I went to a summit on Second Life and virtual worlds in Hursley today, hosted by Kevin Aires, Jack Mason, and Roo Reynolds - it’s becoming obvious that there’s a big buzz about Second Life both inside and outside IBM - a primary bit of evidence being IBM’s recent announcement of a $10m investment in virtual worlds such as Second Life. For obvious reasons, I can’t relate everything that was discussed.
Second Life is an idea I want to like. It’s not a game, and it’s not just for playing around either (despite the slightly frivolous avatars and other trivialities imported from actual games). Some of my colleagues from IBM in various R&D; labs around the world - such as the Emerging Technologies Lab here in Hursley - have been doing an admirable job of promoting Second Life as a genuine business tool (articles on Slashdot, the BBC), and I think it’s great that IBM is looking at using something so bright and fresh.
James has just given me a brief tour of Second Life. Once again I had problems - cracking graphics and a crashing client - but I was a bit more impressed than last time - having a guide to show me the good stuff and get the hang of the controls helped. I also met one or two of the other IBMers using Second Life. It’s clear that there’s still a lot more to explore.
I’ve finally given in and taken my first tentative steps into Second Life (it’s legit once it has an Economist article; or something…). My first impressions are so-so; it’s obvious that there’s a lot to explore and do that I’ve only just scratched the surface of (see Andy Piper’s blog for a lot more posts on Second Life; including how IBM are getting involved). But the system obviously needs some work - the client crashed twice within the space of two hours, once bringing down Windows.