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6:24am on Thursday, 25th October, 2007:



Day 1 of the Virtual Worlds Forum was a mixed bag. Lord Puttnam's opening keynote was stunningly good: not only does he get virtual worlds, he gets what they mean for society and what society means for them. I was very impressed; this isn't what I was expecting from someone best-known as a film director.

The rest of the day, we had some talks and panels that were interesting and instructive, but others that were highly reminiscent of the mid-1990s events I used to go to where everyone was buzzing about this "Inter Net" phenomenon. They were even using the same terminology about brands, leveraging, monetising... OK, so they used "social" instead of "community", but it was relentlessly commerce-based. What was most disappointing was that some of the speakers clearly did not get virtual worlds: Facebook isn't a virtual world no matter how hard you try to equate it with the concept, but that's what we heard at one point. Yeah, right, because people spend 3 or 4 hours on Facebook night after night, week after week, month after month...

So, good in places, not so good in others. Day 2 looks like being the same, with some very promising sessions intermixed with some that I already know I'll miss. I'm on the very last panel, so there'll only be me and the other panellists there; this is probably just as well if I get frustrated by what I hear during the course of the day and launch into a rant...

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).