Best Virtual Worlds for Business, Second Life Not Recommended

June 25th, 2008  |  Published in SL Business, SL Entrepreneur Magazine  |  14 Comments

By Avarie Parker, Editor SLENTRE.COM

Last week Nick Wilson from Clever Zebra, a firm that advises companies on emerging 3D technology, discussed “the major players” in the virtual world arena to a Second Life audience.

Nick Wilson presenting in Second Life about virtual worlds

(Nick Wilson from Clever Zebra presents in Second Life)

The event held at their SL location( was attended by about 20-30 residents and lasted one hour.

Second Life Virtual World presentation by Clever Zebra

During the presentation Nick outlined his picks for the top VW’s for business and outlined the pros and cons of each. A brief outline follows:

Screenshot from virtual world, Active Worlds

1) Active Worlds –
• $6.95 per month fee to become a ‘citizen’
• Healthy group of developers
• Easy building tools
• Firewall available
• No productivity tools, white boards, ppt presentations, etc.

Recommended Uses:
• Rapid proto-typing
• Experiment privately behind a firewall
• IBM and Wells Fargo have worked in the space

2) Proto Sphere, by Protonmedia –
• Free demo
• Learning and knowledge management training
• Integrates blogs, social networking web 2.0 tools
• Search functionality
• Shareable office applications
• Firewall issues
• Content creation controlled by proto sphere
• Steep learning curve for available tools

Recommended Uses:
• Training
• Sales Training
• Insurance adjusters using to view auto accidents in 3D
• Global virtual meetings

3) Qwaq Forums –
• 30 day free trial
• Collaboration Application
• Voice issues
• Pre-built content via templates
• Low system requirements
• Easy to set-up, about 10 mins
• Poor graphics, immersion, and avatars

Recommended Uses:
• Remote teams working on regular office documents
• General VW experimentation

Graphic for virtual world, OLIVE by Forterra Inc.













4) OLIVE, by Forterra Inc. –
• Contact sales to request a demo
• Government, military, education simulator
• Training and simulation
• Low system requirements
• Functional on mid-range PC
• Easy to use
• Firewall ready
• Bulky install
• No video or ppt presentations yet

Recommended Uses:
• Training and simulation

Virtual World Second Life
5) Second Life –
• Free account and download
• Largest social virtual world
• Business to consumer focus
• Highly unstable
• Advanced system requirements needed
• Steep learning curve

Recommended Uses:
• Not recommended for Business use with the exception of possible experimentation

Future Players – VW’s to watch out for

Project Wonderland –
• Free Download
• Sun Microsoft
• Ugly interface
• Open source
• Java based
• Modular architecture
• API’s available, easy to integrate with almost anything

Screenshot from virtual world, Vastpark













Vastpark –
• Free download
• 5 applications – creator, browser, viewer, publisher and Vast Server Core
• Build your own world
• Firewall ready
• Licensing available for educational and corporate use

 Screenshot from New York demo of virtual world using the Multiverse platform
• Build your own world
• Netscape developers
• 2000 avatars in one place
• No virtual office document sharing

Project Chainsaw, Nortel –
• Nortel Networks
• Voice emphasis
• Browser based
• Ecommerce capabilities, i.e. – shop in 3d environment, talk with sales staff and other customers


  1. Moriz Gupte says:

    June 25th, 2008at 5:34 pm(#)

    I think Clever Zebra’s analysis is a little bit biased.

    “Forterra Systems and Clever Zebra Partner for vBusiness Expo
    and Virtual Worlds Events:
    3D Conferences and Events Provide Equivalent Experience Without Travel Cost and Time”

    Enough said.

    It is important for companies claiming to be ideally placed to recommend clients disclose their conflicts of interest. I think this is the right thing to do.

    Check out the various evaluations of training in SL that hundreds of educators in SL have produced. Just google for them…you will hit some.

  2. admin says:

    June 26th, 2008at 7:02 am(#)

    Hi Moriz,

    Thanks so much for the information, the fact that Clever Zebra and Forterra are partnering definitely gives additional insight into Nick’s recommendations.

    Avarie Parker

  3. PrinterBrian says:

    June 26th, 2008at 9:05 am(#)

    I have talked with Nick before, seems bright. However, SL is not good for business is boogling. Having seen some of the thing IBM is doing using SL for various things is quite amazing and definitely business worthy. Controlling server farms from a virtual control center…was amazing to see. And all done using a private server running SL. This is just one example.

    I think there is a lot to be said for SL in business, but there are of course other options and that is always a good thing. Competition drives improvement and innovation.

  4. Sigmund Leominster says:

    June 26th, 2008at 5:40 pm(#)

    Looking through the pros and cons off all the offerings, it doesn’t seem as if ANY is recommended for business. Nortel’s “Project Chainsaw” apparently has eCommerce opportunities, but acording to a recent report (Virtual World News – it is still only an internal project and no decision has been made yet as to whether it will become a consumer product.

    If “business” is defined as “commerce,” then anyone in marketing would be hard pressed to make a good case for seeing huge potential in the Second Life arena. With a top usage figure currently around 60,000 users at one time – that’s about the size of one town – that’s a small demographic to sell to. March 2008’s estimate of 6 million accounts is impressive but has been criticized as inlcuding mulitple accounts and “dormant” users. However, if “business” includes meetings, conferences, education and others, then such things already go on. SLentrepreneur has already reported on virtual recruitment conferences and academic conferences, and as PrinterBrian said, iBM is on the bandwagon too.

    Of course, in 1994, Jeff Bezos took the first step in changing the book-buying habits of average folks and it took nearly 8 years to post the first profits in the fourth quarter of 2002; one year before Sl was launched.

    So reports of the death of business in Second Life may well have been exaggerated. It may take several more years to realize the potential of SL as a marketing medium, which is not uncommon in the growth of any business.

  5. PrinterBrian says:

    June 27th, 2008at 5:16 am(#)

    True Siggy, the whole marketing in SL thing has continued to bore the heck out of me. Seems like thats usually the razor focus of most people. I Dont get me wrong I know there is a strong current of businesses and educators that are using SL and other VW’s for operation and meetings spaces, but the marketing aspect seems to be a limiting way to think.

    Eventually someone will figure out how to market effectively in these worlds, so keeping the dialog going on t is fine, but not to the point of limiting ones vision.

  6. Mony Markova says:

    June 27th, 2008at 8:31 am(#)

    Sigmund, knows business because he is not only well educated avatar (got his education in rl), but a professional in his SL also.

    Siggs I keep learning of you every timeI read you. And you know on the topic of SL business I have my points to make.

    First step to fix or face the current Barbie Economy state we are in SL, as I have dubbed it before. It is to face the facts. I completly agree with you that It will be a longer road, it will require experimentation and failures.

    It is true, and we have LL to congratulate for that, SL is an open space where we citizens make it work or not.

    My major concern is seeing so many ppl go into business and not be aware of the need to sale their products at a proper price.

    I think the freebies hurt the economy in a big way.

    Anyway thanks for the space for comments… and lets keep it up :)

  7. Sigmund Leominster says:

    June 27th, 2008at 10:20 am(#)

    Thanks for the observations, Mony, especially on the issue of pricing and freebies. When Adam Smith coined the phrase “the invisible hand” in his Wealth of Nations waaaay back when, his finger was definitely on the unseen pulse. No matter what clever strategy an individual may use to work out the selling price of an item, the market will ultimately decide whether or not the price is right. Sellers will fairly quickly discover if they are too high (the sell nothing) or too low (hundreds of orders).

    I guess freebies affect the market but I’m not sure whether that’s the same as hurting it. Freebies certainly make the seller concentrate more intensely on their product and work out what the “value added” is. People WILL pay for product as long as it can be differentiated from another, whether that “other” is a freebie or not. Why spend $600 on a shirt from Armidi when there are free ones bundled in crates all over Second Life? Because the quality of the Armidi is better and having a higher quality product is important to me. And by important, I mean makes me feel OK about parting with real money.

    Some companies use freebies as “loss leaders” for their paid products. The new default avatars launched last week are basically freebies from a few Second Life companies. The notion is that once you see how good item X is, you then want to get item Y from the manufacturer. The manufacturer has item Y in stock but it is not a freebie. But if you buy it, then the loss leader has done its job.

    OK, just a couple of comments.

  8. Mark says:

    June 30th, 2008at 3:01 am(#)

    Rubbish, Second Life is ideally suited for business applications. Clever Zebra simply haven’t struck the right chord in world. Keep trying.

  9. Kwame Oh says:

    July 2nd, 2008at 5:45 am(#)

    I on the other hand have approached this adventure from a difference perspective, with an upcoming refit of my pub in real-life, had decided to invest some of my advertising budget on setting up for lack of a better description a second life hub within the pub, with PC’s for customer use to interact with second life, possibly the first second life internet café in existence. But with media streaming both ways. Standard pub games such as quizzes can easily be run between each world , withof course the second lifers cheating as usual on Google “grin”

    Gimmick? perhaps, but with twenty or so regular second lifers on the books so far after advertising in the window a possible paying customer base for the real life business.

    The drawback I see are whether second life is ready for such a venture, as we find skills within second life are not always up to par, you only need some idiot to abuse your real life client and you will feel the repercussions in your wallet. And it makes choosing the sim on which you would expose your clients to, a difficult one.

  10. shadowtraveller says:

    October 1st, 2008at 3:34 pm(#)

    Bottom line. It is always about the money. RL money.

  11. Vikarti Anatra says:

    October 26th, 2008at 2:52 am(#)

    SL is ideal for business?
    first, don’t think that sl-the-main-grid and opensim is same. said server management of IBM was on opensim, not on core grid.
    also, issues with absense of whiteboards,ppt support(which could be almost solved by _workable_ HTML-on-prim), INABILITY of simulator to support too much users are not gone.
    SL’s system requirements are also not too small.

    for example, ActiveWorlds works on _any_ computer, allows to use (via web command) web site as updateable textures(you could also switch to navigate mode and actually work with site), and this is works with Flash(=youtube, too.
    Videostreaming support of ActiveWorlds is also not too bad(yes,it requires Windows Media stream, SL requires QuickTime)

  12. KeishaTanner26 says:

    April 8th, 2010at 11:35 pm(#)

    If you are in the corner and have got no money to move out from that point, you will have to receive the home loans. Just because that will help you unquestionably. I take financial loan every single year and feel OK because of that.

  13. Ayırma Büyüsü says:

    August 23rd, 2010at 5:08 am(#)

    Great article. I do have one question that I’d love to get your advice on though pertaining to the topic. How do you find tweeps who are more on your level of popularity?

    For instance, many of the people I follow are business men or tech writers, or even celebrities. While I find their tweets interesting and do try to interact with them, these are not always the best people to build these “meaningful relationships” with.

    So how do I find the “smaller” or less popular people on twitter who are interested in the same topics I am and, more importantly, willing to build the same meaningful relationship with me? Thank you for sharing :)

  14. Data Entry Jobs says:

    October 29th, 2010at 12:09 am(#)

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