Thursday, September 27, 2007 The moment virtual world's go mainstream?

The virtual world is coming to a facebook page or a blog near you (and as soon as they find a place for me on the beta public test I'll demo it!).

There's a real buzz growing up around I'll resist the urge to add it to my 'one's to watch' until I've actually had a play.

But non-stop-digital-news blogger Robert Scoble is raving - and it does seem to open up some interesting new possibilities.

I have to say I do like the disaggregated, user-distribution model they're using (like youtube's widgets). So SceneCaster should 'play' on this or any other webpage, provided you can paste in a code snippet.

This alone may prove to be the virtual world's mass-market trigger point - in the same way as the I-Phone presses the go button on mobile internet. Virtual worlds go viral.

Imagine a real-time auction for the item you are selling. This may have powerful, and rapidly enabling consequences for the new forms of classified advertising I've been imagining (ie virtual showrooms - now everyone could show off their vehicle for sale and pitch buyers head to head: eBay meets SecondLife...)

It has implications for global niche communities, too. In SecondLife there are limits to the numbers of people (80) who can meet in one place. So replicating a full crowd experience is tough. Now we can have a proper virtual conference.

And I love the possibilities of that when it comes to getting a niche community of shared interest together - 'physically' on a global scale. It really writes large that synchronous communication element that's so important in the most powerful communities of shared purpose.

It should be easier to give directions in Scenecaster because you can link to a location as a separate url. That's been a problem for SecondLife. It's a bonus for those who will use it to promote anything. There's a big marketing play here.

It may not have the complete immersion of SecondLife, but it looks like the advantages (and Robert lists more on his blog) could trump this - particularly for those who prefer to 'live' in the real and virtual space.

UPDATE: Sep 27, 1.30pm:
Having had a play I've found there were more limitations than I initially believed. I can access, update and share my scenes but only (currently) within SceneCaster or Facebook. Not on my blog etc. All I can share on my blog is an image of it. Now that may not be all bad. Combined with the url for the room, it should suffice as an invite to people to come on it... I think.
Come and check out the FasterFuture lounge here.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?