The initial focus of the joint effort will be the ability to allow users to use a single virtual persona (or Avatar) across multiple virtual platforms, with seamless interworld transactions to be considered later.
Discussions and efforts surrounding standards and interoperability are in vogue this year, as the marketplace for virtual worlds has matured. Chinese Second Life clone HiPiHi announced its intention to lead a push towards standards based virtual worlds in August, and TechCrunch 40 presenting company Metaplace offers interoperability between user generated worlds on its DIY virtual world platform.
IBM has been highly active in the virtual worlds space, both as a user of platforms such as Second Life as a conference and business communications tool, and as a creator with its Active Worlds chat platform. IBM’s Italian employee’s went on strike within Second Life in late September.