What are virtual worlds? Virtual World is a computer based program created by its online users. It allows users create virtual versions of themselves, usually called avatars. Avatars can do anything from meet other people, go shopping, anything that individuals do daily or anything they don’t get time to do. Some people who are not familiar with the concept of virtual world think of them as video games, but the difference between games and virtual worlds is that games are created with a story while Virtual World do not have any story. It is basically a model that represents a reality. The most well-known example of this is ‘Second Life’ in which people create an avatar of themselves like the way they want to be and do what they want to do in real life and don’t get time to do so.
There are many different ways a virtual world can be used. Virtual worlds can be used for personal, educational, and professional field. In an article, “5 ways virtual reality will change education” written by Kate Abrosimova shows that virtual reality is yet another way that technology is expanding education and increasing the resources available to students. It shows that the things which are not possible in real life is possible in virtual reality. As virtual education expert Inge Knudsen said, “My current project involves safety on a building site. I have created a virtual building site with many safety issues. Students can walk around in the virtual environment and take pictures of places that are not safe. This is a case that is not possible in real life and therefore highly suited for virtual worlds.” Moreover, Second Life had been used to train medical and nursing students in clinical skills and cases they may face in real life. Virtual world let you choose to live the luxurious life you always wanted or do the things you were afraid to do in real life. It also proves freedom of expression through the avatar they have created.
However, a main concern about the virtual world is that some people spend an enormous amount of time on their virtual life that confused themselves of what they have and don’t have when compared to reality. Individuals may be more attracted to the virtual world which may cause them to detach themselves more from reality. Lastly, I believe depending on what the individual do on the virtual world, the individual may feel unimportant in real life which may lead to destructive actions.
In my opinion, due to the rapid advancements in technologies, the future of virtual world will flourish. The virtual world or second life serves different purposes in each individual’s life. It can be a simple recreational activity, or act as a motivational stimulator. According to an article written by Claudia Wilopo “Virtual Reality is Finally, Really, the Next Big Thing” described that it is more appealing for the users to exercise their creativity in the virtual world which allows them to have everything that they ever wanted in one area. The Oculus website says, “we believe communication drives new platforms; we want to contribute to a more open, connected world; and we both [Facebook and Oculus] see virtual reality as the next step.”