Is this the time that 3D sticks?

We’ve all heard about Second Life. I loved it, but it didn’t “stick” for a whole bunch of reasons. Meaning, it didn’t go mainstream, even though it had a HUGE amount of hype. Why not? Well, it was an island that you had to go into. Problem is, only gamers do that and Second Life wasn’t enough of a game. World of Warcraft came along and took a lot of the gamers away from it. My son used to be really interested in Second Life and for the past year he’s been playing World of Warcraft.

Another reason? It wasn’t accessible from the Web. You couldn’t get into a Second Life scene from a Web site until you downloaded the app, signed up, and all that. Even then it took forever to start up and just wasn’t a Web-compatible experience.

Another reason? Each island could only have 75-100 people on it. Company after company told me they were really excited by Second Life, but after they hit this limitation their excitement went way down. Why? Because few companies were going to spend the money to build a really compelling island to only have 75 people able to partake. The ROI just wouldn’t be there.

So, what’s next? Well, a variety of companies are trying to come up with 3D schemes that will overcome these issues.

Vivaty, today, comes out with one answer. It’s too early to claim they’ve nailed it (they haven’t yet, especially because they haven’t gotten a Mac client out yet) but they get very close to building something really interesting that’ll get a lot of corporate types interested.

Last week I interviewed Vivaty’s CEO with my cell phone during which he gave me a demo of how it all works. It’s very cool. My blog or Facebook page could have a 3D scene embedded on it, and you could “dive into” the scene and walk around. These scenes are very graphically rich. I could put videos, photos, and other details around, along with prebuilt furniture and other things.

One disappointment? Right now it’s a Windows only thing and requires Internet Explorer. Firefox support is coming “within weeks” and Macintosh support is being built out, but probably won’t be here until sometime around the end of the year. That alone will keep the hype down on Vivaty, because most of the top bloggers I know are now using Macs.

Anyway, this is worth checking out, just to see the latest in stage of the art 3D worlds.

What do you think?

115 thoughts on “Is this the time that 3D sticks?

  1. Also check out SceneCaster (www.scenecaster.com) and their Facebook app (http://apps.facebook.com/scenecaster). They have over 1 million users on FB and have a very advanced business model that ties into eCommerce sites like eBay and Amazon as well as brand websites. While they don’t have avatars yet, they offer a higher level of customization and personalization of the 3D space.

  2. Also check out SceneCaster (www.scenecaster.com) and their Facebook app (http://apps.facebook.com/scenecaster). They have over 1 million users on FB and have a very advanced business model that ties into eCommerce sites like eBay and Amazon as well as brand websites. While they don’t have avatars yet, they offer a higher level of customization and personalization of the 3D space.

  3. Ronald Hesz sez: “Sometimes, just really sometimes we should poke our head out of the echo chamber”

    That is the best refutation of the LongTailSuperBlogger myth I’ve ever read. HA!

  4. Ronald Hesz sez: “Sometimes, just really sometimes we should poke our head out of the echo chamber”

    That is the best refutation of the LongTailSuperBlogger myth I’ve ever read. HA!

  5. Macs? Elistist. :-)

    Yes, this is the time that 3D sticks because collaboration is integrated by the simultaneity of the gadgets in aggregate. IOW, as a GUI, the fact of worldness means ‘the same screen”. Collaboration follows. There is a compelling use and it works. It is still awkward. Style will change that.

    IBM and Second Life demoed avatars teleporting. Closed? Open? Only the second option is a true metaverse.

    So the top questions:

    Who owns the standards?

    Is an economy required?

    How is professional content licensed?

    The answer is the same: It depends on who’s metaverse you are in.

    When that changes, you’ll have a real market. But yes, this time it sticks.

  6. Macs? Elistist. :-)

    Yes, this is the time that 3D sticks because collaboration is integrated by the simultaneity of the gadgets in aggregate. IOW, as a GUI, the fact of worldness means ‘the same screen”. Collaboration follows. There is a compelling use and it works. It is still awkward. Style will change that.

    IBM and Second Life demoed avatars teleporting. Closed? Open? Only the second option is a true metaverse.

    So the top questions:

    Who owns the standards?

    Is an economy required?

    How is professional content licensed?

    The answer is the same: It depends on who’s metaverse you are in.

    When that changes, you’ll have a real market. But yes, this time it sticks.

  7. I’ve been doing a bit of reading lately on Vivaty and have posted a couple of questions on various blogs about how this compares to ExitReality (http://www.exitreality.com) which is also hitting the social scene but it looks more flexible with its features??

    Does anyone have any iclue about how to create content for Vivaty sites (is it vrml, x3d??) and what potential impact Vivaty’s monetized features will have on brands wanting to be on the Vivaty platform? It looks as though they control the hosting and being able to give away free 3d viral items??

    It is great to see the development in this space. Personally I don’t think this will replace 2d web viewing, rather people will seek content that leverages the 3d space in ways 2d can not.

    FYI – I am on a mac platform running bootcamp (Vista) for these platforms. I hate it and am confident that the 1st to offer a Mac plugin will benefit greatly from it. Most designers are on Mac’s and they are likely to be very interested in this medium moving forward.

  8. I’ve been doing a bit of reading lately on Vivaty and have posted a couple of questions on various blogs about how this compares to ExitReality (http://www.exitreality.com) which is also hitting the social scene but it looks more flexible with its features??

    Does anyone have any iclue about how to create content for Vivaty sites (is it vrml, x3d??) and what potential impact Vivaty’s monetized features will have on brands wanting to be on the Vivaty platform? It looks as though they control the hosting and being able to give away free 3d viral items??

    It is great to see the development in this space. Personally I don’t think this will replace 2d web viewing, rather people will seek content that leverages the 3d space in ways 2d can not.

    FYI – I am on a mac platform running bootcamp (Vista) for these platforms. I hate it and am confident that the 1st to offer a Mac plugin will benefit greatly from it. Most designers are on Mac’s and they are likely to be very interested in this medium moving forward.

  9. There seems to be a lot of talk around town about 3d worlds, i’ve been using one for months now called ExitReality (www.exitreality.com) .. seems to be a lot more advanced than Vivaty and ahead of Google’s lively.

    Allows 3D interaction in all social networks already… I’ve got about 20-30 friends now conversing with me on my facebook page… in 3D… right now!

  10. There seems to be a lot of talk around town about 3d worlds, i’ve been using one for months now called ExitReality (www.exitreality.com) .. seems to be a lot more advanced than Vivaty and ahead of Google’s lively.

    Allows 3D interaction in all social networks already… I’ve got about 20-30 friends now conversing with me on my facebook page… in 3D… right now!

  11. Hi Robert
    Which platform will take hold is now the question- with Vitality and Lively just out. And, Lively is on MAC first! Have you heard any comparisons of the two yet?

  12. Hi Robert
    Which platform will take hold is now the question- with Vitality and Lively just out. And, Lively is on MAC first! Have you heard any comparisons of the two yet?

  13. I can’t believe how stuck in the flat internet you are. You need to rethink your opinions on Second Life, which has stuck and dominates the field in 3D internet content. Thank goodness it isn’t “web compatible” why would I want to stay moored to flat, dull, lifeless internet technologies.
    As far as WoW goes, it’s not the same thing at all. It’s a role playing game, and its fine for people who want to role play and don’t really want to have to create content. The only content in that game is created by someone who works at Blizzard, it’ll never be a “platform” where individuals and companies create and publish internet content. I can’t believe I took the time to post to this old technology, see you guys in about 4 years as you scramble to catch up.

  14. I can’t believe how stuck in the flat internet you are. You need to rethink your opinions on Second Life, which has stuck and dominates the field in 3D internet content. Thank goodness it isn’t “web compatible” why would I want to stay moored to flat, dull, lifeless internet technologies.
    As far as WoW goes, it’s not the same thing at all. It’s a role playing game, and its fine for people who want to role play and don’t really want to have to create content. The only content in that game is created by someone who works at Blizzard, it’ll never be a “platform” where individuals and companies create and publish internet content. I can’t believe I took the time to post to this old technology, see you guys in about 4 years as you scramble to catch up.

  15. Kaneva looked to be the best of both worlds when it came to Second Life 3D environments meets average end user 2D blgging…

    …but, over a year after it officially launched, it’s still in Beta and many things about it (blogging ability, integration w/ sites beyond YouTube, etc.) simply don’t work…

    I think this will only catch on AFTER it can be run 100% within a browser and offers something unique other than being a glorified chat program.

  16. Kaneva looked to be the best of both worlds when it came to Second Life 3D environments meets average end user 2D blgging…

    …but, over a year after it officially launched, it’s still in Beta and many things about it (blogging ability, integration w/ sites beyond YouTube, etc.) simply don’t work…

    I think this will only catch on AFTER it can be run 100% within a browser and offers something unique other than being a glorified chat program.

  17. Second Life is one of the 3D MMORPG games that I don’t want to play anymore. Though the graphics are outstanding, a lot of difficulties pulls it down away from the top spot.

    Indeed, World of Warcraft is far better than this game. Trust me, my fellow gamers!

  18. Second Life is one of the 3D MMORPG games that I don’t want to play anymore. Though the graphics are outstanding, a lot of difficulties pulls it down away from the top spot.

    Indeed, World of Warcraft is far better than this game. Trust me, my fellow gamers!

  19. Gaby Benkwitz (http://scobleizer.com/2008/07/08/is-this-the-time-that-3d-sticks/#comment-1990493),

    I completely agree with you. Web offerings SHOULD work everywhere, I don’t believe I said anything to the contrary. In fact I said this: “Cross-platform is (obviously) important”.

    I obviously misled so perhaps I should clarify. I disagree with what Robert alluded to, that being that the lack of a Mac client is Vivaty’s biggest achilles heel right now. The argument that “they need a mac client because most people who go to the same conferences as Robert use Macs” also doesn’t sit very well with me.

    I knew I’d get chastised by stepping into the Mac vs none-Mac debate. I should learn to keep my mouth shut :)

    -Jamie (a user of Mac and none-Mac computers)

  20. Gaby Benkwitz (http://scobleizer.com/2008/07/08/is-this-the-time-that-3d-sticks/#comment-1990493),

    I completely agree with you. Web offerings SHOULD work everywhere, I don’t believe I said anything to the contrary. In fact I said this: “Cross-platform is (obviously) important”.

    I obviously misled so perhaps I should clarify. I disagree with what Robert alluded to, that being that the lack of a Mac client is Vivaty’s biggest achilles heel right now. The argument that “they need a mac client because most people who go to the same conferences as Robert use Macs” also doesn’t sit very well with me.

    I knew I’d get chastised by stepping into the Mac vs none-Mac debate. I should learn to keep my mouth shut :)

    -Jamie (a user of Mac and none-Mac computers)

  21. Isn’t “It wasn’t accessible from the Web” more or less the same as early cars which were modelled after horse carriages ?

    And with all the socialness around the web going on… when was the last time directly interacted with a group of them ? I mean I can never meet up someplace with all the ‘friends’ on facebook, 3D Environments can accomplish that and personally I think they’ll overshadow the web.

    Yes it’s been overhyped and please stop comparing SecondLife with WoW. Although they’re both software, SecondLife isn’t a RPG it’s a social virtual environment.

    And although one region is maxed at 100 simultaneous people atm, as technology will progress (computing power/bandwith) that bar will be raised. It’s the failure of companies to try and adopt to this new culture and shift in marketing approach that made most of them fail. Big bucks and big buildings aren’t enough for leading companies to get the same amount of virtual exposure.

  22. Isn’t “It wasn’t accessible from the Web” more or less the same as early cars which were modelled after horse carriages ?

    And with all the socialness around the web going on… when was the last time directly interacted with a group of them ? I mean I can never meet up someplace with all the ‘friends’ on facebook, 3D Environments can accomplish that and personally I think they’ll overshadow the web.

    Yes it’s been overhyped and please stop comparing SecondLife with WoW. Although they’re both software, SecondLife isn’t a RPG it’s a social virtual environment.

    And although one region is maxed at 100 simultaneous people atm, as technology will progress (computing power/bandwith) that bar will be raised. It’s the failure of companies to try and adopt to this new culture and shift in marketing approach that made most of them fail. Big bucks and big buildings aren’t enough for leading companies to get the same amount of virtual exposure.

  23. Mac matters not because hipsters use them, but because this is a communication technology. @Roland, SMS is hot. But if SMS did not work on 10% of phones then it would be useless. You couldn’t text anyone unless you knew what brand of phone they had, so you wouldn’t bother. The web works on everything, email works on everything, facebook works on everything. The Microsoft Network (back before it was a website) worked on 90% of computers, but that’s just not enough for a communication technology. Vivaty is adding Mac support because they want to be a communications technology. The day it works on everything, then it will have a chance of mass adoption.

  24. Mac matters not because hipsters use them, but because this is a communication technology. @Roland, SMS is hot. But if SMS did not work on 10% of phones then it would be useless. You couldn’t text anyone unless you knew what brand of phone they had, so you wouldn’t bother. The web works on everything, email works on everything, facebook works on everything. The Microsoft Network (back before it was a website) worked on 90% of computers, but that’s just not enough for a communication technology. Vivaty is adding Mac support because they want to be a communications technology. The day it works on everything, then it will have a chance of mass adoption.

  25. Robert I started reading thinking you were talking about Google’s Lively, out today and I’m guessing soon to be the virtual world most people use. Vivaty is going to be the victim of very unfortunate timing – they won’t have a chance to establish a foothold.

  26. Robert I started reading thinking you were talking about Google’s Lively, out today and I’m guessing soon to be the virtual world most people use. Vivaty is going to be the victim of very unfortunate timing – they won’t have a chance to establish a foothold.

  27. Somewhere in my friendfeed I bookmarked a virtual world made in Flash 9. Flash 10 will be off the hook.

    You all really shouldn’t be looking at the second life angle, though. Totally wrong place to be focusing now.

  28. Somewhere in my friendfeed I bookmarked a virtual world made in Flash 9. Flash 10 will be off the hook.

    You all really shouldn’t be looking at the second life angle, though. Totally wrong place to be focusing now.

  29. I would say Halo 3 and eventually Grand Theft Auto are the leading 3D Web environments.

  30. I agree that 3D on the Web is heating up as an emerging trend. The challenge will be for those operating in the space to simplify a very complex medium but also maintain a high level of quality so consumers won’t become frustrated with the user experience. At that point, it will be ready to move from a niche interest to wider consumer adoption, much like what happened with online video.

  31. I agree that 3D on the Web is heating up as an emerging trend. The challenge will be for those operating in the space to simplify a very complex medium but also maintain a high level of quality so consumers won’t become frustrated with the user experience. At that point, it will be ready to move from a niche interest to wider consumer adoption, much like what happened with online video.

  32. Hi Robert,

    Thank you for this article. Here’s my perspective. First, the background and then I will make the point that I want to make.

    The background: Everyone loves good stories and we actually live in the stories that we tell ourselves. Even when someone tells us a story, we tell the same story with our context in the background.

    Now the point: 3D provides a better framework for telling a good story. We live in a 3D world and that’s where we are comfortable with. So sooner than later (when the technology catches) we will see more 3D offerings that will just “WOW” us.

    Now, for the power of storytelling, when I started advising a thought leader in this space called Heartwood Studios, I was blown away by how they told the story of Dallas Cowboys stadium using 3D and animation. Here is a link to the story:

    http://www.hwd3d.com/portfolio/entertainment/cowboys.php

    With this story, Dallas Cowboys won the right to hosting Super Bowl XLV and successful procurement of 2010 Cotton Bowl and 2009 & 2010 Big 12 Conference Championship.

    Now, without 3D they might have been able to find an alternate way to tell the same story in a powerful way. But, I doubt it.

    The time for 3D is NOW and it is encouraging to see so many investments in this space.

    Best,
    Raj

  33. Hi Robert,

    Thank you for this article. Here’s my perspective. First, the background and then I will make the point that I want to make.

    The background: Everyone loves good stories and we actually live in the stories that we tell ourselves. Even when someone tells us a story, we tell the same story with our context in the background.

    Now the point: 3D provides a better framework for telling a good story. We live in a 3D world and that’s where we are comfortable with. So sooner than later (when the technology catches) we will see more 3D offerings that will just “WOW” us.

    Now, for the power of storytelling, when I started advising a thought leader in this space called Heartwood Studios, I was blown away by how they told the story of Dallas Cowboys stadium using 3D and animation. Here is a link to the story:

    http://www.hwd3d.com/portfolio/entertainment/cowboys.php

    With this story, Dallas Cowboys won the right to hosting Super Bowl XLV and successful procurement of 2010 Cotton Bowl and 2009 & 2010 Big 12 Conference Championship.

    Now, without 3D they might have been able to find an alternate way to tell the same story in a powerful way. But, I doubt it.

    The time for 3D is NOW and it is encouraging to see so many investments in this space.

    Best,
    Raj

  34. Hi Robert, nice to say hello in DC recently at the MCCXXII gathering.

    As one that has used virtual worlds, in particular Second Life extensively since Fall 2006 it is good to see your interest once again in the space.

    You raise important points regarding Second Life in terms of ease of use, Avatar number per island(simulator) restrictions(that amazingly still persist), and I would add hardware requirements in terms of a suitable graphics card, memory, processing power, and reasonable broadband connection. Another factor that has hampered Second Life in the eyes of corporations and government are security and ‘griefer’ issues, as well as the ability to undertake shared workspaces and applications inherent to the 2D web (a niche being filled by offerings from the likes of Qwaq, Wonderland, Forterra, Active Worlds, Open Sim, etc.).

    Second Life does have an active core user base, and if the parent company ever turns around some of the issues you and others point out, it may yet thrive. Similar to what attracts users to enjoy your content posts, what I have found drives stickiness in these environments is community building, shared user interest, and for many the ability to create, own, or give away content. Further the idea of being able to undertake business and commerce in these environments is compelling.

    At March 2008 SXSW Interactive I sat in on a virtual worlds group that debated whether rich 3D worlds or less rich web based ‘flash type’ offerings were better or might dominate. I believe the general consensus is the rich 3D worlds are much better and as technology and other hurdles are worked out will come to be normative in the future. However, shorter term some of the browser based, low-footprint offerings may precede this. Also, there is big interest in this technology being more mobile user-friendly, of which again low-footprint offerings may well be required.

    In any event, nice to see you open up this discussion, appears that you recognize the importance of 3D, and hope you weigh in more on the space.

  35. Hi Robert, nice to say hello in DC recently at the MCCXXII gathering.

    As one that has used virtual worlds, in particular Second Life extensively since Fall 2006 it is good to see your interest once again in the space.

    You raise important points regarding Second Life in terms of ease of use, Avatar number per island(simulator) restrictions(that amazingly still persist), and I would add hardware requirements in terms of a suitable graphics card, memory, processing power, and reasonable broadband connection. Another factor that has hampered Second Life in the eyes of corporations and government are security and ‘griefer’ issues, as well as the ability to undertake shared workspaces and applications inherent to the 2D web (a niche being filled by offerings from the likes of Qwaq, Wonderland, Forterra, Active Worlds, Open Sim, etc.).

    Second Life does have an active core user base, and if the parent company ever turns around some of the issues you and others point out, it may yet thrive. Similar to what attracts users to enjoy your content posts, what I have found drives stickiness in these environments is community building, shared user interest, and for many the ability to create, own, or give away content. Further the idea of being able to undertake business and commerce in these environments is compelling.

    At March 2008 SXSW Interactive I sat in on a virtual worlds group that debated whether rich 3D worlds or less rich web based ‘flash type’ offerings were better or might dominate. I believe the general consensus is the rich 3D worlds are much better and as technology and other hurdles are worked out will come to be normative in the future. However, shorter term some of the browser based, low-footprint offerings may precede this. Also, there is big interest in this technology being more mobile user-friendly, of which again low-footprint offerings may well be required.

    In any event, nice to see you open up this discussion, appears that you recognize the importance of 3D, and hope you weigh in more on the space.

Comments are closed.