Machinima: Leveraging Second Life in the Offline World

(via the Washington Post)

HBO said on Tuesday it has acquired the rights to a short-form documentary shot entirely within Second Life, as entertainment companies increasingly turn to virtual worlds as a source for new content. “My Second Life: The video diaries of Molotov Alta” purports to tell the story of a man who “disappeared from his California home” and began issuing video dispatches from Second Life.

The popular virtual world, which has its own currency and a growing economy, has drawn millions of users who create alter egos called avatars and interact with people from around the world. HBO, the premium channel owned by Time Warner Inc, paid a six-figure sum for the rights, Douglas Gayeton, who made the film, said in an interview. Gayeton, who uses the avatar Molotov Alta in Second Life, said the documentary is scheduled for release in 2008.

Second Life has hosted dozens of real world companies in the past year, usually as a means of promoting products like cars or movies. However, Hollywood has been increasingly interested in using worlds like Second Life as virtual movie sets, a process known as machinima. (…) The pilot episode of “My Second Life” is available on YouTube.

What it means: There was a lot of excitement around Second Life in the last 12 months but it seems to be dying down. Wired even said: “The Internet will eventually be full of such 3-D environments; Second Life might even be one of them. But in the meantime, it’s just slurping up corporate dollars and delivering little in return.” But I wonder: maybe the big potential currently is leveraging Second Life in the real life?

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