March 10, 2007 |
Could we be witnessing Web 3.0 and not even know it? Virtual worlds exist all around us, yet we really do not think of them in that way. I remember playing a game called Counterstrike, where thousands, even millions of people acted out their Terrorist or Counter-Terrorist fantasies every night, and still do. The advent of MMO's (Massive Multiplayer Online games) like Warcraft has been under our radar in the Web 2.0 world to an extent.
In fact gaming in general is not often synonymous with Web community, but in a real sense these games have played a crucial part in the development of the Internet. It could be argued that online gaming helped the Internet stay alive after the dot-coms failed in the late 90's.
Enter Second Life. This has been the introduction (and a popular one) of traditional business on to a 3D world, just as in an MMO! Huge money is being diverted into the arena in an effort to emulate WoW, and mass media sees this game as business insertion model that will make TV extinct according to a BBC article by Darren Waters today. Experts at the GDC in San Francisco point out that traditional media is spending unbelievable sums of what the article calls "dumb money" to emulate MMO's.
"We are going to have so many failures it is going to be unbelievable," said Mark Jacobs of Electronic Arts.
These same experts predicted that MMO's like Second Life would be common in the short term. Jacob, who is currently working on Warhammer Online, predicted that the landscape would be littered with corpses of failed ventures fighting for the top spots in the new realm (His terminology indicates too much time in Warhammer).
"There is so much dumb money. Mass media is coming in and saying we want to be just like WoW."
Viacom has launched 3 MMO's already without much of a stir. MMO's are one of the most popular forms of gaming on the planet. The experts at the conference also predicted that it will soon become difficult to tell an MMO from any of the other virtual worlds.
I will have to say, wish I had tied on my light saber when I went into Second life, as a few people really got in the way. If I can draw a parallel, about 5 years ago a massive (for the time) multi-player game called Return to Castle Wolfenstein was being played widely, and heralded as the Online Game of the Year! It is as obsolete now as Windows 95! I think the same holds true for MMO's like Second life (not a true MMO), in that this version is simply a test case for a much more intricate and usable version to come. Like the aforementioned innovations, in 5 years "Third Life" may depict a virtual reality we cannot envision now.
I can't help but get the sensation of someone pushing when I read all the hype about these developments. Maybe I am getting paranoid, but I am hearing rumors from every corner of the Web having to do with Second Life. I guess all that "silly" money does not intend to leave much to chance? I am about to reenter the matrix of Second Life for a friend, and will report any fiendish plots that I notice!