Stupid advice for Linden

Our beloved young professor Rebecca Nesson and Ansible (RL Rodica Buzescu) has appeared in a Boston Globe article which deals with cyber identities. (This is not her first media appearance but the former ones were about education in cyberworlds, not alter-egos) The Arctic Penguin also makes a minor appearance in the article.

“In real life, Rebecca Nesson — slight, 30, short hair — is a lawyer working on a doctorate in computer science who teaches at Harvard Extension School. Her Second Life avatar, or cartoon self, is Rebecca Berkman, who looks like Nesson and who, standing in a virtual amphitheater, leads avatars from as far away as Korea and Houston in a discussion section of theExtension School course CyberOne.”

The avatar in Korea is me. I guess I should feel proud. But it also brings me to the disturbing fact that I couldn’t write this article a month ago and that I still have to convince my American editor that PDA is not a highly technical term and that readers, when reading about storage for computer memory chips, will not think of storage as in warehouses (he insists it is so).The thing is that when it comes to ideas, my struggle with our small domestic publication also runs parallel with the Internet-related services that are taking place here.

Being such a small country, practically everyone has broadband and the majority of the young generation plays online games. (Actually, a large portion of the older generation play online games too- only they’re not playing massively multiplayer role playing games or racing games, but online go.) I mean, this is country where game developers make “special window modes” for office workers so that they can play games on the sly at work. But no matter what happens here, the market is so limited. I mean, Cyworld was doing here years ago what MySpace started and the new business plans that MySpace says it will start are already available in Cyworld. (Cyworld USA, however, belatedly launched to target the U.S. market, seemed unattractive compared to Cyworld Korea. Who wants fat-headed avatars? Oh well.)

I can see huge market potential for a separate Second Life in Korea, though it would have to be very different from the international English-version SL, due to local security laws and trade laws. For that matter, I don’t understand why Linden Labs isn’t making more money. I mean, even fashion designers in SL are making a lot of money. I suppose it is because companies are only now beginning to use SL as an integral online tool for marketing and communications. Even if Linden took a 1% commission off every sale, that would amount to quite a lot. I don’t know about the U.S., but in Korea, popular games average tens of thousands simultaneously logged in and playing. FIFA Online, the online PC version of FIFA 2006 (which is only available in Korea right now), now has up to 180,000 concurrent players at peak hours. It is no wonder companies are plugging in PPLs in racing games and conducting various “events” through games. But since SL is both a game and a pseudo-Internet site at the same time, Linden has the advantages of being both a game publisher and a portal Web site operator. And what with the grubbing for UCC these days, Linden should definitely make a subsidiary or at least a department in its headquarters office that runs a separate Web site enabling people post videos created within SL.

I have no idea what Linden has in its future business plans, but with its solution, imagine all the money-making possibilities! Take e-governments for example. Separate, more expensive parcels should be available for certain organizations, ensuring security, but calling for high maintenance costs. Until now, SL has basically been an open market, like eBay, but now that companies are getting involved, Linden needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

I could use some coffee too, my mind is getting hazy, although caffeine rarely makes things better. I tend to get unorganized and chatty at night. I will probably wake up tomorrow regretting that I wrote all this and realizing that none of it made sense.

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