Thursday, October 19, 2006

Corporate life

Business are turning to virtual world Second Life to use it as a three-dimensional test bed.

Corporate marketers, including Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sun Microsystems, Nissan, Adidas/Reebok, Toyota and Starwood Hotels are already on board.

Earlier this week we reported that Reuters were opening up shop, and Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Leo Burnett already have virtual space.

Is it just me or is Second Life, which started out more as a video game in 1999, where people can choose to look like pretty much whatever they like (a beautiful babe or a dragon), becoming a bit too much like…well, real life?

A three-dimensional test bed for corporate marketers? I can't imagine that's the real life most people are looking for let alone a virtual second life.

In Second Life, retailers like Reebok, Nike, Amazon and American Apparel have all set up shops to sell digital as well as real world versions of their products. Last week, Sun Microsystems unveiled a new pavilion promoting its products, and IBM alumni held a virtual world reunion.

Singer song writer Ben Folds is to promote a new album with two virtual appearances. At one, he will play the opening party for Aloft, the digital prototype for a new chain of hotels planned by Starwood Hotels. Folds will also appear virtually at a new facility his music label's parent company, Sony BMG, is opening at a complex called Media Island.

According to a piece in the New York Times today, until a few months ago only one or two real world companies had dipped their toes in the synthetic water. Now there are at least 30 companies working on projects and dozens more are considering ideas.

This is how it works A company or its ad agency buys an “island” for a one-time fee of $1,250 and a monthly rate of $195 a month. Nissan has done it for its new Sentra model. It then created a driving course where Second Life players could drive on Nissan Island.

It could just be me, but who wants to do stuff in a virtual world that you do in the real world?

Philip Rosedale, the chief executive of Linden Labs, the San Francisco company that operates Second Life, said: "It’s taken off in a way that is kind of surreal."

Well not really surreal, more like a virtual strip mall and no surprise that some Second Lifers are concerned that digital world will soon have a Starbucks on every corner.

Virtual coffee? That is never going to work.


At 5:10 PM, Anonymous virtual online pixie said...

the words i think we're all looking for are 'total bollocks'

At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Ferdie's Dead! said...

The thing I most want to know about Second Life is whether Anna got together with Miles.


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