Thursday, July 17, 2008

The 3D Internet Will Change How We Live

Virtual world. I tried Second Life, and found it silly, self-indulgent nonsense, and full of adverts that annoyed me. Just didn't interest me.

Virtual worlds may look like toys for the geekiest of geeks, but they have quietly slipped into the mainstream. Second Life reports that over the last two months, 1.2 million accounts were logged in for over 65 million total hours.

Other virtual worlds, like the PG-13 rated "There," China's forthcoming "HiPiHi," youth-oriented "Barbie Girls" and teen-oriented "Habbo Hotel" attract millions more. Big technology players are involved too. Sony is developing a 3D environment for its popular PlayStation 3 called "Home," and Google recently launched its own world, "Lively."

Seems silly: toys for grownups. I'd rather read a book, take a bike ride, watch a Tony Bourdain episode, or blog.

Bandwidth and processing power are constantly growing, leading to several convergent trends. First, interfaces are moving closer to reality. Over the last 30 years, we have gone from punch cards to typed commands to drag-and-drop folders to Windows Vista's 3D panels. Second, hardware that makes 3D immersion possible – from motion-control devices like Nintendo's Wiimote to $90 Webcams that track face and body movements – is now reaching average consumers' homes.

Not that I oppose it, disdain it, or reject it; for now, it just doesn't interest me.

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