Friday, May 23, 2008

Dramatic Features

As the virtual world landscape goes from Blue Ocean to rough seas, that which differentiates one world from another will become essential. The worlds that will fail will blend in and be lost. Those that flourish will:

Be first to bring a solid next generation virtual world experience to users.
Offer a unique experience, dramatically different from the majority of VWs.

While being first is great (Google, Amazon, etc.) there's only room for one at the top of that mountain. Being unique is the key if you don't want to take the longshot bet of being the top dog. To know what's unique, I want to list what (currently) makes most virtual worlds the same.

  • Avatars - 3d or 2d
  • Focuses on Kids (13 and unders) or Teens (everybody else.)
  • Game-like navigation. Sites that call themselves virtual worlds but don't allow avatars to move around in some semi natural manner are (to me) fancy chat/game rooms.
  • Chat
  • Currency (in some form)
  • Customizable Living Spaces
  • Stores - Outfitting avatars and/or living spaces
  • Gaming
    • In-World - Using Avatars in the VW setting.
    • Out-World - Game launches outside of the VW setting and may not even be related to the VW.
Many virtual worlds will have a feature or two in addition to this list, and few don't include all of these features. While the current generation of VWs seem to be sticking pretty close to this list, I think the next generation of VWs will require something that adds something unique and dramatic in order to succeed.


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