***Update For a really in depth post and some great pictures (something lacking here for some reason) check out Tish’s post over on Ugotrade
As I am sitting waiting for my flight back to the UK, and as I have a few minutes of battery life left I thought it worth putting down a few thoughts on what went on at VW2007.
The biggest and most awe inspiring part had to be the kick off. The announcement by the creator of CSI that he and the Electric Sheep were partnering on an immensly large project taking the $6billion dollar franchise of CSI into Second Life. Regardless of whether you watch CSI or not this is a media innovator joining forces with a virtual worlds innovator. It is at these sorts of intersections good things happen. Also, it is really extending the narrative of the programme, not, as we see with game and film ties ins a seperate property that usually does not work.
The story will blend into SL, out of SL, with RL and with fictional characters. Visitors will have several levels of engagement from simple related puzzles ot a deeper investigative path in the story. It is by its very nature temporal, to fit in between important TV episodes. It is blending with the world of Alternate Reality Games and mainstream very popular television too.
This is another one of those events that will put virtual worlds into peoples lives, even if they do not dive in, they will notice, and far more than a traditional advert.
There was a slight concern I had over the potential other product placement, but as with product placement in games, when in context it works.
The other great thing about this conference was the size, it was significantly bigger in both Expo terms and tracks of dicussions than the previous one.
The IBM booth, which was a stand and 2 offices that were rezzed on the floor was a very well trafficked place. The entire team spent the entire time talking to people. Our partners at Icarus had an even more impressive set up, with a 2 story stand and a live motion capture streaming into a virtual world demonstration. This was amusing just for the fact that the girls demoing it were wearing the mocap ping pong ball suits for the cameras to triangulate their position, but the avatars looked perfectly normal. Sort of the wrong way round form what we normally experience.
All the major players were there, with the exception of Linden Labs and Rivers Run Red. Linden really did not need to have a stand as lots of people were doing their PR for them 😉
Our stand we had both SL, Active Worlds and the IQ Metaverse (the torque based one). We also have Jacques from the SMB media and entertainment and the guys from Vivox there. There was another part to the stand over with Icarus and that was where Peter Finn set up shop with his alpha demo of blending virtual worlds with a browser. That needs a whole post in its own right of course.
I had a good chat with most of the stands, though it is amazaing how little time you end up having when you are talking to press, analysts and bumping into the metarati that you know from in world and on Twitter.
The pitch I did with John from CMP went veyr well. We split it into 2 slots one after the other and I threw in my 9.4 years wasted each week by us waiting on telecons starting figure, which has made a few press write ups.
The majority of the session was Q&A. We both gave in depth answers. In particular I was explaining the story of eightbar, and how letting go means good things can happen and that my fellow IBMers and our extended set of contacts and friends now in this new industry could not have happened any other way.
We had lots of conversations around the various consortium meetings and press releases (as Roo blogged about previously).
Millions of US did a good announcement with a veyr nice machinima taking the Scion City a bit further, and notably also into a more ARG type of territory.
Christian from Cisco also did a good pitch where he name checked a whole lot of people (including our very own Roo Reynolds). The theme was that this is all getting big, but its still very small. That sounds a bit negative but the small was in terms of earth population. So the basis was that we need to all work together to grow. Which is great as thats been my position on this since day one 🙂
One of the most striking things I am taking away is some words that our very own Sandy Kearney used. In here leading into the business track presentation to kick us all off she referred to the fact we had moved from the information age to the conceptual age. Just as we had problems adjusting from industrial to information ages where the nut and bolt did not map to the bits and bytes, the conceptual age requires a different mentality and approach. I feel that I understand that, it is en extension of the Web 2.0 mentality yet much more once you dwell on it.
It was also interesting to talk to Jerry and Mark and Christian about Wello Horld, their new startup. They have a great logo with a turtle and the workd as its shell. Other than that they were very tight lipped, or non-committal (and with good reason I suspect) on what they are doing. It was a bit of a viral discussion as we all pieced together the various jobs on linkedin, the fact Mark Wallace had a suit on and snippets of conversation. Either way, gossip is good and I wish them luck.
Finally I was impressed by what the scenecaster guys have been up to, again that needs to be a seperate post. Its not MMO, but it is 3d and user generated with the potential to build on others work too. Spin had been raving about it so thats always a good sign. You can check him signing out of the conference in my little youtube post over on epredator.com
So, great conference, great people and more importantly still great and growing potential.
Rather like a good sport though we get to do this all again in 1.5 weeks in London at VWF Europe. More on that later too… I have a plane to catch.