Two virtual worlds currently in closed beta we have been following with interest are HiPiHi in China and Kaneva from Chris Klaus. Bjorn Lee has written a review of HiPiHi which is recommended reading. Some early previews and reviews have started to appear for Kaneva. Mark Wallace awaits in anticipation, TD Goodliffe’s first impressions are good, Shankar Gupta is lukewarm and Lordfly Digeridoo panned it.
We have been monitoring Sony’s virtual worlds intentions for some time. After its recent run-in with Kotaku over a rumored PS3 avatar connection we look forward to Phil Harrison connecting-the-dots in the very near future. Microsoft is also hard at work integrating its Xbox 360 and Virtual Earth platforms. Gaming consoles are going to add a whole new dimension as virtual worlds and social networks converge and hybrids emerge.
Planet Cazmo is the latest addition to a growing list of recently announced virtual worlds under development. It joins Areae from Raph Koster and Outback Online from Yoick to name but two. With a SL peak concurrency of 35k currently and 150k+ predicted by year end the emergence of alternative virtual worlds is a good thing for all concerned. The Year of the Avatar is progressing apace.