Dress code for online avatars

introCompany policy on social networking sites such as Facebook is one thing, but now consultancy firm Gartner predicts that by 2013, 70% of companies will have introduced codes of conduct policies for online avatars. Gartner suggests that this will extend to dress code policies for avatars representing businesses.

Via Virtual Worlds News.

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Will Wright and E O Wilson on educational games

Take a look over at NPR for a summary of an open mic session between game designer Will Wright (with credits including SimCity, The Sims and Spore) and biologist E. O. Wilson.

Wright asked Wilson if he saw a role for games in education:

“I’ll go to an even more radical position,” Wilson said. “I think games are the future in education. We’re going through a rapid transition now. We’re about to leave print and textbooks behind.”

Wilson imagines students taking visits through the virtual world to different ecosystems. “That could be a rain forest,” he said, “a tundra — or a Jurassic forest.”

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CANVAS: a virtual world for pupil artwork

canvasLearning and Teaching Scotland’s educational games initiative Consolarium has announced CANVAS, a virtual world allowing local authorities to display pupils’ art. Based on the OpenSim application and created by Aberdeen-based company Second Places, CANVAS (Children’s Art at the National Virtual Arena of Scotland) has the appearance of Second Life while being hosted on LTS servers, so affording them far stricter controls than standard Second Life islands. Each local authority in Scotland will have the opportunity to curate one of 32 separate galleries held on the server.

While I understand the use of OpenSim as suitable for adapting virtual worlds to specific uses, I’m still unsure whether pupils (and indeed, local authority staff) will adapt well to the less than user-friendly camera system within Second Life-style virtual worlds. Is a fully 3D virtual world perhaps unnecessary for the purpose of displaying 2D artworks? I can imagine an application more in common visually with the 2D Club Penguin that would allow users to view artworks without the extra complication of navigating a 3D space.

Playstation Home boasts 7 million users

playstation-3-homeThe PS3’s Home virtual world service is now 7 months old. Peter Edward, director of the PlayStation Home platform group, reported at Brighton’s Develop conference that there are now 7 million Home users – and that a typical European visitor spends 56 minutes in Home per session. The service also generated $1 million in micro-transactions in its first month, a statistic that will presumably excite potential advertisers and content providers.

However, many internet forum commenters note that the service still has a bare-bones feel – especially the European service where new content is often delayed due to localisation issues – and many areas feel like little more than advertising for full-price retail games. However, nDreams’ complex alternate reality game Xi managed to establish a small enthusiastic community and clearly there are exciting possibilities for a virtual world with an inbuilt userbase. Only time will tell if Sony are able to capitalise on Home’s full potential.

Via Edge online.