The virtual worlds of the future will be built on LIES

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gary%20and%20sonic%20200.JPGGary Cutlack writes…

There’s a particularly infuriating story up on The Register at the moment, in which virtual world ‘visionaries’ make things up about the future.

Some man reckons that within ten years, something a bit like Second Life will “dwarf the web” and offer an experience that requires “hundreds of millions” of computers to keep it running.

Now I know people like these tend to come out with ludicrous statements specifically for people like me get angry about, ridicule and get them loads of publicity, but crikey. What a sensational display of nonsense.

But that wasn’t even the stupidest argument – it gets worse.

Craig Sherman, CEO of Gaia Online, even stooped as far as using the old “Hollywood graphics” lie. Craig said, “You’ll see the kinda stuff that Transformers is doing today” in your Second Life clone within two to three years – but only in Craig’s INSANE FANTASY WORLD.

We can quite clearly and with confidence tell you that you won’t see Transformers-level effects in some Second Life clone in two or three years, not even if you buy a new graphics card and get an upgrade to Windows Vista for Christmas. The only way you’ll see “Hollywood graphics” in your house is if you’re watching Toy Story on telly.

For the last 20 years, game companies have been literally lying through their mouths about the level of graphics we’ll be seeing in their next products. Nintendo told us we’d see “Jurassic Park” level graphics on our N64s for god’s sake, and every new piece of hardware is accompanied by a vast collection of similar lies about what it’s going to be capable of. And these online world creators are equally guilty of padding their parts.

How are virtual worlds like Second Life going to grow any way? My dad’s a bit busy in the garden and mum’s still just about managing to get AOL connecting. Surely they’ve already reach geek saturation point?

As far as I can tell, the only people in the Second Life world are bloggers, media luvvies and marketing people trying to work out how the hell to make some money from it all.

Gary Cutlack