The VR/SL Scion


After word got out this past weekend I logged into the Second Life virtual world to see if I could find one of the legitimate Scion models (there have been plenty of non-sanctioned Toyota models in SL). No such luck. I did however find a nice photostream on Flickr but, thinking that there might be some better images to come from virtual world develop Millions of Us, I waited.

Well, Millions of Us CEO Reuben Steiger has just posted an entry discussing the project. And it’s a good entry with plenty of interesting details. But the images, frankly, suck (no offense, mon). So go read the entry (Link), but also visit that photostream (Link) if you want to see more images like the one above.

{Image source: intellagirl’s Flickr photoset}

10 thoughts on “The VR/SL Scion

  1. That’s me! Ha! I was lucky enough to be there when the cars were given away. The detail is amazing both inside and out. They drive really well and even make great revving noises as you drive them.

  2. Well, I’d be able to verify that if I could get one. Tried last night but got the “Hold” button.

    Have to say though, what I find especially curious is the decision to give them away instead of making them a part of the SL economy. Not that I think free digital goods isn’t where everything is going; I believe it is. But there is a potential repercussion from SL’s content creators if they suddenly find themselves competing with corporate-sponsored freebies. This example could have a chilling effect on content creation.

    I’ll be interested to see if anything develops on that front. Anyway, thanks for posting that Flickr set.

  3. Csven,

    Sorry about the lame images — after the excitement of this weekend I was hurrying to get something up. Thanks for the pointers to the Flickr library.

    I’ll drop one of these puppies on you in-world.

    Some clarification:

    We got the green light from Scion 2 weeks ago on the project and they wanted an initial version to coincide with their August 20th Naitonal Dealers’ Meeting. So Francis Chung worked basically around the clock to make the silver Scion xB that we could use in a film clip for that meeting. Given the time constraints, the reality was that we couldn’t make the car customizable — we simply packed as much dev as we could in in the time we had. The “Limited Edition” copies we gave out were simply intended as a teaser — what we hope is that peeps like you play with them and tell us what you think would be cool for the official launch which is scheduled for early October. What is clear is that all versions will be highly customizable and will not be giveaways that cannibalize the existing SL auto market, which would definitely be lame.

    Scion’s really really into customization — we’re going to try to push that envelope as far as we can with the offfical launch, which will involve a dealership, the cars and some pretty sweet musical entertainment. And the idea is that it not be a big bang and then “poof” — they’re into the idea of continuing to evolve Scions in SL in ways that are part of the existing culture.


  4. I had a suspician there was more to this when I read “Limited Edition”. Thanks much for the clarification.

  5. The question is, will current SL residents want to roll in Scions? I don’t spend much time in that particular world (I’ve been going to MUDs for that fix lately) but it seems that the ‘core’ user of SL would rather have something unique to SL, created by someone they feel is part of their community. Will future SLers look back at the ‘good old days’ before all sorts of unsavory newbs started creating accounts to ride in Scions, wear Pumas, and drink Coke? Sort of a “life 1.5”.

  6. Well, I think there is a potential to do something interesting.

    First off, this was created by someone in the community: Francis Chung. As to whether SLers accept RW brands, that one isn’t even in doubt since the world is full of illegally-appropriated brands (I have to note here that the big “Trademark” forum thread last year was started by a Nissan brand abuser and then continued by a Toyota brand abuser). People don’t have a problem with RW brands.

    As for “unsavory newbs”, that’s come and gone with the open registration. SLers mostly care about griefing. And opening up the registration system the way they have has brought SL closer to the free-for-all Series of Tubes. There’ll be little complaining about this. If anything, those who would complain almost have to bite their tongues since they’ve long supported the (illegal) presence of brands in SL; claiming it improved the experience. Saying that it now hurt the experience is too hypocritical for even them.

    On the flip side there could be advantages.

    Imagine people can customize their ride. Not just graphically but in performance. Now imagine Toyota opens an island race track. Suddenly you have an Event. SLers can mod their rides and compete in races. There could be prizes. Other sponsors. Related events (graffiti art competition, anyone?).

    There are plenty of opportunities for this brand in particular.

  7. id take a strikefighter vs a scion anytime in SL.;).. real life too…
    oh yeah, i cant own a spaceship in real life. oh, maybe thats why “real” products and brands dont mean squat ” as objects of desire” in virtual worlds….
    not sure?.. ask the biz plan-:) from t shirts anyone? want one of these or a boxy car?…yes for the costs now you can get both….. but soon -whoknows?

    new media new ideas new brands……check history.

  8. Don’t disagree. I’ve admonished plenty of people in SL for doing nothing more than copying real world products. However, I do recognize that while I might find the Scion less exciting in a simulation than a truly unique vehicle designed by, say, a housewife in New Zealand, many people do aspire to own a branded product from the RW. I don’t understand that mentality, but it’s there.

  9. its kinda simple, branding = insurance.

    buy a top brand that “everyone” says is acceptable and you cant be “blamed” or wrong. Works this way from toothpaste to ID firms:)…

    but why assume unique vehicles from “housewives only” in new media like SL… in fact this is the lesson of new media, new opps for any professional designer as well IF they want it. New studios that form this blog network are evidence of that,”millions of sheep” to come—-sounds scary.:)

    as to virtual or postmaterial products and their creation, im no housewife, im a traditioanlly trained IDer from as old school as you can be in ther US today:)-pratt85….BUT i decided long ago to utilize new media to forge new brands , but with no less ability , skills and or experience that i bring to client based projects in any media.

    so —whose better off in a new media to create successful brands– established large old media entrented creator-designers, or smaller /agile less known, but no less trained creator designers./marketers/ etc.

    design/biz history shows the latter will take over every time….even if bought out by the older media, the relevant money makers will run the show eventually.

  10. Of course branding is insurance. That’s why I so often post about Reputation.

    Didn’t assume vehicles from “housewives only“, I said I prefer unique creations from “say, a housewife”. The message is in the words, just as design is in the details. ;) And of course this opens up opportunities. I’ve been trying to explain this to other IDers, sometimes on the Core forum, for years. I had a sense of what was coming in the mid-80’s. By the mid-90’s I was convinced.

    Got my Aerospace in ’85 (ID after five years in ’94). I’d say we’re both in the same position. Only I see it from an engineering perspective as well. That might be why I don’t seem to differentiate to quite the same degree.

    The Long Tail and how it evolves over time suggests that the changes coming are bigger than who takes over. I don’t even want to “take over”. I just want independence. And I bet so do plenty of other – though not all – people. And from that will come some of the more important changes. We’ll see.

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