Parks Associates Blog

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Microsoft's Virtual World History

Those of you who attended the recent Virtual Worlds LA show probably remembered the presentation from Sibley Verbeck, CEO of Electric Sheep. He presented a brief history about virtual worlds. It did not start with Second Life, nor Active Worlds (the only virtual world company that survived the 90s). Habitat was believed to be one of the first graphical virtual worlds, started more than 20 years ago. You can revisit his speech here. http://blogs.electricsheepcompany.com/sibley/

Today, I stumbled upon an interesting link, which chronicled Microsoft's virtual worlds efforts in the late 90s. Here's a link. http://research.microsoft.com/scg/vworlds/vworlds.htm

Apparently, Microsoft has tried out many of the virtual world concepts, some of which have gained mass-market adoption in recent years. These include gaming worlds, kids worlds, history related themed worlds, social worlds, music worlds, enterprise worlds, educational worlds, open worlds... you name it. They even had a Windupworld in which "the avatars were windup toys which move along cubes. Energy slowly drained as the toys get "wound down." Avatars could charge each other up or interact with free flowing bots. If a toy gets "overwound" it blows up and loses its body. The goal of our live demo is to reach the golden cube which will give you super energy."

So you virtual worlds out there, Second Life, Habbo, There.com, vSide, Active Worlds, Vivaty, Kaneva, Hipihi, take a stroll down the memory lane-you might find something interesting.

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