Friday, 29 January 2010

Linden Labs buys Avatars United

Today (29th January, 2010) M. Linden announced that Linden Labs had acquired Avatars United (AU) from Enemy Unknown AB of Stockholm, Sweden. And who is Avatars United, you might ask?

Think Facebook for inhabitants of 3D games and virtual worlds.

AU was the brainchild of three Swedish friends back in 2007, with Thor Olof Philogene as its CEO. It opened in Beta in early 2008, and two years on it is still in Beta.

Although primarily focussed on gamers AU caught the attention of Linden Labs who see synergy with their virtual world, Second Life.

M. Linden explained Linden labs wish to give Residents new and better ways to connect and share, through features like the following:
  • Searchable profiles
  • Friend and activity feeds
  • Widgets and viral content
  • Optional registration and sign-in using credentials from other properties (Facebook, Yahoo!, etc.)
  • APIs that enable developers to create widgets, tools, and sites pulling from selected SL data feeds
he went on:
Avatars United lets you make some of those connections that I'm talking about above.  It's a great site.  Check it out and add me, T Linden, and others to your friend list. As you do, you'll start to build an activity feed (similar to Facebook or Twitter) that keeps you in closer touch with the people you're connected to in Second Life. This is one of the most exciting things about the acquisition, this ability to reach my friends more easily, with more interesting information (and photos!), and in a more meaningful way. As we go, we'll be adding to these capabilities -- and because Avatars United provides developer APIs, anyone else can add to these capabilites as well.

What is not clear from this acquisition is what is going to happen to the existing members of AU that come from other games, such as World of Warcraft, and other virtual worlds, such as the Opensim-based grids, and Blue Mars.

Stay tuned...