The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. Sydney Morning Herald – Virtual world cracks down on cowboy banks. “There’s a banking meltdown in Second Life, too. It seems even this escapist virtual world whose inhabitants fly around and dress up as angels or animals can’t escape the global financial crisis”.

2. Computerworld – Virtual worlds will soon be as important as Web to companies. “While virtual worlds like Second Life have come under fire for failing to provide enough value to businesses with established storefront operations, a new Forrester Research Inc. report argues that the 3-D Internet will be as important to companies in five years as the Web is today”.

3. Linux Insider – Cybersex and the Married Man. “Players of EverQuest can get so tangled in their fantasy worlds that the affairs mimic those in soap operas. Here’s an example from a post on EverQuest Widows, an online support group on Yahoo for partners of obsessed gamers. “A couple of months ago my hubby told me about a lady he was engaged to in the game. He broke it off with her when she wanted him to leave me and come marry her in real life” “.

4. Computerworld – CES: IBM, Emotiv show advances in virtual reality worlds. “Hundreds of products at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here are devoted to new ways to input data to a PC or gaming console, including a variety of inputs via voice commands or gestures that are registered via video detection. But another way demonstrated at CES is the ability to wirelessly transmit the brain’s electronic signals, including emotions and cognitions, from sensors on a person’s head to a PC.”

5. C Scout – Update: Social Virtual Worlds for Tweens. “Social Networking Sites for the very young let kid connect through virtual pets. We already reported about some of the new stuffed animals and collectible toy figures which come with access codes for online games (Please read our trend posting Real Toys – Virtual Games). Other social virtual world for tweens exist just online and reward children for spending time on the certain website with virtual money (or points) which can be redeemed in items for the virtual pets”.

6. News.com.au – Smarter games, dumber children. “CHILDREN should be banned from playing computer games until the age of seven because the technology is “rewiring” their brains, it has been claimed. Bombardment of the senses with fast-pace action games is said to be causing a shortening of attention span, harming the ability to learn”.

7. The Chronicle of Higher Education – Virtual Worlds Turn Therapeutic for Autistic Disorders (subscription required). “The 19-year-old woman glares at her computer screen, furious because her roommate wants a friend to move in with them, rent-free. But instead of calmly asserting herself, she begins yelling, and her virtual world is put on pause”.

8. MSNBC – Q&A with Anshe Chung, virtual philanthropist. “Contribute’s Janet Rae-Dupree created a digital “self” — an avatar called Scoop Raymaker — to enable her to explore Second Life and interview its first philanthropist, virtual real estate tycoon Anshe Chung”.

9. Associated Press – Ancient Roman Road Gets Virtual Life. “A museum on Tuesday unveiled a virtual reconstruction of one of the bustling arteries that led into ancient Rome, allowing visitors to wander through rebuilt monuments and interact with the city’s political elite. Using a concept similar to that of online virtual worlds, the project creates characters, or avatars, that roam the ancient Via Flaminia, exploring funerary monuments that lined the road, bridges and arches. They can also roam through the villa belonging to Livia, wife of Rome’s first emperor, Augustus”.

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