Posted by: drew | May 1, 2006

pseudorandom on Second Life and the Metaverse

Frank wrote up a thoughtful piece on the virtual world of Second Life and whether it is the next metaverse, or simply a stepping stone that someone else will use to truly realize the worlds of William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, and Tad Williams.

I agree with his opinions of Second Life. It does indeed have a LONG way to go.

Given the current state of Second Life's world, if I want to chat with someone, I'll chat using Trillian, not go to the trouble of launching an immersive program. If I want to watch a movie, I'll use my HD set, not use my avatar to watch a movie projected on a surface. If I want to play a game, I'll use my Xbox 360. If I want to play a massive multiplayer game, I'll play World of Warcraft.

I'll be curious to see if SL's recent cash infusion from investors will accelerate its development.

While I do believe that a sort of metaverse will be realized someday, I don't think that our hardware technology is ready for it yet. Mainly, the human-machine interface is still too abstract and removed. I don't think a virtual world will thrive with millions of people until the experience is much more immersive. Yes, I'm talking the tactile gloves, true 360 degree, head and eye tracking video, tactile response gel pods, and what-have-you devices of the virtual worlds of science fiction.

I rather hope we reach that point in my lifetime, but I'm becomming more skeptical by the day.


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