With the news this week that There.com is closing and one of the superior virtual worlds with all of its member generated content goes pfft as it did with Lively and a dozen other 'will change the industry and the market' projects, one wonders.
When will the virtual world industry and web 3D in general come to the place where it is completely understood that separating content specifications from the graphics engine specifications is survival itself?
How much less of a tragedy would it be if when a business model fails, the content and the technology can move to new servers without much hurrah?
Say what you will about VRML, the content is still running. While it isn’t a solution for all 3D applications, X3D + WebGL is a good place to be and with the interop with the OGC specifications such as CityGML, it may prove to be the most sustainable in terms of new business.