Virtual worlds, and Second Life in particular, was a hot topic as talks kicked off at the fourth annual Stanford Summit, an executive gathering to discuss the global technology industry and its implications for economic and commercial trends.
Chris Rosedale, CEO of Linden Labs, claimed that in 10 years’ time the virtual world would outgrow the web to become the standard form of communication and connection.
However, the computing power for an extensive virtual world would be enormous.
Rosedale said the amount of servers running a virtual world would number in the hundreds of millions by 2017, completely dwarfing the extensive server infrastructure employed by web titan Google today.
Rosedale said his dream has been to create an environment like the internet where people could do or be anything they wanted but that the graphics and hardware technology didn’t allow for this possibility until 1999.
He likened the ups and downs of Second Life adaptation to the way companies were testing the waters on the internet back in 1996, saying that some virtual entrepreneurs were succeeding while others were not so lucky.
Underpinning these ups and downs, he said, is the reality that US$1.3m is spent daily in Second Life buying virtual objects.
He said the one crucial difference between the virtual world and the web is that in the virtual world you are never alone.
To demonstrate this, his Second Life avatar on the presentation screen behind him walked up to a newcomer and welcomed them.
He said a newcomer to the web would not have the instant, personal, interactive support that a virtual world can provide; that in Second Life a user can literally walk into a virtual shop and find a job like in the real world, as opposed to applying online through Monster.com.
According to Wired.com, he finished his talk by adding: “If you were new to technology, wouldn’t you rather start here, rather than on the web? Someplace where you can ask people questions and where people are friendly?”
By Marie Boran