Virtual Worlds and Australia 2007 Part 1

It’s not an understatement to say that it’s been a hell of a year for virtual worlds in the Australian context. So I thought it was worth doing a bit of a retrospective to put in context how much has occurred. Second Life has been our focus the past year but there’s been some other exciting developments.

January 2007
– we started off the year asking if 2007 would be Second Life’s year in Australia;
– Linden Lab announced they were going open source;
we asserted a need for addiction services for the small proportion of Second Life users who may have some problems;
– ABC began the construction of their Second Life presence;

– the deluge of mainstream media coverage of Second Life continued, something that caught us a little by surprise.

February 2007

we started to cover the metrics around the number of Australians using Second Life;
– the ABC
sought input from residents for its upcoming development;

we interviewed Logan Linden (Chris Collins);
– Project Outback was touted as a potential Second Life competitor;

March 2007

we interviewed in-world counsellors, Wellman and Wellman.
– Telstra launched their Second Life presence.
– in the weeks after the Telstra launch, we reported on the significant influx of new Australian residents in Second Life.

– Australian-owned Second Life Cable Network launched.
– ABC launched their island presence, coinciding with a Four Corners documentary on Second Life.
our own in-world presence launched.
– we profiled Gary Hazlitt

April 2007

– the Chebi Mosque transfixed us.
– we covered the gambling ban put in place by Linden Lab.
VastPark caught our attention for the first time.
– we questioned the long-term viability of Linden Lab’s centralised server model for Second Life.

we interviewed the Australian owner of the World Stock Exchange, Luke Connell. This has been one of our most viewed stories and caused a significant reaction at the time as you can see from the story’s comments.
– the number of active Australian users of Second Life reached 8000.

May 2007

we asked whether Australian-based Second Life servers were on the horizon (oh the naivete!)
personal boundaries in a virtual world were discussed.
– TMJ must have been in a philosophical mood during May as we also asked whether loneliness rather than community was the norm in Second Life.
– our monthly population update forecast an active Australian Second Life population of close to ten thousand.

– we published a story on Linden Lab’s crackdown on ageplay in Second Life. This has been our most viewed story ever and still receives enormous numbers of views each day – mainly from people typing terms like ‘child pornography’ into search engines.
– ABC Island had some problems. We were one of the only media outlets to not claim the problems were griefing – even ABC News ran the griefing line initially.
– we profiled Gizzy Electricteeth from IBM.
– the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) made its debut in Second Life.

June 2007

– our coverage of ageplay and pedophilia implications in Second Life continued.
– Windlight functionality
started appearing in the Second Life viewer application.
– Anshe Chung and the World Stock Exchange defined their relationship.
– we briefly toured music-focused virtual world The Music Lounge (now called vSide).

– we completed a roundup of US Presidential Candidates and their presences in Second Life.
– Australia’s active Second Life population was stable at ten thousand.
– our inaugural traffic index of Australian activities in Second Life was published.
– we profiled the Second Life Cable Network (SLCN) team.
– the Australian Women’s Weekly jumped on the mainstream media bandwagon, giving readers a glimpse of Second Life.

Part 2 of the 2007 roundup can be found here.

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