Sound like a good idea? Oh yeah – but a hard thing to get just right. And it’s gotta be a hard thing to peel people away from MySpace and Second Life. Social networks are ‘sticky’ as a function of their size (and MySpace is HUGE); and Second Life has to also be naturally sticky based on a user’s investment of time and effort and (maybe) real money. Still, better to try it now than when there is more competition trying it. There will be.
http://www.kaneva.com/ is in closed beta now – but the site encourages you to:
1) Join: Join Kaneva, create your profile
2) Be Active: Explore, make friends, rave and have fun
3) Get invited: Earn invites to get into the Virtual World of Kaneva
Brilliant piece of community- and buzz-generation there, isn’t it? I just don’t have time to check it out – and I don’t think it’s really my thing anyway. Any Kaneva users have comments?
And features of the world:
Homes and Hangouts: “Create your own 3D home and decorate it with your unique style. Explore community hangouts 0 theaters, clubs and more.”
Customized 3D avatars: (TheSchwartz: Looks like lots of human customization, but no SL-style ability to make non-human avatars)
In-World Fun: “Watch (and share) your videos in 3D. Throw a dance party. Chat with friends and play games.”
Shopping: “Make a fashion statement. Accessorize your home. Be the first to show of the latest, cool stuff.”
Key takeaway: you can spend real world $$$ to buy Virtual World credits, and buy lots of stuff for yourself and your house. All kinds of thoughts in my head about the social, emotional, self-image, economic and commercial implications of that – but I’ll hold my tongue for now. Whatever the implications, they’ll surely make a boatload of money, if they succeed in a large-scale launch with millions of users.
Last overview point from the site:
Are you an experienced 3D game developer?
Join our Elite Developer Program – over 10,000 game engine downloads, 600 developers, and 30 games in development
It’s an interesting model to get professional-quality content generated for the new virtual world. And to check out potential future employees of Kaneva. And again, I don’t have time to dig into this myself (any comments, anyone?), but check out these bits from the page:
The Kaneva Game Platform is designed for end-to-end MMO game (MMOG) development for FPS and RPG genres. The Kaneva Game Platform (KGP) features many of the latest graphic rendering capabilities, while providing backend and networking features required for supporting hundreds of thousands of simultaneous players.
Q: What’s the cost?
A: Currently, the KGP is free to download and use for non-commercial purposes.
Q: What kinds of games can I design with KGP? What types of games are not appropriate for KGP?
A: Some games for custom platforms would not be suitable for development on the KGP. This would include cell-phones, most consoles, etc. But the KGP is an excellent development platform for all kinds of PC games.
Interesting, eh? We shall see what we shall see…