Second Life: 4.6m+ "residents", supposed to be exciting… But frankly, it's not
Second Life (or SL), a 3D Virtual Reality platform, is being touted as the next big thing for learning, and just about anything else you care to think about, for that matter.
Here's the Future Technologies Advisory Group (who describe themselves as "a consulting and media group") raving about it:
In other words, 3D is a much better user interface. This is not surprising: while we have been working with documents for only a few hundreds of years, we have evolved fast responses to the real 3D universe, like running from predators and hunting prey, for hundreds of thousands of years. Now that technology permits doing so, 3D VR will become the preferred online interface for users with powerful PCs and enough bandwidth. Nothing exceptional though: your home PC and DSL are probably more than good enough to run Second Life.
First of all, it would be interesting to have some stats on what percentage of the population are currently "users with powerful PCs and enough bandwidth" and what percentage could fix things if their home PC doesn't prove to be "good enough to run Second Life"… Like, you've got the wrong kind of videocard. Duh! What do I do now…?
Beware of, be skeptical of any and all claims that are made for any and all technology, I say. To say that "3D [and hence Second Life] is a much better user interface" strikes me as being utter nonsense. To suggest that we've been "running from predators and hunting prey, for hundreds of thousands of years" and will thus take to SL like ducks to water is, frankly, utter crap.
What percentage of the population… :
- have ever run from predators or hunted prey in the real world?
- actually like First Person Shooter (FPS) video games?
- actually like any video games?
- actively hate video games?
I mention FPS video games [definition] because that's essentially what SL is. You "see" yourself in a virtual world, and wander round doing things (er, what things, if we're supposed to be teaching/learning languages…?).
But there is one important exception: SL is not exciting (unless you happen to be into cybersex, that is) — you don't run away from anyone, shoot anything, get excited or feel scared (etc).
According to Wikipedia: "[Although] Second Life is sometimes referred to as a game, it does not have [my emphasis] points, scores, winners or losers, levels, an end-strategy." Er, the point of "playing" it…?
What percentage of FPS video games players like SL…?