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Learnings from the Melbourne Laneways Project. Prepared by Multimedia Victoria, October 2007.
In support of the Victorian government's commitment to fostering inovation to help drive the success of Victorian businesses, Victorian-based consultants Accumentum Pty Ltd were commissioned to research opportunities and barriers inherent in conducting activities in Internet-based virtual worlds.
Virtual worlds are computer-based two or three dimensional simulated environments that enable users to inhabit and interact with others through chat, instant messaging and voice, via "avatars".
Virtual worlds have attracted significant attention recently and are driving new forms of Internet-based communications, networking and collaboration by individuals and businesses.
There are many virtual worlds, of which Second Life is one of the most prominent. Launched in 2003 by Linden Research Inc. (referred to as Linden Lab), Second Life has a virtual currency, the Linden Dollar, exchangeable for US dollars in a marketplace consisting of users (known as Residents), Linden Lab and real life companies.
While there has been a great deal of hype in the media about the potential of virtual worlds, some commentators are more sceptical.
Against this backdrop, the following report provides highlights and learnings from the Acumentum research and includes a section to inform interested companies about developing their own presence in virtual worlds.
Using Second Life as a case study, the project involved the development of a prototype - Melbourne Laneways - created in partnershp with Victorian Government agencies Multimedia Victoria, Tourism Victoria and Invest Victoria.
Melbourne Laneways captures the quintessential characteristics of Melbourne, such as cafes in hidden laneways and Federation Square. it is currently located on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's well-established Second Life presence "ABC island".
Over a three-month trial, Melbourne Laneways will provide a means of gathering further information and data for the Victorian business community and others intersted in testing the potential of virtual worls. It is expected that further findings from the research will be made available next year.
Initial research findings have revealed that:
Below is a video clip of the Victorian government's second life presence.
Last updated: 28 May 2010
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