Much Ado About Ads

Well, a portion of the Second Life virtual community is up in arms over an article over on the GameDaily website. The article is about the move of real life advertising into games and virtual worlds. Here are some excerpts from it, including bits of an interview with Linden Lab Marketing VP, David Fleck:

“There is a place for anybody to participate,” said Fleck, “including big corporations.”

Currently, Second Life has a program developed by Wells Fargo called Stagecoach Island, which features Wells Fargo ATM machines that give out “Linden Dollars” that can be used to buy products in “Second Life.”

Fleck said he is currently in discussions with other brands about advertising in Second Life and is hopeful that additional deals could be reached by year’s end. He mentioned he would even be open to the idea of using avatars as advertisements.

Of course this has some people screaming bloody murder. Apparently everything changes when the virtual Nike stuff residents covet for their avatars goes from being the product of illegal trademark violations to legitimate content blessed by the brand owner.

…and BW on Pro Gaming

Let the (video)game sponsorship frenzy begin! From BW’s article “Pro Gaming Attracting Big Corporate Sponsors“:

PC hardware companies have been sponsoring Counter-Strike teams and individual pro gamers for over seven years, but more general youth-oriented brands and corporations have been slow to catch on to the phenomenon. In fact, last week’s announcement that Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals (makers of Tylenol) was sponsoring pro CS team Ouch is believed to be the first of its kind.

I can’t help but think someone inside Johnson & Johnson has been working feverishly for years trying to convince a bunch of out-of-touch upper management types to do this. This news kinda makes my earlier post on CPL a little more interesting. Wonder if I can create something branded with a fake pain-reliever and let it go head-to-head with Tylenol. Or should that be headache-to-headache? It’s about time corporate America realized the importance of videogames in reaching a portion of their market, I just wonder if they also realize they’re now on a different playing field. Literally and figuratively. This could get interesting.

Rubik’s Cube of Content

My “Long Tail” toroid gets a booster shot with some very interesting news over on BusinessWeek. I had no clue who Tony Li was until I read this article (link), but it’s obvious that what he and his partners intend to do is partially what I envisioned when I began looking at Chris Anderson‘s curves and concluded they looked a bit too static for me. Li and company are looking like catalysts for some important changes. Even if they don’t succeed at unifying distribution as they intend, the very fact they intend to try is probably going to get some people to sit upright and take notice. That idea isn’t going away now.

To get caught up on how Mr. Li fits into the toroid concept, you can read my initial “Long Tail” post here. Then read about (and see) some things in an interview with Second Life’s embedded reporter, Hamlet Linden, over on his blog. And maybe take a peek at a quick follow-up I wrote on the SL Future Salon blog (which has a nicer image I posted showing ancient to early 20th century variations of the Toroid).

The only thing missing is how real products fit into this. That’s coming.

CPL Chooses Quake IV

For most people this announcement by the Cyberathlete Professional League (via Blue’s News) probably doesn’t mean much; however it’s caught my interest for personal reasons. One of those reasons is that I’m watching for opportunities to enter Microsoft’s XBox360 virtual market. Yesterday I watched some online game videos, one of which was a collection of game footage from the titles that would be available for the new console; Quake IV was included. The second reason is that I have experience with the Quake games and feel comfortable working on content for them, so it’s a little less daunting. And the third reason is that I already have an item I’d like to upgrade (it was originally designed for Quake 3) and test the waters with.

Consequently, this news means that there’s a good chance whatever content I develop for Quake IV will get some attention… even if only minimal. And what better way to have content shown than in the hands of a professional “cyberathlete”. Now that I think about it, maybe if Mark Cuban carries a tournament in one of his digital theaters, I’ll get to see something I’ve done on the big screen. Interesting thought. Almost as cool as having a real object made from the CAD model I’ll use for the normalmap.

Future Blog

I’ve been asked to give some indication of what’s in store for this blog and whether it will be continued. The short answer is “Yes”. However, the next incarnation will be at a different URL… though still within the domain.

Further, because blogspam is such a bandwidth ripper and because I’d rather leave this ad-free, comments and trackbacks will likely not be permitted. I’m instead looking at other options for discussion and hope to have some way to facilitate it. Trackbacks will likely not be opened as it’s simply too ripe for abuse. Perhaps if I wanted to dedicate more time to deleting the spam and/or keeping up with extensions to control it, but I don’t; it might be of interest to those of you who visit this site that after all this time I still have zombie PC’s pinging to try to post their worthless messages on outdated entries. That’s the net.

Also, while I’d like to have my new website up and running by 1 Oct, the truth is that what I’m doing goes well beyond just a blog. This incarnation of the weblog was really an overly-successful test… never intended to be permanent. If you recall my focus, then you might get some hint of where I’ll be taking this website. Unfortunately that means stretching out into a lot of seemingly unrelated areas. I hope that when I’m done you’ll appreciate what can only be a modest effort.