If you are like me, then you probably have interests in virtual worlds beyond Second Life. So you might be interested to read this article, posted at the excellent Virtual Worlds News blog.
The gist is:
The China Recreation District (CRD), a joint government-private partnership based in Beijing, is to build a country-wide infrastructure to support the deployment of virtual worlds. As I have posted elsewhere in this blog, China is going through a massive ramp-up in its use of virtual worlds - and not just the familiar Entropia and HiPiHi worlds. There is apparently an aim to invite external virtual worlds to join the infrastructure. Anyone visiting Virtual Worlds'07 in San Jose will be able to find out more, as Chi Tai Robert Lai, Chief Scientist with the CRD, will be presenting at the forum.
The CRD describes itself as: "The home of the leading edge of television and digital entertainment in China... Formed in 2001 as Panorama Media and through consolidation offive companies and renamed CRD Co. Ltd, in 2006, CRD is one of the leading independent television and digital content companies in China."
I am sure this will raise a few questions, such as:
- What about Chinese government insularity, open access and the Great Firewall? Inviting in overseas companies may compromise their view of security - or it may actually make it easier to police.
- The creation of infrastructure seems a long way from the company's core competencies, although the extension of interactive media to include virtual worlds is a logical step. Why do they feel qualified and able to undertake such an enterprise? Or have I misinterpreted their intention?
- Who are they aiming at? The "social" virtual worlders or the "gamer" virtual worlders. Given China's strong bias towards the latter, is there a planned place for the social virtual worlds?