An Atlas of our Terra Nova?

Truly a herculean effort has been undertaken!  The Association of Virtual Worlds has compiled 'The Blue Book: A Consumer Guide to Virtual Worlds", an index to 250 virtual worlds from all over our physical world, all neatly meta-tagged and linked.  Oh, and there's a glossary... 

So who are these people, I ask myself?  Turns out it's an assortment of international figures in the virtual worlds industry, including a former Linden...

From their site (someone loves themselves some iphones!):

The Association of Virtual Worlds believes that virtual worlds represent a major information and technological revolution in how we work, play and live. The Association mission is to serve those companies and individuals who are dedicated to the advancement of this multi-billion dollar global industry and reach out to those who have not yet found virtual worlds.

1. To create a forum for the discussion of issues affecting the industry
2. To assist in the development of industry procedures and standards
3. To promote the virtual worlds industry, its interest and developments
4. To educate on the benefits of virtual worlds to enhance work and play
5. To offer business and social networking opportunities
6. To connect the public and consumers with members of the virtual worlds industry
7. To participate in the determination of the collective interests of the industry
8. To further the common interests of the industry
9. To provide leadership for the betterment of the industry
10. To recognize accomplishment within the virtual worlds industry

So the document is free.

Here's what I'd like, though... Put the whole thing online, wiki-fied, and let people add to it.  Screenshots, stories, knowledge bases, forums, etc.  That would be amazing.

Comments on An Atlas of our Terra Nova?:

greglas says:

I agree a wikified version would be really nice. I wonder if we started one rolling, would it go anywhere? It will certainly be worth looking at this to see some of the lesser known worlds.

Check out the remarkably succint description of WoW:

"Currently the largest MMORPG (massively multiplayer online game), where avatars explore, fight monsters, go on quests, build and interact with others for which they are rewarded with money and other things."

Posted May 4, 2008 7:27:48 AM | link

Matt Mihaly says:

I'm a little surprised at how spotty, incomplete, and sometimes flat-out wrong this list is. There seems to be no consistent rationale for listing things either.

For instance:
* They include Club Marian but not Sherwood RPG, which is far larger and more popular.

* They skip the hundreds of virtual worlds whose primary interface is text entirely (some of which have larger user-bases than a number of the virtual worlds, and it's clearly not from a lack of room since they feel it's worth including some virtual worlds that aren't even operating any more (though they're far from comprehensive about that).

* They also left out dozens of primarily graphical-interface virtual worlds, again with no seeming pattern.

* They include both AdventureQuest and Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, both of which are single-player games, lacking even multiplayer modes as far as I'm aware (I haven't played AQ a ton, but I beat Hulk when it came out a few years ago on the original Xbox.) I could see someone being lazy and just assuming AQ is a virtual world, though of course all you have to do is fire it up once to realize it's not, I can't see any reason whatsoever to include Hulk unless you're also going to include pretty much every single-player video game ever made.

* They include some companies but in a very haphazard and odd fashion. For instance, Areae is not a virtual world nor a virtual world product - it's a company (and its product Metaplace is included). Why not include Sony, Microsoft, NCSoft, K2, The9, Vivendi, etc in that case?

It's not a matter of missing some corner cases here or there - it's a bafflingly weird list that seems to have no rhyme or reason as to what they decided to include.


Posted May 4, 2008 1:19:43 PM | link

Lisa Galarneau says:

Yay Matt! See? This is why it needs to have the collective intelligence involved... I'm just impressed that anyone tried.

Posted May 4, 2008 2:44:41 PM | link

greglas says:

(I was going to point out you don't really "build" anything in WoW, but I thought I'd try not being critical.)

(See how long *that* lasted!)

Posted May 4, 2008 3:20:39 PM | link

Matt Mihaly says:

Sorry Greg, but it's like looking at a periodic table of the elements, seeing entries for 'mustard' and 'chinchilla' but none for xenon, carbon, or iron. Hard to avoid commenting on the oddness!

Posted May 4, 2008 8:15:04 PM | link

Nichloas Chambers says:

The points pointed out by Matt should certainly be taken into consideration. Apart from that, they could certainly use a peer review. AQ is as much of a VW as tetris is a FPS.

You don't really need a Wiki for this sort of thing though. You could just as well just link the different terms to Wikipedia sites, as quite a few of them are very well described already.

Posted May 5, 2008 7:33:30 AM | link

Edward Castronova says:

I got invited to this thing. Fortunately, I saw a talk by Prof. Delwiche, who said that this founder:

is the same Edita Kaye as this person:

This Edita Kaye got fined for fraud:

nb: virtual worlds do not make you skinny.

Posted May 6, 2008 1:39:42 PM | link

greglas says:

(Note to self: in the future, just be critical.)

Posted May 6, 2008 2:28:40 PM | link

Barry Joseph says:

Check out its description of Spore.

Posted May 6, 2008 3:43:38 PM | link

greglas says:

and so on...

Posted May 6, 2008 4:04:47 PM | link

Cunzy1 1 says:

Guys guys. You missed out Animal Crossing Wild World and Burnout Paradise. To name two that are, you know played by lots of real people.

Posted May 7, 2008 7:54:30 AM | link

Lisa Galarneau says:

Ditto, need to be more critical! But that's why the hivemind works so well...

Posted May 8, 2008 1:59:24 PM | link

Alan Levine says:

There *was* a wiki attempt to do this from Federation of American Scientists:

though last update was early 2007

Posted May 12, 2008 12:03:04 AM | link

Dave Elchoness says:

Thanks for all of the comments. The wiki idea is a very good one and I will investigate. I am grateful for all constructive comments.

As for personal attacks, I really think that they're unfortunate (and they're also inaccurate). Take a look at what's going on at the Association of Virtual Worlds. A group that has grown from 0 to nearly 1600 in three months. A publishing division that has a series of books in development, from "How To" books, to "Success Stories" related to virtual worlds, to a book on the corporation and how virtual worlds will impact them.

As an HR attorney and former global IT executive, I, personally, am passionate about the medium of virtual worlds and how they, unlike anything before them, have the ability to eliminate the challenges of distance.

I care very deeply about the Association, its people, and all of its potential to advance this wonderful industry. It is an innovative and terrific group and I invite all of your to participate. Thanks.

Posted May 12, 2008 6:54:28 PM | link

Lisa Galarneau says:

Dave, I'm glad you found your way here (I think!). Do take the comments in context... I, for one, appreciate the effort that went into it, despite the quibbles here and there. Any gripes people have about the content could be easily rectified by giving the power to the people. :-)

Posted May 12, 2008 7:58:31 PM | link

Cunzy1 1 says:

Is this some kind of hi-school list making project?

Posted May 15, 2008 9:07:54 AM | link