|Lalo Telling in front of his Tudor homes display in Inworldz|
The truly compelling aspect of a virtual world does not arise until both the virtual environment and those you meet within it become as viscerally real to you as your physical world experience. That takes time. A lot time. Especially for one's first breakthrough experience. And even after crossing that perceptual line, the reality of the virtual sphere will fade without consistent reinvigoration.
I intentionally used a fairly mundane photo to illustrate the point. To the casual eye there's a cartoonish, dorky-looking figure standing in a boring setting (except for that barely-visible hottie in the far background.) But experienced from a highly immersed mind's eye, one sees the deeper reality of a creative and multi-talented man standing in the midst of a fantastic world he and his partner are building.
There is as much perceptual difference between a casual user's experience of a virtual world and that of an engaged resident who is truly embedded, as there is between viewing a photo of a place in the physical world and actually living within the environment.
I'll post more on this next week. For now here's a quote from a post today by Gwyneth Llewelyn:
... the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that we’re really seeing things from the wrong perspective. Second Life is not about happy newbies. It’s about high-quality immersion. And that has very low appeal to the vast majority of people out there.