Evangelizing the Metaverse with Ruben Steiger: Live Blogging

Ruben Steiger of Millions of Us, previous evangelist at Linen Lab laid out the need for evangelism about the metaverse. He recalled the first SL Community Convention in 2005 which had 140 attendees but ended up being the first breakthrough in proving that virtual worlds were an interface to social connections rather than a mere ‘hobby’. It was a point at which he asked the question of how to promote the virtual worlds industry and ask the question:

“What’s interesting about this?”

Obstructions from then are issues we all face today:

- Too difficult to learn
- Not accessible
- Lack of standards

- 100 - 130 million users globally
- 75% of market is between 8 and 24
- About to collide and merge with 550 million social network users
- Virtual goods were a $1.5 B market in 2007

The result is turning the Web into a place where we meet face-to-face.

- Globalization of talent
- Price of gas
- Internet has become and extension of our physical world and our brains

We’re seeing the real world becoming more virtual - the iPhone quickening the pace of augmented reality, while the virtual world is becoming more real looking.

However, virtual worlds don’t exist in a vacuum. They have sister industries in entertainment, advertising, the Net, gaming and enterprise collaboration. Right now, we draw a line between virtual worlds and games for example, but going forward there’s a need to:

- Define virtual world concepts (why is it not a game? When is a game a virtual world?). Flickr, Seismic, and Twitter all use virtual world metaphors, for example. All that’s missing is the simulation of a room. Is a virtual world just a chat room with an interface?
- Identify industry weaknesses - lack of standards and auditable metrics, no way to do true 3D with Flash, and payment method issues. (Predicts within 6 months being able to render a 3D environment without a plug-in)

We need to seek help from other industries.

speak up

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