Victor Keegan in the Guardian updates readers on the latest efforts to build online replicas of London so that users, shoppers, tourists, visitors etc can wander around with their "avatars" rather than be there in person. Keegan writes:
"In terms of being up and running, the London being recreated in Second Life, which is the only one to use an existing virtual world, by a team led by Debs Regent, is literally streets ahead of the others. It already offers shops and apartments for rent. Just type, say, "Mayfair" into SL's search box after (free) registration. One person who had opened a clothing store in Mayfair last week said she had recouped the modest rent with her first sales (of clothes for avatars). Regent - her avatar's name - says 40% of shops in Mayfair have been rented out, though mainly to Second Life residents, not to real-life shop owners, who are proving a hard nut to crack. Visitors can go clubbing at the Underground club or walking in Hyde Park and soon will be able to travel by (virtual) tube."
I must admit, I have never seen Second Life and I'm not sure I really get the appeal. The best virtual replica I've seen of London was in the Playstation 2 videogame, The Getaway, which allowed you to drive around the West End committing various crimes. But with five separate online versions of a 3d London under construction, Mayfair is going to be well catered for online.
If you run a business or shop in Mayfair, would you rent a shop in the online version of Mayfair too? Do you think a presence in a virtual Mayfair could help your business in the real life Mayfair?