How’s your Second Life going?
I will be the first to admit that I barely have enough time in my 1st life to even consider investing many spare moments in Second Life. But recent discussions with friends and colleagues have made me think of what may lay ahead.
A recent article on BBC.com talked about the developments by IBM and others in creating means for visually impaired users to interact with the virtual worlds so many more are flocking to daily. The same article cited a figure that said nearly 80% of active internet users will be involved in a virtual world within the next four years. That may seem less than interesting to some, but that number could factor into many changes and developments concerning online interfaces.
A colleague of mine posed the question as to whether there was a possibility of a viable Third Life, or users developing another assumed identity or virtual business within Second Life. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what to say; but the concept did intrigue me. There are already multiple RPG activities within Second Life and many entrepenurial types setting up shop all over, but what about those who start to develop the world within the world?
When I look at what could drive these possibilities I reflected on what drives me to play games and be online. Maybe my earliest drives toward games, was to just play. The bright flashing lights, fun sounds, and addictive game play left little room for my young psyche not to be immediately engaged. As I got older the games got more complicated and the challenge often wasn’t just to play but to solve. RPG‘s and tactical games made it important to think acutely about the actions I was taking in the games. Many of the other games were multiple player games, and that brings me to what I like about many modern games. There is a social aspect to participating in an action that can be found in sports as well as digital games. Even with single player games like Final Fantasy VII, my friends and I were constantly sharing tips and tricks, revealing enemy weaknesses, and sometimes literally showing one another by playing as example.
In the realm of MMORPG‘s this practice has gone one step further. Most of these games feature an inherent “grouping” feature. Whether this be a party list, friends list, clan or guild list, or even an alliance list (which is a grouping of guild groups found in the game Guild Wars). These groups share tips, help each other solve in game problems, and going so far as to create their own wikis and forum sites. These games aren’t just a flip of the switch to play Pong, they require a sizable investment in time and often money.
So how will the way we interact with our computers change our lives? I have already seen the term “web potato” thrown around and chuckled at the thought of just shortening that term to “tuber.” As we spend an increasingly large amount of time developing our pallid glow in front of the monitor, will the majority of our time be spent creating, sharing, or just watching? I wish I could say that so far my time has been largely productive, but seeing as how I know the “Kitty Cat Dance” song by heart, could probably imitate the “Star Wars Kid”, have a ton of videos bookmarked on You Tube, and have an inordinately large amount of Facebook Apps on my account; I guess my fascination with information has become more than just a passing fancy.
Of course that type of information may be as useful as knowing other useless trivia, but perhaps it was the process that will grant skills and methods of value.
For now laugh (briefly) as I did at this shot taken at online living.