Monday, January 26, 2009

CfP: Virtual Worlds: Technology, Economy, and Standards (Journal of Virtual Worlds Research)

I'm happy to announce the following CfP:

CALL FOR PAPERS - Journal of Virtual Worlds Research - Vol 2 Issue 3.

Theme: Virtual Worlds: Technology, Economy, and Standards

In this special issue we are looking to examine the often hidden relations between technology, economy, and standards in the specific field of Virtual Worlds.

Abstract or expression of interest (one page) – Monday, March 30, 2009
Full manuscript - September 1, 2009
Publication Date: October 1, 2009

Issue Editors:
  • Dr. Yesha Y. Sivan, Metaverse-Labs Ltd. and Shenkar College
  • J.H.A. (Jean) Gelissen, Philips Research
  • Prof. Robert Bloomfield, Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University


We assume that:
1. Virtual Worlds are destined to become big; big in the sense of meaningful, influential, and making money for various current and new players. Every aspect of our lives will be affected by virtual worlds. Beyond being another media, Virtual Worlds will be part of our regular
lives, they are going to enhance, improve, and better our quality of life. Much like the internet, virtual worlds will allow us to do “traditional” things more effectively, and do other things anew.

2. Real Virtual Worlds are defined as an integration of four factors: 3D view of the world, Community, Creation, and Commerce (AKA 3D3C). The more we have of these factors the closer we get to real virtual worlds. In that sense IMVU, Second Life, and Entropia are more Real Virtual Worlds than Club Penguin, World of Warcraft, and SIMS on-line.

3. “Standards” as a concept and mechanism are often misunderstood. People often link standards with competing concepts: open and free on one hand and propriety patents, limitation of creativity on the other hand. Like many other human constructs, standards are not inherently
good or bad – what you do with a standard gives them value: be it good or bad.

4. Currently the virtual worlds industry operates more like the Computer Gaming Industry than like the internet industry. Each developer, be it private (e.g., Linden, Forterra) or an open source
(e.g., Sun Darkstar, OpenSim) is developing its own server, client, and rules of engagement. The inherent rationale of these efforts is a combination of “we know best” and “we will conquer the world.” While this may be the case (see Microsoft Windows, Apple iPod, or Google
search), the common public good calls for a connected system like the internet, where different forces can innovate in particular spots of the value chain.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):
  • Specific standards or family of standards that can impact virtual worlds.
  • Economic analysis of specific standards for specific firms.
  • Discussion on Privacy, Authentication, and related issue (for example Open ID).
  • Legal Aspects of virtual worlds that can be set in the technical specs.
  • Review of relevant technology platforms, their pros, and cons.
  • Case studies of large-scale standardization efforts (Windows, Linux, GSM) and the lesson learned from them to virtual worlds.
  • Visions of the virtual world’s universal access system (network and station).
  • Comparing related terms such as working code, for and not-for-profit efforts, open source, formal systems.
  • Key places were standards matter (looking for the mouse and windows of virtual worlds) in other words the interfaces to and from the real (physical) world.
  • Economic analysis of various externalities in the field.
  • Winning stories of standards in the field (be it private, public, open, etc).
  • Example of wrong standards, failed standards, and other things to learn from.
  • Short term winnings (VRML) vs. Long term value.
  • What do we need to add to current standards so they will be used in virtual worlds (ISBN 3D? OpenID3D? etc).
  • The impact of open standards on close systems (Android); the impact of propriety technology (iPhone).
  • Connection various legal formats (GPL, LGPL) and new technologies (i.e., Grid/cloud for virtual worlds).
The editors of this issue specifically encourage short papers on specific examples (past, present, or future). If you need to use Jargon or acronyms please spell them and explain. Assume the readers are versed with various aspects of virtual worlds and not necessary economy,
technology or standards. The link to real virtual worlds should be clearly spelled. Papers will influence the development of MPEG-V (the official ISO effort to develop global standards between real and virtual worlds.

Guidelines and Deadlines We welcome submissions in the form of full research papers,
research-in-brief papers, “think-pieces,” essays, monographs, interactive online exhibits with accompanying detailed descriptions, and other forms of scholarship.

For specific submission instructions and detailed descriptions of the different submission formats visit: --
Jeremiah Spence
Journal of Virtual Worlds Research.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Virtual Worlds industry forecast 2009 released

Virtual Worlds Management released their Virtual Worlds industry forecast for 2009. Very useful to get more insight into the current activities in this market and what industry leaders are thinking. It is available here .