Tags Posts tagged with "Virtual Worlds"

Virtual Worlds

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    With 15 years of activity behind it, Second Life, la first generation virtual reality platform developed by Californian company Linden Lab (which later developed also Sansar, designed to be fully compatible with VR technology right from the start), remains the largest commercial success of the virtual worlds industry. Yet find some echo of it in the mainstream media (which, however, in 2007 contributed to theboom” of Second Life) it is now a rarer event than a lottery win.

    Media have no interest in virtual worlds

    The confirmation of the fact that the virtual worlds (and virtual reality technology generally speaking) still are not yet interesting for the mass market and therefore are not covered, if at all occasionally, by the mainstream media (do some reseach on Google Trends for confirmation, if you want) is due to the fact that the same difficulties are also recorded by Sansar and High Fidelity, the platform developed by the former “daddy” of Second Life, Philip Rosedale.

    Rosedale if nothing else, has not lost his ability to attract investors, having obtained 35 million dollars from a group of investors including Galaxy Digital and Blockchain Capital among other things to adopt blockchain technology for virtual currencies, asset exchanges and digital identity in High Fidelity. Rosedale High Fidelity

    Ryan Schultz: is it the fault of the echo effect?

    Of all this, namely of Second Life 15th anniversary, of the new funding obtained by High Fidelity, of the developments of Sansar, there is little or no talk on the mainstream media. Ryan Schultz, one of the most appreciated blogger interested in virtual worlds, tried to suggest the reason why.

    According to Schultz it could depend on an “echo effect”: in essence the community of virtual world enthusiasts could continue to talk a lot about it, being substantially closed to any dialogue with the outside. This would explain why Second Life has never seen, in the last decade, more than 500-600 thousand active users worldwide, although every month, tens of thousands of new users continue to register.

    mondi virtuali utenti

    Is one million users the maximum limit?

    Could it be, assumes Schultz, that the worldwide audience interested in virtual worlds is just over one million active users, coincidentally, the maximum touched by Second Life during its first years of life, in full media hype? And in this case what development will the sector have, if after 15 years more than half of them continue to prefer Second Life to any other platform, despite now virtual worlds there are at least fifty (VR mode or not)?

    Schultz’s hypotheses are the same that you have been reading for years on Mondivirtuali.it, where we tried to explain how this could be due to a mix of factors: an unhappynaming”, the idea that what is virtual it’s not as desirable as what is real, the lack of interest from videogames fans, a tecnologhy still too little developed and/or expensive, the attitude of mass markets to reward applications and technology whose use is as simple as possible.

    What do you think about it? Let us know and if you want to see how it will end continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, also through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it on Paper.li and also on Youtube too) and maybe subscribe our newsletter!

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    adult VR and more cover

    Adult content contributed significantly to internet development and according to some, they are doing the same for virtual reality.

    This at least is what Brian Shuster declares. Shuster is the Ceo of HoloGirls VR, Canadian producer of VR adult content, after having already been among the pioneers of the internet  (he founded in 1995 his first company, World Wide Internet Network, with which he developed the first advertising network of internet becoming one of the banner pioneers), but also one of the pioneers of adult virtual worlds with Utherverse.

    Shuster has been focusing on adult content for years

    adult VR and more shuster
    Indeed Shuster is not new to these statements, as Mondivirtuali.it already told you since 2014. The owner, among other things, of Utherverse repeated for yearsthe predominance ofspicycontent compared to the overall offer of VR content is “natural”, since virtualporno producers caninnovate and develop filming and CG techniques for a real customer base, and the result is that VRporn companies are years ahead of non-adult companies in our understanding of what customers want in VR”, and can offer what they want.

    Also Piper Jaffray seems to agree

    But it is not only Shuster that bet on the virtualporno boom: also Piper Jaffray in a 2015 report had reiterated that virtual reality was the new “mega tech theme” and that adult content would have constituted by 2025 the third most important component of the whole sector, surpassed only by video games (in which Linden Labs seems to believe a lot) and by sport content (of Nfl particularly).

    Kermes: we always like what is spicy

    adult VR and more
    In truth, the latest developments on the subject of  production and use of adult content in virtual reality do not seem to have fully confirmed the forecasts made so far, as we already told you, but that does not seem to deter industry experts.

    In an interview in the New York Times, for instance, Mark Kernes, AVN Media Network senior editor who covers the virtual reality sector, explained that “sex sells, and where there is money to be made, there will be entrepreneurs who want to adopt it and make money from it”.

    The case of the adult Tripadvisor

    I can believe it, since one of the ideas that I recently saw circulating among investors of London startups  regards an escort service reviews site, a sort of “adult Tripadvisor”, confirming that yes, everything that revolves around sex, for centuries, moves a lot of money and a lot of interest.

    Then if all this can be a way to make virtual reality a mass technology remains to be seen. Btw continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, also through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it on Paper.li and also on Youtube too) and maybe subscribe our newsletter!

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      Sword Art Online, series regarding the adventures of Kirito, a virtual worlds fan who plays in different MMOs, of which Mondivirtuali.it already talked, experience a particularly happy moment: in 2017 the light novel written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by Abec was the best selling in Japan.

      Sword Art Online, success goes on

      Over 1.17 million copies were sold and volume 19 was the third best selling in Japan, with over 315k copies. But this is the past, the future regards the lauch of a new television series (anime).

      sword art online gun galeSword Art Online tv version also in Italy had a good appreciation from the public, the first series (of 2011) being aired first on the Popcorn Tv site with subtitles (in 2013), then on Rai4 (in 2014), completely dubbed.

      Last year arrived also a movie release (Sword Art Online – The Movie: Ordinal Scale), which grossed over 1 billion yens in Japan, getting distribuited also in Italy without too much fanfare (the movie should have grossed all over the world around 21 million dollars).

      Alternative Gun Gale Online is coming

      The new tv series, Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online, relates to the “Phantom Bullet” narrative arc, i.e. the fifth and sixth volumes of the japanese light novel, and premiered in Japan in the evening between April 7 and 8, before being aired by other japanese television companies. Sword Art Online 2018

      Considered to be a spin-off of the main series, this series described the ups and downs of a group of player in an american virtual world (VR-MMO), Gun Gale Online, set as a post-apocalyptic world populated by survivors on the way home from a trip into space.

      Also Fatal Bullet is set in Gun Gale Online

      Who know if, in the case of a public success of the anime also, Sword Art Online can act as towing for the revival of the virtual worlds sector also outside Japan?

      So far on thing is sure: also in the world of videogames Sword Art Online seems healthy, as evidenced by the good interest for Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet, produced by Namco Bandai whjch in turn is set in Gun Gale Online.

      If you wanna know how this will end, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, also through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it on Paper.li and also on Youtube too) and maybe subscribe our newsletter!

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        minecraft story mode season 2 finale cover

        Minecrat Story Mode, a good mix

        Do you remember Minecraft Story Mode (MCSM), the episodic adventure game published by Telltate Games in partnership with Mojang, the developer of Minecraft, sold to Microsof (despite some doubts) for 2.5 billion dollars?

        We talked about at its launch and when the last chapter (the fifth of the series) of the first season was published, pointing out how MCSM was a good mix between game and linear storytelling, an “hybrid” between television and virtual worlds model.

        3 adds on after season one

        To be true, as already discovered video gamers, after the first season (“Season Pass”) Jesse and his friends lived three more adventure during 2016, published like “adds on” of Season One (episode 6, “A Portal to Mistery”, episode 7, “Access Denied” and episode 8, “A Journeys’ End?”).

        These three episodes, as a whole known as “Adventure Pass”, concluded indeed the first season and it seemed they could conclude the whole series.

        Will this season be the last one?

        But not: this year were published other 4 episodes of the second season (until now known just as “Season 2”), which chronologically is set up around 5-7 years after the adventures of the first season, “Hero in Residence”, “Giant Consequences”, “Jainhouse Block” and “Below the Bedrock”, as always beginning from just before the summer.

        These days even the second season ends with a fifth episode, “Above and Beyond”. Waiting for you to be able to find it in the shops, here is is the teaser of the fifth episode, Season Two, of Minecraft Story Mode.

        Will this one really be the last adventure for Jessy and his companions? If you wanna know, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, also through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it on Paper.li and also on Youtube too) and maybe subscribe our newsletter!

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          Sansar Star Wars cover

          Here we are: Star Wars, The Last Jedi is finally on the screens of theaters all over the world, and its promotion now embrace also online communities of virtual worlds fans as that of Sansar, the new VR platform of Linden Lab (the Second Life developer) where December 9 opened the first exhibition of Hollywood Art Museum, a “a unique collection of Star Wars production pieces”. Sansar Star Wars exhibition

          Star Wars on Sansar, a geek dream

          This virtual exhibition includes the very first drawings made for the film franchise and never-before-seen production art from the original trilogy by Lucasfilm alum as Joe Johnston, Ralph McQuarrie, Phil Tippett, Drew Struzan, Colin Cantwell and more.

          Museum curator, director Greg Aronowitz, introduced personally the Star Wars collection at the opening, giving the chance to those present to meet him, albeit virtually. I mean, like a geek’s dream come true.

          Touring the exhibition you feel really to be inside a museum but someone didn’t like it too much, re-opening the debate, never completely finished, whether virtual worlds ought to be intended as perfect reproductions of reality or if wouldn’t be more exciting to take fully advantage of the possibilities offered by technology so to create “your world, your immagination” to remember the original Second Life’s claim. Sansar Star Wars exhibition

          Virtual worlds are too real?

          People so far shown to appreciate more the first choice, differently from what has happened for video games where in addition to real-like plots and setings were successful even totally fantastic environments (just think about World of Warcraft, rather than video games devoted to the stories of Middle Earth).

          Yet more than a voice argued in favour of greater immagination at least when you go to recreate locations tied to fantastic content: wouldn’t it have been more engaging look a the Star Wars art works on Tatooine or on Lando’s Cloud City, or inside Death Star, instead of a museum lounge (even if themed as a Star Wars movie set)?

          Tell us what do you think, meanwhile continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, also through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it on Paper.li and also on Youtube too) and maybe subscribe our newsletter!

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          VR cult events club cover

          Second Life literally pile on top each other, argues New World Notes, to login and visit the first locations available on Sansar, the free virtual reality platform accessible from the site www.sansar.com which Linden Lab officially opened in late July. VR cult events hub 01

          Still small numbers for the VR

          But active users who use VR mode in the main virtual worlds accessible through Steam (after the closing of Altspace VR) do not want to know to increase and remain a few hundred / thousands a day all over the world at best, writes the same Wagner James’s (aka Hamlet Au in Second Life) site. VR cult events hub 02

          Linden Lab drives content sharing

          So there would be nothing strange if Linden Lab, which, after opening, dropped the not disclosure agreemant clause and now explicitly invites its users to share their shots, videos and content in general referred to Sansar, “pushed” more for PC access than using VR viewers and controllers, even at the cost of giving up fighting for platform leadership for VR and, maybe, with the risk of partially knocking the Second Life user base, that after 14 years and despite endless grievances remains the most used virtual world in the world with concurrency around 30-40 thousand users daily. VR cult events hub 03

          There will be time for the boom

          Our forecast that despite the strong interest that virtual reality in general and Sansar in particular would continue to generate there would not be a boom shortly even remotely comparable to that of Second Life 2007 it was so easily verified. For the future we will see, even on the basis of the release of the most powerful and lower price devices on the market today (and more captivating content, starting from gaming but also business related). VR cult events hub 04

          First exhibition for VR Cult Events Hub

          In the meantime we are happy to report that VR Cult, by Colpo Wrexler (aka Dario Buratti), published already an “experience” (i.e. a sim), The Events Hub (you can find here), an experimental space totally dedicated to virtual events of art, design, music and fashion, where visitors can already appreciate the exposure of two Italian artists, the photograph Matteo Guariso and the painter and illustrator Francesco Musante, exposure to which he also contributed as a curator Marina Bellini, aka Mexi Lane. The images in this article refer to this exhibition. VR cult events hub 05 If you wanna know how this will end, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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          Sansar cover

          Sansar, the new virtual reality platform developed by Linden Lab actually in “creative beta“, has already over 270 virtual “experiences” loaded into its atlas, from simple “sand boxes (literally made like a sandy desert) to simple work plans, up to good quality installations, some of which created by Italian users like Colpo Wrexler or Christower Dae, known names to the Italian community which used and still use Second Life. egyptian tomb Sansar Studios

          Sansar, first impressions

          The “first 30 seconds impression” (after a couple of minutes of waiting needed to load the scene) is positive: the avatars to chooose to start having your own digital identity in the new Linden Lab‘s virtual world are not very dissimilar to the Second Life basic avatars, but they are already quite customizable enough since you can vary the parameters for yours shape and anatomical details (eyes, hair, mouth, nose etc), as well as your clothing (certainly we are far from Second Life’s fashion virtuale fantasy, but give time to the platform to grow and you will see that we could get to similar or superior levels). Sansar tomba egizia ingresso

          Sansar can also be used without VR devices

          Browsing (we tried the platform in worst-case conditions, ie through a portable PC, a couple of years old, connected through wi-fi, with features barely in line with the minimum recommended requirements) is sufficiently fluid, even if not available at the time of testing a VR viewer and its controllers and having decided to try a minimal configuration, even without a mouse, it was not always easy to move the avatar inside closed environments. Very nice the sounds and the lights (and their shadows).Sansar tomba egizia prima stanza

          The Egyptian tomb is perfect

          For this very first “immersion” in Sansar I choose, through the proposed scenes, an ancient Etyptian tomb, carefully reconstructed thanks to a partnership with the Sorbonne University and with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities (as already revealed by Inara Pey) very pleasant to visit, albeit relatively modest. I can not comment for now about the larger dimensions that will characterize each individual “experience” compared to Second Life’s sims, but if you think about how SL was in its early stages, before 2007 (and how it has basically remained Opensim), the passing of a decade is evident and in favor of Sansar, as obvious as it is. Sansar tomba egizia seconda stanza

          No: Sansar won’t be SL 2

          For those who are asking for it, no: Sansar won’t ever be a “new” Second Life (platform designed to stay online for many years), but it could become a platform robust and flexible enough to be used, along with other programs, for the development of virtual video games or movies, or simulation experiences that might be applied both in the field of education both in the professional field (for instance for staff training). Sansar tomba egizia uscita These first impressions live from Sansar end here, also because the California company is asking not to divulge too much information about it, but if you wanna know how this will end continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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            Sansar cover

            Here we are: sthese day Sansar is sending the confirmation to access requests for its online virtual reality platform to all those who have asked to be able to access through www.sansar.com site. Technically is the awaitedopen creator beta”, in fact it could be a real pre-opening to the public, given the criteria for selection seem to have been much wider compared to last year when a few hundred creatives had been able to access to start testing the system (still in development: at this time, for example, the alpha channel is missing, as well as dynamic textures, Which means in the new Linden Lab‘s virtual world there is no way to recreate water).

            Sansar loginSansar’s system requirements

            Probably the requirements for accessing the new platform will do the selection: a user who connects via a pc“regular” pc desktop needs to have at least a 64 bits operative system (Windows 7 SP1 or newer), DirectX 11, Cpu Intel Core i3-2100 or Amd Phenom II X4 945, at least 4 GB RAM, at least 3G free space on disk, a video card Nvidia GeForce GTX 450, or Amd R9 280, or Intel HD Graphics 5500 with at least 2GB dedicated video memory.

            Recommended bandwith is at least 10 Mbps the minimum 5 Mbps, optional, but recommended a microphone for voice chat and high-quality headphones recommended for an immersive spatial audio experience and Xbox One or Xbox 360 game controllers (but if you don’t have them you can use the mouse to controll your avatar). By the way, if you really want to “live” Sansar in virtual reality mode, the stalk rises and minimum requirements are: Cpu Intel i5-4590 or equivalent, at leat 8 GB RAM, at least Nvidia GTX 970 or equivalent video card, while everything else remains the same.

            Sansar sandboxSansar and Second Life are really different

            The VR option is actually one of the cards on witch Linden Lab focus to make Sansar “the” the new generatin reference platform for virtual worlds fans, a platform which for many years will live with the “oldSecond Life but which will have many differences both in the business model (it will cost much less to rent the new “scenes” in confront to the old sims, also having much more space available, but Linden Lab will apply a sort of “consumption tax”, ie a commission on every transaction between users, the Sansar dollars will also worth around triple than Linden dollars, since the first listing should be 1 US dollar for 100 Sansar dollars) as well obviousley as it is concerned the technical and “immersion” characteristics.

            The problem upstream, which seems to have curbed Linden Lab so far, is that the sales of VR viewers and controllers for now I have grown so much less explosive than forecasted, due to very high costs of the devices. Some recent signals show the availability by the manufacturers (like Facebook, which owns Oculus Rift) to reduce the price of devices, but for now some consulting firm like eMarketer forecast that 10,7 million VR users (ie who used at least once a month a VR device of any kind) present in the US at the end of 2016 won’t exceed 22.4 million at the end of the year, and then climb to 36.7 million next year and to 49.2 million at the end of 2019, also thanks to the spread of lso thanks to the spread of VR videos.

            Virtual reality, no boom for now

            Encouraging numbers, but they represent only between 3% and 5% of the US population and yet it is not clear if on other markets (Asia?) sales may be better, or slower. Moral of the story: for now, if you want, try to ask for access to Sansar, begin to get used to its scenes, if you are creatives try to make some content (which must be created externally using programs like Unreal Engine or Unity and then imported in Sansar).

            But do not wait a boom like that of Second Life in 2007: that will eventually arrive in two or three years if the VR and the AR have really got their feet around the world. If you wanna know how this will end continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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              Minority Report 15 years cover

              Second Life is celebrating these days its 14th birthday (SL14B), but was a film launched 15 years ago, Minority Report, that had a wider impact on our everyday life. In the Steven Spielberg‘s movie, launched in June 2002 in Us and then all around the world, Tom Cruise was a 2054 cop member of the “precrime” (a special police department which apprehends criminals thanks to the foreknowledge of three “precogs“), he used driveless cars, he was able to handle computers through simple gestures, and in all the movie film you can see a lot of devices for biometric recognition and ad hoc advertising. Minority Report driveless cars

              A year before Second Life

              Were all technologies considered science-fiction at the time, but became real in a few years, with a much wider impact on everyday life than that of Second Life, the virtual reality platform designed by Philip Rosedale which has never been able to overwhelm the traditional web nor to have the impact of social media like Facebook, Twitter or similar. Think about driveless cars: in 2014 Google started to back the first projects, then arrived Apple, Uber, Tesla and producers like Ford, General Motors, Bmw, Audi and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. So that in 2054 scenes like that in which Cruise was trying to escape on a motorway populated only by driveless car may not be so unusual. Minority Report precog

              Precognitive algorithms

              The concept of “precognition”, or foreknowledge, is no more so abstruse, at least at a software level: the Carnegie Mellon University has already developed a predictive program, CrimeScan, while according to a study of UpTurn cited by Cnn, about twenty major US police districts would already have adopted precognitive algorithms ni their investigative activities. It’s at least since 2014 that we are trying to develop algorithms which, analyzing tweets and posts published on social network like Twitter and Facebook, could be able to predict or intend to commit crimes by their authors or however dangerous situations. In the case of Twitter, in particular, as already noted Ubergizmo, geo-localized tweets analysis, their frequency, the presence of certain words is already able to predict 19 of 25 different types of crime.

              Yesterday virtual, today real

              So: while we waited for virtual worlds to become real, other geek technologies have shifted from science fiction to concrete reality but this could be just the beginning, should virtual reality and augmented reality continue to grow. If you wanna know how this will end continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

              There is excitement in Linden Lab: in recent days, the official Twitter account of Sansar (@SansarOfficial)  announced many times (the first time May 21, then May 26, finally June 6) that the “creator beta” of the new virtual reality platform of the developer of Second Lifewill open this summer” and that you can still apply for early access through https://www.sansar.com. Sansar opens creator beta

              Sansar: creator beta will open this summer

              At the opening of creator beta Sansar won’t have a support for Linux and Mac users, even if they’ll be able to access Sansar through Bootcamp, whic btw is an app to install Windows on Mac, since MacOS system is not yet able to run virtual reality.

              For now, Sansar works on PCs (Windows) with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive viewers. Given accumulated delays compared to initial forecasts (after the opening to the first test users already in 2015 the public opening should have been due by the end of 2016), it’s not excluded that even the creator beta there will be not at the end of June but at the end of Augusto or in September. Sansar opens creator beta

              Will it be worth to open to the public in 2018?

              At that point, however, the new consoles and virtual reality viewers generation could be at the doors: virtual reality now requires high resolutions (2160×1200) and high FPS (not less than 90) to offer experiences really without disturbance and fatigue to the sight, so performance 5 times higher than current ones, as already promises AMD for the next consoles generation will make the difference.

              Wil Linden Lab try to open to public with a system still “calibrated” on a tools generation destined to go out of the market by next 12-18 months, or will it prefer to wait still a half a year or two, also to take advantage of the expected fall in viewers’ price?

              If you wanna know, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and also on Youtube).

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