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Universal avatars from IBM and Linden Lab

Posted on October 11, 2007

The success of Second life (haven’t tried it yet – Ruxi, you should be ashamed of yourself) has taken industry leaders into creating avatars that can access all virtual worlds and use universal tools. Yesterday and today at Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo the top of this industry discuss the future of media and communication.

The challenge IBM and Linden Lab has put themselves to is to how to make avatars transcend from one world to another. Am I talking Kantian philosophy already :) ?

While I think virtual worlds are one very powerful trend right now, I, personally, am not that interested. I mean, I would be very interested if I started to play a little, buuut :) knowing that I would give up my personal life just to play the virtual one, I have to say pass from the beginning.

I have experienced this while playing sims ™ about 6 or 7 years ago when I realized that my own character behaves exactly like me: always tired, needing to sleep, over stressed, with little time to do anything for himself :D …. so I said … why take care of a virtual me, when I can take care of the real me …

I guess different personality traits recall different approaches to virtual games or environments – me, for instance, have more or less the same actions as in reality, others go for the exact opposite and express their inner most deep desires that wouldn’t normally express and pursue in reality.

For both, playing this type of games, can be therapeutic, in the sense that realizing patterns that you do in the virtual world, can help you change them in the real life. Or for the second type, realizing your true desires and intentions can help bringing them to life. But tell me one person that plays for personal development reasons and I’ll give you a muffin :)

What I think will change the pattern avatars have been so far is the fact that the unique avatar will need to be consistent through different worlds. Until now, avatars have been more or less creative and different/adapted from one place to another… now the same character will be recognized in different worlds, meaning different contexts. The concept of avatar will dramatically change from hidden persona, to virtual persona in a complete sense.

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