I’m Falling Behind the Curve

When Salon’s Video Dog steered me to Terra Naomi‘s virtual tour, I thought I was learning all the latest in digital distribution. But some of the research I’ve been working on in personalization led me to the June 2006 Harvard Business Review article on Avatar Based Marketing that points out that, by not being an online gamer, I’m missing out on some things. And then, this blog (which has some images from a game-based retail outlet) also pointed me to this stunner: Are Virtual U2 Concerts Even Better Than The Real Thing? [pdf]

Since last year, a small group of players has taken advantage of the blank slate and creative flexibility of “Second Life” to create the stage sets, the bodies and the moves of their favorite band: U2. They’ve helped pioneer the concept of virtual concerts — shows that are attended not at a stadium or club but in front of a monitor and keyboard.

[…] A virtual — and unauthorized — U2 might be the most provocative example, but independent musicians and big-label acts are also getting involved, potentially making multiplayer video game worlds the next frontier of touring. Musicians can channel audio into game worlds and set up characters to be their puppet personas — a way to go on tour without leaving their keyboard, be they the “SL” musician Frogg Marlowe or, if Universal Music’s official plans continue to take shape, Chamillionaire and the rock band Hinder (see “GameFile: Chamillionaire’s Ridin’ Virtual, ‘Saint’s Row’ Has A Surprise, Anti-Game Laws Gain Steam And More” [pdf]).

“It’s really a rush, like being in a real-world concert,” the virtual Bono told MTV News. The members of U2inSL prefer not to use their real names in public “to keep the mystique and excitement,” according to the unreal Bono. “This is role-play after all.”

[…] The final cued track of the evening was real-life crowd applause. The members of U2inSL don’t have to sing, but they have to make sure their characters hit their marks and make the appropriate motions (hold microphone to mouth, throw arms in the air, spin around, etc.) “I rehearse steady for about a week,” the fake Bono told MTV News.

The concert in April went smoothly, though not without at least one kink. “I missed hopping at the keyboard for ‘Miss Sarajevo,’ ” the virtual Edge confessed.

A “Second Life” concert is an odd place. A mysterious object in front of the stage proves, with a curious mouse click, to be a dance machine. It immediately causes the player’s character to start dancing with energetic spasms. Anyone else clicking winds up with their character also dancing, in perfect unison with everyone else. Dancing doesn’t take any sustained effort. It just happens — and keeps happening long after some of the people too busy text-chatting remember they’re still doing it. It’s all done with computers, after all.

I’m getting old *sigh*.  See movies by starting here at U2inSL.com