Forthcoming Second Life movie will inevitably be awful


Variety is reporting that director Gore Verbinski is working on a film about virtual world Second Life. Universal Pictures will be releasing it, and it’ll be based on this article from the Wall St Journal in 2007.

I’m worried. Worried in the same way that I was worried when I saw Twister, and The Day After Tomorrow. Worried because Hollywood has a tradition of aggressively reinforcing stereotypes, mercilessly mocking what it sees as ‘geeks’, and bending the truth to fit what middle America wants to happen.

Google kills its 'lively' virtual world


Google has, this morning, taken the rare step of closing down one of the services that it runs. It’s ‘Lively’ virtual world was launched earlier this year, but recently it’s been anything but lively, with extremely low visitor numbers compared to its competitors like Second Life.

Google is recommending that anyone who’s created anything that they desperately want to keep should take some screenshots and capture video of their creations before they’re rendered inaccessible at the end of December. All team members assigned to the project will be moved elsewhere.

It’s a pity but Google’s foray into virtual worlds was, at the time, seen as a bit of a strange move. This shuttering is to be expected, considering the low population in the world, and the lack of synergy with any of Google’s other offerings. Right now, Google’s got more important things to focus on.

Lively (via the Official Google Blog)

Related posts: Google makes good on virtual world promises, launches Lively | World of Warcraft hits 11 million active subscribers worldwide

Sussex University replicates itself in Second Life


It’s all been a bit quiet on Second Life news recently (you know how much we love Facebook these days). The rush of companies and organisations setting up shop in the virtual world may have died down, but Sussex University has decided to build a presence there.

The “island” looks like the real campus, and visitors can go to the library, attend online seminars, or visit the Students’ Union…

Virtual Worlds Week: CSI:NY going live in Second Life

The latest example of the crossover between virtual worlds and television comes in a new project around forensic investigation show CSI:NY, thanks to a partnership between CBS and Second Life.

This Wednesday, an episode of the show will air in which the CSI team end up chasing a killer's avatar in Second Life. Once the show's finished, fans will be able to explore a dedicated CSI:NY zone within Second Life, playing mini-games and doing some detection of their own.

Virtual Worlds Week: Five companies who SHOULD launch virtual worlds


The metaverse is an increasingly crowded place, given the number of startups keen to take a slice of Second Life’s hype and revenues. We’ll be profiling some of the main rivals later this week, as well as taking a look at the hot young guns showing their worlds off at the Virtual Worlds Forum Europe conference.

But what about companies who should be launching their own virtual worlds, but haven’t yet? I’ve had a think, and come up with five firms for whom it’d make sense to go virtual. Starting with…

Is Google planning to launch its own virtual world?


Okay, so Google already has a virtual world: it’s called Google Earth. But I’m talking a Second Life style virtual world, with avatars and community features and big furry-penised love machines all over the shop. Well, maybe not that last one.

The rumour’s come from Arizona State University, where students have been asked to sign up to beta test a new product from “a major internet company”, with the signup form mentioning 3D modelling, gaming and avatars, and asking specifically if they have a Gmail account. The university has strong ties with Google in other areas.

Forget Second Life: Metaplace lets you make your OWN virtual world

metaplace.jpgNow this is seriously cool. Metaplace is a new online service that lets you create your own virtual world in just 30 seconds, then embed it on your blog or social networking profile.

There’s a slick graphical user interface for regular users to get their 3D environment up and running, while programming whizzes can get stuck in to actual coding to create and customise their world. The service claims to be platform-agnostic, so its worlds should be able to run on PCs, games consoles and mobile phones.

Rumour: PS3 Home virtual world set for 11th October launch


Sony’s Home virtual world is still one of the more intriguing aspects of PS3, in that it could turn out to be a monster success or an utter flop. Which in my view makes it a brave and laudable thing to launch. Not that it’s launched yet: Home is still in beta.

However, Sony’s latest release dates announcement has Home pegged in for a “tentative” release date of 11th October on the PlayStation Network. The beta must have gone well, because that fits in with Sony’s original roadmap for its virtual world.