Friday, 30 November 2007

Exploring Kinset's 3D Immersive Shopping

After yesterday's post, I finally installed the Kinset 3D immersive shopping browser on my PC at home - it is blocked by my employer's corporate firewall - to see what the fuss is about.

For a Second Lifer, the orientation is simplicity itself. In essence, there isn't any - aside from F1 help that tells you how to move about the virtual shopping world. You don't have an avatar, with all the complexity that brings, and the only item you probably need to concern yourself with is your shopping basket.

On starting the browser you find yourself in a central plaza, flanked on 3 sides by shops (including Brookstone). Movement is much the same as in Second Life, using arrow keys or WASD keys on your keyboard, optionally coupled with mouse movements. You can zoom your view with the Z key, or the mouse scroll-wheel. The overall feel is much like SL's "mouselook mode." A nice touch is using the mouse pointer to click on ground further away if you want to move more quickly from place to place.

Since the aim here is to shop 'til you drop, the viewer mode is cunningly setup to zoom into products if they stay under the mouse pointer for more than a couple of moments. Along with the zoomed-in view, you are also presented with a pop-up panel that provides a description and that all-important price. I didn't experiment with actually loading up a shopping cart, so I can't tell you how well this works.

Here's a few screen snapshots to peruse. First up, we have the arrival plaza, followed by a view of the whole site from an adjoining hill:

Here's couple of the stores, Brookstone and ElectroTown.

A couple of product displays, including a view of the description window. OK... the magazine amused me, and I am a huge fan of My Neighbour Totoro.

The Kinset website tells me that "shoppers can chat with store clerks, and shop with friends." However, I am struggling to see how this can be done, since there appears to be no chat facilities and, since I didn't have an avatar I assume I had no visible presence in this world. Certainly I saw no-one else there, and if this is how the system works then it would not be possible to have a shared immersive shopping experience (oo-err!) with friends, since you would not be able to see them or speak to them. Perhaps I missed a vital clue somewhere, or this facility is yet to come.

I suppose I can see that people unused to virtual worlds may find this site a bit strange, but for Second Lifers it is easy to use. It is certainly another fascinating insight into the possible future of the internet, though it will need more features and take some time to overcome common misperceptions(?).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The shopping with friends and store sales clerk avatars is a future feature of Kinset.