terra.gif Via a whole heap of people, Business Week's latest issue is themed around virtual worlds, and the cover story discusses the ever-printworthy metaverse of Second Life.

Alongside the normal talk of bright event horizons rapidly approaching, there's some interesting points made by the author: "My disorientation points up one of the big challenges of these virtual worlds, especially one so open-ended as Second Life: With nothing to shoot and no quest to fulfill, it's hard for newbies to know what to do. Virtual worlds require personal computers with fairly advanced graphics and broadband connections and users with some skill at software." In fact, Will Wright, who is cited as 'admiring' Second Life, notes: "The tools are the weak spot... That limits its appeal to a fairly hard-core group."

There's also some oddly evocative prose in an online-only interview with MMO economist Edward Castronova, who comments almost anguishedly of MMOs: "The concept that it's becoming a global commercial phenomenon, that's intimidating to me... I like the body. I was watching a ballet recently. I was crying because I was thinking the bodies are so beautiful, and we're losing the body. I'm just afraid of losing the body."

So, are we going from hunting and gathering wild animals to keypresses to, eventually, brain synapses? The concept is either liberating or tragic, depending on how many early '90s issues of Wired you've been reading at the time.