Earlier today I made a trip to the BMW New World1 island in Second Life after an invitation from Munich Express to hear an announcement. I have hardly spent any time in virtual worlds lately but I’ve had many interesting conversations about them with Munich in the past and was intrigued to find out what news BMW had.
Like others, BMW has decided to end its current virtual world experiments in Second Life. Although it will be a shame to see them go, the message was generally very positive about the future for virtual worlds, which BMW are still investigating to use internally, hosted on their own servers. The announcement ended with a free gift for the audience, which I still can’t drive; I can see why there were never any BMW cars to test drive in Second Life!
I’m glad I made it to the event, which sparked some great debate, and I’ll certainly be keeping in touch with Munich/Achim inside/outside Second Life.
- there’s a bit more discussion about the news on Ambling in Second Life and Virtual Worlds News. (30 July 2008)
- another good report on the news on The Network. (31 July 2008)
BMW has decided to leave Second Life – hardly comes as a surprise. Since BMW never defined why it came into Second Life to begin with. Did BMW ever ask residents to design new BMW cars, did they hold discussion forums to talk about BMW in 2020, or even have a BMW product specialist available to talk to visitors about BMW brand and products.
Where was the BMW merchandise – the T-shirts, the posters, anything?
How did BMW promote its existence in Second Life beyond advertising in 1990 methods. Did they even attempt to inform residents of SL that they were there?
3D virtual worlds are turning the world on its ear – yet companies are still trying to use outdated marketing in a new world.
To BMW – before you build in SL again – and I believe you will – spend some time on why. Think about it like you were building a new car – first find out what the drivers want, then build to suit them – with your style. It becomes a win win scenario.
For an idea of why BMW came to Second Life, there’s a good post on Ambling in Second Life. I think BMW were always aware that it was a learning experience but I guess it’s difficult to justify staying when development and growth of Second Life stalls, unless there are different avenues to explore. My impression from the announcement is that they are still exploring the potential of virtual worlds, which include more than just Second Life. Better to engage with the community in Second Life in the way BMW did on Tuesday than to leave yet another deserted island on the grid.
I have never participated in a virtual world. I am however intrigued by them. Frankly, I do not understand the seriousness of the residents. I also cannot fathom the amount of time some must spend in them . I do question whether second life participants fit the BMW owner profile. I have not seen many BMW’s driven by people with horned helmets. I would assume those buying “real” luxury products have fully realized lives and do not indulge in fantasy worlds. They are too busy. The past few weeks my neighbor has had some significant painting going on in their home. The young man that is doing the work arrives in a nice BMW. I can’t tell how old it is but it is cherry. He has been there working straight for weeks, till very late sometimes after 7pm. He has a commute. I doubt he has time to don a cape when he gets home. He has to work the next day.
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“I have not seen many BMW’s driven by people with horned helmets.”
Ahahahahahaha. Too funny.
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