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FBI agents are investigating possible gambling operations, and the German TV news program "Report Mainz" recently revealed allegations of child abuse in the virtual world.
(Adults were purportedly using their avatars to have sex with the avatars of minors; they were expelled.)Back in 1998, Rosedale simply hoped to create a vivid three-dimensional landscape in which graphic designers could create likenesses of their real-world ambitions—houses, cars, forests, anything one might find in a virtual game like Ever Quest or World of Warcraft.
It was created on software that operates across multiple servers—a grid system that could easily grow to accommodate a large, far-flung community.
A user in Germany could easily partner with a peer in Mexico to form their own mini-community inside Second Life, based on common interests—architectural designs, whatever.
Keep up with this story and more When San Francisco software developer Philip Rosedale dreamed up the idea for Second Life in 1998, he never imagined that it might have such an impact on the world at large.
Just as Google sexed up the way we search, and instant messaging altered the way we interact, Second Life is fast becoming the next red-hot tool on the Internet. Rosedale launched Second Life in 2001, but it got off to a slow start, reaching only 1.5 million registered users in 2006.
"I flourish in Second Life," says the 33-year-old, who heads a disability-consulting firm called Enable Enterprises, out of his home in England.
"It's no game—it's a serious tool." Rhonda Lillie and Paul Hawkins live thousands of miles apart—she in California, he in Wales—and until this week, had never met face to face.
Anshe Chung is a virtual land baroness with a real-life fortune.The power of Second Life lies in its utility for the gamut of human activities.It's a potent medium for socializing—it provides people with a way to express, explore and experiment with identity, vent their frustrations, reveal alter egos.South Korea's Cyworld started out as a social-networking site, but has evolved into a two-dimensional equivalent of Second Life, claiming 20 million registered users from Asia to Latin America.Richard Branson's Virgin recently announced plans to create its own 3-D community called A World of My Own.