A New Virtual World Winter?

Bruce Damer, Terra Nova, Jun 23, 2008
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I ran across this post at Terra Nova while doing some research for an upcoming debate about the future uses and the usefulness of Second Life and other virtual worlds (VW) in education. Bruce Damer asks "Is interaction in a VW that much more enriching and valuable than the simpler modalities available in other platforms? Will VWs ever really go mainstream? I continuously hear complaints about VWs not being worth the trouble, especially from people much younger and hipper than me (I am 46) who prefer much lighter weight forms of interaction. What does this portend?"

In his eighth point (of 8) he adds, "the "walled gardens" represented by multiple proprietary VW platforms guarantee a certain (high) percentage of failure in the near-term. All industries with a large number of small players using proprietary technologies soon undergo traumatic downsizing or consolidation with a few monopoly players emerging. Think of the telephone system and Ma Bell." You can also think of Blackboard and the other VLEs. Also, can anyone read those sentences without thinking about the VW Beetle first before getting the brain back on track? -BD
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