IBM research for inter-world travel

11 Oct 2007

You may be free to go where you want within a virtual world such as Second Life, but when it comes to visiting another world, like, the avatar or virtual self that you spent hours customising is useless – you must start over.

IBM is collaborating with Second Life creator Linden Labs to create a universal avatar that can travel seamlessly between virtual worlds. This digital doppelganger would be created once and free from its pixelated shackles, it could hop between worlds.

Unlike the world wide web, virtual worlds are fragmented and owned by individual organisations. If it is to be the future of the internet as some have predicted, then it must open up to interoperability.

“As the 3D internet becomes more integrated with the current web, we see users demanding more from these environments and desiring virtual worlds that are fit for business,” said Colin Parris, vice-president of digital convergence at IBM.

“IBM and Linden Lab’s working together can help accelerate the use and further development of common standards and tools that will contribute to this new environment.”

Apart from collaborating on universal avatars, IBM and Linden Labs plan to work on integration with existing web and business processes, as well as developing standards-based software designed to enable secure transactions across all virtual worlds.

Our open-source development of interoperable formats and protocols will accelerate the growth and adoption of all virtual worlds,” said Ginsu Yoon, vice-president of business affairs at Linden Lab.

By Marie Boran