Robert Scoble asked this morning if now, that more and more virtual worlds run in regular web browsers more people would not only try them out but actually stick to using them. He refers to a demo of Vivaty, another 3D shared space running in a normal web browser (to be precise, only in Internet Explorer and only on PC, like most of them do. He’s as appaled about that fact as I am). There are other compaies doing the same and even better: Exitreality already supports bebo, MySpace, friendster and more and lets you create whole planets. With Vivaty and Exitreality you can create and decorate your own 3D room or space and “show off your stuff” and invite friends to chat and party. Vivaty can be easily embedded in your existing social network (Facebook and AIM at this time, with more to come) and in this way is simply a more media-rich and more entertaining way of socializing. It adds one dimension to the flat web pages. The only reason I am not offering you a virtual office right here to meet you and show you what I do is the fact that there is no cross-platform 3D solution available as of today. But that’s going to change within the next months.
As I am fond of saying: our kids grew up running around with pixelized avatars through half-bred 2.5D environments on tiny screens and they share almost everything publicly on the web…they won’t care for flat pages once the third dimension is available. And so won’t the adults. The company giving them the third dimension in a web browser and full integration with their social media/networks of choice wins. Big time. Why?
Do you remember the early nineties? There was no web. Nope, no web for “regular people”. There were hyperlinks- but they were linking text pages to another and only geeks in universities used them. 1994 the World Wide Web came around and within a year everybody started using it. Adults, no kids. Because it was running in a cross-platform application on every single computer and displayed pages like we were used to see them: text and pictures, nicely layouted like a newspaper. And there was an added value:
More media, combined in one place and instant access.
We never had sound in our newspapers. But we knew sound from the radio and the TV. And we couldn’t search or click through a whole library in a paper. Now we could have it all – in a web browser. Then came video – ridiciulously tiny 160×120 postal stamps with flickering images pretending to be video.
But we wanted video in our web pages. And animations.
“Kids stuff, poor quality, this will never substitute watching the news on TV” Sounds familiar?
No serious online newspaper has a homepage without TV-quality video and Flash animated charts.
Then we started uploading, first photos (2D, still), then videos (2D, animated) and music (first recorded, then we created our own). And all along we wrote stuff – it’s called blogging today and it’s easier that it was once.
And we wanted to chat. To connect. To meet people.
We chatted all this time in various forms, even before the web, because that’s who we are – we are such a social species that we die if we can’t socialize. And when chatting went mobile we often rather text then phone. Kids never call anyone – they IM. They Twitter. You do. One can ask “Why? The phone has a much better quality!” and “Why would anyome rather meet in a text-based (!) chat room than in real life?” and they’re missing the point. The point is people just do. People are different except for one thing: they need to connect. Everyone in their own way. The new way is 3D.
Do I want more media in my browser, adding a dimension we all know from the real life? You bet. But only if everybody has access! No luck for the companies ignoring the Mac users.
That’s why I think: any 3D engine with the following specs will “stick”: It
- runs in a standard web browser on all platforms
- lets people with no doctorate in 3D graphics create something (a room, a space, a world)
- integrates/aggregates all the stuff that’s already out there (Flickr, YouTube, you name it)
- and most of all: lets people connect, meet, chat with their (optionally) individually designed avatars
- uses standard micro-payment systems
Those are the most basic requirements and I am only talking about web based 3D spaces for social situations (private and business).
We live in a three-dimensional space. It’s just natural that we would like to add that extra dimension to our web life, too. And the only reason we don’t have that yet is technical limits. Like it was the case with pictures, sound and videos.
Here’s the qwik video demo of Vivaty Robert recorded with his cell.