Virtual Worlds + Social Networks

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.

The good, the bad and the other

“They’re doing some amazing things to make the physics work, and to stream 3D renderings out to all these clients. These are not easy things to do. They’re pushing the state of the art in any number of dimensions simultaneously, and they seem to have a good handle on where they need to go.

David F.Carr has written a well researched SL piece over on Baseline Magazine. It captures the good, the bad and the other of SL. Amazon Web Services Evangelist Jeff Barr’s above quote reinforces how Linden Lab continues to push the limits of technology advances. CTO Cory Ondrejka’s prediction that concurrency will top 150k by the end of 2007 was also of note. Recommended reading in full. Hat tip to Christian Westbrook for the link.