Have a Nice Second Life

Snow Crash is a book by Neal Stephenson where people come home from work and log into a virtual world. I mean a real virtual world similar to the movie, “The Matrix.” The difference is they put on a headset instead of picking up the telephone. In this environment, they meet other people, go to bars and shop. To pick up software they pass what looks like credit cards between each other and you instantly have it.

I’m not going to spoil it for you. Go read the book. My point here is that Snow Crash has become a reality of sorts. I’m talking about the virtual territory of the Second Life universe. Almost 2 million people inhabit a 20,000 acre Internet world in real time. They interact with each other, visit malls, casinos, beaches and spend money.

With the success of MySpace, some 68 million subscribers world wide, Second Life has an enormous potential. So much so that companies like IBM, Sony and Nike have built sites. Now Leo Burnett Detroit is the first major advertising agency in Michigan to stake out virtual territory. Their client? General Motors Pontiac. “Motorati Island“, a 96 acre site, is being created to be the home of a virtual Ponitiac Garage stage that exists in NYC’s Time Square.

The jury is still out on weather or not any cars will be bought inside Second Life but I have a hunch that in the future, you will be able to buy or sell just about anything. There are citizens of this virtual world that are making more money than they do in their day gig. Think a dementionalized e-bay but bigger. Much, much bigger.

2 Comments so far

  1. Tom (unregistered) on December 14th, 2006 @ 1:48 pm

    I use Second Life frequently. It’s a fun and terribly addictive game/world. You can already buy and sell cars within SL (as about anything else). I’ll log onto SL this weekend and let you know how much it costs to buy a GM car. It’s probably in the range of $2-$5USD.

    The game is kind of overrated by the media – it’s horribly slow and the graphics, in general, suck. The manufacturer of the game (Linden Labs) did not make the SL platform very scalable so they’re having a lot of problems recently. I’d say that 75% of the SL world is adult/mature stuff (go figure).

    Also, you might want to note that while SL has 2 million users, only a small fraction of that are logged on simultaneously – usually in the 10,000 to 100,000 range. Most of the 2 million users rarely use their accounts.

    Snow Crash is a really good book and I recommend people pick it up, even though the ending sucks. It’s definitely one of Stephenson’s easier reads.

  2. Tom (unregistered) on December 18th, 2006 @ 7:38 pm

    Just wanted to let you know that I visited the Motorati area of SL. Not only was it completely dead, it totally sucked. I couldn’t even find a place to buy a car after about 45 minutes of looking around.

    C’mon GM. Get with it. At least hire a good SL developer. You’re current SL site blows.

    (sorry Rickus, don’t mean to be negative, but it’s pretty bad)

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