Firms create online worlds as new way to reach big audiences
Bill Lichtenstein of Lichtenstein Creative Media, Cambridge, in his office (above, left) and as an avatar in the Second Life virtual world. In Second Life, people can choose to be their idealized selves. (Graphic Credit: Real World Photos By Robert Spencer For The Boston Globe)
By Jenn Abelson, Globe Staff | July 21, 2006
In an office located nearly 2,000 feet above his island estate, Bill Lichtenstein is overseeing construction of the new headquarters for the public radio show ``The Infinite Mind."
None of this actually exists in the real world, but rather in a 3-D virtual world known as Second Life. Here, ``The Infinite Mind" is planning to broadcast its weekly one-hour radio program on health and science and create an immersive experience.
``This represents an unprecedented leap forward for broadcasting into virtual reality and 3-D online communities," said Lichtenstein, president of Lichtenstein Creative Media in Cambridge, which produces ``The Infinite Mind." ``There's a huge potential to bring people together in a dynamic, cost-effective environment."
When ``The Infinite Mind" opens it virtual doors next month, it will become the first regularly scheduled national media broadcast within the increasingly popular 3-D web space. A growing number of companies are turning to these interactive worlds as a place to reach vast audiences in a new way. Next week, merchant American Apparel is hosting a grand opening party for its first virtual store in Second Life, where residents can buy clothes for their animated online personas, known as avatars, or purchase merchandise for their real-life selves.