The “residents” of Second Life are often so annoyed by the limits and flaws of the virtual world of Linden Lab that can not resist the idea of trying alternative more efficient. And of course exists the space to offer new services, since Second Life has, like many of the other virtual worlds, retention rates around 9%-10%. The abandonment by nine out of ten users is probably explained by the very nature of a virtual world like Second Life, where anyone can freely create contents and spend time in different activities without patterns or predefined levels. Which, ironically it seems, ends up discouraging “teens“, who want to find a 3D game online (and this is certainly not Second Life), more than a creative environment that requires the user to have some idea to propose and not only to seek to achieve defined objectives through more or less elaborate schemes.
However, in recent times at least two other worlds, Entropia Universe (of Sweden firm MindArk, with about 810,000 registered users) and Blue Mars (by the American Avatar Reality, which declares 100,000 registered users, 3,000 members in the forums and about 200 developers) have also talked about attracting new investors to the features of their offering. We of Mondivirtuali.it /SLnn.it wanted to try in particular Blue Mars, but since the recording we have noticed some limitations which characterize the virtual world founded by New Yorker (but of Dutch origin) Henk Rogers an “historic” name in the game industry since the eighties. This is not the degree of freedom, since each user can download for free in addition to the client also editor suites consisting of seven specific editor through which he can create (and then upload on server Blue Mars) avatars, clothing, accessories, shopping, cities and so on.
Better is the fact that, apart the Welcome Area, accessed freely connecting with the client by providing your email and password (by the way: unlike in Second Life you can choose both the name and the surname of your avatar, which I imagine will give some problems of verification of identity if someone should sign up, you know, like Allegra Versace, nephew of the famous Italian designer killed some years ago in Miami, or Umberto Eco, author of The Name of the Rose, but they are neither one nor the other) for any other location that you want to reach you have to download it to your hard disk. You got it: instead of connecting with the client from one server to another as in SL, you have to first download those pieces of Blue Mars that you like most and then you can access it.
Approach very much like a video game if you think, where all rooms are pre-loaded on a support at the user side, which has some advantages, since in Blue Mars can be connected in theory thousands of avatars in the same place at the same time, using poor pc even if the powerful 3D graphics are cutting edge while in SL you can not go beyond the present limit of 100 avatars (or better about 70) at the same time without crashing the sim and graphics performance similar to give you your best computer graphics cards and enhance their Ram. Yet for people like me used to go exploring Second Life for the pleasure of discovering new locations, meet skilled creative, make new friends with people from other countries and cultures so as to enrich my personal experience with Blue Mars will not do much if not so limited. So if you do not want to use Blue Mars only as a background for your virtual photos or as video game or 3D chat, it is perhaps not the virtual world for you, until now.