Mar 042007
 

So supposedly everyone is trying to clone Second Life. Here’s word via Mobil Avenue on three different takes on the model, each trying to fix what they see as a key issue: HiPiHi in China, which looks like SL with easier tools; Planet Cazmo, which keeps the house decorating aspect but changes it into a browser-based Animal Crossing lookalike; and finally, reviews trickling out of the closed Kaneva beta, which is putting more MySpace peanut butter in your SL chocolate. Are they really SL clones?

So, HiPiHi really looks like SL. A lot; check out the avatar stances on the homepage. Some of the high-end screenshots seem to show off a bit more artistic sensibility on someone’s part — I don’t know whether those pics are from user-built or HiPiHi-built showcases, but they do look pretty good. Bjorn Lee has written a good overview that expounds on similarities and differences; perhaps the most obvious is that HiPiHi offers not one but two facings. HiPiHi World is the alleged SL clone; HiPiHi Home is more like CyWorld, very “apartment” based, but with real avatars and the ability to go visit other people. (And that seems to be where the pretty shots come from). There’s mention of convergence with mobile devices too. On the rest, it sounds similar: user ownership of IP, in-world currency, pictures of people flying around, and so on.

You can download a trailer for the title here (30MB RAR-compressed WMV). Apart from the incongruous use of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” as a backing track for the house decoration segment, what it reveals isn’t so much like SL as like There. Which, given the recent success of Virtual Laguna Beach, may actually be a smart move. I didn’t see any mention of scripting; I also didn’t see any 3d modeling. What I saw was lots of tweaking of pre-fabs: adjusting hues, scalars, and so on. Looks like it has some decent building tools for landscapes.

Quite a contrast to Planet Cazmo, which looks like Dofus or Animal Crossing, very cartoony, and not like SL at all. It’s more entertainment-focused, witht he splash page talking about playing mini-games to earn points so you can buy more stuff — very Club Penguin, but with 3d avatars, the ability to create in-game content in some fashion (the site does not elaborate), and house decoration. There’s not much on the site yet, and it looks like there’s not much in the title yet either: it’s telling that the screenshots all seem to be taken within ten feet of one another. SL clone? I don’t think so…

Kaneva is still under NDA, which is getting obeyed, bent, or broken to varying degrees. 3d apartments, check. Pre-built geometry that you can buy and then retexture. In-world streaming video. The interesting parts are, of course, the very very MySpace-like integration of a social network. You can actually look at this part right now — and yeah, it looks like MySpace. With virtual apartments. This is a phrase that during my fundraising process I must have heard hundreds of times… Although Kaneva themselves are saying “Second Life Lite,” they must mean really really lite.

So these supposed SL clones don’t look like SL clones to me. One looks like the Chinese version of There’s original tagline of “Virtual Club Med.” The next looks like a higher-production-values version of Club Penguin. And the last looks like MySpace with virtual apartments. I don’t actually see anyone cloning SL itself, despite it being on The Today show. Some of this, no doubt, is because what SL is doing is really hard from a technical point of view; and some of it is because of the perception that no matter what numbers it hits, it’s still geeky and unappealing to the mass market. Were SL more firmly in the videogame market, it would have been cloned by now for sure.

  32 Responses to “The Second Life competitors materialize?”

  1. 03/05 03:12 Philip Rosedale – SL Object Creation Demo (Feedster on: second life) 03/05 03:01 BoingBoing week in review: Feb 26- Mar 4, 2007 (Feedster on: second life) 03/05 02:39 The Second Life competitors materialize? (Feedster on: second life) 03/05 02:35 Create own website – Convert Website To Spanish (Feedster on: second life) 03/05 02:13 Welcome – Team Name Suggestions – Registering (Feedster on: second life)

  2. 《激战》虽好 但亦无需鄙视泡菜  - 2007-3-3  - 老李 The Sunday Poem: I don’t think I wrote this  - 2007-3-5  - Raph The Second Life competitors materialize?  - 2007-3-5  - Raph

  3. Alexandr on Habbo Hotel Goes All MySpace: grazie ¶ Ordinal Malaprop on March Conferencing: VW07, SXSWi: Don’t give that Koster fellow an inch on Areaeaeae! The public demands screenshots, or… ¶ Raph’s Website on Second Life and Electric Sheep on Today Show: So these supposed SL clones don’t look like SL clones to me. One…

  4. own list here. There are quite a few more in the pipeline that I’m aware of but can’t name. Most don’t allow real object editing — some customization or selection from a catalog. Some try to let you pick objects from the web itself.

  5. Nu Second Life zo populair is, ontstaan er ook een hoop nieuwe initiatieven. In dit artikel vind je een overzicht en bespreking van de nieuwe maar ook reeds bestaande virtuele werelden, waaronder There, Area, HiPiHi, Outback Online en Kaneva. In dit artikel vind je ook een analyse.

  6. a mysterious YouTube video purported to demo a Chinese Second Life called HiPiHi (pronounced “high-pee-high”) stormed the virtual world blogosphere. But with little English language commentary to go on, metaverseexperts like Raph Kosterwere left to wildly speculate. Was it Asian vaporeware attempting to cash in on a Western fad? Or something bigger than that? And if it really was a user-created world like Second Life, how could it succeed in the

  7. a mysterious YouTube video purported to demo a Chinese Second Life called HiPiHi (pronounced “high-pee-high”) stormed the virtual world blogosphere. But with little English language commentary to go on, metaverseexperts like Raph Kosterwere left to wildly speculate. [IMG hipihilogo.jpg]Was it Asian vaporeware attempting to cash in on a Western fad? Or something bigger than that? And if it really was a user-created world like Second Life, how could it succeed in the

  8. a mysterious YouTube video purported to demo a “Chinese Second Life” called HiPiHi (pronounced “high-pee-high”) stormed the virtual world blogosphere. But with little English language commentary to go on, metaverseexperts like Raph Kosterwere left to wildly speculate. [IMG hipihilogo.jpg]Was it Asian vaporeware attempting to cash in on a Western fad? Or something bigger than that? And if it really was a user-created world like Second Life, how could it succeed in the

  9. Interesting news about HiPiHi. First I’ve heard of it. Wish I knew Chinese in any flavor.

    I loaded Kaneva a couple of days ago after getting an invite (which would seem to have been offered in contradiction to the whole NDA thing; which I *did* read btw). Be that as it may, I want to explore it a bit more before I form an opinion. I still like the idea of merging the 2D aspects with the 3D though. Anyway, right now I’m still trying to figure out what to do with my new Ning account/network (aside from using it to gauge my anti-social behavior).

  10. What’s loathsome about Kaneva is that it really flogs the FIC concept: you can only come into the 3-D world if you get an invitation from another “connected one”. If you aren’t connected like csven, you are supposed to go to the site, and keep trying to acquire lists of friends, join communities and “make content”. That means uploading pictures of your zany cat in a blender or yourself all emo with eyeshadow melting, writing death poetry and stuff — it’s all Myspacey but more so.

    Because the system is already avidly gamed — and not even cynically gamed but zealousyl gamed — completely strangers flock to “rave” you. You rave everybody else, becaue if you collect enough raves, maybe, just maybe, the game devs will let you in the 3-D world.

    Meanwhile, as the conneted like Mark Wallace of 3pointd.com get into the world and blog it up, you languish, paging endlessly through unicorns and hearts and stories of baby back ribs in Memphis and clips of Sweet Child of Mine, hoping, hoping to collect the raves and get noticed.

    After an hour of farming Kaneva, you get annoyed. For one, despite all the stuff about how it is easier and SL lite and whatnot, it actually has the usual roster of counter-intutive fussy stuff and hardships trying to do simple things. I’m just liking vox.com better for this stuff lately.

  11. heheh Ok I’m down for trying this, but my only requirment is that I get to not only PVP in the 3D enviornment but gank their profile if I dont like it….oops there goes my beta invite :)

  12. Raph, no offense k? But you seem awfully interested in SL. Do you play it or do you have plans to follow the model to some degree yourself? Don’t take that wrong carnal ,I know you have your own style of mmo ( which we all love the hell out of it seems) just curious as to how much effect sl will have on your future development plans as they concern areae.

  13. If you aren’t connected like csven…

    I am? How?

  14. Mark T, I think that anyone who works in virtual worlds needs to be as aware of stuff like SL as they do of stuff like WoW. And for better or worse, there are a lot more interesting things happening surrounding SL right now than there are surrounding WoW.

    Me, I don’t play either one actively, but have checked them both out, of course.

    What we’re making is not an SL clone, that’s for sure.

  15. [...] Koster has a blog entry on 3 of the products that could be described as SL competitors: The Second Life competitors materialize? Worth a read. Gives you links to those 3 projects. His [...]

  16. Do any of these Second Life “competitors” feature scripting? It seems to me that the ability to script behaviors for things you create is a crucial feature for supporting interesting user-generated content. With modern 3D engines, any college freshman computer science major can knock together an avatar chat system in a couple of weeks. There’s an ocean of differences between that and a general purpose immersive online VR system (which even Second Life fails to achive in a number of ways).

  17. [...] world game design guru Raph Koster (who spotted Lee’s analysis) thinks it isn’t directly competing with Second Life, so [...]

  18. I am? How?

    I loaded Kaneva a couple of days ago after getting an invite (which would seem to have been offered in contradiction to the whole NDA thing; which I *did* read btw).

  19. [...] world game design guru Raph Koster (who spotted Lee’s analysis) thinks it isn’t directly competing with Second Life, so [...]

  20. [...] This article, via a syndication on the SGEntrepreneurs blog, has also been picked up by Raph Koster and [...]

  21. Prok, that invite came entirely out of the blue. I suspect they sent me an invite because I blogged about it, as I have no “connection” to Kaneva. Had you correctly interpreted the phrase “which would seem to have been offered”, this would have been clear to you.

  22. So I spend my weekend going over various platforms/worlds/whatever, trying to find alternatives to Second Life. While the end product writeup isn’t exactly in-depth, and my prose was a bit rushed as I slapped everything together, I felt pretty good about how complete the thing was.

    Yeah. Then today I discover that I’ve never even heard of Planet Cazmo, and I really should have. *sigh*

    It’s so much work – staying ‘l33t.

  23. [...] Raph Koster of Areae Inc just wrote up something similar, if much more brief. See it here: http://www.raphkoster.com/2007/03/04/the-second-life-competitors-materialize [...]

  24. I’m with Raph. The VWs he mentions aren’t clones, and I would argue that they’re not even competitors unless you consider any activity which fills leisure time to be a competitor.

    Do we really need another Second Life? I understand that it has its flaws, but there are so many forms which VWs can take other than One Big World on One Big Grid with One Big Client. I’d be really happy if we all just let SL and There cover that territory and instead poured our time into new ways of using VWs.

  25. [...] posts about rivals to Second Life tend to confirm my sense that the future holds a successor to the kind [...]

  26. [...] ook reeds bestaande virtuele werelden, waaronder There, Area, HiPiHi, Outback Online en Kaneva. In dit artikel vind je ook een analyse. Meer in rubriek: Business54 keer getoond en 3 keer doorgekliktDamien [...]

  27. [...] SL’s code to make their virtual world?" (Jeff) It was also blogged around the same time by Raph Koster, who recommends an article by Bjorn Lee comparing the [...]

  28. [...] 1voteRaph’s Website » The Second Life competitors materialize? Added Apr 12, 2007 by amiddlet50 Comparison of 3D Virtual Worlds tags: secondlife, virtualworlds, shucdt discuss this – email this – related blogs - blog this [...]

  29. [...] 北京中关村 – 二零零六年时,一段声称是「中国版第二人生」HiPiHi(海皮士)示范影片的神秘Youtube视频,在博客界轰动一时。不过,碍於没有相关英文评论,Raph Koster等虚拟世界专家也只能凭空猜测。究竟HiPiHi是亚洲人模仿西方潮流焦点造出来的次货,还是一个有实质内容的新兴虚拟世界?一个由用家主导的网上服务的话,又怎能在伟大防火墙内发展?为了解答这些问题,我决定亲身犯险,到北京看看海皮士究竟是什麽回事。 [...]

  30. [...] the virtual world blogosphere. But with little English language commentary to go on, metaverse experts like Raph Koster were left to wildly [...]

  31. [...] I’m not sure I’d call all of these competitors to SL, but they each have their strong points. Raph Koster has his own list here. [...]

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