Sony have released the beta version of their ‘Home’ service and just as I was about to go to bed, an email’s arrived inviting me to join the beta. If you’re not aware, ‘Home‘ is a virtual online environment where you can meet other Playstation users.
I have to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of open ‘second life’ type environments. Virtual simulations have many applications and I’ve created them myself, but open environments where the real world is recreated in the virtual, I’ve yet to be convinced have any use.
A department at work has built a very big impressive ‘virtual campus’ within ‘Second Life’ and there are a small number of evangelists who believe it’s the ‘future of teaching’. I think at present most academic staff have yet to see any benefits of it (i.e. why do you have to travel in a 3D world to a room to then carry out the same interactions you could do using existing technologies such using products such as Sametime?). But it will be interesting to see how well ‘Home’ works and whether it will help kick start some real consumer development in these technologies and maybe the next generation of students will expect to interact with their tutors in 3D.
University of Hertfordshire’s impressive Second Life Campus