IBM and Linden Lab’s Second Life are collaborating to create universal avatars that will be able to travel between virtual worlds. Both companies are hoping that more gamers will explore virtual worlds by making them simplified. They are putting the emphasis on a single system for now that allows users to move between worlds. The announcement came before the launch of the Virtual Worlds Conference in San Jose, California, this week. Last year there were only 9 virtual sites, but that number has jumped to thirty. We want to know if you go from Warcraft to Second Life, could you get to stay in your armor?
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Giorgio Armani has certainly been active of late. He has just teamed with Samsung, and now he has opened a virtual shop on Second Life. Modeled after his showplace in Milan, he will be sending an avatar of himself during its grand opening. Users of the site will be able to buy his wares with Linden Dollars or can connect to his Emporia Armani. The designer had this to say about the concept, “Finally, I can really be in two places at once.”
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Just as Donick Cary got his break on Comedy Central with Lil’ Bush, HBO has paid a 6 figure amount to Douglas Gayeton, aka Molotov Alta, for his Second Life documentary short. The plot of “My Second Life: The Video Diaries of Molotov Alta” involves a man who “disappeared from his California home” and begins sending video messages from the site. Set to be released in 2008, HBO plans on a total of 7 mini-episodes that use the machinima process based on the virtual world.
Read More | Reuters
Real estate company Coldwell Banker has brought house selling to the virtual zone by creating a mock-up of a real house on the online gaming site Second Life. If you are interested, your avatar can meet their avatar, tour the $3 million house, make a bid, negotiate and then do lunch. You only have to meet to sign the papers and seal the deal. The NAR (National Association of Realtors) claims that 81% of recent home buyers used the Internet to buy their homes. We suspect it will be the shape of things to come, although we hope that we don’t see Golden Arches in the near future.
Read More | ABC
The virtual 3-D game “Second Life” is about to become an audio one. Linden Lab, the company that produced it, says it will be incorporating voice-over Internet software so that its over 4 million gamers can communicate to each other via mics and speakers. The process used to create this is Spacial Audio, which is dependent upon the separation of players in the virtual environment, according to tech exec Joe Miller.
“A group close together will be able to chat normally, but once a certain distance is reached, not even shouting will be enough,” says Miller.
Players will also be able to choose those that they wish to chat with and block those that they do not. Testing will begin next week, with a debut date sometime next month. We are gussying up our avatars just for the occasion.
Today Linden Labs notified users that on or about September 6th, a Second Life database server was compromised and that hackers may have gained access to users’ personal information including names, addresses, encrypted passwords and encrypted payment information. While, according to their press release there was no indication that the hackers could compromise users’ online accounts, Linden is forcing all of their users to change their Second Life passwords in response to the breach.
From the release:
“We’re taking a very conservative approach and assuming passwords were compromised and therefore we’re requiring users to change their Second Life passwords immediately,” said Cory Ondrejka, CTO of Linden Lab. “While we realize this is an inconvenience for residents, we believe it’s the safest course of action. We place the highest priority on protecting customer data and will continue to take aggressive measures to protect the privacy and security of the community.”
With more and more online games every year (most of them requiring payment of some type), the issue of data security could quickly become a major focus for game makers. Will we be seeing a Microsoft-circa-2000-esque push toward writing secure game code in the near future? It couldn’t hurt to start soon…
Read More | http://secondlife.com/corporate/bulletin.php