Virtual Worlds

Resources from the Horizon Report 2007
Virtual Worlds Communication Wiki

Topic/Introduction and Background

Title - Virtual Worlds
Author - Collin E., United States, 2007
Contributors - Collin E. - U.S.(video clip), Mariska - Australia(video clip), Andrew S. - U.S.(video clip), Trenton N. - U.S.(video clip), Isabel - Australia(video clip)

Virtual Worlds

Virtual worlds are extensive andSecond_Life_Logo.jpg absorbing 3D places that people use to interact and communicate with others using an "avatar". Virtual worlds, such as Second Life or Active Worlds, are different from game worlds in that they "can be applied to any context" (Horizon 18). Game worlds usually "have a fixed, goal-oriented purpose". This means that with virtual worlds you can do nearly anything, limited to the general environment of the world and the users located there. Game worlds have a specific goal to which everything you do is bringing you closer. The focus of every user is on that goal. When you reach that goal, the game is over. Virtual world users develop their own goals and pursue them. Whether it's making friends, making money, or just having fun, in a virtual world, you can do whatever you want.You're time in a virtual world never ceases.


Avatars your 'in-world' representations. Every virtual world uses avatars. Typically, when you begin a virtual world, you create your avatar, and, from then on, your avatar is you. You are your avatar. It's what people see of you in-world, and it's what represents you. Avatars have reached a point where you can edit everything from the skin-tone to the jaw-line to the shoe-size, giving users the chance to truly recreate themselves, or become something completely new.

This page will discuss how the use of Virtual Worlds has affected 4 different areas. These 'Areas of Impact' are Education; Employment (industry, government, politics); Arts, Entertainment, and Leisure; and Science (environment and health).

There are several trends, several catalysts, that are occurring to allow Virtual Worlds to grow and to be a part of education in today's society. The first and most obvious is internet. Not only is the internet opening up more opportunities, but it is also being used by more and more people. With so many people using the internet, an educational window has been thrown open. We now have an opportunity to implement this widely-used tool in constructive ways, such as education or economy. With the growth of internet comes the growth of the desire to connect. People all over the world want to reach out and meet people from a place they could never go. This desire also goes towards the growth of virtual worlds. In addition to internet and connectivity, the structure of computers also goes a long way towards the development and growth of virtual worlds. The development of new processors, more RAM, and better graphics cards, make the experience far more thorough and enjoyable. All of these things have caused the use of Virtual Worlds, for whatever reason, to spike. With this many people it is essential to tap into this for constructive use in society.

This is a link to a list of alot of the populare virtual worlds of today, they are listed in different catogaries;

Current News

What's new from google news:
virtual worlds - Google News

What's new from yahoo news:

    Second Life is becoming fully open-source. This means that all users can edit and run their own version the world. This further meets their goal of being fully distributed network.

    According to a report by Gartner, Inc., 80% of "active Internet users" (Pettey) will have a life in a virtual world by the year 2011. That's only four years away. More and more people are seizing the opportunity. When will the entire world?

    Overview of Areas of Impact

    Virtual Worlds - Impact on Education

    Team Members: Henry (VIS), Mariska (PLC), Andrew (WW)
    Virtual worlds are greatly affecting how education is being performed. People can now take classes in virtual worlds. They can be tested through real life situations, without real life consequences. Classes are already being performed in places like Second Life. According to research done by the Pew Internet & American Life Project in 2005, over 21 million teens (ages 12 - 17) use the internet, and of those, 78% (16 million) say they use the internet for educational reasons at school. The education system needs to tap into that resource and use it for education.

    This wiki will examine the ways virtual worlds is affecting the three primary branches of education:
    • Elementary School
    • Middle/High School
    • College

    Virtual Worlds -Impact on Employment; Impact on Politics and Government

    Team Members: Albert (VIS), Collin (WW)SL_Jobfinder.com_001.jpg

    Virtual worlds open new employment possibilities for users of the online games.
    A good example for this is Second Life where there are whole new job markets appearing. Users in Second Life can take long term and short term jobs in a variety of fields based on their knowledge of the game and their expertise in different fields. Examples of simple jobs that are done by Second Life users are: Translator, Salesman, Representative for different companies, Builders and especially programmers. The workers in the online world receive payments in Linden Dollars which is the currency of Second Life and can be converted to any other real world currency.
    SL_law.jpg At the same time as people are making honest money, others are using virtual worlds to scam less experienced people, win money by virtually gambling, and making money using other usually considered unlawful methods. Because this is spiking to become a serious problem, there is a call for some form of governing activity in virtual worlds. Presently, there are no laws that concern one's actions while in a virtual world, and the only law firms opening in virtual worlds, such as Field Fisher Waterhouse, are barely getting their wheels rolling.

    Le_Pen_on_SL_001.JPGNot only businesses are going well in Second Life, but also Politics has started as a new trend
    in the online world.
    Political parties have started to turn their attention to this new form of spreading their ideas and campaigning in a virtual environment in a fairly cheap way to an international audience.
    The French and the American political parties have started setting up their headquarters in
    Second Life and are experiencing visitors of up to 20,000 avatars daily. Second Life insiders
    predict a great future in this new sector of the world and political parties are interested in
    making their Second Life presence.
    They manage to offer a more direct contact with the people who have more open oppinions when
    they feel their real identity is more concealed than in the real world. They feel more engaged into
    the actions that are happening in the online world than if they see the campaigns or politicians
    on the television.

    This is a new form of campaigning but also voters can make their voices heard by demonstrations and communities acting in the virtual world to display their ideas and critisize the actions of the political parties.

    Virtual Worlds - Impact on Arts, Entertainment and Leisure

    Team Members: Trenton (WW), Joanna (SAS)
    Virtual Worlds can be used for many different purposes. Whether playing a game such as Second Life to pass the time, or study how a virtual world operates. A virtual world is a computer-based simulated environment intended for the users to interact with the world through special characters called "Avatars". More virtual world games are being played everyday. There, Everquest, and World of Warcraft are more examples of virtual worlds used for entertainment and leisure.moz-screenshot.jpg

    These online virtual worlds open up a new world for those interested in socializing online, where one can re-invent oneself according to one’s wishes. Inside Secondlife There are a plethora of ways to look and change your appearance, known as different avatars, and this is one of the separating factors of virtual worlds from social networking.

    The Future of Virtual Worlds
    by Joanna C, Shanghai, China. 2007.
    Interview with Trenton Nelson, USA, 2007.

    People are starting to realize that virtual worlds such as Second Life are indeed “credible vehicle[s] for social interactions, commerce, and entertainment” (Three Minutes With: Second Life Exec,

    Information such as this suggests the increasing prevalence of tangible, material interests meshing with the interaction occuring in virtual worlds. Using virtual money to purchase an object that we can experience in life outside the game adds a new dimension to the aspect of entertainment within virtual worlds. The lines between the two starts to blur.

    One aspect of the World of Warcraft is that players are allowed to interact with one another in order to pillage towns, hunt for loot, attack monsters, or do anything to their guild's content. A drawback to this is that while players around the world can interact, frequently it takes the group's cooperation to finish a set task - which means overcoming time zone differences and staying up late hours to interact within this virtual world.

    Virtual Worlds - Impact on Science and the Environment; Impact on Health

    Team Members: Shakila (ISD), Isabel (PLC)

    Science, environment and health are greatly affected by the virtual worlds of today. Many virtual worlds opens the opportunity for many to create as well as observe their surrounding. Different universities are using such technology to teach their students and give them a first hand experience. Virtual worlds can actually assure you the safety that you might lack during learning how to fly airplanes or drive. It is much more environmental efficient and a good way to imply science on our daily lives. Read more...

    Watch the video to find out more about Virtual World's implications on Health!!

    Resource Documentation

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    Edited by Collin E
    Standard**: American English