Vivaty, a company in the San Francisco area, has developed during the last two years a platform designed for rich web content and 3D experiences called “Vivaty Scenes“. The application was launched as a public beta on tuesday 8th July 2008 in AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) and in Facebook. Vivaty Scenes are realistic rooms that act as a virtual personal environment, a 3D version of your personal page. You can set the theme, decorate with furniture and other virtual goods, and chat with the avatars of friends who enter your room. You can bring in photos from Flickr and Facebook or videos from YouTube and display them on screens in your room. You can also play MP3 songs.
Vivaty Scenes is a platform which plugs straight and seamlessly into your already setup, defined and working social network. The program (a 4 MB player browser plug-in) currently only runs on Windows machines and in Internet Explorer, although Firefox and Mac versions of Vivaty Scenes are planned for release at a later date. 2 GB computer memory and 256 MB VRAM graphic card memory are recommended for using Vivaty Scenes.
The avatar associated with one user can be changed at any time, a richer avatar customization will be available in the future. Avatars can be moved with the mouse or with the directional keys. The viewpoint (camera position) can be changed with a mouse right click and drag & drop, with the mouse wheel you can pan in and out. Avatars can be animated with gestures and express their moods in idle animations (sad, angry, happy, …).
Scenes can be modified and customized at anytime, items can be changed and added. By double clicking on a media object (photo, photo gallery, video) the camera zooms in close but your avatar stays put. Some features of Vivaty Scenes are similar to Adobe Atmosphere discontinued on 19th december 2004.
Activeworlds Inc., headquartered in Newburyport, Massachusetts, provides software products and online services that permit users to enter, move about and interact with others in a computer generated, 3D virtual environment using the Internet. A 3D virtual environment enables users to move in three dimensions and to create objects and structures which other users can see and move in real time.
The “Active Worlds Browser” runs on Windows and Linux. Active Worlds has two ways of entering its universe: as a free tourist or as a paid citizen. Tourist mode is Active Worlds’ version of a free account with several limitations. You can pay for a citizen for the price of $6.95/month or $69.95/year.
On June 28, 1995 AlphaWorld was renamed Active Worlds and officially launched as version 1.0. On June 16, 2008, Activeworlds, Inc. released the first major update to the browser in two years, version 4.2. The update was considered smooth and painless, being completed in a matter of only fifteen minutes, compared to the several days of version 4.1’s initial upgrade in 2006. Version 4.2 includes an enhanced graphics engine, captured web pages on objects, and, most notably, customizable avatars on a scale more complex than that of Second Life.
In 2008, Alphaworld is 429,025 km2 large, has more than 360.000 paid citizens, more than 200 million objects, more than 100 shops selling a wide variety of products and more than 1000 unique worlds to explore
Founded in 2004 and based in Palo Alto, California, USA, IMVU Inc., is an online destination where young adults meet new people in 3D. In public beta, the company has already reached major milestones including 20 million registered users, 100.000 registered developers, and $1 million in revenue each month. Members of IMVU have fun meeting new people with similar interests and expressing themselves through personalized 3D avatars, themed rooms, one-to-one chats, and the creation of new and unique virtual products. With over 1.5 million user-generated virtual items, IMVU offers the world’s largest catalog of virtual goods. Revenue is derived from the direct sale of virtual credits, which are used to purchase virtual products such as room decorations, clothing items and hairstyles.
The Virtual World of Kaneva is an Internet-based virtual world first released in beta form in mid 2006. It competes with Second Life, IMVU, There, Active Worlds, and the erotic-oriented Red Light Center. It is developed by Atlanta-based startup Kaneva, using the Kaneva Game Platform. Unlike the more generalized Second Life or the more communication-based IMVU, the Virtual World of Kaneva focuses primarily on virtual shopping and entertainment. In 2008, Kaneva added the ability to view videos both on web profiles and inside 3D televisions in-world. According to its own statistics, the Virtual World of Kaneva possesses over 800.000 members and over 10.000 communities.
There.com is an online getaway where you can hang out with your friends and meet new ones, all in a lush 3D environment that’s yours to explore and help build. The 3D online virtual world “There” was created by Will Harvey and Jeffrey Ventrella. There Inc. was founded in the spring of 1998. Closed beta began in July of 2001, with various stages of beta following, and ending with an October 2003 launch date. “There.com” went live in 2003 as the first virtual world. It was such a new concept in 1997 that it took a lot of time to build the new 3D technology. In 2004. There changed its name to Forterra to reflect its expanding focus on virtual world technologies for consumer, business and government services.
In April 2005, Makena Technologies, founded by Entrepreneur Michael Wilson, acquired the exclusive license of “There” and the management of the There community from Forterra Systems. Makena Technologies, Inc., a privately held corporation, is headquartered in Silicon Valley, CA. Today, the business model is based on membership fees, on virtual currency for e-commerce and on advertising.
On April 3, 2008, Paramount Pictures announced that their film vault is opening up in the virtual world “There.com”.