Virtual Worlds Review
Company: Lightmaker, Kent, UK
Launch Date: September 2002
System Requirements: Web browser with Macromedia Shockwave Player plugin.
||Accessible to both Windows and Mac users
View the Virtual Ibiza Screen Shot Gallery
Virtual Ibiza takes online dating service features, blends them with virtual world technology and delivers the result as a trendy social hangout. Thematically based on a real Mediterranean resort island off the east coast of Spain, this world is for visitors ages 18 and older only. Virtual Ibiza's launch press release defines its goal as the recreation of "an online community for those people who love the Ibiza lifestyle." Specifically, this means the 18-35 international clubbing community. Virtual Ibiza's avatars appear to take the partying theme to heart as most hold virtual drinks while lounging at various beach, cafe, or night-club settings.
This world is loaded with complementary features for its members, including email, instant messaging, games, message boards, mobile ringtones, and a searchable dating profile area for sharing personal photos and videos. While this is certainly an impressive array of options, the down side is that the inclusion of so many extras tends to divert the focus away from the virtual world itself, which ends up reading more like a subsidiary add-on to the dating profile area rather than the other way around.
The party-club-resort theme successfully gives the space a fun, upbeat energy. But like any party culture, this virtual world seems transitory, like a virtual vacation spot you'd visit every once in a while to hook up but not necessarily a place you'd really want to settle down long term. Still, it's an interesting experiment that attempts to bring the look, feel, and culture of a real world tourist spot into a virtual space.
A Guide to Virtual Ibiza by Wolfgang Greller and John Smith (Word doc)
If you like this world, you might also like Dubit, Moove, Tower Chat or VZones
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