So, I’ve been playing around in Second Life for about a month now and I have to be honest it is very interesting. Don’t know what Second Life is? Well quite simply it is a virtual world created by users where anything is imaginable – basically it is your second life. For those of you who are gamers it is a cross between World of Warcraft and Sims with the main difference being that the users generated the content in the world. For a more in-depth read, check out my deli.cio.us tag to see all of the articles.
My dive into Second Life is mostly about figuring out the marketing and PR opportunities with a slight personal analysis of the world itself. As you can see from the articles, there has been quite a number of PR/Marketing opportunities including a launch of a virtual hotel, simulcasting of MLB’s Homerun derby, and a Suzanne Vega concert on the way. All of it is very cool and very cutting edge.
So, I created another life - PardonMyFrench Boehm. You can guess the reason behind the first name – the last name you can’t make up and you have to choose one from a list. Boehm happened to be on the list and the last name of my good friends Grace and Chip. After a few days on Orientation Island I was off to the help island where I met other people and got some freebies like clothing, costumes, a home, and a car. You see in Second Life the currency is Linden$ and because I registered my credit card, I started out with L$250.
I befriended one of the mentors (Linden personnel there to help you) named Monique. After I was done touring the island, Monique logged off as a mentor and entered the main world. Like a newbie, I teleported to her, leaving Help Island never to return (once you go to the mainland you can’t go back). I followed Monique to Emerald Island a gambling and shopping establishment run by a fellow named Detroit. The game Monique (who didn’t abandon me) taught me to play was called Slingo. In Slingo you get a bingo like card where you need to mark off numbers gaining points after every round. While you are playing the game, it is suggested that you put some money into the pot – if you win, you drop 20% back in for the next game. Slingo was a lot of fun and the people there, including Detroit who didn’t get pissed at me when I played his card for a few rounds in error were also very interesting and fun.
After a few games, I started wandering around Emerald Falls and realized how brilliant the programmer was who put this together. The Green Lantern (DC comicbook hero) would be impressed with the design and the plan behind this Casino. There were many other games to play and all seemed pretty fair. As a newbie and one who likes to gamble it is a great place to hang out. Ok, back to reality for a second.
What do you do in Second Life? Well if you are a fan of the Sims put that game down and go to Second Life. Here you can dream things up or pay someone to use the code to design something (check out this link for the design of Suzanne Vega’s virtual guitar). It also looks like a great place to hang out if you have the time; while I was playing Slingo I also had to start the charcoal grill and make my primary wife and kids dinner!!!
What are the marketing opportunities in Second Life? I don’t know yet, but there does seem to be
endless possibilities. Whether you can
translate real world into the virtual world and sell through remains to be seen
or found. You can make some Linden$ and
convert into US$ so there are business opportunities. I also think something in the political world might be
interesting, but it depends on the demos of the user base.
The biggest negative and it really is a big one is the graphics and rendering of the graphics. With all of the great posts on the wonders of Second Life, I’ve yet to read anyone’s comments on the sub-par and definitely sub-World of Warcraft graphics. When you walk up to a sign, you should be able to read it. Waiting a few seconds for it to render is really bad usability. I compare it to World of Warcraft because that’s where I spend the bulk of my free time and WoW never has graphics problems and there are people (a lot) that are accessing the servers. I wonder why Second Life has these problems.
Anyway, stop by if you find me wandering around Second Life. I’ll most likely be researching the true marketing opportunities there - whether it is something that can make me some Linden$ for conversion or a primary world opportunity like political polling. Second Life is a great place to explore, as long as you can stand the graphics rendering and have the time. I can only spend so much time in a virtual world, so the vast majority of it will be in World of Warcraft. I do have a wife and kids you know?