Monday, April 25, 2011

Could Second Life market big franchise interactive experiences ever again? #SL

Im quite lucky in that i've grown up being bombarded by story telling techniques from all sorts of areas. 
I continue to have friends who geek out to film trivia. Friends who pass me skills of spontaneous roleplaying, others inspire a keen interest of old folk tales from before the written word, and i have a friend who's eyes light up at the mention of 'site specific'.

Talk about Second Life and you will no doubt start telling a story of things that you have experienced with friends or strangers, it's possibly Second Life's biggest asset no one can talk about.

SL is rather like the biggest art house on the planet. I've seen countless examples of people entertaining or educating others through virtual performing arts. From showing students the power of immersion via virtual worlds, Live indie bands that reach all around the globe to story telling via basic old fashioned word of mouth and theatres productions.

Then you have roleplaying which is more live action than videogame RPG, where the stories are not set in stone and change on a whim due to the interactions of the performers and the location.

I once thought this would be an area business, brands and marketeers would have gotten into, and in fact they did. Back in the SL hype days there was two instances i remember where Brands came into SL to try 'interactive marketing'.

The First was 'I Am LEGEND'. A movie tie-in created by the Electric Sheep Company in 2007. It was a series of sims depicting the empty streets as seen in the movie with HUDS and stuff to have team battles or something.



The Second was 'CSI:NY' Which was a tie-in with a specific episode of CSI.



Both of these had good ideas to allow residents to interact with the franchise and explore and experience their own individual stories based on 'I am Legend' & 'CSI'. Unfortunately in my opinion they were let down by limitations of the software and complexity of signups. Also due to SL's CLOSED WALL of communicating, no one could talk about their experiences to the greater world, which right now is the honey pot of the current marketing world.

These problems with SL maybe one of the reasons Rezzable left the main grid. Unhappy with LL's lack of enthusiasm in finding a solution, rezzable have started to work on their own solution to first steps on their own grid.

In 2007 Second Life may have shown a new pathway to interactive story telling content, but its expensive, complicated, graphically poor and uncommunicative. Paramount have produced a 3D interactive experience that gives you atmosphere, immersion and clues to what maybe in store from the film SUPER8. It is bundled on the back of the game Portal Two which sold 675,000 copies in one day.



This is a whole area that Second Life could have been leading as a platform for rather than crappy conference meetings. I tend to feel LL totally missed an opportunity there.

What's stopping Paramount or any marketing business using SL to create brand focused interactive trailers or experiences?

I would imagine the same old things…
1) impossibly complicated controls & UI
2) impossibly high hardware specs
3) impossible to communicate natively from SL.
4) expensive dear boy when the softwares broke and no one knows how to experience your content for a day or two.

Things are changing though and i don't think this kind of future cant happen, it's all possible. They are working hard to make SL easy to login to and experience. And i do believe with 3DMesh proper professional game designers will be able to do some wondrous things making SL look as good as some top end games.

Until then for us beta testers, it's like C3PO says "we're made to suffer, it's our lot in life"

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