This Monday, CBS Corp. invested in a virtual world content developer called Electric Sheep Co in hopes of expanding its reach beyond television sets in living rooms. CBS will give about $7 million in financing for the developer, known for its success in creating 3-D spaces in online virtual worlds.
CBS Interactive’s president Quincy Smith said of the deal: “We believe that all these virtual worlds represent next generation communications platforms.” Electric Sheep’s spokesman chimed in saying “We’re helping [entertainment companies] bring their audiences into Second Life or other virtual worlds and then developing more entertainment experiences for that audience.”
Electric Sheep has many entertainment heavyweights among its client list: Major League Baseball, Yahoo Inc., Nissan, and Sony BMG Music Entertainment. The president of Millions of Us–an Electric Sheep competitor–recently postulated that Second Life will be near-photo quality five years from now.
This gives major media corporations a huge new arena in which to advertise. Just last month, AOL launched an interactive “mall” called “AOL Pointe” on Second Life, in which users can buy clothes for their avatars and interact together in a typical mall-type setting. CBS and AOL are on to something, seeing Second Life as the next step for the Web.
Because Second Life comes equipped with tutorials to teach users how to interact and build and advertise, it is an attractive playground for consumers and corporations alike. Perhaps this is where the Internet is migrating–it isn’t crazy to think that, in a few years, maybe a decade, the Internet will no longer be two-dimensional, but three-dimensional, like a world in Second Life.