Sunday, August 05, 2007

Synchronous collaboration in virtual worlds

Virtual worlds like are used for synchronous communication. Here we see a panel discussion in a virtual classroom belonging to the Harvard University Berkman Center. Each panelist and attendee designs an avatar, which they control and move around in the virtual space. We see the panelists’ avatars seated at the front of the room and those of the attendees are seated around them. There are also shared spaces like the “flipchart” to the right of the panel. Organizations are experimenting with meetings, press conferences, concerts, and other synchronous events in Second Life.

Second Life is one of many virtual worlds. Some are geared toward a particular user group like children and others are focused on a game. tracks such developments and has lists 18 virtual worlds in this post.

1 comment:

  1. Sony also has a virtual world scheduled to come out late this year for their Playstation 3 console. They call it “Home.” You create an avatar, build your virtual home space, and communicate and interact with real life people in the virtual world like playing Playstation games or just regular chatting. Sounds really neat, and I can’t wait to experience it first hand.

    Now what makes these virtual worlds interesting to me is not only the great uses such as entertainment value, business and education like you mentioned about the Harvard panel discussion… but what about the economic impact it has? People are buying and selling using _real_ world money for virtual things that only exist as ones and zeros on a hard drive somewhere.

    Sure, right now it’s just a novelty to hear about a virtual house selling on for X amount of dollars because the virtual world scene is sort of in its infancy… But, what if a virtual world were to take off like a wild fire, sort of like Myspace?

    If a virtual world were to grow in the same way websites like Youtube and Myspace did, can you imagine what possible virtual economies will exist? What about virtual politics as well? Will there be a rich-class and poor-class even in the virtual world?