VastPark have been a littler quiet on the news front recently but they’ve changed that today with the announcement of a virtual worlds’ player called Immersion. The player, which will be open source, will allow for VastPark-created worlds to be embedded into websites. VastPark themselves mention Google Lively as the obvious comparison.
CEO Bruce Joy’s take:
“We think that virtual worlds will start to become more utilitarian: you can create a room in minutes and decide to have a VoIP based meeting in there. This will lead to many businesses wanting to host their own micro worlds just as they host their website. We want to make that easy, low cost and provide an open source and a commercial white label software choice.”
Immersion will have scriptable “PowerPoint-style” controls and the current Browser and Viewer technology used in VastPark will be merged into Immersion.
The open-sourcing of Immersion comes on top of the VastPark server code being open source, so it’s an overt strategy by VastPark. It’s probably a necessary strategy as well given that behemoths like Google Lively are now competitors. That said, the open source route is being pursued with some protections built in for the company. Lead Developer at VastPark, Craig Presti, explains:
“VastPark is built for developers, by developers. The whole system is easily extended by developers creating plugins that can remain proprietary or be open sourced at the discretion of the developer. We’ll continue to release binaries under an entrepreneur friendly end user license. That’s much better than being essentially forced to open source your widget or your plug-in by the GNU GPL. We think there’s a middle way.”
Whether this middle way is the path to success is obviously up for grabs. What’s encouraging is that a smaller (and partially Australian-based) player is remaining in the game and not being fazed by the ever-growing competiition in the marketplace.
We’re waiting on confirmation from vastPark on Immersion’s release date.