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  Notes: ‘Web 2.0 To Web 3D’  
Posted 2007-03-12 by Tony Walsh
Following are my abbreviated notes from the SXSW panel "Web 2.0 to Web 3D."

James Au

Robert Scoble
Robin Hunicke
Susan Wu

Au- [introduces panel, gives examples of web/MMO mashups, including Rupture, talks about how MMOs are blurring with work projects, CyWorld (18m accounts, 90% of South Koreans log in daily), talks about web mashups in Second Life such as Twitter heads-up displays.

Scoble- [asks how many people are on Twitter]. Talks about a "magic penny" that doubles in value every day... Twitter is doubling in size every month... this is what's going on in the Web 2.0 world. I've learned the audience is smarter than I am, the audience can build things and make it better [gives example of his book, edited or vetted by users]. People who participated in the creation of the book became owners of it... That's what attracted me to Second Life... SL's prohibition of young kids will block its doubling growth... I've been hanging around in 3D worlds for a long time, what interests me with SL is the physical architecture behind it... compared to the old virtual worlds, which were centralized, SL is distributed... Croquet will be announcing its beta tomorrow, its virtual world is infinite... a lot of people who tried Second Life would try it for 20 minutes and leave... what's going to keep dragging people back is the business model of user-created content / commerce. There's incentive for content creation. Outback is a Second Life competitor... the graphics are better... Web 2.0 isn't just about software that can be copied/cloned... what makes Digg interesting is the people there--a Digg clone is lame without an audience... Twitter seemed lame originally until it got an audience... there's a human connection in Second Life... Outback is P2P, they can get more people on an island (up to 10,000 people).

Wu- There will be no fidelity of items across servers with a P2P model.

Hunicke- In the upcoming My Sims (Wii), there will be user-created content that can be customized. Games are strongest when the player is the designer. Is Web 3D a good thing? Will it increase value for users? We considered at EA what we would do with unlimited bandwidth--imagined a world where you could move from one game to another in a virtual world. Each house could have a different reality. It would be great to be able to deliver pro-level content as well as allow user-creation. Constraints vs. aesthetics... what kinds of constraints should we think about [shows a screen from WoW, there are lots of HUDs visible]. There's a lot of stuff here, I'm worried about this... will 3D mean less and less control over what we see/do in games? People expect things to "just work" which means we have to trim down the amount of noise from the signal. Building these realities is very expensive in resources, mentions Nicolas Carr's look at avatar power consumption [inspired directly by my blog post here at Clickable Culture, thank you very much]. If greedy is possible, is it the right thing to do. 3D doesn't necessarily make design easier--in many cases it makes it harder. I want less noise. What's the user experience we want our kids to have [includes environmental/eco concerns].

Wu- We as a tech-driven society believe that technology is our saviour, but that keeps us from solving problems... Designing for a console game is extremely relevant to designing web applications.

Web 1.0: Information Sharing
Web 2.0: Interaction
Web 3.0 Immersion

Wu- Let's not make assumptions about 3D... in the next 3-5 years, there will be lots of virtual worlds available... there are a lot of ways to think about solving the user experience problem... The future of the web is immersion... everything we're doing online is real, the barriers between on and offline are disappearing... there's a separation between the content of the experience and the container... MySpace is the world's largest MMO, Gaia online started as a 2D BBS and became a graphical experience... Web pages become web places... people will demand experiences that are more immersive and egaging... 3D isn't necessarily the answer, it's a tool appropriate in some but not all situations... MyBlogLog provides a 3D social presence, it transformed the web experience into a group experience... Twitter is a 3D social presence, you can get a sense of distance between people... Some very successful virtual worlds look nothing like Second Life... our kids will understand time, identity and place differently than we do...

Au- [discusses how virtual worlds can save carbon emissions rather that contribute to ecological strain... conversation spins out wildly from there]


Q: Can't virtual worlds reduce ecological strain?

A (Scoble): I've been hearing for a long time about how technology can save us from travelling [seems doubtful about it].
A (Robin): I travel more now because of games than before.
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Comment posted by csven
March 12, 2007 @ 3:06 pm
"Croquet will be announcing its beta tomorrow"

Got any more on this, Tony?

Interesting stuff from Scoble. And enjoying Susan's comments.

Comment posted by Tony Walsh
March 12, 2007 @ 3:36 pm
Thanks for tuning in, I'll see if I can get some info from Scoble (provided I can find him and he'll talk to me). Otherwise, I guess we find out on Tuesday what the deal is :)
Comment posted by csven
March 12, 2007 @ 10:50 pm
Was asking about the Croquet comment because the Croquet SDK beta has been out for some time. I'm thinking it may finally be out of beta. But as you said, we'll find out soon enough.
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