Future of Virtual Worlds Panel Oct. 27, 2008

Annual Future of Virtual Worlds panel Oct. 27, 2008

In this special session we bring the future into focus from a number of perspectives.
At least 7 industry leaders and innovators will discuss their views on the most pressing  questions and issues for the coming year(s) ahead.  All of the panelists have recently released products in the virtual world space in the fields of  enterprise, government, and entertainment applications.

What does the industry most need to succeed and grow in 2009?  What “out-of-the-blue” scenarios may be lurking in the cards?  Where should developers and users look for opportunities in this space over the coming year?  These questions and more will be amongst those for the panel to choose from.

Have burning questions of your own?
Submit them at: http://virtualworldsig.com/future-of-virtual-worlds/ and we’ll add them to the mix!

Confirmed panelists include:

Jon Watte CTO Forterra Inc.
(http://forterrainc.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=23&Itemid=40)

Greg Nuyens CEO, Qwaq
Remy Malan  VP Enterprise, Qwaq

(http://qwaq.com/company/management_team.php)

Sibley Verbeck CEO, Electric Sheep Company
(http://www.electricsheepcompany.com/about/)

Corey Bridges Executive Producer, Multiverse
(http://multiverse.net/about/mgmt.jsp?cid=5&scid=3)

John Boring  CEO, Accelerate
(http://www.accelerate-ld.com/whoweare.html)

David Dwyer, COO, zookazoo.com
(http://www.zookazoo.com/company)

Virtual Worlds – Future Scenarios was our most attended event in 2007.
Don’t miss this once-a-year event and the opportunity to learn from some of the most important leaders in virtual worlds.  As always event will be “mixed-reality” with media linked from http://www.virtualworldsig.com.

List of questions:

Eilif Trondsen asks:
* OpenSim seems to have created a fair bit of buzz and real activity over the last 6-12 months and a number of large players, including IBM, are now testing this open source option for building virtual worlds. What role and impact–on other virtual world developers as  well as on adopting organizations–do you see in the next year or two?

* Two part question: What is the single greatest opportunity you see for VW developers in the next year? and…  Which challenge do you expect will keep you awake quite a bit during the next year?

Bob Ketner asks:
* What does the industry most need to succeed and grow in 2009?

* What “out-of-the-blue” scenarios may be lurking in the cards?

* Where should developers and users look for opportunities in this space over the coming year?

* Console worlds emerge… but will they ever merge…with PC based worlds?

* How will new abilities such as “telepresence” mix with or compete with desktop worlds as we know them today?

* How will new abilities such as telepresence mix with or compete with desktop worlds as we know them today?

* How important is mobile in your development plans?  Given the new 3G bandwidth switch and iphone and Android is mobile a consideration at all to you?

* 5 Years out: It’s 2013 and I’m reporting to work – what do I log into?

Mickey Mantas asks:
* How do you envision avatar portability’s utility in the coming year? Is this merely a concept or is this a reality?

* How soon do you think VWs can be widgetized for placement on commercial web sites?

* Will “this economy” help or hinder advances/necessity for VWs?


Stuart Dobson aks:
* How do you see virtual worlds integrating with social networks in the near future?

* Do you see much of a future for user generated content (eg machinima) using virtual worlds, or is this a very low priority?

* What features are badly missing from current virtual worlds?

* What’s going on with true virtual reality interface hardware (like those headsets), do you think such hardware will become a “reality” in the near future?

Chris Gaits (Christos Atlantis in Second Life) asks:
* We have heard a lot of buzz concerning open source code for Virtual Worlds and creating a standard, do you see this as a big problem?
Does anyone foresee another VHS/Beta war or do you believe its just hype?

* From what I have seen so far and with clients I have worked with, the solutions  to date are too small for large corporations, or to complicated to create presence for small companies.
How important is scaling in your view?

* Virtual Worlds face misunderstanding because many  business people have not seen or understood what Virtual Worlds are.
In fact allot of the them call Virtual Worlds games, and in fact some Virtual Worlds have game type content either user created or internally.
Do you also see this as a problem and if so can you offer any advise or solutions?

Second Life user Kuchiki Xue asks:
* Why do you think Linden Labs contnues to ignore it’s community/userbase in favour of delusional dreams of attracting big companies?

Second Life user Dedric Mauriac asks:

* Second Life is creating open standards and encouraging both hobbyists and companies to become part of the grid from both behind firewalls and/or within the comfort of their home. Are there any other virtual worlds planning to take it a step further and offer the capability to connect with each other protocols to allow cross-platform travel between services?

* Government entities are becoming more interested in virtual worlds as they mature. I have seen an interest in the ability to record demographic trends such as age, location, and visitor actions. What are virtual worlds doing to make this kind of information available, and what are they doing to protect the privacy of individuals (and their avatars’) identites?

* Many computers within companies, government agencies and non-profit organizations  have antiquated video cards that are not geared towards 3D graphics. In addition, bandwidth and ports are limited behind firewalls to even connect to a virtual world. Are there any GPU-intensive virtual worlds that have plans to make their software more compatable with these environments?

* The success of many services has been in the ability to open the API so that websites and third party applications can take advantage of data and/or can create third party applications to perform and even automate actions on the end-users’ behalf. How do you see this affecting virtual worlds in the future and will we start to see applications on MySpace/Facebook for virtual worlds that can work with this data?

* What are virtual worlds doing to be more integrated to the desktop such as drag & drop functionality, desktop sharing, file sharing, launching applications (Word, Excel, Web, Presentations) etc.

* Will virtual worlds ever starting to look into accessibility issues such as voice-command interfaces, visual queues, larger text/graphic parts, speech recognition, text to speech, color, etc.

* Will virtual worlds ever make the content that it’s users create to be more portable, such as the ability to import/export/save/load 3D objects, and the individual images, scripts, sounds, etc. that are used to create those objects.

Terry Hayward (Thunder Ridge in Second Life) asks:
* VAT has had a big effect on VW capital intensive businesses in Second Life, creating a large disparity between European and American users. The rules were set up to create a level playing field in the real world, but they have had the opposite effect within Virtual worlds. Do the panel see this as a problem that needs resolution, or merely another thing to be factored into VW useage?

* Second Life is the most technically advanced platform so far for business and personal use but the requirements to run the viewer are way above the specifications for most office computers. This will cut down the number of possible users for platforms of this type. How much of a limiting factor is this in the development of a viable 3D web?

* Do you think that there is a real need for a lower spec viewer  that will allow a quick and easy connection to Virtual World spaces?  Also does the panel see advanced virtual worlds such as Second Life becoming the prefered model, or more traditional psuedo-3d platforms like IMVU?