Virtual Worlds, an event that involves representatives of more than thirty virtual worlds and MMORPG platforms.
Different worlds from each other, populated by variegated communities and animated by dissonant philosophies, however, where business opportunities are emerging more and more clearly, whatever the critics say. Virtual worlds of pixels, in fact, have racked up in the past year investments for a billion dollars . even Google, often a thermometer of the trends of the Internet, seems interested in the bet. In-game and non-game credit cards then appeared, while in Second Life ideas are refined and collateral services begin to develop that suggest the possibility of success.
A turnover that, with the integration of the meta-worlds, could multiply excessively, if only one thinks of the laws of Metcalfe and Reed, and how the increase in connections between people nodes of social networks corresponds to a disproportionate increase in value of the networks of which they are part. This is the intent that moves Linden Lab and IBM in the idea of develop interoperable and integrated virtual worlds worlds in which universal avatars are free to roam from one platform to another, attracted by localized services in Second Life, rather than by activities promoted by the WoW guilds.
The waterproof virtual worlds, explains Reuters, need a useless one multiplication of efforts by users whose presence is discouraged by the cognitive effort to be employed to build avatars and manage infinite parallel existences.
Non-communicating virtual worlds, IBM vice president of digital convergence Colin Parris warns on the Financial Times, represent a an obstacle also for business operators which to ensure a pervasive presence on an increasingly lively metamarket would have to build synthetic offices and manage services on each of the platforms, with the workload that this entails.
Everything would be simpler and more inviting in the case of a open system which can frame as many subsystems as there will be meta-worlds willing to join shared standards . How to act? Parris suggests a preliminary study that identifies the needs of ordinary users and business users to turn them into use scenarios that connect the universes of pixels online. Only later will we proceed to address the technical issues related to the interaction between the metworlds, issues that, moreover, Linden Lab has already taken into consideration, releasing the source code of the Second Life client.
In Parris’s opinion, it is therefore necessary to put aside the issues of interest that bind each metworld to a proprietary standard: the collaboration in developing transferable avatars with a universal passport, in managing databases of users and secure transactions will be fruitful for all and will allow also collect the investments of the mainstream industry, attracted to one user base multiplied in number and exploded in
value . An opinion shared by Ginsu Yoon, vice president of the business area of Linden Lab, who believes the time has come to work to promote open standards, the pick for massive global development, as it has been for the protocols on which the Web is based. .
Protocols that now allow fluid movement in global hypertext, protocols that, IBM explained, up until a few years ago supported an intriguing but still mysterious reality, on which few dared to bet.
Now that the Web is an established reality, it is time for IBM to invest in a new futuristic and imaginative perspective: the integration of metworlds and the creation of profitable business models could lead to the 3D Internet, a pervasive, achievable environment of interaction. however, only with the cooperation of all the players in the system.