Last week I wrote a first piece about the new 3D environment called Hangout, on hangout.net which currently is in Private Beta. Fortunately I have received an invite for private Beta testing.
Step 1 is registering and creating your avatar. It's pretty sleek, flash based and has a limited set of options right now, so could not make an exact replica of the mighty handsome VeeJay Burns that walks Second Life, but this'll do for the time being.
Step 2 is to download a 400Kb app installer to render your room. This is the amazing Unity webplayer, amazingly small, yet powerfull and full of potential.
Step 3 is to log in and get going. However, something went wrong and I crashed about six times
What I intended to show you was a 3D embedded version of my hangout. Something went wrong there. I'll keep you posted
What you see now is a snapshot of my Hangout... Well, I still have a lot of decorating to do. If you want to see the real thing, you'll have to add 3D to your browser.
Earlier this week I got an invite from one of the guys over at Hangout, one of the latest 3D startups this year. Hangout was launched for private Beta testing on september 8 (at the TechCrunch conference) and released a lengthy article on PRWire:
"September 8, 2008 -- Building on the popularity of social networking, online games, and digital media, Hangout Industries (http://www.hangout.net/) unveiled the world's first casual and immersive 3D social networking experience that allows teens and young adults to create and customize their own virtual rooms featuring real brand-name products, and where their friends can join them in a safe and secure environment, to hang out and have fun together. For teens, Hangout helps My Space become My Place." (full article here)
Especially in this business, with so many worlds and environments being released, I would be very hesitant to use the words "the world's first..." in a press release. However, the guys made it to the TechCrunch finals. Here's their Crunchy presentation:
Looking at Hangout I must admit they've done neat things with the $ 6,000,000 of VC funding, but. The graphics look very good and already they've managed to get a bunch of sponsors in, youth-focused brands which want to make sure that Hangout users can interact with their favorite products in the room including AllPosters.com, Cardboard Robot, Café Bustelo Coffee, Celsius, Dank Squad, Dim Mak Records, Dim Mak Collection, Imperial Motion, IS eyewear, Milo, Monster Energy, Mumz the Werd, Neff, Ogio, Pioneer, Pony, Rockwell Time watches, Sessions, Skullcandy, Suunto Watches, Triumvir, Zappos.com, and Zuriick. Colin Brickley, Director of Sports and Entertainment Marketing at Pony commented "Hangout's visual quality lets us present our brand online, with no quality compromises. If we can get kids to put our shoes on their virtual selves, they are that much closer to buying our physical product. We can't afford not to be in Hangout."
Did I already tell you it looked good? But will that be enough to survive in the business, as the concept in itself isn't new. It's up for heavy competition in the industry in which, I think, it is not about the world or 3D hangout itself anymore, but ultimately about its connectivity, its integration with social thingies etcetera. Looking forward to seeing where this one will end up.