Friday, October 13, 2006

Second Life

Second Life: If I'm honest, I just don't get it.

I first learned of Linden Labs 3D Virtual World when I was drinking with the stragglers who told me risque anecdotes about it after the Howard Rheingold dinner recently. I was intrigued enough to try it out over that weekend, but a Eureka moment eluded me.

Momentum continues to build. According to The Economist:
Publishers now organise book launches and readings in Second Life. The BBC has rented an island, where it holds music festivals and parties. Sun Microsystems is preparing to hold in-world press conferences, featuring avatars of its top executives. Wells Fargo, an American bank, has built a branded “Stagecoach” island, where avatars can pull Linden dollars out of a virtual cash machine and learn about personal finance. Starwood, a hotel and resort chain, is unveiling one of its new hotels in the virtual world.
Toyota is the first carmaker to enter Second Life. It has been giving away free virtual vehicles of its Scion brand and, in October, will start selling all three Scion models. The price will be modest, says Adrian Si, the marketing manager at Toyota behind the project. Toyota really hopes that an “aftermarket” develops as avatars customise their cars and sell them on, thus spreading the brand “virally”.

It sounds absurd, but is it fundamentally different from the Lego Star Wars II XBOX 360 game that I am enjoying so much in tandem with my six year old?

As well as holding press conferences in Second Life, Sun Microsystems is also rattling cages by seeking permission from the SEC to disclose news about Sun Microsystems on the technology company's web site and on the CEO's blog without running afoul of Regulation Fair Disclosure.

Here's the text of the letter.

Sometimes I think that things are changing too fast even for me.

I wish I had enough money to retire and devote myself to claret and Elgar.

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