Second Voice? Telephony In Virtual Worlds

by Imran Ali

CNET's News.com recently conducted an 'in-world' interview with Philip Rosedale, the CEO of Linden Lab, operators of Second Life.

Buried within the interview are some interesting comments on the application of voice in Second Life...


Let's talk about voice support in "Second Life." Vivox is now doing a push for its third-party VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) client/phone booth in-world. What should "Second Life" residents expect when it comes to voice support from Linden Lab?

Rosedale: OK. First, we clearly agree that voice can be very powerful in "Second Life" for many things. There is a critical feature--the ability to properly 3D-spatialize multiple people speaking in a room, that is going to allow meetings in "Second Life" between many people to blow away conference calls. This is a very powerful thing, and we want to get it working.

When?

Rosedale: I have seen demos where three or four people could talk at the same time and I could understand them perfectly. So that is a huge potential feature. But not everyone wants voice all the time. And text (communication) is very, very powerful. For example, I can use (a translation tool) I am fond of, but that only works when, socially, we are using text and are therefore tolerant of a slight delay. So ideally, the implementation shouldn't push one over the other, or have everyone with voice "forcing" those without it or not wanting it to use it. So we are going to be careful with any built in capability, to make that work


We've already seen voice becoming an intrinsic part of virtual worlds in Xbox Live; as press bureaus and businesses begin to establish themselves in Second Life, it'll be interesting to see how telephony, presence, voice and conferencing evolve. Will telephony become an irresistible development for residents? Given the growth of the service, Second Life could become both a significant platform for telephony and a valuable audience for telephony providers.

Hmmm... GTalk+ Google Earth + Second Life = ?

2 Comments

Matttt Li
2006-12-09 05:20:54
It's amazing how much people in Second Life are not aware of There.com where voice is the standard. In There, 3D spacialized voice if very high quality. When someone is talking, it looks like a white spectrometry line over the avatar's head. By default, it keys up when the user holds the PgDn button. Hands-free is available too.


bham4ever
2007-01-16 07:56:06
"There" has had voice from the beginning and works very well not only the lines above the Avatar's but facial expresions are bult in and que'd with certain words