Electric Sheep Company
Washington DC Future Salon


Nissan on
Second Life


Sheep Island on Second Life (top)

Virtual Laguna Beach
A virtual world, modeled
after the MTV reality show)

Johnny Ming

Post presentation


Photos and Event Overview Courtesy
Andrea Weckerle,
New Millenium PR

November 09, 2006

Electric Sheep Company at Washington DC Future Salon

Last night I attended the Washington, D.C. Future Salon meeting, held at Electric Sheep's real life office. The topic was originally going to be about the Metaverse Roadmap and Electric Sheep's role in the roadmapping project, and that was discussed a bit, but the presentation, led by Electric Sheep Company CEO Sibley Verbeck (Sibley Hathor in SL), centered mostly around Second Life and some other virtual environments, like MTV's Virtual Laguna Beach ("don't just watch it, live it"). Actually, I'm glad the meeting went in that direction, since it gave us a chance to hear Sibley's thoughts on much of what's going on in SL these days.

John Swords (Johnny Ming in SL) of SecondCast recorded the entire session and hopes to have it up in a few days. It'll definitely be worth a listen. But in the meantime, here are some main points to mention now.

  • Sibley noted that although SL offers the fastest and cheapest ways to build 3D content, it's hard-to-use technology for the mainstream audience. Also, since it's completely self-directed, its harder for the MS to latch on to. He also pointed out that SL today is the way the Web was prior to the rise of Netscape and AOL.
  • SL currently has the most successful microsystem digital payment system, and Linden Dollars is one of the most successful currencies not associated with a nation state. And, like any currency exchange, the LindeX, is completely market-driven and can fluctuate, although it's presently at about 250 Linden Dollars (L$) to the US Dollar (USD).
  • No surprise here, but the business momentum in SL right now is pretty much off the map. Aside from more product placements (think, for example, Nissan) and fundraisers like the American Cancer Society's Second Life Relay for Life, SL is enabling some individuals and small businesses to make a living. Fashion is big, big, big. And skins are doing well too.
  • Speaking of currency, Sibley believes that within 12 months or so the lines between real currency and Linden Dollars will really blur, with, for example, debit cards being used in SL. Reuters just reported that Australia is requiring that virtual income be reported as taxable. And the U.S. Congress is looking into this as well.
  • Aside from the entertainment, and of course, business value, SL also hold great promise for other uses. For example, people with Asperger's syndrome have found a new lease on life in SL. And individuals with other hurdles, such as social shyness, also find SL interaction less intimidating.
  • Virtual Laguna Beach, in comparison to SL, is very easy to use, perhaps because, unlike SL, it's not a user-generated world, but instead an interactive experience created by a media company for the sole purpose of entertainment. One interesting thing is that each Laguna Beach episode is broadcast in SL 24 hours before being shown on television. Sibley describes VLB as "perhaps the first model of interactive television that's going to take off."
  • There's interest out there in trying to have the various virtual worlds connect to each other  (instead of having to enter them separately, with different identities and avatars). One person  said that the really successful thing would be to make avatars portable between worlds. Yes!

Thanks to