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Toney, Alabama, United States
Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, XML/X3D/VRML97 Designer, Consultant, Musician, Composer, Writer

Friday, February 29, 2008

Association of Virtual Worlds

A new association popped up on my radar when Bob Sutor mentioned it at his blog.

I looked at the members list and noticed people I am familiar with such as Damon and Rita. Otherwise, it appears to be a business/social network site for people into virtual worlds, and technology agnostic (the site, not the people).

If anyone has better information about the association, please reply here and/or post to Bob's comment section. Could be a good thing; could be justAnotherSocialNetwork thing. I don't really know.

4 comments:

Dave said...

Hi Len. I'm the Executive Director of the Association and am happy to answer any questions you have about the Association. I assure that this is not just another social network. We've announced a publishing division, our partnership with Altadyn (www.3dxplorer.com) and Trimensions Metaverse Development (www.trimensions.org) to build a virtual headquarters and facility for our members and have quite a few more things in the works.

nic mitham said...

I'd like to think it's not just another attempt at land-grab in the virtual space. I've joined this association to see what happens.

I did get a slight feeling of 'numbers, numbers, numbers' when an email came out encouraging members to get more people to join, incentivised with a prize.

As with all these types of groups, a lot depends on the quality of the debate taking place on the site and ultimately it's the owners of the association that have to stimulate this, otherwise it just becomes a platform for people to advertise themselves - and we have a lot of those already.

Len Bullard said...

@Dave:

Thanks Dave. I was asking originally because Bob Sutor (VP IBM) mentioned it on his blog (www.sutor.com) and I said I'd try to find out what it is about.

@nic

One hopes for something more than yet another debating society. We've plenty of those too. As a long time VRML-list member and reader of Raph's blog, I've seen all the topic threads at least fifteen times now. :-) I started this blog to document techniques for X3D and VRML. I haven't had the time to do much of that since becoming the product development manager at UAI, and now elected to serve another term on the BOD of the Web3DC. It's too easy to turn back into solely a kibitzer.

Dave said...

This suggestion of land-grab really is sort of silly. What percentage of the internet using population knows what a virtual world is, much less has regularly spent time in one? I can assure you that I'm not interested in 'land' -- I've got plenty.

The purpose of the Association is to deliver a message of value to the public. Members of the existing virtual worlds community are of course important members for the Association, but reaching out beyond this community to the public is far more of what the mission is about. That's why, numbers, a publishing division, a virtual environment in the works that is easy to use and accessible to people who would never consider altering their lives enough to spend time in Second Life or the other highly immersive worlds like it.

I, for one, am a huge fan of Second Life and many like it, but I know as a former executive of a Fortune 200 company, that for many of my former peers, virtual worlds are a complete mystery, eat up bandwidth, and require hardware expenditures that make them unlikely to succeed in corporations, today. I also know as an attorney and consultant, that people can't stand new technologies popping up all the time, so we need to identify a compelling reason why virtual worlds matter.

So, what I am trying to say, is that we who think about this industry day and night, need to step back and examine what is needed. Rigorous discussion and debate inside the industry on the finer points of marketing and technology? Certainly. A less insider focused message to people on the outside, explaining why virtual environments are important in an age of $110/barrel fuel, increased globalization, reduced interpersonal engagement, etc? I think so.

Let's see what happens.