Why 3D Virtual Worlds are important – The significance of 3D Virtual Worlds in the Modern World
Business and Commerce
3D virtual worlds have drastically changed different spheres of daily life. The business and commerce industry has already started reaping benefits out of it. Companies could set up online stores in virtual worlds and invite other ‘players’ to take a look at their new product. One of the prime examples in this regard is the online store that ‘Apple’ set up in Second Life. From the comfort of your room, you could visit an Apple store and check out its cool features! Just with a swipe of the thumb, you can be inside any shop that you want. Aside from the cost and time benefits, this also helps a business concern to obtain valuable customer reaction and feedback. This helps a firm to understand the market and what customers expect from new products which are quintessential to stay in the competition. Virtual worlds are also a wonderful platform to enhance the reach of a business. Once you have opened an online store in a virtual world, other business units or clients from any part of the world seeking your service can take a look at your firm anytime. Business to business communication can be made simple and there are stronger possibilities to tie up with other organizations and to also enhance the client territory. Similarly, Sun Microsystems, an American computer company opened an Island in Second Life where its employees could go and seek help, exchange new ideas or advertise new product! Virtual worlds will remarkably change the way business is conducted.
Another prominent area of influence for virtual worlds is none other than education. Virtual worlds provide an excellent platform to teach field specific communication. For example, imagine an MBA negotiations class. The class can meet virtually with different company leaders to negotiate an agreement! Besides textbook knowledge, you would gain the real skill that you need to survive in a real business environment. Today, in the field of forensic pathology, Second Life is widely used to teach autopsy procedures. Similarly, virtual world is an effective tool to showcase student projects or works. For example, students at the London College of Fashion held a virtual degree show and developed a Second Life building to project their final year project works. The ‘Mayo Clinic’ in Second Life features several virtual events on diseases and even has a bookstore. Science and medical students can make use of this and enhance their level of knowledge. From its start, Second Life has been well known for language learning. Since there are users from every corner of the world, language schools can easily be set up and you can learn multiple languages with ease! One day or the other, that will come in handy in the real world. Virtual classrooms, workshops and campuses are already popular where professors, experts and universities make use of embedded videos, illustrations, ebooks and 3D models to help various virtual players.
Aid for the differently abled
Starlight Children’s Foundation based in the U.S helps hospitalized children create virtual worlds where they can interact with avatars around the world which in turn helps them to come out of their restrictions and relieve stress. Researchers at the University of Texas worked together with young adults diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome – a form of autism to create virtual worlds where they can practice their social skills. For these youngsters, tasks such as attending an interview for a job or socializing, in general, can be a difficult process. For this, the virtual world setting was equipped with daily life elements such as shops, offices, restaurants, parks, apartments etc. For example, if the aim is to apply for a job, the avatars can interact with other online players and take part in virtual interviews until their fear and anxiety go away. Similarly, they can also be better trained to improve their social life. They can visit virtual shops and practice how to purchase commodities, they can take part in virtual parties or gatherings and improve their socializing skills. This will tremendously help their day to day life in the real world! There are no disabilities in life. Virtual worlds cement that fact!
Virtual Currencies and platform for like minded
The growth of virtual worlds has also given shape to virtual economies. Entropia Universe is a virtual world where players can buy in game currency with real money, which can later be redeemed to U.S Dollars at an exchange rate of 10:1. That is, virtual items obtained through this world have a real cash value and a player can withdraw them whenever they like. Interestingly, in 2004 and 2008 Entropia Universe entered the Guinness World Record Books for the most expensive virtual objects ever sold! Another game that synced real currency with in game currency was ‘WildStar’. The game had a subscription fee and it offered two options to make the payment. Players can either opt for a monthly fee or purchase an in game item called C.R.E.D.D with real money. C.R.E.D.D offered 30 days of playtime and it could be traded with other players for in game currency. This enabled players to set up an in game price for C.R.E.D.D which also facilitated exchange rate between real and virtual currency. Star Trek, the renowned franchise launched a virtual world ‘Star Trek Online’ where players could gain skill points, expertise, and credits like fleet credits, fleet marks, dilithium etc after successful completion of missions. The virtual currencies ZEN and Lobi Crystals are paid using real world money.
Virtual worlds also provide a smooth platform for like minded people to gather together and share their thoughts, ideas and works. In the real world, it may not be that easy to come across a group that shares the same passion as you. Say if you are a writer, you can find many writing groups where you can get tips to improve your writing or share your materials and obtain feedback. If you are a history enthusiast, you can visit several communities of historians and scholars and get informed about relevant information. In other words, virtual world is one where information flows abundant and it can massively broaden your knowledge, skills and passion.