Create Virtual Worlds
Businesses and universities create virtual worlds for a variety of different uses as new technologies become faster and more affordable to average consumers. When online virtual worlds first started, graphics and animation were cartoon-like, slow and not suitable for business or academic uses. The presentation quality was severely limited by hardware processing power, and at the beginning of the 21st century, computer chips with enough power to process sophisticated graphics were too expensive even for corporate use.
Short history of virtual worlds
The first industry to make virtual worlds was gaming. Many people give the title of ‘first virtual world’ to
which was a multi-user shooter game in a simple black and white 3D setting, dating back to 1974. Since that time, computer geeks have been fascinated with creating alternate realities, and found room to experiment by combining their computing expertise with funding from special effects studios like
So we have the entertainment industry to thank for accelerating the quality of graphics to near photo-reality.
Virtual worlds for education
Colleges and universities have been experimenting with distance education since the internet began. Originally, online classes were little more than text files and multiple choice quizzes hosted on a simple web page. But that was in the early days, when desktop computers could only handle small data files and phone lines were still being used for internet access. Since technological advances have produced ultra fast graphics processors, high speed internet connections and high speed microprocessors that are affordable to average consumers, universities have been able to create virtual worlds online on sites like Second Life that students can afford to visit. More than 150 universities and colleges have created their own virtual islands within Second Life.
Virtual worlds for business
Second Life is certainly the front runner and most well known online venue for businesses to create virtual worlds. But it is not without competition.
The Dubit Platform
is an outgrowth of a successful virtual world that began in 2000 as a place for kids and teens to chat, and for major international companies like McDonald’s, Motorola, Nintendo and Pizza Hut to do market research and start creating brand loyalty. But Dubit’s design is more like a combination of chat and gaming, rather than a Second Life blank slate on which to build classrooms, convention centers and prototypes of new products. Its presentation is not quite as sophisticated as SL, but it represents a choice for businesses that are looking for ways to implement their virtual world strategies.
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