IBM working with Second Life creator for "universal avatar"

Posted by Mark Raby

San Francisco (CA) - IBM wants to create a new standard for virtual worlds, allowing users to create one profile for use in several different applications.

IBM is teaming up with Linden Labs, the name behind the Internet phenomenon Second Life.  Together they hope to create interoperability between various virtual worlds.

As it stands now, users have to create their own avatar for every online game they own.  That can sometimes take hours, depending on how much customization users want.

It is an effort that will include several barriers, as conflicts of interest will arise from different developers who want their virtual world to stand apart from others.  IBM is optimistic about it, however.

"It is going to happen anyway.  "If you think you are walled and secure, somebody will create something that's open and then people will drain themselves away as fast as possible," said IBM vice president Colin Parris.

The two companies will be talking about their ideas this week at a virtual worlds conference in San Francisco.  Investments in the industry of virtual worlds totaled more than $1 billion in the last 12 months.