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  I See IMVU  
 
 
Posted 2005-09-01 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I See IMVU
While I'm waiting to see if the operators of IMVU.com will afford me a look at their press kit, I feel compelled to at least introduce you to their 3D avatar-based chat environment. IMVU bears a striking resemblance to the look and commercial aspects of virtual world There, so much so that it wouldn't surprise me if There's developers were involved. The IMVU software seems to operate as a layer on top of existing IM applications, such as MSN, and uses small browser windows for much of its interface. Signing up is free, and involves customizing your avatar via the web. First-time users are given 1000 credits (play-money) to buy additional content. More credits can be purchased for real-world money.

IMVU is extremely commercial in nature. Everything will cost you something, even just the ability to preview potential purchases on your avatar ($19.95), reserving your namespace ($5.95), or eliminate advertisements. IMVU content is available for micropayments of about $0.50 for an average pair of shoes or haircut. The company is looking for sponsors for branded content. Like Second Life, and There, users can create and sell their own content, such as avatars, clothing, animations, and textures. IMVU requires members to sign up for their Developer program, where they'll need to agree to an NDA before receiving vital information and templates. I'm not sure how lucrative selling in IMVU is, but the prices for items are comparable to Second Life's conversion rates.

I joined yesterday and am sorely disappointed I have to pay to preview their pornographic content, which is evidently locked away but I assume extremely popular. One thing I've learned about virtual worlds is that two avatars cannot just share a chat window without taking their clothes off.
 
     
 
   
 
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Comment posted by Aesop Thatch
September 17, 2005 @ 1:15 pm
     
 
Tried this out last night, wasn't at all impressed. It really is just a 3D chatroom. On the other hand... Mesh-based primitives.... Oooh.
 
     
 
     
   
 
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
September 17, 2005 @ 1:40 pm
     
 
As Will Harvey says, IMVU isn't trying to be a virtual world--instead, it simply aspires to be a 3D chatroom with the world's best avatars. While it bears some similarity to There and Second Life, IMVU doesn't seem to be interested in competing with those larger spaces, and probably appeals to a different audience.
 
     
 
     
   
 
 
     
 
     
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