Some of you may recall that I pointed some towards descriptions of OpenCroquet, when I saw it back at the Metaverse Roadmap Summit. Well, now Qwaq has come out of stealth, commercializing the platform.
It looks like their approach is to use it not for entertainment or even for user creativity, but rather for straight-up business applications. Given the whimsical nature of the Croquet demos I saw, it’s a bit of a letdown to see a corporate office space as the first Qwaq product. But I suppose that it’s a bid to establish OpenCroquet as more of an operating system than a virtual world, which seems to be the emphasis among the project leaders.
Croquet, for those who don’t know, is a peer-to-peer virtual space system that tries very hard to be client-agnostic — each peer acts as a server in the network and also as a client, and each client accept the inputs that it can handle and not other inputs. It fully embraces the fluidity of virtual space (you can have recursive doorways, for example) and also the notion that the line between virtual space and real space is permeable — an increasingly popular point of view these days, what with the talk surrounding mirror worlds, augmented reality, and so on. In Croquet’s case, the way they do this is by allowing any desktop window to become an object in the 3d space instantly, allowing you to share your desktop contents with other users.
It will be worth watching to see if this gets adoption. My gut says that the bulk of the business community is staid and unlikely to jump at a new medium for conferencing and the like. Entertainment is still where the cutting edge of adoption resides. But OpenCroquet has some amazing technology, so we can’t discount it.