Forget Second Life: Build your own World!

Lots of companies are setting up shop in Second Life. But others might prefer to have their own world (just as they have their own website), rather than just an island in someone else’s. Multiverse says that companies are starting to create worlds for training simulations, business collaboration, and disaster modeling.

Companies that create their own worlds, or set up new game worlds, will need to find a way to attract visitors—just as they have to draw them to their websites. You have to figure out why you’re creating a virtual world, what people will do there, and how you’ll promote it. It also would be “fantastic” if Yahoo! and Google wanted to add support for searching for worlds.

Over 10,000 developer teams have registered to use Multiverse’s platform, in part because of its attractive business model. All of its software is free to use. But once developers begin to make money from their worlds—from subscriptions, in-game advertising or sales of in-game items—they pay 10% of their revenue.

One such developer is Edward Castronova, a professor at Indiana University. He is building a world called “Arden,” an idealized portrayal of Shakespearean England. He and his students have spent the past year re-creating medieval Somerset—geography, villages, characters, and an economy—on the Multiverse platform.

Castronova is optimistic about the Multiverse approach, which will provide a choice of hundreds of worlds to explore. Just as the Web makes it possible to create and follow links between a huge variety of websites, an open platform for virtual worlds could allow users to stroll seamlessly through Atlantis, across Mars and all the way to Shakespeare’s Arden.

Where is the Buzz? I would love to see the day when there are multiple experiential worlds out there, and I don’t believe we are that far off. As marketers add new Web 2.0 capabilities and build communities, creating their own world might just be the very next innovation on top of all that!

4 comments to Forget Second Life: Build your own World!

  • Brad

    Talk about opportunity for companies out there. Retail/Service industries are obvious early adopters, but what about internal departments within a company and B2B? Imagine a company intranet setup in a virtual world, or real-time product demonstrations of GE’s latest MRI machine in a virtual hospital. All of which could happen today, with existing technology.

    Client-side software and consumer education could limit adoption on a wide scale; at least initially.

  • Greg

    Interesting topic.

    I attended a meeting of the Financial Services Club in London very recently where the head of experiential marketing for Wells Fargo described how they had started out with Second Life but then developed their own environment called Stagecoach Island.

    The obvious drawback of multiple universes is the problem of having to set up an avatar and log in to each of them in turn. (Hard enough to remember all those usernames and passwords). There is probably a good living to be made for anyone who can set up an avatar central registry and then give each virtual world a good reason to sign up to it. The most obvious reason being that they would capture a critical mass of users that are already registered with other virtual world’s and give them ease of access.

  • Paul Dunay

    Jon Oakes of L2 software writes in that Gartner just published this article on Second Life entitled

    Gartner Says 80 Percent of Active Internet Users Will Have A “Second Life” in the Virtual World by the End of 2011

    nice find Jon!


  • Sandra

    We started our on-line world with dabbling in Second Life but from a B2B perspective we wanted to leverage our target market’s appetite for on-line gaming. We partnered with a company that specialized in gaming and came up with Just it out and let me know what you think…it is in it’s infancy and would appreciate some feedback that might help us take it to the next level.

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