Saturday, 2 February 2008

That's Amore (Pacific)

February 1st saw the launch of the latest Korean presence in Second Life - a 4-sim island belonging to cosmetics firm, Amore Pacific. Part of the Taepyeongyang Corporation, Amore Pacific has been producing cosmetics since 1940 apparently. Over the years it has diversified into a number of brands, and has spread far beyond the shores of its native Korea. Several of the brands - including Laneige, Hera, mise en scene and Sulhwasu - have their own dedicated areas on the Second Life island.

The island has been built by leading Korean metaverse construction company, Acid Crebiz. It is arguably their most ambitious public release to date, and certainly the most impressive, even by their standards. I won't give you too much of a rundown of the features of the island as you can get all of that from the Acid Crebiz Newspage or watch the Second Life Korea News on YouTube.

I have to say, though, that this is one of the most absorbing commercial sites I've visited in a while. The fact that I took something like 26 photos to accompany this post is an indication of the impact it had on me - that and the disproportionately long time I spent here. Strange, considering the site is almost exclusively about women's cosmetics products - a topic that is a very long way from my heart indeed! The closest thing to anything butch and manly was the Green Tea Museum and Cafe. Mind you, if you are more in touch with your feminine side - or you are, in fact, feminine, then you might well like all the freebies available here. There is simply loads of free stuff - and not jsut cosmetics. You can help yourself to hair and skin, and there some nice porcelain, cushions and other goods in the museum.

The island not only spans 4 sims - but also exists on 2 levels, and is laid out as a kind of hub-and-spokes. At the higher level you will find the 5 brand halls, where you can pick up some freebies, admire the architecture and - if you so choose - camp for a few L$. The halls are linked by a walkway that circumnavigates the hub. At ground level you will find a more eclectic array of constructs - the beach, the green tea museum and cafe, and a large outdoor auditorium. The build quality is excellent throughout, and largely accounts for the large number of pictures I took. Even the unforgiving Windlight viewer was pushed to find any fault with it.

How the site will fare is another matter. 4 sims seems like a lot to me, and may be hard to justify if the foot traffic is not forthcoming. However, if Acid Crebiz and AmorePacific are clever about this, then this could be a very successful site. What am I talking about?? Well, on January 25th Korean games and media company T-Entertainment officially launched Second Life Korea. This means that we should see a sharp rise in the number of Korean Second Lifers, most of whom will be looking for places to hang out. T-Entertainment already has the large Sera Korea cluster of sims. But a 4-sim Korean presence like AmorePacific could be used to provide an alternative "home from home". It's a thought. Otherwise, without regular events and sense of community, the sim will probably fade from memory - beautiful and complex as it is.

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