This is why, though I don’t agree with all of Prok’s views on things, I think he’s worth watching. A very well thought out group of predictions here. Unfortunately typepad think’s I’m spam – which may well be true – so I’ll have to post here instead.
1) LL will not opensource in 2008 – I think they’ll partially opensource but they’ll never completely opensource their server tech. Their business model rides on it. But they will opensource enough to allow interoperability, under the influence of the IBM parthership on technology, as that IS in their interest and gives their platform competative advantage.
2) Yups – they’ve announced interoperability and they’ll move on that as quick as they can, which will be slow 😛 But given a year I think we’ll see something.
3) Indeed 2008 will not be the year kaneva and other neiche worlds take off, but will be the year that folk figure out that there may be some kinda use for them. It’ll be the year that these startups start to realize that their walled garden aproach is going to stunt most of their growth and start making moves on inter-world connectivity. New worlds are more effort to join than new web2.0 apps and nobody want’s to deal with all the multiple clients. Phones will grow this year as wap2.0 takes off. If i had the money i’d be buying stocks in thumb medication and spectacles.
4) LL will open up another grid. FIC theory asside I think this is a solid prediction. I’d bet you a lindy IBM might be a “special friend” in this instance. Folk say they have their own grid and tech, but they’re well known for developing multiple technologies that compete for the same space anyways.
5) A blackout will mess with virtual worlds – I think there’ll be some kinda disaster, these things happen and statistically we’re due for one. When it happens I think virtual worlds will be the least of our problems. Local banking and comms chaos, and financial markets reacting to say the sudden disapearance of wall street for a day, would probably distract folk long enough from VR that they wouldn’t miss it too much while it was gone.
6) Rumors of the demise of SL have been greatly overblown. It’ll keep chugging along and the lowered expectations will allow it to continue to do what it does best rather than beeing seen as the next big thing. People will start to use it for useful stuff rather than exciting stuff (and social things are useful too from a utilitarian perspective.) So SL will steadily grow in a meat and 3 veg kinda way.
7) an attempt WILL be made to sue for fraud regarding the banks in SL. This is because at some point someone will have forgotten to tick all the indemnity boxes in their “contract” for services in sl. Further to Prok’s prediction I think a parliamentary probe will prompt a government to try and legislate in some kind of way regarding virtual worlds and property, currencies, buisiness practices. This will cause leftie activists to get up in arms about said legislation. This will not be because they’re lefties, but because governments just don’t get it, and everyone will be a bit upset about it. That is unless they’re the litigous types that stand to make a buck out of suing folk because of the changes in law, or gain competitive advantage due to increased legislative burden on their competition.
8) a libel suit will be filed – considering how litigous folk are becomming about next to nothing I think this is a good bet.
9) I disagree. There seems to be no slowing in the growth in litigation around IT contracts, intellectual property, and general legal opportunism. There will be other Stroker Serpentines who do have a legal leg to stand on who will win, and that’ll renew the hopes of those folk who seek to legislate or legally poke virtual world businesses for revenue.
This includes governments, and while some will seek to tax virtual worlds the competetive advantage will go to those countries that leave them alone (as vw business bottom lines will be 10-30% better off in terms of running costs, which can be passed on to their clients/consumers). Those who implement VAT will find that the cost of implementing it, accounting it, and the impossibility of enforcing it produce significant competetive disadvantage as it drains money from service provision into accountants pockets and prompts offshoring.
10) I’ll have to trust Prok when it comes to speculation on the real estate markets.
11) China !!! but not SL. South East Asia too – there will be virtual worlds with much higher per capita penetration and truly staggering populations – but they’ll be isolated to language groups that use non roman or cyrillic alphabets (ie ones that use characters for words rather than an alphabet). This is more due to the funamental difference in the way folk type and the difficulty of adapting language services to the many idiosyncratic input methods these languages use.
12) big corporations will not be using sl more. Yups, but small corporations will. Big corps already have strong slow moving communications infrastructure full of legacy systems and culture. They’ll need McKinsey on it for a year before they figure out their key messages for their internal comms rollouts and will have spent hundreds of thousands before they even move on these things. Their workers may develop local ad-hoc cultures that involve VW’s but that won’t be on the corporate radar.
Small fast moving or cash strapped companies will begin to use SL for internal communications (or other worlds). There are some things it does cheap and cheerful that cost significantly more for a pro non roll your own solution – telepresence and ad-hoc presentations for example. This will be a growth market – well not really a market, more DIY.
13) Something like a csi style murder or suicide will happen. The world is big. Just about everything happens somewhere, sometime. The odds are in it’s favour and I think this is a good bet. I shudder to think what the gonzo media will do with it.
14) The mainstream blogsphere will start using sl – yup. Non geeks are arriving in sl now. I think there’s plenty of folk who, if they have time for blogging, have enough time on their hands and are chatty enough to hang out in VW’s. When your aunt is doing it then it won’t be long before it’s well represented amongst non-geek bloggers.
15) Age verification will proceed – well a bit. For americans who seem to have the world’s largest data footprint it won’t be surprising that some company you don’t know has everything they need to verify who you are. This is information that, if you lost your wallet you would panic over, but if some company you don’t know has it it all seems ok. Most countries in the rest of the world have extremely strong protections against that kind of data on the public record and how it can be used. So I predict that for most of the world age verification will be slow, buggy and arduous for the next year.
As for red light center, I think that is a great idea. It also got me to thinking about the “use” of kaneva and “social” worlds of that sort, and when they’re purpose specific (such as this sexy one) perhaps the market isn’t as small as I initially imagined. Neiche specific pluggable worlds such as this might take off – particularly if there’s sex or dating involved.
17) advertisers will continue to flop and corporate sponsored arts will continue to rise. I think this is very likely – push media doesn’t work so well on the internets and particularly in VW’s. The current corporate model on the web is to leverage existing communities (such as web2.0 or interest groups) and leave customer service to their main websites – this will happen in SL too. Sponsorship of arts, letters and communities is the cheapest bang for buck in that kind of situation.
18) The emphasis on corporate sponsorship of the arts will take the stress from having to be concerned with copyright theft as events and experiences will become more important than objects and textures. Hear hear! Though corporate folk will also come with their own IP baggage when they put their cash and name to things. The trend however will be against worrying so much, and about time too – the focus on stuff in virtual worlds rather than people as the main revenue model devalues their main strength.
19) TV will feast on SL for free content – this is a given. The residents of sl will not be moraly challenged by it so much though as they’ll get their fifteen minutes, which represents social currency in world. They will still wake up in the morning feeling dirty and cheap.
20) Everyone will have a metaplace. Folk who currently base their revenue model on Your Attention(TM) will hate this as they don’t own it. Folk will monetize it effectively, but you’ve never heard of them. Some will be bought for obscenely inflated prices, and later disapoint their new owners. By that time we’ll be distracted by another shiny thing and not notice.
Well that’s my two cents 😛
When all’s said and done I really do want to pontificate on these interwebs things, but you know – ’tis hard. So on Torley’s recommendation I’m trying the windows live blogging client. Will see how useful it is.
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