Immersive banner ads, new worlds and exposing platform choice

In the ever evolving and growing virtual world business we are seeing yet more interesting changes since my previous post.
Blue Mars is entering the fray as a virtual world experience. It is one powered by a high end game engine Crysis CryEngine 2. I suspect this will get quite a bit of interest from people who regard some of the other places as to old or to weird. It looks like its content development is a gated process rather than the freeform nature of some of the other platforms.
I have not been in the beta yet, I guess my invitation got lost in the post? When I do get in I will give a better description. As far as I am concerned more platforms is good, and it validates the direction we have all been going.
Also the last few days 3Di made another anouncement. Hot on the heels of the “opensim in a browser” they have extended that to use the same principle for more immersive banner advertising.
3d banner
Whilst the press release does claim a first, which as always is debatable, it does look like some product wrapping has gone on to enable this deployment.
Of course it is already possible with other plugin approaches such as as web.alive to have an embedded virtual world on a webpage, or richer experiences with unity3d embedded in a page. The interesting part here is of course the use of opensim, which indicates that the construction of the content viewed by the plugin is able to be very simple.
I started to wonder if we were realistically going to start to see user generated content in banner ad virtual worlds?

Closing Thought Springer Style
Lots of ways of interacting may seem confusing and worrying to people, and indeed investing time in places either as a company or an individual does have its challenges when there are lots of places to choose from. However this is the nature of the internet. There is not one website, one application platform, one way of doing things. Virtual worlds are on that continuum.
In development there is of course a difference, running a website on Websphere, Coldfusion etc has technically challenges, coosing a backend database or language also is important, but generally your customers don’t know or don’t care. Having an HTML layout or some Flash plugins start to make a different to your users experience. The exposed face of the system (including its speed and performance) gets the focus of any user. With any virtual world you end up with a user experience and feel straight away regardless of the things you build or provide in the environment. The choice of platform and access to it has both technical direction and creative direction all wrapped into one. You enhance that experience with your extra creative and technical endeavours. So the technical implementation of the virtual world and its base experience and branding is very important, it has exposed what used to be behind the scenes technical platform choices and given them a face. A location both in a choice of which virtual world or worlds and within a particular one, has become important. In many ways the degree of user perception and experience that impacts the platform choices is an anti-pattern to cloud computing. In cloud we (as users) don’t really care where something runs, how much storage, how many processors, what the plumbing is, we just want it to be there when we need it. With the extremely visual and socially engaging nature of virtual worlds we absolutely do care about where something is, where we are, who we are associated with.
The question, for both us as users, as customers and as businesses is which platform to go for. The answer is not straightforward, but I would suggest that with the increasingly low cost of entry to these just pick one you like the vibe of. Holding back to wait for the best of breed pick would be the same as not having a customer database installed because you weren’t sure if DB/2 was better than Oracle or MySQL, so you just did not bother. However I would also suggest that you engage people to help you describe that vibe, people in your organization (or outside it 😉 ) that mix the technical direction with the creative direction.
You need to find people who are a blend of techie, have an eye for design, a feel for social interaction online and a passion for pushing things forward. There are lots of people like that out there, usually buried in your organizations. Please find them and grow them.

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