The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. The Denver Post (USA) – Club Penguin gets it right. “The newspaper industry is constantly bewailing its need for a new economic model, as the Internet upends the old one. Maybe it could take a page from the Club Penguin Times.
The Club Penguin Times, after all, is more widely read than New York’s Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, or The Dallas Morning News.”

2. Techdirt (USA) – Maximizing Profits Doesn’t Mean Screwing Your Customers. “A few years back, we wrote a post debunking the ridiculous notion spread by some that Craigslist was somehow “anti-capitalist” or not “maximizing profits” because it actually offered most of its services for free. As we noted, much of Craigslist’s long-term success was because of these decisions — which in all likelihood did increase overall profits for the company in the long run by building up further trust in the company.”

3. The Daily Egyptian (USA) – Second Life used to teach foreign languages. “Alicia Guebert struggled with boredom in her French class last semester. But this semester, characters in a virtual world hold her attention while she learns German. Guebert, a junior from Modock studying art history, said the new experiment to help students learn a foreign language as characters in the simulation game Second Life has her staying awake and learning in German class.”

4. Finding Dulcinea (USA) – The Ethics of a Sex Life in Your Second Life. “Like a growing number of Internet users, Kevin Alderman was eager to jump on the Second Life bandwagon. Second Life is a computer game that allows users to design avatars and operate in a fully elaborated virtual world. It enabled users to do most real-life activities, but Alderman noticed that it prevented users from touching. He founded the company Eros LLC and developed the SexGen software for Second Life. Now, avatars can engage in a variety of sexual positions and activities with other avatars.”

5. Pocket Gamer (UK) – Vollee reveals Second Life mobile beta stats. “We’ve written about Vollee before and its innovative mobile application that lets you access the Second Life virtual world. Now the company has revealed some data about that app’s beta trial. Specifically, Vollee says that it’s been downloaded by users in more than 98 countries, on more than 253 mobile operators, for 70 different handsets.”

6. The News Journal (USA) – Virtual worlds inventing legal codes. “Virtual worlds have often been called the digital equivalent of the Wild West, where animated alter egos can live in a fantasy frontier. But in some of these universes, a sheriff has come to town. Slipping a four-letter word into an instant message now could land a user in a virtual timeout. Repeated attempts to make friends with an uninterested character could result in a loss of blogging privileges. And if convicted of starting a “flame war,” or an exchange of hostile messages, a user may endure the ultimate punishment — permanent exile.”

7. The Washington Post (USA) – In the Beginning, Finally. “After years of delays, the universe is set to begin this weekend — and it’s about time.
Tomorrow marks the U.S. launch date of Spore, an ambitious and long-awaited computer game that takes on the broad topics of life, the universe and everything. For publisher Electronic Arts, the unusual game is one of the biggest debuts of the year.”

8. The Tampa Tribune (USA) – Off The Screen: ‘Second Life’ Players Meet. “Distinct personalities in real and imagined worlds collided Friday at the fourth annual “Second Life” convention. That was only the beginning of the confusion for those outside Second Life, the virtual online community that is anything but confusing to those immersed in the virtual world.”

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