Business in Virtual Worlds, Second Life, Virtual World Platforms

CSI Creator At it Again: Lessons from Virtual Worlds Forgotten?

Anthony Zuiker, creator of the CSI franchise, thinks there are golden opportunities for cross-platform storytelling, and is pitching Silicon Valley on the virtues of brands like, well, like his own ubiquitous series.

Now, I know the ESC folks don’t like me categorizing the CSI build in Second Life as a failure, it met their metrics, they say. And Zuiker isn’t saying anything new here: in fact, he said the same stuff almost exactly a year ago:

“There’s going to be a time when all TV shows–and this could be 5-10 years from now–need to engage in a) the television first, b) the web–you need to have a web native show that’s five minutes long that’s You Tube-esque that really enforces or reinforces the narrative that doesn’t smell like television, and then there’s c) a mobile approach that gives you alerts and interactivity with the phone and d) there’s a gaming aspect to where you go through some casual game element that will unlock more content, more narrative but will drive you back to television. If there’s one mistake the industry is making right now, it’s that they’re trying to put the content on every device possible–even your watch, but they’re not doing anything to drive the narrative and the viewer back to TV, where it all has to begin and end. When it doesn’t, I think we’re in trouble. “

He foresaw a flood of viewers to Second Life:

“The most exciting thing for me–of course we’re trying to break new ground in television, I just want to see what happens when you invite 16 million viewers and a group from Second Life to the same party. The servers either all melt down or it takes on a life of its own. It’s incredibly exciting. ”

Now, what really happened was that neither the servers crashed nor did it take on a life of its own.

These days he’s pitching….well, the same thing really:

“Speaking at the NewTeeVee Live conference in San Francisco, Zuiker said he believed Silicon Valley and Hollywood could combine forces to transform television and bring its storytelling power to all devices, including mobile phones and video game consoles.”

He acknowledges “failed experiments”:

“He has experimented with new media, including casting the pinup models from the Suicide Girls website on an episode of “CSI,” running an online contest and having actor Gary Sinise make an appearance in the virtual world Second Life.

The experiments haven’t all panned out. But Zuiker is committed to finding ways to extend the “CSI” brand beyond television, he said.”

Me, I’m sticking with my CSI facial reconstruction kit.

But you go Anthony. And don’t let the following get you down:

“Capturing the attention of your audience wherever they are and creating an immersive experience that keeps them coming back may not be a matter of survival at this point. But it will be.”


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