Twinity, a virtual world from German company Metaversum which is currently in private beta, has announced the completion of an in-world replica of Berlin’s Hackescher Markt and the surrounding area. They claim that this is the first time that Germany’s capital has been rendered in 3D by a virtual world.
The replication goes beyond simple buildings. Users are able to enjoy the city’s culture, visiting virtual bars and cafes, galleries and shops. It’s also a sizeable area which has been brought into the virtual world: a total of six square kilometres.
Such a process is inevitably expensive; the accuracy of the 3D design must be far greater than normally required in a virtual world, not to mention the need to gather data from the location itself. Virtual worlds who chose to go down this route will also not be able to rely up the user generated environments – far cheaper – to the same extent. At this stage, Twinity only allows users to customise apartments.
However, the rewards are also potentially significant. It may be easier to persuade a company, such as a shop, to maintain a virtual presence if it is tied to their real-world presence – it provides natural ad targeting, in that people who live in or visit the real world area are more likely to visit the virtual replica. In addition, potential use cases for the world are greatly expanded. If I were planning to visit Berlin, I may well check out Twinity’s replica of Hackescher Markt before setting out to get a feel for the place and decide where to visit. It will be interesting to see whether Twinity is successful in its mission to develop more urban areas, despite the costs.
Courtesy Virtual Economic Forum