The metaverse: bad for marketing, great for terrorism?

a gathering in Second LifeThe corporate love affair with Second Life seems to be fading, at least in some camps, as businesses realise that having a sim isn’t going to instantly develop them a massive revenue stream. Chris Anderson, editor of Wired and the guy behind the Long Tail hypothesis, wrote a short piece explaining why he thinks metaverse marketing is a pointless proposition, which developed into an interesting conversation with SL uber-pundit Wagner James Au. The jury is still out, I guess … but as Jason Stoddard says, it’s early days yet, and it’s a wise move to get on the train while there are still plenty of seats.

However, according to a report in The Australian [via], terrorist organisations are taking to the metaverse like ducks to water, and allegedly using virtual worlds as training platforms to dry-run attack plans. There may well be a grain of truth in there, but the story reeks of sensationalist over-hype to me … however, it’s given Charlie Stross the opportunity to pat himself on the back for predicting that we’d see just such a story. To be entirely fair, though, Edward Castronova discussed the same ideas in his excellent book Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games back in 2005 – which is well worth a read for anyone interested in the metaverse, whether as user or observer.

And your supplementary bonus link: Ian Hughes is one of the folk behind IBM’s big push into the metaverse, and he and a colleague are guestblogging over at TerraNova; his inaugural post examines the possibility of business becoming more like a form of emergent gameplay as interactions increasingly migrate into virtual spaces. Fascinating stuff. [Image by D’Arcy Norman]

2 thoughts on “The metaverse: bad for marketing, great for terrorism?”

  1. It’s so beside the truth, it is reminiscient of smug catholics in 1550 talking about how ze jews rape, sacrifice (to mammon) and then eat good baptized christian infants.

    Screw em, they can talk Vphobia all day, any law enforcement agency who actually will go to check on them tarnation terrists, will whimper in abject shame and keep his mouth shut.

    “but…but…the rooting out SL terrists was a multimillion dollar project..!”

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