I purchased The Sunday Times today on a whim; I’d spotted an article about the 100 best blogs and seeing as I live on the t’internet I figured that it would be a worthwhile read and might point me in the direction of some new, choice reading material to enjoy. It wasn’t a bad article, although for some reason it chose TMZ.com OVER Perezhilton.com, which in my eyes was a bit of a blunder, but it has introduced me to some new sources of entertainment so I felt that my two quid was well spent. Once I’d finished devouring the Culture section and was left feeling, well, cultured obviously, I moved onto the Style section to gaze longingly at all the fabulous frippery and fancies that I’ll never be able to own in a million years. While turning the pages in a slightly envious manner that was only tempered by my laughing at Sienna Miller’s ’style’ tips (‘When you’re feeling down wear a hat, or cut a fringe to hide behind’ FFS!!!) I spied an article about the glories of Home, Sony’s tentative step upon the virtual environment ladder. Home looks good, but what makes this one really stand out from the crowd is the backing that has been so readily provided by major labels such as Diesel and Ligne Roset; which means you can buy gorgeous designer goods in world and furnish your virtual self (and home) with them. I started to read the article,’Is it for real?’ and then I happened across the following statement:
Whereas Second Lifers — users of the most headline-grabbing virtual world — are busy creating genitalia for their avatars and getting up to all sorts with other pixels, Home is more about style and sophistication.
(You can read the article in it’s entirety by clicking here.)
I’m so furious about that blinkered comment that I fume each time I read it. Pip McCormac, the author of the piece, really needs to understand that to be a credible Journalist you’re supposed to do your research and most of all , form your own opinion about your subject matter rather than sign up to the opinions that the rest of the mass media, especially the tabloids, hold so dear. I will confess that Jez and I have tried it and yes it does look stunning. The avatars are superb, and the locations are bright, colourful and beautifully rendered. But it has many minus points – it takes a ridiculously long time to download the ruddy thing (although to be fair it has been launched in Beta) but don’t even get me started on communicating within it..I know that we complain about lag in the SL world, but I’m sorry; twenty minutes for a location to rez is plain unacceptable! Once you’re in-world the content is visually rich, but the environment feels strangely empty. This is one of the reasons why I firmly believe that it cannot compete with Second Life. Sure you get international brands in Home, and more are signing up all the time, but I’d rather have an Amodica sofa in my home than one from a virtual Ikea store. Why? Because it’s a quality product that can only be purchased in Second Life, and that to me makes it utterly desirable. All ‘Second Lifers’ benefit from the genuine sense of creativity that comes from user created content in our metaverse. Such content will never be an option for Home. Incidentally that content can be just as stylish and sophisticated as any in Home, in fact I venture it’s better. Pip, you should take a look at my house in Second Life! It’s stunning in a way that the bachelor pads in Home will never be, and I can take you around a myriad of dwellings that will prove to you just how silly your statement above actually is. Home is, and is destined to be soul-less and corporate in a way that SL will never be. Although the Lindens have tried in vain to make that business pattern work successfully in our world ( it’s crashed and burned so far) at least they allow us to contribute to our environment thus fulfilling the design aspirations of it’s avatars.
Pip, I’m actually wondering if you have ever ventured into Second Life properly and if so, where did you go exactly? Virtual Amsterdam? If that is the case then you haven’t seen the best of what our amazing metaverse can offer. Yes, there are people who are purely in-world for the sexual aspect, but please don’t be so ignorant as to assume that everyone is out for the same kicks. Are you even aware of the educational establishments that have an in-world presence? Did you stop by the amazing art installations, galleries, museums and memorials that have sprung up all over the mainland? And because you were writing for a Style supplement, didn’t you even consider visiting the reams of shops, stores and malls selling amazing clothing and other products crafted by virtual designers whom, to be rank, piss all over Diesel and other established brands with their creativity and sheer brilliance?
Obviously I’m not in the same journalistic league as yourself Pip, but I expect more from someone employed by such an esteemed newspaper. So, the next time you get a brief such as this one, please do yourself a favour and research the virtual universe that you so easily dismissed. Your blinkered view is actually slightly offensive, embarrassing and the kind of sloppy journalism that I’d expect from lesser publications than the one in which it was published…