Emergent Service Industry

Singapore played host to the fifth annual State of Play Conference on Law and Virtual Worlds. This years theme was Building the Global Metaverse. The choice of location was entirely appropriate given the emergent service industry tooling up around the region in preparation for the mainstreaming of Virtual Worlds.

David Adams piece in The Age showcases some Australian entrepreneurs who are carving out niches for themselves within Second Life and Entropia. Looking beyond Davids misreading of the Second Life stats page (reporting turnover of 12.5m Linden dollars during July – it was 12.5m resident transactions) it was interesting to see him mention Dotman World.

Mitch Wagner has written a good primer for businesses considering entering Second Life. In light of the recent love-hate coverage Second Life has received of late it is a timely piece written from the perspective of both a knowledgeable resident and reporter.

One organization who continues to pioneer and experiment with Virtual Worlds is IBM. Its Second Life Business Center, which launched back in May 15th 2007, has attracted 10,000 visitors over the interim. Based on its successful launch IBM announced that it would now be staffed 24/7 Monday through Friday providing global coverage.

Fun with Fundamentals

According to a 2007 survey by the eLearning Guild, which polled nearly 1,500 of its members, from large and small companies throughout the U.S., 38% of insurance companies are investigating using games for work. In finance, accounting, and banking, that figure was above 50%.

Business Week has a special report titled The Power of Gaming which is recommended reading. It showcases how businesses such as McKinsey, Johnson & Johnson, Sears and Royal Philips Electronics are currently using gaming as recruitment, training and collaboration tools. Market research which previously took cool hunters a year to compile is now readily available in real time globally. Many of the tools we have seen todate are remarkably primitive relative to some of the offerings coming to market over the next 18 months.

Whole new industries are being created by a handful of designers and developers who stepped outside of their respective comfort zones within the gaming and entertainment industries. They are taking advantage of the ever increasing number of platforms becoming both accessible and affordable. Some were present at the fifth annual Edinburgh Interactive Festival whose theme this year was Expanding the Creative Culture of Games. For those interested Andrew Doull did a great job in live blogging many of the sessions.

It is refreshing to see public acknowledgment of the fact that games both entertain and educate. Authors such as John Beck, Steven Johnson and David Shaffer have been banging the drum for a number of years now. With generous benefactors such as the MacArthur Foundation funding digital research projects our awareness and understanding of the opportunities to hand will become more common place.

Having fun with fundamentals is something The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (TRLPO) understands. If you fancy joining TRLPO for a live performance in Second Life on September 14th then register to win a free ticket to the event. It promises to be a new experience for all concerned.