The Watch – virtual worlds in the news

1. TMCnet (USA) – Diabetes UK: Second Life launch for diabetes campaign. “Diabetes UK has this week launched its Silent Assassin campaign’ within the virtual 3-D world of Second Life. The charity launched both its headquarters and the campaign in the virtual world that boasts 15 million residents’ to coincide with its biggest ever UK-wide campaign – created to raise awareness of the seriousness of diabetes.”

2. CCTV (China) – Beyond space and time: 3-D Forbidden City. “A three dimensional Forbidden City is now open in a virtual world. People can get a glimpse of the imperial palace and experience the lives of ancient emperors without having to be there. And the interactive platform allows online tourists to take on an ancient identity.”

3. Herald Sun (Australia) – Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s Playstation launching rival ‘virtual worlds. “Microsoft and Sony are taking their battle for gaming supremacy into cyberspace, launching competing virtual worlds.
Microsoft announced its New Xbox Experience at this weekend’s Tokyo Games Show.”

4. DMNews (USA) – Machinima is a futuristic, viral option for marketers. “Although still in its infancy, machin ima — animated films created by using a number of different game or virtual world engines — is rapidly emerging as a surpris ingly effective new tool for marketers. Currently, most machinima is produced through the online virtual world Second Life. However, it is expanding to include other online games and virtual worlds.”

5. Stars and Stripes (USA) – Game developers tap into social network. “As the Internet continues to increase in complexity and social networking grows in popularity, game developers are working to utilize the full potential of these technologies. “Social technology has fundamentally altered the means by which we communicate,” Jim Crowley, president and CEO of Turbine, said during a presentation Friday at the Tokyo Game Show.”

6. VentureBeat (USA) – Twofish raises $4.5M to create economies for virtual worlds. “Twofish has raised $4.5 million in a second round of funding for its business of creating the economic infrastructure behind virtual worlds. The deal is another indication that the virtual goods economy is heating up, even as the real world economy spirals downward.”

7. Gaywired (USA) – A Virtual Lesbian Life: Revisiting Second Life. “Although I dabbled in the massive online world of Second Life back when it was first becoming really popular 3 or 4 years ago, I didn’t have time to really explore and didn’t end up playing for long. It was not until Showtime made a big splash in SL by creating a virtual L Word island in the game a couple of years back that I ventured back in for another go. My passion for the immense virtual world comes and gos, but there is no denying that Second Life is an addition that’s hard to kick.”

8. bMighty (USA) – Welcome To Fantasy Island. “With fewer dollars to spend in the real world, consumers have been hanging out in virtual worlds — where their money goes farther, according to operators of such sites. Take Habbo, a self-described hangout for teens that charges a small fee for access to specific site features. Visitors are spending twice the amount of time on Habbo than in days past, the site’s EVP told U.S. users, who account for 25% of Habbo’s 10 million customer base, spend around $18 per month buying virtual items. You do the math.”

9. Pittsburgh Post Gazette (USA) – The Next Page: The triumph of the gamer. “If he were alive today, Shakespeare might very well have rephrased his famous observation stating “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players” by describing this worldly existence of ours as more closely resembling a videogame than a theatrical production.”

10. BBC News (UK) – Virtual worlds carve out new path. “If you are walking with orcs in the World of Warcraft or setting up a business on planet Calypso, the real world is probably very far from your mind. But for attendees at the Virtual Worlds Forum in London this week, the question of how to bridge the gap with the real world is a very pertinent one. As well as gaining an audience beyond the core teenage male gamer, virtual worlds with real world connections offer a whole new way to make money.”

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