Virtual World Platforms

A Virtual World with No People: Near Launches Monday

A new virtual world launches Monday and will stagger the release of passcodes in order to deal with the mad rush of people who want to wander around a slightly better version of Google Earth in order to pick up coupons and look at shoes….or that’s the impression given by the screen shots and videos of Near. The 3D shopping mall, er, world, was developed by NearGlobal and has Rivers Run Red as its creative partner.

Rivers’ prexy Justin Bovington, recently commenting on the launch of Second Life Enterprise, said that 3D content needs to be more relevant: “”It has be less Xstreet, more Wall Street. It has to reflect relevance, rather than drowning us all in deluge of content: clothing, furniture and avatars.”

At least with Near he got rid of the latter – the new ‘virtual world’ will bypass some of the concurrency issues by bypassing avatars altogether. And I suppose that the clothing and furniture and stuff is being developed by Rivers….whether it’s a deluge or not remains to be seen. So maybe Justin wasn’t actually thinking of Second Life so much as he was laying the groundwork for the new 3D mall.

Near promises to “radically broaden the appeal of virtual worlds” according to an interview/press release on 3DTLC. In another corner of the metaverse, Twinity, which pretty much tried to do the same thing only with Berlin and WITH avatars, is now offering a relocation service for those of you exiled to Berlin:

The idea is to acquaint future Berlin residents with the city’s layout and some of its features. Berlin, along with London and Singapore, are the first cities to be recreated using the Twinity software. From a home or office computer, future residents of Berlin can “download a free guide, meet at a personal guided tour and get an idea of the layout of the city, the distances involved and the amenities in the new location before they arrive.”

Now, Near may be early to the game of mirroring London but it won’t be the last. The makers of Grand Theft Auto are in the process of creating a procedurally generated MMO based on all of England (let alone London) with an anticipated launch date over the coming year or so. With every square inch of the UK mapped out and with the game designers behind GTA managing the project towards maximizing entertainment, Near had better do more than get rid of the crowds.

Pick up your CD of Near on the streets of London starting tomorrow, or download (download??? yeah – it’s not browser-based) starting tomorrow, or catch the video now.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.