3D3C Real Virtual Worlds Defined: The Commerce Challenge

3D3C Real Virtual Worlds Defined: The Commerce Challenge

Yesha Sivan
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-808-7.ch002
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The goal of this chapter is to two fold: first to define and expose the domain of “Real Virtual Worlds” and secondly to define the critically of Commerce within this domain. It is the assumption of this chapter that this new field of virtual worlds is destined to become a major force in 5-10 years. Much like the internet, Real Virtual Worlds, will change, enhance, and sometimes hamper how we learn, have fun, work, and perform human action. Virtual worlds are defined as an integration of 3D, Community, Creation and Commerce (3D3C). Building on this definition, we develop the “commerce” factor. My goal is to establish commerce in a critical integral part of virtual worlds. Even more, without commerce, we will probably miss the larger potential of real virtual worlds.
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“Commerce changes the fate and genius of nations”

-Thomas Gray


Introduction: Meshing World Of Warcraft, Facebook, Youtube, And Amazon

In this chapter, I wish to share my perspective about Commerce in Real Virtual Worlds. This perspective stems from over four years of extensive research, practice, and “being in” virtual worlds. I have also conducted many discussions with users of virtual worlds, players of games, developers, merchants, other new people wishing to learn about virtual worlds. These discussions, led to the “commerce” emphasizes of this work.

To explain “virtual worlds,” I have proposed the 3D3C definition. In it, we define virtual worlds as an integration of four factors (Sivan, 2008).

  • 3D – the ability to present objects, people, and land in three dimensions, including movement, and perspective (similar to the game World of Warcraft visual 3D display)

  • Community – the ability to act in groups, to facilitate communication and action (similar to Facebook or Ning).

  • Creation – the ability to allow users to create content and value (much like people create videos in YouTube, or create content in Wikipedia).

  • Commerce – the ability to gain real money from actions in virtual worlds. The ability to work, sell, and conduct business (similar to what Amazon is doing with selling books, or their experimentation with Mechanical Turk, a seminal example whereby work is distributed digitally).

I have noticed that the most difficult part of this virtual worlds definition is “commerce.” Apparently, “commerce” is difficult in a different way for at least three kinds of people.

  • Lay people find commerce hard to accept because, as I often hear, why would one “pay for a virtual shirt that you do not get the shirt.”

  • Developers, often from the gaming worlds, do not sense the urgency of commerce, therefore commerce is often “slapped” on top of the design of the system, creating a cumbersome feel to the user, and hard to maintain worlds.

  • Even for leaders of advanced worlds like Second Life®, or IMVU, which practice real commerce with real money, the nature of commerce is not clear. Lack of “commerce” knowhow cause such leaders to change the “rules” of commerce without enough reflection causing merchants to loose their investment and their trust in the respective world.

Thus the goal is this chapter is first to offer a general detailed definition of virtual worlds, and in parallel emphasize, explicate, argue for, and demonstrate the meaning and importance of commerce within this definition.

The parts of the chapters include:

  • The background first part will present what I call the parents of the virtual worlds: “virtual reality” and “gaming worlds.”

  • Then, Real Virtual Worlds will be defined using (a) the detailed example of Second Life®, (b) a formal definition of 3D3C (3 dimensions, Community, Creation and Commerce) and (c) a short comparative analysis of several worlds as a method to explicate the 3D3C definition.

  • The next three parts will further expose and present Community, Creation and Commerce. These three parts will use Second Life® as a background for the discussion.

  • The conclusion part will connect the supply (of powerful technology) and demand (from both young and adult users) with the sustained innovation that stem from 3D3C and specifically commerce – to create a reinforcing cycle that will propel Real Virtual Worlds forward.

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