|the Future of the Internet?||
|the Future of Education?|
Active Worlds Edu
The Palace Edu
|What about the Future?
No one can predict the Future (at least as far as we know). But we can try to do this.
What we can say for now is, that universes with multiple worlds will be likely to prevail.. Virtual Worlds like Active Worlds and The Palace are growing so strongly that they seem to become the major Virtual Worlds applications. Because of their diversity they have many subscribers with the subsequent result that the membershipfee and server licences can stay low which again results in even more subscribers.
Single world based universes and universes with just a few worlds (mostly maintained by the owners of the software, like Fujitsu's WorldsAway) are often quite good, but because their fees have got to be higher (less topics--less people) they depend mainly on their fans, the real addicted die-hards of a special world. They have a hard time getting new members.
A good example of this is Fujitsu's WorldsAway. The WorldsAway universe exists of 4 worlds. 3 out of the 4 are owned by Fujitsu itself, and all are maintained by Fujitsu-staff. They have a very loyal community with quite a lot of members, but new members are scarce.
Single-user worlds will almost surely die-out. The power of Virtual Worlds lies in the combination of technology and human interaction/communication. Without this human interaction Virtual Worlds are pretty boring. They can be absolutely beautiful, but after having seen them once or maybe twice you will probably not feel inspired to come again: there is no human interaction!. This problem can specially be found in most VRML worlds as the VRML language itself doesn't have any multi-user features yet (yet, because in the Future it is very possible this will be included), so the worlds created in this language can be pretty dull. VRML worlds can already be combined with the Blaxxun (formerly Blacksun) technologies and together they may make a great backbone for multi-user VRML worlds. Still, I don't think this has all too much potential, since creating a world in this way is not easy.
That takes us to another thing that makes Active Worlds and The Palace so powerful; It's quite easy! Both using and creating worlds won't cost too much effort.
From what's written above it seems l almost sure that Active Worlds and The Palace will be the main Virtual World software of the Future. Likely indeed, but is there any certainty about? It's very possible that (un-)known company launches new Virtual Worlds software that's far more superior than the software we currently have......
Or that relatively old and 'doomed' software is updated with a version that beats all other software....
Or that a programming language like VRML gets (multi-user) features that allow anyone to create his own multi-user Virtual World without any special software at all....
Only time will tell......