Why Virtual Worlds are not the future of Global Commerce
September 10, 2007
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This post is an answer to the blog-post that came out yesterday on TechCrunch about what ICANN CEO Paul Twomey said “virtual worlds are the future of global commerce“… and I have to say that maybe in not less than 10 years it can happen, before there is the need of:

  • New Generation: the people of today that uses Virtual Words like Second Life, are using that as a social network, to meet new friends, most of the transactions that are made inside Second Life right now are about the commerce of virtual objects (like add-on or buildings) that you can use inside second life. Right now that is the idea that my generation has of second life, maybe the next generation would be more open-minded.
  • Better/Different Technology & Interface: today to visualize Virtual Words we use “old technology” or in other words we navigate 3d worlds with 2d technology and we move on it using mouse and keyboard, to have a better and complete experience we have the need of hardware that allows us to navigate in a real 3d (goggles and helmets are available, but there is a lack of meeting between those technologies).

During an university research that I made we have found out that people goes on a place on second life only to meet people and that there is like a magnetic law for the places, more people a place attract more people keep attracting. Recently I went to the store on Second Life of Sony/Ericsson and the place is… empty… they sell phones, they have images, videos, a great stand, but no visitors… and also I can easily suppose that they have no real ROI for what they created. Probably because there is no confidence to purchase real objects on Second Life, like happened for the web years ago.

So how can possibly be said that Virtual Worlds are the future of the Global Commerce? Is too early, there is the need of confidence and technology, and also of professionals that would be able to make usability test on the information contained on the stands, to grant a better shopping experience, like now lot of people are doing for web-pages. Navigating on a virtual worlds is harder that doing it on a classic web-page, there is the need of more technical experience from the users themselves.

At the end of the day Virtual Worlds are great to have fun, but are right now are too far away from a Global Commerce approach. Today’s internet is doing a great job by creating a better user experience, using mesh-ups like maps and 3d-modeling of the products, and this is the way it would be for long time… until there would be a new technology that would let us have a complete, simple and reliable 3d experience..

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