mindhive home

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
VWFall: Walled Gardens and Open Gates, Virtual World Cross-Platform Delivery and Portability
Svetlana
post Oct 14 2007, 10:09 PM
Post #1


Good
Group Icon

Group: Staff
Posts: 2,978
Joined: 11-November 05
From: Seattle, USA
Member No.: 13





Let’s go back to an era gone by, one that is indeed difficult to even recall. An age when you accessed your Prodigy account from the DOS sign-in screen and that wonderful slogan, ‘Discover a New World of People and Ideas", greeted you. It was a brilliant motto that was synonymous with the advent of the fearless future that many of us were emboldened to pursue in various community enclaves, such as the beloved Prodigy, GEnie, and of course CompuServe. For a brief time, it seemed as if these computing networks offered us all we might have wished for. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, the world wide web hit, marking the end of the little walled gardens and welcoming in a diverse, bold interconnectivity that few had foreseen.

Dr. Aaron Delwiche, co-founder of Metaversatility and advocate for Internet global dialogue, is clearly inspired by the pursuit of true innovation, both on the Internet and in virtual worlds. “Let’s remember that the vision from the very beginning was that personal computing could have a transformative effect on society,” Delwiche noted. Contrary to transformation, the walled communities that once existed as the sole means of networking online were prohibiting the exchange of ideas, as users chose a single community and were ensnared accordingly until the world wide web and the ability to mingle (through browsing and email). The history of these walled gardens serves as a perfect metaphor for the state of the virtual world industry today, where individual platforms are exclusive and serve to inhibit growth rather than embrace the future that awaits, according to Delwiche. The future as Delwiche sees it can be met with both exuberant enthusiasm and reluctant apathy, and is summarized by one word: portability.

Currently, there are dozens of virtual world platforms that offer their own unique brand to entice participants, not unlike the niche communities of the Internet walled garden era. Most people within the industry agree that these dozens will soon be in the hundreds and many believe we must brace ourselves for thousands of platforms in the near future, creating a problematic state of affairs for the industry and its users. From a participant’s perspective, how will the industry solve basic concerns such as if a platform folds or merges? When will we all have the ability to move our avatars, or our assets, from one world to the next without worry, not to mention for easier and quicker access to new and emerging worlds? How will we decide which platforms are right for us if dozens of them offer capabilities that interest us, let alone communities that we wish to involve ourselves with? These questions are not only important to the millions of 2D and 3D virtual citizens, but they are of chief concern to the numerous organizations who want to experiment within current virtual parameters with less risk down the road.

Delwiche adds in Moore’s Law for good measure, of course. Moore’s more aptly named ‘trend’ follows the clearly visible timeline of the history of computer hardware and suggests that technology grows exponentially, approximately doubling every two years. Given this rate of increase, Delwiche argues that PC’s will no longer be the primary or sole means of virtual world access, and he implores virtual world companies to preserve their content in multiple file formats in anticipation of this inevitable future. Not doing so will only make for messy (if not incompatible) retrofitting when the time necessitates it. We’ve already seen SONY introduce their Home, and Microsoft’s Table may prove to be the next generation of personal computing. Other 2D means may offer more convenience to participants at certain times. “Cell phones might very likely be used for managing things like virtual inventories,” Delwiche explains, thus enabling us to do basic transactions and menial tasks via our mobiles at our own convenience without entering in world. Technology already presents us with a variety of input devices, including those currently being tested that tap into our brains for mouse control, and more such hardware devices will continue to develop and come to market. A pair of chic sunglasses may very soon be just one of many choices we have rather than our standard pc monitors, offering us accessible (not to mention fashionable) head monitors with greater resolution. Keeping in mind the vast array of products developing and emerging, Delwiche beseeches the attending virtual worlds companies to focus on accessibility and adaptive technology today.

Current government laws also suggest a strong trend in Internet legislation that we must assume will continue to increase globally. For those of you who have followed the recent accessibility lawsuit against global retailer Target’s website ( Reference: PCWorld ) , you are already versed in how civil rights laws are expanding into the Internet. “Eventually, there will be more such laws that require access of virtual worlds to the disabled,” Delwiche notes, and including adaptive technology today will ensure demands can be met when they become required.

From a participant’s perspective, the idea of interoperability between virtual platforms is enticing, offering us the ability to take our assets and reputation between 2D or 3D sites and worlds. It would allow us to discover all that awaits in the many virtual platforms available, thus expanding all of our horizons in an open sourced virtual landscape. Linden Lab’s push towards open sourcing serves as just one example, but there were many other platforms I encountered who are keen to investigate ways to make the industry much like the world wide web. While some view it as a pipe dream, recent technology coupled with greater discussion suggests that those who disregard it will be left out in the cold, much like Prodigy was after the walled gardens closed their doors for the last time.




--------------------
"The future is here, it's just not widely distributed yet." - William Gibson
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Erasmus
post Oct 15 2007, 05:11 AM
Post #2


Apprentice
Group Icon

Group: Worker
Posts: 609
Joined: 16-January 07
From: Florida
Member No.: 479





While I strongly support taking down the walls and believe that the firms who will succeed in the long term are the ones now working on universal compatibility, I don't think we will ever see complete interoperability across the 3D web. And I don't think it is needed either. A good practical middle ground would be to take down the walls while leaving some of the fences up!

It is not necessary across the board, just as it is not the case today. You can't take your profile from one personal ad site across to another for example. And it is a good thing that you can't! Else you would end up with a unified world which would most likely translate into monopoly and lack of diversity.

There will be mechanisms to move assets from one world to another. In fact there is one already today with Anshe Bank allowing participants to move PEDs into Lindens and vice versa (that is without breaking rules unlike WoW gold selling for example). I find that very useful, although I don't really care to have my avatars compatible across SL and EU.

There will be many specialty worlds as there are specialty web sites. There will be ranges of worlds connecting with each others much as we have families of web sites doing that now.

What we do need is a universal IU like we have a browser. That is one reason I like the Multiverse concept, or the open source direction of SL. We can't have growth and diversity when it takes hours of downloads just to take a look at another world!

Having a universal UI but a large choice of world generators will promote competition and allow smaller companies to compete without having to compromise their philosophy and risk their future by being forced to join one or another major platform. The great thing about the current web is that no one can control it, not the DoJ, not Google, not the Chinese governement. They can control a portion of it, but they can't impose their philosophy across the net. And that portion is relatively small globally. That is good. Sure, there will be increasing government controls on the net, but as long as an alternative choices remain, those rules cannot effectively control the net, they only weaken their own market strenght and place their domestic firms at a disadvantage in the global markets.

See the example of the gambling segment where the DoJ has shut out US companies from that market segment and effectively given that market to the UK. In the end, this is benefiting those UK firms who do not have to compete for global market shares with US firms, and that portion of the global share is worth more than all of the blocked US market. Or, as one European executive once told me: "As long as the Chinese are nerfed, we don't have to worry about them in our own markets. It is hurting them and it is good for us."
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Dino
post Oct 15 2007, 04:13 PM
Post #3


Experienced
Group Icon

Group: Worker
Posts: 2,500
Joined: 22-September 06
From: Oakland, CA
Member No.: 339





QUOTE (Svetlana @ Oct 14 2007, 03:09 PM) *
Let’s go back to an era gone by, one that is indeed difficult to even recall. An age when you accessed your Prodigy account from the DOS sign-in screen and that wonderful slogan, ‘Discover a New World of People and Ideas’, greeted you.

Thanks for making me feel old Sveta :(

QUOTE (Erasmus @ Oct 14 2007, 10:11 PM) *
While I strongly support taking down the walls and believe that the firms who will succeed in the long term are the ones now working on universal compatibility, I don't think we will ever see complete interoperability across the 3D web. And I don't think it is needed either. A good practical middle ground would be to take down the walls while leaving some of the fences up!

I'm remided of the famous poem "Good fences make good neighbors" and I agree totally Erasmus.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Svetlana
post Oct 15 2007, 04:30 PM
Post #4


Good
Group Icon

Group: Staff
Posts: 2,978
Joined: 11-November 05
From: Seattle, USA
Member No.: 13





QUOTE (Erasmus @ Oct 14 2007, 10:11 PM) *
What we do need is a universal IU like we have a browser. That is one reason I like the Multiverse concept, or the open source direction of SL. We can't have growth and diversity when it takes hours of downloads just to take a look at another world!


I think that universal IU is the key ingredient. Make no mistake, I don't believe that Delwiche and others are calling for a completely interconnected virtual realm... rather, the philosophy is more in tune with our current world wide web. Even Delwiche noted that the www has not proven to be perfect nor entirely interconnected (ie. my Amazon account is not linked to my eBay account, despite the fact that it would be hugely beneficial and less tedious to me if both relayed my buying/selling points, etc, with one another so that I needn't be a newbie on eBay if I'm a veteran seller on Amazon... etc, etc.). These sorts of things are still being hashed out on the 2D web, no doubt.

QUOTE ( Dino)
Thanks for making me feel old Sveta
Hehehe- isn't that what I'm here for? :)

Btw, I urge anyone to read up on Delwiche. He's long been posting to Terra Nova and I'll try to get him to join us in a discussion or two with more of his insight.


--------------------
"The future is here, it's just not widely distributed yet." - William Gibson
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 

RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 26th September 2017 - 03:33 AM