While the Great and the Good (no doubt with a leavening of the So-So) of Second Life scurry from meta-event to meta-event, to hang out and hang on to every word of the latest guru with New Insights into Virtual Worlds, I continue to potter along largely unperturbed and undisturbed. Yesterday I shared some ill-structured thoughts with you about the evolution of island archipelagos in Second Life - using the Plus supermarket chain by way of illustration.
Today I would like to introduce you to another new island in the German Archipelago: Becker GPS Lounge. It should come as no surprise that this is owned by Becker GPS, who specialise in Sat Nav and other in-car systems. Becker started life as a family company in the late forties in Karlsbad, in the Black Forest. It has grown over the past 50 years to become a leading supplier of car audio and guidance systems to major European manufacturers. They also offer a neat-looking portable media player.
According to their website: "30 Becker Traffic Assist Pro 7929 systems will be given away in the 'Becker GPS Lounge'... Becker has become the first mobile navigation system manufacturer to create its own island in the Second Life virtual world. " They have been giving away 1 a day since September 1st, so hurry on down - you have almost no time left to blag one! The opening of the island was timed to coincide with the IFA Berlin 2007 consumer electronics trade fair.
The island adopts an all-too-familiar tropical theme. There is a walkthrough tunnel with ads for Becker products, culminating in a short movie, a dance area, a meeting area and a seemingly pointless hub, surmounted by a huge, rotating Becker logo. In fact, looking at the map you will see that the island itself is in the shape of the logo. There is also a pathway along which you will find presentations on the history of the company. A transport "ball" can be summoned to carry you between the three main locations on the island: the history path, the hub and the main meeting area. A deep inlet acts as a harbour, where a number of 3rd party vendors sell their wares.
At the arrival point you will find the "win a 7929" stand, and a scoreboard listing the winners to date. Apparently each day's winner has been announced at a live, inworld event at 21:00CET each night.
The island seems to be intended as a simple promotional site, while the live announcement of winners hints at a longer term aim to host events. It is not particularly exceptional, being a fairly straightforward company build in Second Life. I just thought I'd mention it.