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VWC Viewpoints August 2008

The 4-x-4 of Software?

The Technology Map highlights several applications of virtual worlds--including collaborative work, training, nd product development--in which virtual-worlds eetings could replace face-to-face meetings, thereby educing air travel and carbon emissions. But virtual orlds themselves are far from carbon neutral, and usinesses and individuals may start to play closer attention to the  environmental impact of virtual worlds in the future. This Viewpoints considers how environmental issues will affect the market for virtual worlds.

Virtual-worlds users perhaps do not equate themselves with drivers of the large, gas-guzzling cars that produce high emissions. But Wired magazine recently ran an article that reported Julian Bleecker's (cofounder of design think tank, the Near Future Laboratory) calculation that the average Second Life avatar uses 1248 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. The Wired reporter points out that this power consumption produces carbon emissions roughly equivalent to driving 1800 miles in a BMW 750Li. Although Bleecker's original blog posting dates back to December 2006, the issue it raises is increasingly important in the light of rising oil prices and growing environmental concerns. With various virtual-worlds experts now claiming that virtual worlds have a real chance of replacing some face-to-face meetings and reducing air travel, the issue is also complex. This Viewpoints provides a review of the debate and my own analysis.

Download the report here:
The 4-x-4 Software?