The film is satirical in tone, but actually, worlds like Second Life which allow user-created content and real/virtual currency exchange are viable places for hiring out "sweatshop" labor, depending on what sort of work product you're looking for.
So-called "camping chairs," which pay Second Life users to linger in specific locations (known as "camping" in gamer parlance), pay a very low wage to workers in North America and Europe, but could actually provide a decent income in some countries. A few years ago, the New York Times reported that most Chinese gold farmers make under $0.25 USD per hour. The sweatshop featured in Invisible Threads pays in virtual currency equivalent to $0.90 USD hourly.
Yay, edutisements for everyone! COO says: "...[W]e will go from being a one-trick pony to having multiple virtual worlds under management." On the same crotchety tech platform as Whyville, apparently. Ugh.
Legal analysis of an overlooked clause in SL's Terms of Service seems to show that anyone using SL grants other users and Linden Lab a license to any virtual world patents. Yet another blow to "Your world, your imagination."
Real-time machinima puppets "with a generous and forgiving license that doesn't restrict your creative use..." Free "mirror" mask puppet, skull puppet for fifteen bucks. Could be useful in game sketching, prototyping or concept work.
I'm not always able to talk about projects I've been involved with, so when I get approval from clients (which, thankfully, is most of the time), I'm not shy about highlighting some of the outstanding initiatives I've worked on:
3) Metaversatility has launched its cross-media game for upcoming movie The Nines. The game touches the web, Second Life and will bleed over into physical space as well. I'm happy to have been involved (even if very briefly) during the conception stages as a design consultant. The game has already made a few headlines, most notably at Variety online.
Hopefully I'll get clearance in the next month or so to discuss a few other fun cross-media projects recently-concluded and ongoing.
The good news is that Microsoft has spelled out how gamers are permitted and prohibited from using Xbox 360 games in machinima and other derivative works. The bad news is that "You can't add to the game universe or expand on the story told in the game with 'lost chapters' or back story or anything like that."
Historically, universe-expanding fan fiction related to TV shows and movies has in some cases extended fan interest in a given property, or has even been incorporated into the property's official canon. Killing fan-fiction (which almost always adds to a property's universe or storyline) pretty much invalidates any of the activities Microsoft has permitted, in my view.
Yes, virtual worlds are ready for "a CNN" to call their own--in fact, there has been a thriving "native" media scene inside Second Life for years. Wagner James Au was the first embedded writer in Second Life, followed soon after by myself (less embedded than external) and dishy tabloid The Second Life Herald--we were the first wave of writers alluded to in a recent Columbia Journalism Review article on journalism in Second Life. Since then, a legion of in- and out-world publications and broadcasters have been covering Second Life. It also bears mentioning that nearly every attempt to broadcast regular video reports from Second Life has failed, including the corporate-backed Grid Review. Why LivePlanet thinks it has a chance of success here is beyond me.
Clint Hocking offers an outstanding, thorough, intelligent and wise rebuttal to Ebert's dead-horse "games aren't art" argument. If you read only one rebuttal to Ebert's argument, make it this one! Two thumbs up!
Chip Morningstar: "It is nearly impossible to solve a problem for someone if they don't believe they have the problem, even if they really, really do." Although it seems to be standard marketing practice to offer solutions for problems we never knew we h
"Juice": Persistent, plentiful interactive feedback. "A juicy game feels alive and responds to everything you do... it coaches [players] through the rules of the game by constantly letting them know on a per-interaction basis how they are doing."
My fave Alexander quotes from Alice's notes over at Wonderland:
"There are new forms of entertainment, like Machinima and stuff, but games are great the way they are, movies and TV are great the way they are, and transmedia integrated into the DNA of whatever they create is what’s important. How am I going to get this content exploited on the internet, or in gamespace, or on TV...The writers of these games are more than capable of writing screenplays or TV content. They can do that."
Fave quotes from the Gamasutra article:
"When you’re doing licenses, you could find a way to do something shitty, put it out and make some money, but you could also build something great. Make a relationship with a studio, with a license, and make it great."
Best quote of the panel goes to Linden Lab's Joe Miller, who said the company is going to open source Second Life's back-end: "We will not succeed if only one company owns the grid."
Anyway, my grossly-abreviated notes follow. Caveat emptor...
Corey Bridges, Co-founder, Executive Producer, & Marketing Director The Multiverse Network
We are platform makers. This is the start of the mainstreaming of virtual worlds. The most popular/money making virtual worlds are MMOGs. MMOs have more purpose than just entertainment. What Multiverse does is make this technology available for downloading, enabling indie developers to get in and create new stuff. Our standard business model is based around developers--they don't pay us a dime until they charge consumers. It's such a blank canvas. What if you just want a nightclub or island? You can do that in Multiverse. We are trying to enable the full potential of this medium.
Third-party metaverse development firm The Electric Sheep Company, which creates content and services for virtual worlds such as Second Life and There has scored $7M USD in a round of financing, reports Reuters (a client of the Sheep). Investors include CBS (a client of the Sheep) and "existing" investors Gladwyne Partners, according to Reuters. It's not uncommon for makers of virtual worlds to receive financing, as shown recently by Areae, Doppleganger, Meez and IMVU: What makes the Sheep investment significant to me is that the financing is going towards a third-party--not first-party--developer.
This is a very exciting development not just for the Sheep, but for all companies and individuals who have entered the rapidly-evolving industry of metaverse development in the past couple of years. The Electric Sheep Company reportedly employs 45 staffers, not including virtual-world labour--by comparison, Linden Lab, maker and maintainer of Second Life employs about 110 people at its San Francisco office. In a Fortune Magazine article, David Kirkpatrick writes "Linden Lab counts 65 companies that have sprung up inside Second Life to serve real-world business customers. CTO Cory Ondrejka says about 350 people work full-time for such companies, and there are at least $10 million worth of such projects underway." Reuben Steiger of metaverse developer Millions of Us responds "I happen to think his estimate of the dollar value of projects underway is low, but it’s cool to see the overall size of the market."