The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering productsRead More →

The premise: I believe that we’re about to see the massive growth of a metaverse in which people can easily travel from one public world to another. Over time, the technology will become increasingly easy to use and realistic — and we will see an explosion of companies offering products andRead More →

We are going to have a metaverse of interconnected virtual worlds. Whether it evolves out from the current OpenSim and the hypergrid, or from the new crop of Web-based virtual platforms, or some combination, but we’re going to get there. Folks who got their hopes up with the VRML standards,Read More →

As the number of Unity-based virtual platforms proliferates, and a decent viewer for OpenSim and Second Life still remains a pipe dream, we’re getting close to the point where the center of gravity will shift over. And the future of the metaverse — or, at least, the first few yearsRead More →

The OpenSim hosting industry is still young, and, though it is developing quickly, still lacking in experience and maturity. But it doesn’t mean that customers have to settle for substandard service. I’ve tried out several vendors in the past, and will continue to do so for both public and privateRead More →

I am a big fan of the hypergrid. I love logging into my personal grid. Then teleporting to my company grid, or visit friends on OSGrid, or go shopping on GermanGrid. But I don’t have any illusion that the hypergrid will replace the Internet. Instead, I believe that the hypergridRead More →

Will free land destroy grids? There will probably a winnowing out of grids that continue to charge for residential land without offering enough additional perceived value. But the end result will, I believe, a net benefit for OpenSim. More money for content creators Retail consumers have only so much moneyRead More →

OpenSim development — like that of any open source project — is very much focused on what developers want to do. They are, after all, volunteers, they don’t take orders. That leaves business users in a quandary — especially those without the technical skills or budgets to do their ownRead More →

I’m regularly asked why I give more coverage to one company or another, or why I’m biased against particular grids or platforms. And, it’s true. I do have a bias. You see, in my day job — I’m not actually running Hypergrid Business for the money — in my dayRead More →

Any grid owner that makes a living by renting out premium residential regions should start planning ahead — for a future in which the effective of residential regions drops down to zero. Free is already here Of course, there is nothing new about free regions. OSGrid and other open gridsRead More →

SpotON3D is a small commercial grid, with more money and programmers than customers. It has developed three innovative pieces of technology, two of which nobody cares anything about, and one, a browser-based viewer plugin, that got people all excited. Including me. It’s a great little piece of functionality, and anRead More →

Despite the patent controversy, and public relations problems that ensued from it, SpotON3D has a good product. It’s viewer plugin wrapper might not be a technological breakthrough, but it feels like a big technological breakthrough. No other browser-based solution — neither Tipodean’s www.BuiltBuy.me, nor 3Di’s Rei, nor Rezzable’s Unity-based viewer —Read More →

A lot of folks sit around complaining about not having a decent Web-based viewer for OpenSim and Second Life. (Okay, maybe just me.) The existing stand-alone viewers require that users download and install the software. There’s nothing wrong with installing software, but as more applications migrate to the Web, folksRead More →

First of all, I’d like to thank all the creative folks who are creating original products and distributing them in freebie stores on OSGrid, JokaydiaGrid, GermanGrid, FrancoGrid, and many other locations. OpenSim has come a long way since I started writing about it two years ago and it’s now possibleRead More →

I’ve been traveling around the hypergrid a lot lately enjoying the new hypergrid landmarks, friends, and messages — and updating the Hyperica directory. And I’ve been amazed at how far the grids have come. Areas which were bare or under construction when I last visited are now looking finished andRead More →

Two major players in the OpenSim community have recently joined ReactionGrid in promoting the Unity 3D platform. In addition to ReactionGrid’s Jibe environment, we now also have Second Learning’s Unifier environment, and a product from Tipodean to convert OpenSim regions to Unity scenes. Jibe starts at $50 a month, Unifier atRead More →

Educators and companies looking for free, Creative Commons-licensed starting regions for their corporate or school campuses should take a look at Universal Campus. These four regions were originally created by OSGrid president Michael Emory Cerquoni — also known as Nebadon Izumi in-world — for the Institute of Genomics and Bioinformatics atRead More →

I subscribe to a lot of virtual world-related blogs in my RSS reader (click here for the bundle) , and follow a lot more on Twitter (click here for the list). Here are the five that I check in on daily. i live in science land Ener Hax posts daily (with a littleRead More →

Jibe is a new, Unity 3D-based virtual environment created by ReactionGrid, one of the leading OpenSim hosting vendors. Many people confuse the two platforms, but they are very different environments. In fact, Jibe has very little in common with OpenSim, and quite a bit in common with other browser-based virtualRead More →

As the number of new grids proliferates, grid owners need to look beyond “cheaper than Second Life” as their key marketing ploy. Instead, why not try one of these time-tested strategies? 1. Limited time offer! You see these all the time — because they work. The limited offer could beRead More →

We all remember the Microsoft-Netscape battle. Okay, maybe some people don’t, so here’s the summary: Netscape was a company that made a free Internet browser and and a not-free commercial Web server. (The latter has since been bought by Sun, and open sourced.) Microsoft built their own version of aRead More →

You cannot compare Second Life and OpenSim. One is a social world. The other is an open source piece of server software. You can’t even compare Second Life to individual grids using OpenSim as their backend software. Second Life has around a million users logging in each month, while theRead More →

With OpenSim hosting prices dropping fast and features and stability improving, it surprises to me that people still ask why anyone should pay for OpenSim. Yes, OpenSim is free. You can go to OpenSimulator.org and download the software and run your own world, at zero cost. But, like much openRead More →

A reader asked me today about the OpenSim business case — are there enough users on any of the grids to make it worthwhile for a business to set up a presence there instead of in Second Life? The short answer is: no. Second Life’s average concurrency is around 50,000.Read More →

I know the iPad is supposed to be magical. But, to me, it doesn’t come close to the magic I feel inside Second Life and OpenSim worlds. When I’m on a grid, I can wave my virtual arms and have things appear out of thin (virtual) air. I can changeRead More →

Second Life is a tipping point, and has been precariously balanced there for months. Average daily concurrency has been slipping since the start of 2010, according to data from Metaverse Business. In fact, according to Tateru Nino, concurrency in Second Life is at its lowest level in two years. TheRead More →

Update: There are now two marketplaces, Cariama and HGExchange, that deliver items to multiple OpenSim grids. Read more here: Where to get content for OpenSim. As a business owner — and someone who is very concerned about inadvertently violating copyright, having recently done so to my great chagrin — I’ve beenRead More →

Today, we are seeing an explosion in virtual world platforms. We’ve got various — and incompatible — open source projects, including OpenSim, Open Wonderland, Open Cobalt, Sirikata, and Vastpark. We’ve got stand-alone proprietary software that runs behind corporate firewalls, and requires dedicated viewer software, including ProtoSphere, Teleplace, and SAIC’s Olive.Read More →

With Kitely‘s bill-per-minute, cloud-based OpenSim hosting service now available, non-technically inclined folks now have a real choice in what kind of hosting they’d like to have. Here is a breakdown of common use cases of virtual environments, and whether Kitely makes sense, or whether you should go with Second LifeRead More →

A lot of debate about open source code versus proprietary code these days centers on the personalities of the folks involved, or on the politics behind the idea of open source. But, from a business perspective, the availability of open source alternatives is a net positive for enterprise — andRead More →

Back when I was fresh out of college, in my first reporting gig, I learned that context matters a lot in getting folks to talk to you. At the start, a typical conversation would go like this: “Hi, this is Maria Korolov from the Chicago Tribune…” “No, thank you, weRead More →

Yesterday, I posted a story (yes, a little on the long side) about a new services from PioneerX Estates where they manage your whole grid for you. Everything — estates, land rentals, voice — all the tech stuff for a ridiculously low price of $41 a month. (No, they areRead More →

Resellers of open source software survive by making life easier for their customers. For example, Website hosting providers handle the setup, backups, updates, load balancing and server management for you. Yes, you could run Apache for free on your own servers — but would you really want to? Those thatRead More →

When aspiring freelance writers ask me for advice about how to get started, here’s what I always start out with: Don’t do anything that other people are willing to do for free. So if you love writing about politics, or the foibles of your pet cat, or how lousy SaturdayRead More →

In January of 2010, I made a few predictions about what I thought was going to happen with OpenSim this year. I was way off on most of them. The OpenSim developers will continue to call it “alpha software” This one, I got right. They’re still calling it “alpha software.Read More →

It’s easy to get frustrated with the pace of technological change. My wish list of OpenSim features gets longer with every day that I use the platform — but I’ll save it for my Christamas wish list post. Today, I want to express how thankful I am for what hasRead More →

Ever since Crista Lopes, professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine invented the hypergrid in 2009, people have been debating whether grids should be on or off the hypergrid. On the one hand, the hypergrid is very cool. You can teleport from one grid to another, hopping aroundRead More →

Here at Hypergrid Business, we’re in the process of launching a virtual events directory (now that the vendor directory is up and working). And the question comes up — what times do we list events under? The Second Life events directory shows everything as SLT time — which is theRead More →

Now that we’ve got our new vendor directory ready to launch (see the test page here and give us your opinions!) we’re taking a second look at what exactly customers are looking for when they’re deciding on an OpenSim hosting platform or design vendor. With the recent changes at LindenRead More →

One of the joys of social games like FarmVille is getting to visit your friends. In a virtual world like Second Life, this is also a major attraction — your friends’ regions on the map, you can walk or teleport over. Second Life, however, can’t scale. If millions people suddenlyRead More →

I occasionally hear frustration from OpenSim vendors and their early-adopter customers that mainstream users aren’t getting OpenSim, that they aren’t aware of the benefits OpenSim offers compared, to, say, Second Life or other virtual world platforms — or compared to Web-based conferencing or face-to-face meetings. Many formed their opinion ofRead More →

I was a guest on Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe on Sunday, October 10 and had a great time talking about hypergrid and OpenSim. Other guests that night included singer-songwriter Senjata Witt, who performed live,  and Dusan Writer, CEO of Remedy Communications and prolific blogger about Second Life.

I was in a meeting recently with a local business networking groups going on — as I normally do — about virtual worlds. And the other folks at the meeting expressed an interest in using virtual worlds. But they didn’t know how to get started. There were too many options,Read More →

Mike Treder, the managing director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, recently asked a loaded question: If you could live in a world that was just the way you wanted it to be, with specifications you’d chosen, customized and personalized to meet your every need and fulfill yourRead More →

Hosting providers with previous experience in Second Life are bringing some Second Life terminology with them into OpenSim. For example, Coral Estates draws a distinction between “owning” a region and paying “tier” — and “renting” land. “All of the land in this section of the web site is non rentalRead More →

Tonight’s meeting of the Hypergrid Entrepreneurs Group was an eye-opener for me and several other attendees — well, ear-opener. We got a chance to try out the new Whisper directional voice system for OpenSim, and it was amazing. Not amazing as the way in Freeswitch was amazing, in that youRead More →

A couple of days ago, Second Life merchant Darrius Gothly proposed a plan to reinvigorate Second Life’s land market by  zoning regions residential or commercial. Today, Second Life does have some zoning. Content aimed at teenagers is confined to the Teen Grid, for example, and adult content to the ZindraRead More →

For the past year that I’ve been attending meetings in Second Life and OpenSim, I’ve been thinking of the virtual platforms as another kind of collaboration tool. I compare it to Web-based conferences and seminars. A few days ago, however, I read a blog post by Avril Korman, where, inRead More →

There are three ways in which a particular platform or service can be considered to be “open.” One is whether it runs on multiple systems, or is locked into a system from one particular vendor. For example, Apple’s Leonard operating system only runs on Apple computers. The Windows operating systems,Read More →

Today, Web space is free. Almost. You can get free accounts for blogs on Blogger.com and WordPress.com — among many others. And storage space is so cheap that some Web hosts offer virtually unlimited storage. At Dreamhost, for example, you can add new sites to your hosting package for noRead More →

Second Life has rolled out some great features recently, such as media-on-a-prim, which are great for business. And chief product officer  Tom Hale’s promise of mesh imports in the second quarter of this year is also great news. As a business user, both of these features promise to be veryRead More →

Virtual worlds have been offered up in recent weeks as alternatives to physical events because they are disaster-proof. No volcano or tsunami can take down the whole Internet. And virtual events are particularly budget-friendly during that other kind of recent disaster — a financial crisis. But virtual worlds are proneRead More →

If you’re a business manager considering rolling out virtual workspaces, you may think that an avatar identity is nothing more than yet another user account, the login credentials for a particular piece of virtual world software. At second look, you might think that avatar identities are closer to email addresses.Read More →

Last week, I surveyed the state of OpenSim commerce, in the column Business in OpenSim. This included the beginnings of in-world retail shops, OpenSim hosting providers, and design and development services. These are new industries, only really born last year, when OpenSim became stable enough for deployment and hypergrid-enabled. ButRead More →

[Update: You can browse all hypergrid-enabled public OpenSim grids with Hyperica, the directory of hypergrid destinations. Directory indexes more than 100 shopping and freebie store locations.] Is it too early to start doing business in OpenSim? We are certainly not in an age of v-commerce, though we can see itRead More →

The Internet is a wide, and anonymous place. For me, it’s always a slight shock when I comment on someone’s blog post — and they comment back, or send me a personal “thank you” email.  Except for these blogs, most Websites are run by anonymous Web administrators, and when I’mRead More →

Back in the early days of Internet technology it was feasible to have “security by obscurity” — putting up a document on the Internet, say, but making the address so complicated that nobody would be likely to stumble upon it by accident. That was in the days before decent searchRead More →

Can’t wait for Oscar night? I know I can’t. So here at Hypergrid Business we’re doling out our own awards. First, a little video introduction. This is a little sailboat trip that OpenSim’s own Bri Hasp took across a few virtual worlds. Yes, it is now possible to sail aRead More →

If you think that the virtual worlds are over hyped, and the metaverse of hyperlinked OpenSim grids will never amount to anything, you don’t have to think up an original blog post — just take a look at this prescient Newsweek article from 1995: The Internet? Bah! Here’s what CliffordRead More →

Two major things happened before the World Wide Web took off in a big way. One was the fact that individuals were able to create Web sites and link them to other Web sites. Once individuals did it — individual researchers, individual teachers, individual hobbists, individual company employees — theyRead More →

Last summer I decided to open a virtual office for my company. I don’t just write for Hypergrid Business — I run a company with staff in China and India, among other locations, providing outsourced editorial services to U.S. business magazines. Basically, we run foreign news bureaus for our clients.Read More →

Second Life is a popular destination for businesses and schools because it’s cheaper and easier to use than most other enterprise-quality virtual platforms. In addition, Second Life’s popularity with consumers means that there are already millions of people who know how to use the platform, who are all potential ambassadorsRead More →

Today, Linden Lab is three companies in one. First of all — and this is where most their revenues come from — it is a community company and content distribution channel. They charge people for access to this community through land rentals, advertising fees, commissions on currency exchange transactions and,Read More →

In my last column (“The 3D future“) I briefly touched on the idea of a 3D desktop to replace the current Windows interface. Nobody knows yet what a 3D workspace will look like. It probably won’t just be the current desktop with 3D graphical elements — though we’ll probably seeRead More →

The dawn of the 3D age is upon us. Over a dozen immersive virtual world platforms are competing for our attention — and that’s just in the business sector. Our kids and teenagers are already fully immersed in any of hundreds of different 3D gaming and social worlds. What willRead More →

I just got off the phone with a company building an educational grid for a company in China — in OpenSim. They picked the platform not for its cheapness, but it’s feature set. This too often gets missed in the hype surrounding the various virtual worlds, but OpenSim is actuallyRead More →