Games? Escapes? Entertainment? Market channels? What does it look like to you? The continuing search for ways to learn as much as possible about a consumer before targeting products and marketing messages. Not in the Real World Anymore
At MTV, reality has always been a moving target. [...]
Now the cable channel aims to push the boundaries of false reality one step further. This week, MTV will introduce Virtual Laguna Beach, an online service in which fans of the program can immerse themselves â€” or at least can immerse digitized, three-dimensional characters, called avatars, that they control â€” in virtual versions of the showâ€™s familiar seaside hangouts.
â€œYou can not only watch TV, but now you can actually live it,â€ Van Toffler, the president of the MTV Networks Music, Film and Logo Group, said in an interview.
Wednesdayâ€™s introduction of Virtual Laguna Beach is the first of three virtual worlds that MTV plans over the next year as part of an effort to steal a march on popular Web sites like MySpace and YouTube that have diverted the attention of the MTV audience. [...]
While avatars and virtual communities are a puzzling concept to many people over, say, 35, they are old hat to players of video games and to young people accustomed to revealing details of their lives online through social networking Web sites. Avatar-based social Web sites like Sims Online, Second Life and There.com have attracted hundreds of thousands of users.
They are not so much games as three-dimensional chat rooms where you can simulate just about anything else that can be done in the â€” pardon the expression â€” real world.