I've been checking out the new virtual world Small Worlds over the past few weeks, and so far have been pretty impressed. Here's some of the things I like about it:
- Accessibility: It's a web-based 2.5D environment that runs on Flash, so its much more accessible than other VWs that rely on a client download.
- Ease of Use: Even a non-techie can get up and running very quickly. It's got a scaffolded learning approach based on "missions" that you go through that help you to learn how to function in the space effectively.
- User-Generated Content: Users can share photos, images, and videos very easily with other users in their own rooms. Even better, you can create your own missions for other users to complete.
They seem to be on a migration path to integrate with your existing social networks like Facebook, Myspace and Ning. Right now your room can be embedded on your Facebook or MySpace page. Sounds like they are working on getting integrated with Google's Open Social apps, which would be a strategic way to integrate their world into blogs, home pages and other network sites more easily.
It is definitely a pain to re-create your existing social network whenever you start using a new VW platform. So if Small Worlds can make social network migration a seamless experience for the user, other virtual worlds should watch out.
If you are in Small Worlds, feel free to drop me a message or friend my avatar "Rik Omatic" or check out my dope pad. Not quite as pimped out as I would like yet. But we'll get the disco ball and arcade games in there soon.