Free Online Virtual World
Trying out a free online virtual world is a great way to experiment with the concept before paying for a membership. There are several options to choose from, depending on your ultimate goal. From pure entertainment, to online education, to business work groups and project management, these are a few interesting sites.
For Family Entertainment
Disney's Virtual Magic Kingdom
was a great site for family fun. Based on the famous real world Disney theme parks, the graphic rendering was a visual treat. Visitors could play games, go on quests and interact with other players. You could even earn points to buy decorative items for your individual Disney-themed rooms. To keep the site family-friendly and appropriate for kids under age 14, there were built in filters for user names and chat language. Unfortunately the game was shut down in march 2008.
is an online virtual world for free that allows visitors to create their own simple avatar by choosing clothes, eyes, mouth and hair. Your character can then play a variety of games with other visitors from checkers to recycling. You can also chat while you snowboard, or grab snacks in the food court. When you shop in stores like the Scion Configurator you can customize your own car. The site maintains safety for kids by using filters and encouraging residents to report suspicious behavior.
For Education and Business
offers a free platform for education and enterprise-level business use. Universities such as MIT and Notre Dame offer online courses using Second Life, also known simply as SL. Although the universities charge for their college-credit courses, students can access SL for free and participate in study groups after class.
Businesses like Dell and IBM use SL to hold meetings and conferences, and encourage their employees to create online work groups. Using this free online virtual world for these activities saves the companies thousands of dollars in travel expenses, and hundreds of hours in travel time. Employees benefit by being able to spend more time with their families instead of travelling away from home.
Second Life also tops the list as the most feature-rich free online virtual world for creativity, adventure and entertainment. To participate in and manage all of the features, you will have to spend some time learning to create and move your avatar as well as how to create all of the infinite number of possible items in your environment. Since you have the power to create virtually anything you want, SL is worth taking the time to master in order to make your dreams come true.
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