The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. News.com.au – Virtual spend making real money. “Spending $26,500 on an imaginary island might sound outlandish, but it’s paid off for computer gamer David Storey who now makes $300 a day from online game Entropia. The 26-year-old Sydney student is promoting the “virtual world” game at the GO3 Electronic and Entertainment Expo at the Perth Convention Centre. His family and friends were initially sceptical when Mr Storey told them he had bought a virtual island with houses, hunting lands and a shopping centre which all existed only in cyberspace.”

2. Abilene Reporter-News (USA) – Texas State Technical College to offer certificate via Second Life. “Texas State Technical College has announced that it will become the first institute of higher education to develop a complete online certificate or degree in the virtual world, as in the fall of 2008. TSTC will offer a digital media certificate utilizing virtual world technology, using Second Life as the primary delivery method, according to a news release. Students earning the digital media certificate will have the opportunity to earn an associate degree in digital media in spring 2009.”

3. HD-Report (USA) – Sony finally starts testing ‘Home’. ““Home,” the much talked about and long delayed virtual world from Sony, began accepting applications for beta testing in Japan. 10,000 Playstation 3 users will be allowed on the beta run, but only gamers with Japanese online accounts are allowed so far.”

4. VentureBeat (USA) – Google testing “AdSense for Games” in bid to shake up in-game advertising. “Google is the sleeping giant when it comes to advertising in video games. While the company dominates search advertising, it has yet to make a big splash in video games. That could change soon, as the company has been quietly testing its “AdSense for Games” product for months.”

5. What PC? (UK) – Virtual answers to real-life ills. “Online virtual worlds are just for teenagers and twenty-somethings, right? To some extent, yes, but not entirely. Organisations are starting to explore the benefits of using virtual worlds not just to share information, hold meetings and allow employees to learn new skills, but to provide an interactive multimedia online environment to reach out to customers.”

6. Washington Post via TechCrunch (USA) – Philip Rosedale Doesn’t See Browser-Based Virtual Worlds As A Threat to Second Life. Is He In Denial? “ecently, there’s been a growing wave of startups and products appearing that are bringing 3-D virtual worlds to the browser. These include Vivaty, Google’s Lively project, and the Electric Sheep Co.’s WebFlock. And I’ve seen a few stealth companies working the same vein. None of these are as fully featured or immersive as Second Life, which requires a separate desktop client download. But it may not matter because a good-enough experience available via standard browsers may eventually qwn Second Life. Linden Lab, which operates Second Life, is working with IBM and others to make virtual worlds interoperable with each other. Still, for the most part, they don’t play nicely with the Web.”

7. Business Standard (India) – Real life Indians yet to get a Second Life. “A year ago, S Sundararaj, founder-member of the Chennai-based IT start-up Anantara Solutions, had just completed his online MBA course from U21 Global. He was under the impression that he would have to attend the convocation ceremony in Singapore where U21 Global is headquartered. However, even as he waited anxiously for the schedule, he was officially informed that he had to collect the certificate of the online university at a virtual convocation on Second Life.”

8. MarketWatch / Wall Street Journal – Manpower Inc. Celebrates First Anniversary in Second Life. “Manpower Inc. announces the worldwide celebration of the company’s one-year anniversary in Second Life. The celebration kicked-off with a multi-media convening of virtual world gurus on Manpower Island to reflect on the ways leading brands can attract a creative and diverse pool of talent and leverage virtual worlds to further real-world social responsibility programs.”

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