Onder Skall has a nice post up entitled Alternatives To Second Life – Uber Edition which runs down lots of “metaversey’ style worlds. There are a few historical ones he missed that are still running, I think, and he missed a few upcoming ones that I think are of interest as well: Whirled and Ogoglio.
More interesting is that list of three core requirements that he sees an SL-like world as needing to have:
- Real money must move in and out of the “virtual” economy freely. RMT (Real-Money Trading) is designed in, not forbidden by TOS.
- Users must be able to create unique content and retain ownership over it. Things like scripting and accepting uploads are important here. Multimedia is a bonus. We must be able to control the rights to our content.
- The world must be persistent, and the users able to change it. Residents like being able to build the world themselves, and don’t need somebody stepping in and erasing their work.
This is a nice, endlessly debatable list. Right off the bat, I think that #1 is probably the most problematic (do you become a bank, terrorists laundering money, tax implications, illegal business activities, and on and on and on). #3 has been around for a while for lots of worlds. And as I have mentioned previously, the real rub on #2 is actually whether you are submitting your IP content to the world provider and having them claim ownership or just a perpetual license (if you use their tools and their format, you are surrendering control of the data no matter what).
FWIW, I think that #1 is a bit of a red herring. The point of a metaverse world, or indeed any sort of world including the real one, is not to make money. Money is an enabler, a convenient tool. I suspect that the current explosion in “metaverse service bureaus” is a sign that RMT is not the key ingredient involved in making big bucks with a virtual world.