VWFE: Live-blogging 'Conversation: convergence and mobile in the digital age'

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virtual-worlds-forum-europe-thumb.jpgThe next panel in today’s Virtual Worlds Forum conference is also moderated by Wagner James Au from New World Notes, who once again opens proceedings by describing how easy keeping up to date with online actions is now mobile phone use is so predominant.

“Integrating mobile phones with virtual worlds is so important”, he claims, and asks Rob Seaver, CEO of Vivox, a VoIP technology that works wirth virtual worlds, to take the podium.

They’ve worked with Second Life and Electric Sheep to allow users to chat to each other – perfect for discovering whether that blue furry elf really is the hot minx she makes herself out to be.

It’s not just the convergence with mobile phones which virtual worlds have seen, as an episode of CSI tonight shows a link-up with Electric Sheep which will expand over the next few months.

The Director for Brand Strategy and Manifestation at Vodafone, David Erixon, talks of their partnership with virtual worlds, such as Second Life, which we wrote about earlier in the month. Vodafone Inside Out allows users call and SMS other users within the game, using actual handsets available on the Vodafone network.

A short video is shown to the audience, displaying how easy it is to make and receive calls between users of Second Life, with safety being a key point, as the user’s real world phone number is never shared in the exchange.

Joakim Achren, CEO of IronStar Helsinki, takes over from Erixon. They’ve created a sort of Tamagotchi-type character for mobile phones, MoiPal, where users have to care for the character on their mobile phone. He speaks at great length about the features of the MoiPal game, to the point where it feels like we’re being canvassed.

The audience starts to ask questions of the panel members, with one chap asking about security in VoIP technology in virtual games. Erixon answers the question, and claims they’re very careful with authenticating users for using the VoIP function within Second Life. There’s been many virtual handsets given to users in the game from Second Life, with around 10,000 users signing up to Vodafone’s Inside Out offerings.

One thing the audience has definitely had drummed into them during this panel is the huge importance mobile phones play in the ongoing support of virtual worlds. Mobile gaming is a huge industry, and the more online virtual worlds who harness the additional support mobiles can give users, the better for the company, really.

Katherine Hannaford