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Google Scorches Field of Dreams

Google’s grand experiment in virtual worlds, Lively, is shutting down at the end of the year after less than six months.  No specific reasons were given, but conventional thinking is that the decision was driven by Lively’s lameness.

Joking aside, Lively was just a set of unconnected 3D virtual chat rooms, had no economy, almost no in-world marketing campaigns, and only supported Windows.  How well would YouTube fare without its Macophiles?

Most egregiously, Google committed the ultimate sin.  It adopted the Field of Dreams Approach:  “Build it and They Will Come.”

They won’t.  Virtual worlds are not websites.  They need greeters and hosts to make new users feel welcome, plan events, keep things fresh, and implement the community’s guidelines.  While some virtual worlds can grow organically with hard-working volunteers, others need some help from the pros.  Either way, the key is to treat virtual worlds like real world spaces and make them engaging, interactive, and fun.

Get with it, Mr. Corn Field Whisperer!  For Generation V, it’s “Staff it and They Will Come.”

–Mike Pinkerton

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