Twinity Heads Outdoors with Berlin
Metaversum announced last week that its upcoming mirror world, Twinity, had begun opening outdoor areas in its private beta. The virtual world is built around real-world metropolises, but, until now, avatars had been limited to indoor spaces. Sections of Berlin, now open, are the first to get the treatment, but Metaversum says it is already at work on other regions of the city as well as additional international metroplises.
“We are currently testing about 6 square kilometers around the Hackescher Markt and Alexander Platz districts of Berlin,” Dr. Mirko Caspar, CMO Metaversum, said via email. “As a comparison, this area is approximately the size of 100 islands in Second Life. This represents just a small part of what we are planning to implement, with much more to come in the near future.”
Metaversum has previously talked about its goals as “selective mirroring.” Rather than trying to model the entire Earth–re-creating Google Earth with avatars–the goal is to pick and choose the highlights. That’s particularly true at the beginning. Later, Metaversum will look at other options and consider opening the world–and its open spaces—to third parties.
“Our vision is that people using real identities and realistic avatars are looking for a familiar environment to extend their real lives into a virtual space,” explained Caspar. “We have chosen to replicate the most vibrant major cities of the world first – the rest we will handle as opportunities arise. If anyone wants us to build a dedicated outdoor space or a city that is not on our roadmap, we’ll definitely look at the proposal. In the future, we will consider allowing certain third-party developer partners to work on realistic outdoor environments.”
For other mirror worlds, like Everyscape, part of the business model is in bringing real-world businesses to its virtual spaces. The beta of Twinity already features in-world attractions, groups, and businesses, and opening the outdoor space of the Hackescher Markt creates more opportunities for the galleries, cafes, and shops from real Berlin.
“It is a central part of our business model,” Caspar explained. “We already have a lot of real-world businesses with their real-life locations in Twinity’s virtual Berlin: shops, galleries, clubs, cafés, bars, etc. Some sell virtual goods, some already link to their online shops and offer their real world products. Metaversum and our growing base of third-party developers help real world businesses create their virtual locations in Twinity. Through this collaboration, businesses in Twinity are able to interact and engage directly with both a local and international user base by offering virtual, real and augmented services. Connecting and linking real and virtual spaces is at the core of our vision.”