I personally believe the basic concept behind the idea of Second Life (the existence of “virtual worlds” in 3D populated by avatars) will be here to stay in the web world forever.
In Japan, people took a liking to Second Life particularly after Linden Lab decided to translate the site into Japanese last year. In November, major TV network Nihon TV broadcasted the world’s first show recorded in the virtual world (as reported). And the show is still on.
Japanese company offers Second Life services
There are quite a few companies which exist only because there is Second Life. MagSL (Magazine Second Life) for example is a Tokyo-based provider for various services related to Second Life. The company offers auction tools, construction, advertising and other services tailored for that virtual world.
Since late February, MagSL added an ASP solution to analyze behavior of avatars in 3D environment to their product range. In the corresponding press release, the company says it distinguishes user behavior on 2D web pages from the way people act in 3D worlds. According to MagSL, this difference justifies specialized behavior analysis software. Well, that makes sense.
MagSL is (naturally) marketing their new product as a pure B2B solution. Companies represented in Second Life can use the software to find out how avatars in Second Life react to their Marketing efforts, i. e. to promoting events.
I think more and more software focused on “virtual worlds” on the web will be released in the future. And interestingly, Japanese companies in particular seem to be pioneering this field.
Sony is soon offering “Playstation Home” for their Playstation 3 video game system while Japanese web powerhouse Transcosmos views its self-developed virtual world “meet-me” as a potential Second Life-Killer.