Online social experience, Second Life, has become something of a phenomenon, with real world companies and institutions setting up bases of operations in the virtual world. With over 6 million subscribers, Second Life provides a space where companies can try out various marketing strategies for their products which would not be feasible in the real world.
Reacting to this the BBC will broadcast an episode of its Money Program which was filmed entirely in Second Life. The program, “Virtual World, Real Millions”, will be broadcast simultaneously on BBC 2 and at the Rivers Run Red Cinema in game on Friday at 7pm GMT and will feature comments from Philip Rosedale, Second Life’s creator, Matt Martin, deputy editor at GamesIndustry.biz, and David Solari, VP of online gaming at Codemasters. Also featured will be segments on gold farming, virtual crime and the growth of virtual worlds in general.
Another broadcaster with a presence in Second Life, ABC of Australia, had its virtual base bombed into a cratered mess last week in what seems to be an act of virtual terrorism. ABC Island, as it is known, was almost completely destroyed and left plastered with the logos of Nike and Puma, presenting the possibility that this was an act of corporate hostility by other companies jealous of ABC’s success. Then again it may have just been a prank.
Over the past couple of weeks Second Life has been drawing ever more attention from law enforcement authorities around the world investigating everything from illegal gambling to online rape and paedophilia. Most of this work has been done undercover with officers of various countries forces being indistinguishable from other users. One police force though is developing a presence in the game which will be completely visible, the Vancouver Police Department is opening a recruitment office in Second Life to enlist net savvy people to aid them in the fight against online crime. Whether they will investigate and enforce laws within the virtual space is yet to be decided.