I have posted prolifically about MUVE’S (Multi User Virtual Environments) in the past, concentrating mainly on the ever customisable Second Life. It is interesting to watch the buzz spreading and consider if virtual worlds are really web 3.0, I think so. A quick look at the evolution of the intraweb from the mid 90’s. From text and graphics dominate 2D environments, immersive web sites with flash quickly followed combined with ubiquitous communication via IM and IRC chat. Then the early 00’s with the expontential growth of self publishing, blogs and wikis. From 2002 onwards the massive sharing social network communities of flickr and YouTube in sync with the explosion of portals containing all of the above in services such as MySpace, Yahoo and MSN etc: We are heading towards a rich media personal hub that points to and houses all of our ‘shareable’ content. But the current 2D web, mostly linear to linear linking, is about to be enhanced by virtual environments in which we meet as avatars, interact as 3D moving objects that takes sharing, co-creation and communication to the next, predictable level. The important component here is real time collaboration and communication as the paradigm shift.
Web X.0. To me evolution of the web can be defined in single sentences:
2.0 the two-way shared web
3.0 the real time collaborative web (3D, isometric or just 2D)
A sign that this is reaching a level of maturity is when big brands and subscriber numbers start to escalate. This item entitled Second Life Targets Existing Branded Web Communities succinctly sums up some of the major changes in one MUVE.
Major companies such as Major League Baseball, and institutions such as The University of Southern California, have already turned to Second Life to host virtual events synched with live real-world events. Organizations such as the New Media Consortium are using Second Life to convene meetings and conferences. Wells Fargo is teaching kids about finance in an engaging manner through Second Life. Clothing designers are using the community to prototype their designs and get community feedback and build buzz before they have to manufacture.
In 2 years time will the most effective way of communicating be through a variety of MUVEs rather than 2D web? As Second Life subscribers go above half a million, from less than 100 thousand less than 6 months ago one can see other players beside Linden Labs taking part of the action. Here are the Second Life stats from yesterday to give some idea of the scale
Statistics from 3:20pm Saturday 26 Aug 2006
Total Residents: 568,856
Logged In Last 60 Days: 256,425
Online Now: 8,369
US$ Spent Last 24 Hrs: 357,140
Many of the projects we are doing in LAMP start from a position of ‘experience design’ that has its ultimate incarnation in letting the users ‘live’ the story. Personalizable MUVE’s will shortly have real potential to enable any experience requirement you can throw at it. As the gaming generation take up lead roles in society (the average age of a Second Lifer is 32) I really believe that remote communication will exist more and more in virtual worlds. Entertainment, education and business is already taking root. The article continues by even pointing to the political engagement these environments afford…
Imagine a wiki-based web community now being able to collaboratively design detailed 3-dimensional objects, complete with nuanced permissions, instead of just text documents. …Imagine a dark horse political candidate with a virtual campaign headquarters in which campaign volunteers can collaborate regardless of geographic location and be trained personally by the avatars of real campaign staff, and where the candidate can conduct a virtual whistlestop tour to test new stump speeches and conversations with highly educated, affluent, and socially networked focus groups
Current MUVE’s do require decent computers, graphics and bandwidth but many millions of terminals are already capable. There are many posts that talk about a ten year from now predication of what a Virtual World may be, many not looking too deeply into the ethical or moral issues as that really is an unknown as this quickly cobbled together chart above suggests I think we are lucky to be at the dawning of ubiquitous MUVE’s across all devices (mobile devices are part of distribution in this context – not a movement in itself). The next challenge as I always point out is interoperability – how our personalized digital fingerprint can exist across an ever growing range of portals. To put it another way using the present day, can out MySpace profile work with our Second Life avatar, our flickr and YouTube accounts. Will our eBay positive rating be carried into World of Warcraft, can Amazon engines learn what we are buying in Second Life to recommend things to buy from eBay and so on. The brand and advertising targeting potential goes off the scale here. The first company that comes up with a profile engine that combines all of the above, sits above them, cross-relates them but needs to get started right now before it becomes way too complicated 😉
Posted by Gary Hayes Â©2006
I often worry about the portability of my ID and any content i create in virtual and web based services. To date this seems to be of little concern to users but when better alternatives to the service you’ve invested so much in become available it would be extremely valuable to be able to tranfer your virtual property easily. If in fact you do own it, you should be able to take it with you.
Even using the same name across different systems is not straight forward.
Also, I’m not convinced that virtual worlds are a progression on from web2.0. I see them, in the terms of your diagram, as two increasingly overlapping semi-circles. They will be increasingly interoperable with 3D virtual elements embedded in flat web2.0 pages and visa-versa and data freely transferred between the two in various formats but navigating in 3D will not replace navigating hypertext.
Yes I have been round the houses with portability and interoperability of profiles – this will have to be addressed at some point soon otherwise the usuability of the intraweb itself will just become too taxing for people juggling hundreds of identities across services.
As to your Web 3.0 point. I never said replaced, nothing dies, my point was that hypertext, and graphical web will simply exist inside the virtual world interface – and I don’t necessarily drop it down to just 3D, these are social spaces, more so than 2D which is abstracted to a large degree. So again – not replace, build on.
I’m increasingly certain that Virtual Worlds (such as Second Life) really are a progression from, and an extension to ‘Web 2.0’, building on its themes of user generated content and social networking.
@BettyChang Twitter is whatev U want. 2 way chat, 1 way thought, co-creation, news links, Part of my live Web 3.0 mix twurl.nl/ybua5d
thinks ‘NOW media’ should not describe a matured ‘New Media’ but better used for, happening now ‘real time’ web 3.0 twurl.nl/vidr3o
RT @GaryPHayes: thinks ‘NOW media’ shouldnt desc matured ‘New Media’ but better for happening now ‘realtime’ web 3.0 twurl.nl/vidr3o
Q 4 problogger. Implications between live web 3.0 vs asynch delayed web? twurl.nl/rrao62 (@problogger live on twitcam.com …
You mean Web 3.0 is already here?
.-= Anand Srinivasan´s last blog ..Submit An Idea To Google Wave Team =-.
RT @garyphayes Virtual Worlds, Web 3.0 and Portable Profiles | PERSONALIZE MEDIA bit.ly/26KKZt
And I thought that after Second life’s first documentary shot entirely inside Second Life, “Molotov Alva And His Search For The Creator” machinima world, the art of making movies out of game machine engines, would go slowly dead… I don’t know… I don’t know if I agree with your timing.. I don’t think web 3.0 is a 2010 reality, I think we’re still very much in web 2.0, since we tried web 3.0, in 3D, in a living experience… but people think it’s a game, and it’s for kids… though many of these adult people now are on facebook talking s**t, trying to feel young party animals… I guess it’s not time for web 3.0 yet… Ciao from Italy
Pier Giorgio Provenzano
Thanks for your comments. I think you misinterpreted my post which was not saying web 3.0 = Second Life. Web 3.0 for me has always been about people communicating more and more in real time over the ‘live’ web (check the diagram). So since I did the post in 2006 we have seen a massive increase in IM type communication using Twitter and live channels on Facebook but I would also disagree in thinking that 3D worlds are not relevant – 80 million users of Farmville for instance mashable.com/2010/02/20/farmville-80-million-users/ (kids? average age of around 31 or so) and steady growth across another 150 social virtual worlds – but while we are on the subject of Second Life it now has its largest concurrency and the first quarter of this year the largest inworld transactions of $600 million.
Very insightful post, you just opened my eyes to a lot of different things that I did not know about, that I really should and wanted to learn about, thanks for giving me the inside scoop, I will be back soon to check for updates!
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A colleague a mine and my self are publishing a book with Springer where we would like to include your fig. “From Web 1.0 to Web 3.0”, in Hayes, G. (2006). Virtual Worlds, Web 3.0 and Portable Profiles. www.personalizemedia.com/virtual-worlds-web-30-and-portable-profiles/, with your permission.
Should it be possible, we would appreciate it dearly.
Sorry for the delay – yes please use