Trends in Virtual Worlds, Part 1: Metaverses?

A couple months ago, I stumbled into a presentation on the NMC Campus in Second Life. The presentation was an advance announcement of the MediaGrid. MediaGrid? What the heck?
Well, MediaGrid turned out to be a group working on portability and interoperability of various open source virtual worlds, with a goal of increasing access to educational content in these virtual worlds. Wow, now *that* sounds cool! What virtual worlds?

Second Life is a big one, lucky for us here at UM who are working there now. World Warcraft is another you might have heard of. World of Warcraft has educational content? Well, not only does WoW have educational content, but IBM mentions in a recent report that they are actively recruiting people with strong WoW skills because of their experience with flexible leadership patterns in teams.

There are two more open source virtual world platforms being emphasized in the initial MediaGrid efforts, but these are not quite as well known – Wonderland and Croquet. Wonderland is from SUN, and Croquet is a consortial effort. The main point is that they are all open source, meaning that people can download, install, tweak code, customize, etcetera. They play nice with others. This is the important trend to note here.


Croquet Consortium:

IBM Research: IBM Innovation: Gaming and Leadership Report:

Second Life:

SUN’s Wonderland:

World of Warcraft (WoW):


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