It is interesting that Lego is looking to 'fuse' it's 2D bricks with a 3D virtual world. With the success of The Lego Movie, it seems an obvious step to enable avid lego users to create their own 3D world, appealing to children who are already used to playing in a digital immersive world.
But it did make me think - what has happened to Second Life? (The virtual world that got everyone in the tech/marketing world talking in 2006.)
Back in 2006, I completed a Masters in Virtual Communications at RMIT University, Melbourne. Amongst other things, we looked at emerging technologies in the virtual space, including virtual worlds - and speculating about how such worlds and virtual technologies might change communication. There was a huge buzz then about Second Life and it was seen as THE place to have a branding presence (virtually that is).
Interestingly, Second Life is still going, has a community of about 1M users, and is about to be relaunched in beta form in 2015. They are currently beta testing a version of Second Life to be used with the Oculus Rift headset to create a fully-immersive virtual reality experience.
Back in 2006, we were happy to test out Habbo Hotel by hosting virtual parties. Nice to see that Habbo is still going too.
Children, and not unlikely their Lego-crazy parents, will get a kick out of Lego Fusion, a new series of play kits announced by Lego's Future Lab that lets them create their own virtual worlds by first building them in real life. The new series gives a whole new meaning to the word "fusion," as it combines real-world creations using Lego's classic plastic bricks and digital technology that brings life to these creations so that their creators can interact with them. Lego has initially introduced four play kits: Town Master, Battle Towers, Resort Designers and Create and Race. The sets include 200 individual bricks, an accompanying app for iOS and Android devices and a special plate that can capture creations into the digital world. Lego says the kits are designed for children 7 to 12 years old, but they sure look fun even for not-so-young Lego fans.