VWFE: Spotlight on five hot new virtual worlds


This is one of the sessions at the Virtual Worlds Forum Europe that I’ve most been looking forward to: five new virtual worlds pitching their wares, or at least introducing themselves. It should be a glimpse at the next generation of virtual worlds, and a chance to see where all this is heading.

So, we start with…

1. HiPiHi (link)

It’s pronounced High-Pee-High by the way, and has been tagged as ‘the Chinese Second Life’, being based in Beijing. “Previously, there’s been no virtual world that’s really catered for the Chinese market and targeted their language barriers,” says presenter Bjorn Lee. “Our vision is to create a virtual world and virtual economy.”

VWFE: BP on how businesses can make the most of virtual worlds

joe-little.jpgIt’s the second day of the Virtual Worlds Forum Europe conference, so I’m here reporting on all the discussion and debate. There’s a fair amount of sessions on corporate and legal issues today, but also some exciting stuff on new virtual worlds, and the future. Sorry, The Future.

First up is Joe Little from BP, who’s talking about ‘evangelising virtual worlds within the corporation’. In other words, convincing your boss why he shouldn’t be scared of Second Life. Apparently BP is gearing up to make the most of the 3D Web / metaverses (they’re still deciding what term to use) next year.

VWFE: Live-blogging 'the future is blurred: social networking meets virtual worlds'

holding-hands.jpgNow this is the panel we’ve all been waiting for! Featuring Meg Pickard from The Guardian, Corey Bridges the Co-founder of The Multiverse Network, Aleks Krotoski from The Guardian Games Blog, Cory Doctorow from Boing Boing, and Giff Constable from the software business unit at the Electric Sheep company.

First question out of the gate is whether social networking sites are any different to virtual worlds. Meg Pickard claims that it’s pretty much the same thing, “they’re exploring, they’re creating, they’re dominating or trying to succeed”, and above all, engaging with other users or friends.

Aleks Krotoski, who is also doing a PhD in virtual worlds, also agrees with Meg, but says the only real difference is that social networking sites generally connects people who know each other already offline, whereas…

VWFE: Live-blogging 'From e-tail to v-business: are virtual goods an entirely new category?'

linden-dollars.jpgVirtual worlds thrive on money, after all, it’s what keeps the servers running, and the gamers happy. But how does a company create revenue, through sales of virtual goods? How can this sector continue to grow, when sites like Facebook have seen free gifts application hacks made available, so paid-for gifts are no longer necessary?

These questions, and more, are due to be asked in the upcoming panel, where the Senior Editor at Harvard Business Review, Paul Hemp, Professor Michael Hulme from the Centre for Study of Media, Technology & Culture, David Orban CEO of Questar, Mat Small, CEO and Founder of Millions of Us, and Peter Edward, Director at Home Platform Group for Sony Computer Entertainment will attempt to answer this questions.

Adam Pasick is once again moderating this panel, and asks Peter from SCEE about their virtual goods use within the Home Platform. He explains that virtual goods allow you to decorate your avatar, show your…

VWFE: Live-blogging 'In-world or off-message: what are the brand challenges in virtual worlds?'

heinekin-beer.jpgThis panel is once again moderated by Adam Pasick, Reuters Bureau Chief at Second Life, and features Daan Josephus Jitta, Direct Channels and Innovation, at ABN AMRO, and Marco van Veen, Manager, Web, Innovation & Collaboration Center, for Heineken.

Marco van Veen takes the stage first, and begins by admitting they don’t have a virtual world, however they are looking at featuring in virtual worlds, through advertising. Obviously being a beer manufacturer, he says they still have a responsibility to ensure minors aren’t targeted by their…

VWFE: Live-blogging 'Kidalicious: are kids and teenagers the future for virtual worlds?'

Ooh! Ooh! The good one we’ve all been looking forward to today. Alice Taylor, Commissioning Editor at Education at Channel 4, plus woman behind the brilliant Wonderland gamer blog, is on this panel, as is Michael Smith, the CEO and Founder of MindCandy, who are here today promoting Moshi Monsters.

Timo Soininen, CEO at Sulake and Habbo, Mark William Hansen from the Lego Universe, Mattias Mikshe, CEO of Stardoll and Marc Goodchild, Head of Interactive and On-Demand at BBC Children’s make up the rest of the panel, which is moderated by Adam Pasick, the Reuters Bureau Chief at Second Life.

Money made within games created for children is mentioned, and whether it’s worth adding a fiscal element to games. Someone on the panel argues that this is the first generation being hit with the wave of virtual games, and they’ll grow up accustomed…

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

virtual-worlds-forum-europe-thumb.jpgThe next panel in today’s Virtual Worlds Forum conference is alos 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…

VWFE: Live-blogging 'consumers or community – what's the direction for brands?'

virtual-worlds-forum-europe-thumb.jpgThe next panel opens at the Virtual World Forums Europe conference, with the moderator Wagner James Au, from New World Notes starting proceedings.

He beings by talking about Second Life, and how Armani opened an online shop within the online game, so users could deck their avatars out in actual Armani clothing. He mentions how the clothing didn’t look right on the pixellated characters, and a simple clothing boutique two users within the game created, is much more popular amongst users than the luxury fashion brand.

Betsy Book from There.com takes to the stage, who talks a bit about her community, and how they work closely with several advertisers to ensure users aren’t bombarded too much with the adverts, but they’re tailored specifically for each gamer. She shows us a video of There.com, which allows for users to access goods from interactive kiosks….