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  ‘Virtual Laguna Beach’ First of MTV’s Online Worlds  
Posted 2006-09-20 by Tony Walsh
MTV Networks' Music, Films and Logo Group announced today that its Virtual Laguna Beach online world, based on the Laguna Beach TV series, has entered its beta phase. According to an emailed press-release, "The company is working hand-in-hand with Pepsi, Mediavest Worldwide and OMD" on the virtual world, which will allow participants to "interact with sponsors' content and also purchase virtual as well as physical goods." Marketers and media buyers are apparently already lined up to support Virtual Laguna Beach. Users of the extension to the TV series "can hang out at the beach or shop at the local surf store and interact with one another in ways that mirror the on-air program. Just as the cast gears up for the Winter Formal, so too can viewers within Virtual Laguna Beach prepare for the big night, find a date online and select the tux or prom dress for their on-screen identity."

Virtual Laguna Beach, which was built on Makena's There platform, will debut episodes a day in advance of the TV broadcast. MTV Networks plans to launch "other virtual worlds for the broader music community and for viewers of LOGO" later in the year. In combination with Virtual Laguna Beach, MTV's new worlds have the potential to draw users (and media attention) away from competing space Second Life. It remains to be seen if users prefer themed virtual worlds over open-ended ones, but I'm guessing there will be greater interest in the former.
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Comment posted by Gary Hayes
September 22, 2006 @ 12:24 pm
Hey Tony,

I think this is very significant - and excuse the slight forward train of though. The engines that sit behind these 'worlds' are within reach of corporates now to set up and I suspect (just like blogs and wikis) in the wonderful world of web 2.0, VR world publishing will be in the hands of everyone within 2 years. An open source, easy to set-up on any webserver package will mean Second Life's days are probably numbered - I think Croquet needs some major tweaking before it becomes a Wordpress, but as I suggest in my Web 3.0 post ( there is an inevitability about corporates and the rest of us being able to host our own virtual spaces - and link them together the same 'metaphorical' way we link blogs and comments (so hundreds of thousands of personal virtual mini worlds running on a multitude of apache servers, with a virtual link between them, so it appears as if they are next to each other in the virtual space) - This would of course mean not having to pay then rely on LLabs to lose our credit card info, have to update the software every week, run on extremely laggy servers and to be honest if it wasn't for the money making potential - slighly off at a tangent post but if people are still using Never Winter Night engines and now ad agencies using 'There' and Croquet downloads are growing one can see a desire to fragment and break away from the monopoly of 'open-ended' SL.
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