Friday, March 21, 2008

More more more worlds

After writing on the new Beta launches for RipLounge and Magi Nation I noticed a number of posts over at the KZero blog which also report on new teenworlds getting ready for launch. What is it these days that one after the other company releases their world?

The answer is probably very simple. A number of these worlds have been targeted to open up in 'early 2008' and didn't make the deadline in januari, but the prime reason for this sudden onrush is the Virtual World Conference, the industry's largest stage for promotion. The spring edition of the conference will be held in New York from 3 - 4 april and has a dedicated track for Kid and Teen Worlds.

Lego Universe

One of the most interesting new releases probably is the Lego Universe. Most interesting probably because of old-times-sake; Which one of us didn't grow up with Lego? KZero adds:

"Maybe they’ll also launch a Technical Lego version for us older kids"

Cartoon Network: Fusion Fall

Next in-line is a Cartoon Network release named Fusion Fall. You'd expected this one to spring next fall, but its scheduled for release this Spring.... maybe they've got their seasons fused.

Build a Bear

The youngest segment of the market, the under 10s also is a highly competative corner of the industry. Largest in this segment is NeoPets and now there's a bear world: Build a Bear Ville.

The Build a Bear world has the advantage that it already has a number of fans out there in the real world, as the brand has been around for some 10 years now.

Since 1997, at Build-A-Bear Workshop® we have created a safe place where your child can play, express their creativity and use their imagination. Please be assured that we bring these same qualities you value and trust about Build-A-Bear Workshop in the real world into our new virtual world of™

In this competative market it will be very hard for a truly new kid on the block to make a major stand, and it may well be that this will be the way to go for a number of 'established' toy companies.


Last in Line this week is another fuzzy name: VizWoz. It's probably best to quote KZero at this one:

"With phrases such as ‘the next big virtual community’, ‘Set to become the most dynamic virtual world’ and ‘virtual reality in its most realistic form’ Vizwoz sounded like a pretty exciting place"

But then the presentation went a little wrong...

So, I turned up and logged in at 4.55pm to beat the rush. First impressions, a standard 2.5d flash-based UI with click and glide avatar customisation. Ok, so what’s the differentiator here? How does this world plan to stand out from the (growing) number of MMOG’s and VW’s aimed at kids? What’s the revenue model? And where is everyone else?

I was given the wrong URL, no big deal. So, a quick logout and login took me back. The founder was set to arrive at 5 to give a tour of Vizwoz. Excellent I thought. And a chance to ask some questions beforehand. Even better. I managed
to ask five questions before he had to leave.

  1. What’s the target age range? Dan said 11 - 14. I actually asked this question to the PR agency before hand and they said 7 -14.
  2. What’s the gender split from the beta? 47% boys
  3. How many people were on the beta? 5,000.
  4. What’s the business model? Premium, was the answer. Premium what?

My fifth question was the one I was most interested in - differentiation. I managed to ask it but unfortunately Dan had to leave at this point. This was a shame, but one should remember that the site had just gone live to the public.
He did briefly give me the answer of ‘have you seen the GUI?’. Yes, I saw it, but that’s not differentiation - it’s a means to an end. The overall experience is good, it’s smooth and the interface works well but I still a feeling of something missing.

Read the rest of the KZero review here.

I guess we'll have to see how it turns out, but making a first impression like this might end any chance of success even before the world actually sees the light of day.

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Holland SL

It's been a while since I blogged a new arrival from the Netherlands, but here it is. The latest addition is the New Holland island, so not to be mistaken with Our Virtual Holland.

The sim is brought to us by the official Tourism Board, and credits go to Aleister Kronos, who picked it up, shortly after he blogged the World of Tui in Second Life at the 3PointD blog.

The Second Life location is part of a new promotion campaign that was launched yesterday;

"NEW YORK, Aug. 29, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The Netherlands Board Of Tourism & Conventions announces the launch of, a fully Web2.0 based site, as well as the official launch of the world's first National Tourism Board in Second Life,"

I'm a Dutchman, so I'd be proud we're finally first in something...

But wait. Wasn't Mexico's National Tourist Board first with the Chichén Itzá?

Anyway, the US.Holland website looks slick and here's the screener from the teleport spot.

The New Holland sim is shaped like a tulip and the flower holds a small canalstreet with typically 17th centurty Dutch warehouses. Main focus in this build is on the Dutch Masters, the

classic Dutch Artists.

First two images are of the van Gogh club, and the last two of the Dutch Masters' House with paintings of other painters.

The build is neatly done by Unreal Designs Emporium, but contracted by Brink Media. It's nothing too special though, this unfortunately is still just a sideshow... The real fireworks has to come from the website, which is pretty cool.


More images can be found here

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Telecom Italia brings San Siro

I just picked up a notice on the Dutch Second Life site on Telecom Italia Mobile. Telecom Italia subsidiary, Alice, comes to Second Life with a 4 sim strong build making it about the 12th telecom and broadband provider to immerse.

The venue is brought to Second Life by ISN (Image Solutions Network) which have their office next to the TIM-sims. As we speak there's a lot of activity going on over there, so probably a launch party. Due to my limited knowledge of Italian i thought it best to steer clear of that gig.

The TIM-sims are build around a central venue, the Alice office which is crown-shaped and lies at the intersection of the four sims. Throughout the sims several other office buildings appear.

Telecom Italia is showing that there are several ways of translating its business to the Metaspace. Throughout the sims you will find futuristic phonebooths to communicatie with Real Life and from their Alice broadband division they are bringing Italy's most popular sports; Soccer and Formula 1 racing.

According to the SLNN Alice plans on not only streaming soccermatches from the San Siro stadium (AC Milan and Inter Milan) but also play virtual matches, with a special Heads Up Display (HUD) being developed:

"While some soccer stadiums, most notably KPN's Ajax Arena, and Inter of Milano have featured broadcasts of soccer games, Telecom Italia's sim promises the first full game soccer animation, using a script and a heads up display (HUD) so that users can actually play.

We will organize real tournaments, both for soccer and for car and moto racing,” Mattia Crespi, ISN's CEO said. Alice offers online service selling videos on demand. Videos will be available at the Alice island for free, along with many videos taken from Dailymotion, an Alice video-sharing service similar to Youtube, Crespi says."

For this video on demand venue Alice worked out a fly-in movietheatre (pic right)


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Saturday, July 28, 2007

VeeJay's Branddirectory

Here's a list of Real Life brands in Second Life. I think the list is nearing completion, but I surely have forgotten a few. Which ones?

For a better view have a look at the page I'm setting up here. In that overview I've added flags to show where these companies are based, or which local office took the initiative (e.g. Fiat is Italian, but brought to Second Life from Brasil and Renault from France, but brought to Second Life by the Italians).


  1. AKQA

  2. Abramelin Studios

  3. Bartle, Bogle, Hegarty

  4. Crayon

  5. Dieste Marketing

  6. Heartbeat Digital

  7. Leo Burnett

  8. Mediacom

  9. Square One Research

  10. Text 100


  1. BMW

  2. Fiat

  3. Mazda

  4. Mercedes

  5. Motorati / Pontiac

  6. Nissan

  7. Renault

  8. Toyota

Employment Services

  1. Content

  2. Kelly

  3. Manpower

  4. Randstad


  1. ABN Amro

  2. BCV

  3. BNP Paribas

  4. Cofidis

  5. Credit Agricole

  6. Deutsche AG

  7. DNB Norway

  8. ING

  9. Saxo

  10. Suruga

  11. Visa

  12. Wirecard

Food & Beverage

  1. Capozzi Winery

  2. Coca Cola

  3. Guinness

  4. Heineken

  5. Suntory


  1. Aegon

  2. Unive

Information Technology

  1. Amazon Web Services

  2. AMD

  3. Autodesk

  4. Cisco

  5. Dell

  6. Depo Consulting

  7. IBM

  8. Intel

  9. Lenovo

  10. Level 3

  11. Microsoft

  12. PA Consulting

  13. Softlab

  14. Sogeti

  15. Sprint

  16. Sun

Media & Entertainment

  1. ABC

  2. Avro

  3. BBC Radio 1

  4. BNN

  5. Channel 4

  6. CNET

  7. Fox Atomic

  8. Movietickets

  9. MTV

  10. NBC

  11. Penguin Books

  12. Regina Spektor

  13. Reuters

  14. Skynews

  15. Sony BMG

  16. Sundance Channel

  17. Talpa

  18. Q-Music

  19. Warner Bros

  20. Wired


  1. Adidas

  2. American Apparel

  3. Calvin Klein

  4. Nike

  5. Philips

  6. Reebok

  7. Sears

  8. Tendence


  1. Argali

  2. Belgacom

  3. Comcast

  4. KPN

  5. Pulver

  6. Sony Ericson

  7. Telus

  8. Trimedia

  9. Vodafone

  10. You Never Call


  1. Aloft Hotels

  2. Cumbrian Tourist Board

  3. Mexico Tourist Board

  4. STA Travel

  5. Starwood Hotels

Transport & Logistics

  1. Arriva

  2. Connexion

  3. DHL

  4. Dutch Railways (NS)

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Friday, July 27, 2007

5K Contest at StageSpace

There's big news at Stagespace was the introduction of an email I received from the German 3D platform Stagespace. In fall 2007 it will release its 1.0 version which will be a lot different from the current Beta version.

Stagespace will be a room for you, your creativity and your style, your stage on Internet and is organising a Design Contest with a 5K (hard euro's) reward. The contest is themed Pink is Green

  1. Architecture (interior of the locations)
  2. Furniture and Object Design
  3. Texture Design for clothing

The winner will take 5.000 euro in prize money, which is a nice challenge. To make sure of the quality, Stagespace has put together quite an impressive jury team to judge the entries, among which the well known industrial designer Prof. Luigi Colani.

The closing date for submitting entries is August 30 (2007)

More info on the website

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

We believe in Children. Do you?

Through my good friend Aleister Kronos I was tipped that BBH (Bartle, Bogle, Hegarty ) and RRR (rivers run red) are bringing another Charity 2.0 event to Second Life.

Peter Rogers from the Ad Agency BBH let us know that each year BBH is sponsoring a good cause, and this year it's Barnardo's, which is a charity organisation that stands up for children in need.

"Bernardo's vision is that the lives of all children and young people should be free from poverty, abuse and discrimination. We believe in the abused, the vulnerable, the forgotten and the neglected. We will support them, stand up for them and bring out the best in each and every child. As one of the UK’s leading children’s charities this is our pledge. We believe in children – do you?"

By just becoming a dad again in Real Life, it's hard to turn away from organisations like these. A child's life is too valuable and some have to face such ordeals. so I quickly went over to the BBH island [slurl]

Here's some images of the venue:

"On the 1st of August 2007 the advertising company BBH will have a special day for one of it's clients. It's called the Barnardos day out or BDO for short. The goal is to raise as much money for Barnardos as possible. We needed a plan so got together with Rivers Run Red a company that helps us turn ideas into reality for Second Life and came up with a vending machine selling t-shirts, simple and quick to create.

RRR were fantastic they gave all their time and talent for free and it wasn't long before we had the wonderful washing machine up and running. There's a set of Barnardos t-shirts to buy and we also managed to commission Airside to create a unique design to go alongside. We're hoping that later there will be more special items from friends of Barnardos, so watch this space. " says BBH consultant Pete Rogers.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Virtual Banking (11): Crédit Agricole

There's another bank in Second Life, after BNP Paribas the second French Bank in SL is Credit Agricole. I've never heard from them other than that they're sponsoring one of the Tour de France teams, but that's about it.

Here's a little Wiki-knowledge on them:

"Crédit Agricole SA (CASA) (Euronext: ACA) is the largest banking group in France, second largest in Europe and the sixth largest in the world by Tier 1 capital according to The Banker magazine. It is also part of the CAC 40 stock market index.

Crédit Agricole SA is a semi co-operative bank, being majority owned by 41 French Caisses Régionales de Crédit Agricole Mutuel. Its subsidiaries are:

  • Calyon, the investment banking division of Crédit Agricole.
  • Calyon Financial, global futures and options brokerage serving institutional investors.
  • LSA, the Asian securities brokerage division.
  • Predica and Pacifica, the insurance divisions
  • LCL (Previously Crédit Lyonnais), the nationwide retail banking network, acquired in 2003.

Okay, enough of the promo. We understand they're pretty big in Real Life. But I'm not sure they're big in SL yet. Their focus, like ING, is not on banking in this virtual world, or establishing a presence but on collaboration, mutualism as one of their hosts, Caliel Writer told me.

The Institute for Mutualism (have to watch typos here or it'll get mutilated) also exists in the Real World, though this isn't a replica.

Other parts of the sim are the boat, which is a part of history, space to set up future franchises and a piece of nature "where we can relax and which we should save and cherish" according to Caliel.

I'm by far too exited on getting out some new info on Rezzable, so I'll keep this short. I have to, since I logged out of SL so fast I forgot to save my transcript of the conversation with the kind Caliel. For more info, read Ambling in Second Life's Credit to Crédit Agricole.

One last remark though that should be mentioned. Right now everything is in French, but they're working on getting out the info in English as well.


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Baseball hits SL

It's baseball time, big time as Major League Baseball finds it's hometurf in Second Life. Near the Electric Sheep Island you will find the sim inspirationally called 'Baseball' and is the virtual home to the Yankee Stadium. The NY Yankee's are the main course of this sim, but there's promo room for the Boston Socks and a few others.

Sport is something people can look forward to, enjoy. Everyone's got its favorite team or player, whichever sport you may like. Sports generate gazillions in merchandise. Sport is big business, and no wonder the focus on the Baseball sim lies on merchandise, T-shirts, trainingpants, tops, caps, hats 'n bats and gloves, as well as the hip bling bling medallions.

The stadium itself has a few chairs less than it real life counterpart to keep within server limits.

Leave base, touch air

I can't really see much added value for baseball to come to Second Life except for merchandise. Fans would like to wear their teams' colors even in virtual life. Why not take the game to another level, chance bats to broomsticks and organise a true Quidditch game.

J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series are immensely popular and its final episode, the Deathly Hallows just broke every thinkable sales record, so I won't get into explaining what Quidditch is, but Second Life is the platform in which you can break away from gravity and really can script broomsticks.

I know this would probably mean a huge copyright row(ling) if you'd just started building a Hogwarts courtyard with a Quidditch field, but it would surely look better than our gravity-bound real life attempts, such as this one by Reuters.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Beware of flying carrots - Lowlands 2007

Summertime is a time to party. In the Netherlands there's the annual 'Lowlands festival', a 3 day music event. This year there's Second Life as extra promotional instrument.
The first promotional instrument is the carrot-rocket that's been present at the Lowlands site for years which has landed in the sim Zandvoort in Second Life and is filled with goodies.
The second element is the tiny little avatar that can be seen in the weirdest places of SL.
Though a small gig, the avatar and carrot, it's been fun to work on says Timbo Urbanowicz of Dutch content creators SLionhead.

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