Here comes another wave of ideas for metaverses?

Metaverse technology and approaches to how people can interact in a MMO type way are appearing thick and fast. It always opens debates around one world versus many, it starts technical arguments around platforms. However that diversity is both a rich source of ideas and approaches and a restrictivce and confusing situation in social media circles.
Eric “Spin Martin” Rice comments on some of the problems of this in a recent post Just where and why are people choosing to gather in 3d spaces.
Recently Roo and I have been discussing the evolution of all these fragmented spaces. I dont think it is enough that we just tell people what is out there at the moment. It is by no means solved or possible may not be solvable, but it is worth considering some things here. Often interoperability reduces to a pure technical discussion when in fact its a social and organizational problem too. As virtual world companies and communities attempt to own their customers/members in a traditional sense they clearly want you to come to them to experience their wares and their way of doing things. This is a wider web2.0 conversation around who owns me and my stuff.
We are starting to see some words appear in up and coming virtual environments that start to hint at maybe some different metaphors. “Widgetized” is a forced word but if you read the press around RocketOn (props to Xantherus for twittering this company the other day) you start to see that we do not have to stick with the real world analogies that we have today. I am second guessing what Rocketon is doing but having a thing you take around with you from world to world appears to be their approach.
So I made a little picture, not so much a roadmap as a suggestion of where we are today and the ? as to where we need to evolve to in our understanding tomorrow. It is fairly self explanatory I hope.
We have gone from not knowing about anything going on around us, to our friends being online and sharing their thoughts/pictures/videos asynchronously to a set of single worlds where our avatar presence is part of the experience for us and those around us with a nominal amount of the previous steps awareness pulled into that environment too.
The trick is to think about the evolution from that, not to just replace real world metaphors but to extend them.
We already see this adoption as people start thinking about metaverses. They start with the replicas of themselves and of their offices and of their existing assets. They very quickly start to evolve their thinking and challenge why we need to stay on the floor in an office, do powerpoint, market with billboards etc. The non-real world representations start to flow as ideas.
My suggestion here is that the very container of those ideas, the world itself may also need to have this sort of evolutionary thought applied to it.
Single worlds and single avatars and a single live presence may be too restrictive, though is a comfortable metaphor to help people adopt metaverses and to feel some benefit from the.
This idea I think flows across each of the quadrants we see from the metaverse roadmap with the distinction being made with the types of virtual worlds and metaverses. Mirror Worlds, Virtual Worlds, Augmented Reality and Lifelogging.
Any thoughts?

4 thoughts on “Here comes another wave of ideas for metaverses?

  1. In building tomorrow space (, which provides persistent copies of event halls to each of our customers, we’re wrestling with a lot of the questions of what the web looks like with many spaces interconnected by hypertext and doors which pop your avatar from one service to another.

    In talking with early adopters, it’s clear that a lot of people don’t think of a web of privately hosted 3D spaces as a virtual world, yet so many of the approaches are transferable between the two approaches. The same feeling of connection with your avatar exists, and some of the same tactics of immersion and play from MMOs are clearly valuable in web spaces.

    There has never been One Big World online. One of the biggest companies touting this idea, Linden Lab, has two complete worlds partitioned by age: Main Grid and Teen Grid. And there are many more partitions which are just as central to identity and self differentiation.

    So the question is not whether we’ll have one big world but how distributed is ownership and how portable is personal representation like appearance and name.

  2. There’s no question that there will be competition in the marketplace for virtual world providers. There will not be “one big world.” The closest you’ll get to that is something like Google Earth, or, that actually support Earth-size planets with continuous travel. The point there is that there IS a contiguous world. But, just like Google Earth is just one application, and Google Maps is just one web site, there will be other, alternate big worlds, and there will by myriads of small worlds.

    The important thing to get right is to make sure that someone who happens to use one technology (Multiverse, Forterra, Linden, whatnot) can still experience the content of all the other technologies. Having to use an “AOL world browser” that only works with AOL-hosted worlds gets old pretty quickly.

  3. hyperlinked web3d that has differnent viewers and capabilities does exist on the net, and has for many years.

    the FACt that the CONTENT scenes/worlds made by using the different display systems,( even if they all use the same base formats like vrml or x3d or any other format each pundit is paid to promote..) dont CONNECT by CHOICE when it can be done via steps as easy as a hyperlink embed, tells more about the “business visions” of the few funded to build 3d content and applications, then the ability to create a networked 3d BIG meta world that resembles the html linked paged based www.

    right now each of the 40 blogged on here and there in the metablog circles are all in an all or nothing 3d metaverse delivery vison that will only lead to many forgotten MMO companies or web3d companies by 2010.

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