Monday, October 16, 2006
Reuters is set to launch a news bureau in Second Life, the popular 3D virtual world, on Wednesday. It's planning on offering text, audio, and video news, covering both Second Life and "First Life" news. Reporter Adam Pasick based in London will be embedded as the avatar Adam Reuters. In this effort, Reuters is joining companies like Adidas and American Apparel, who are offering clothes and accessories for people to dress up in.
While Second Life has been getting a lot of press coverage recently, it's still a relatively small community compared to other social networking sites. It's significant because it is the apotheosis of the very concept of social networking and has a functioning virtual economy that interfaces with the real world economy. Also, users who create items in Second Life own those items so they can choose to freely distribute or charge for them, creating an exchange economy. Still, these efforts are likely to be as much publicity stunt (a way for companies to appear to be on the cutting edge of cool) as genuine belief in Second Life's commercial potential.
Here's an overview of Second Life:
Created by Linden Lab in San Francisco, "Second Life" is the closest thing to a parallel universe existing on the Internet. Akin to the original city-building game "SimCity," "Second Life" is a virtual, three-dimensional world where users create and dress up characters, buy property and interact with other players.
More than 900,000 users have signed up to build homes, form neighborhoods and live out alternative versions of their lives in the 3D, computer-generated world. Players spend around $350,000 a day on average, or a rate of $13 million a year. Usage is growing in rapid double-digit terms each month.