Here's some potentially big news: UK company Rezzable is developing a version of Unity, the popular web plug-in for 3D content, to access Rezzable's OpenSim-based virtual experiences, such as their 3D King Tut exhibit. (Depicted above, running in Firefox.)
OpenSim is the open source spinoff of Second Life, so this opens up the possibility that other OpenSim projects could also use Unity. While still in development, early results look promising. "In general the Unity viewer can be connected to an OpenSim region just like an SL-compatible viewer," writes Rezzable's Jon Himoff. For example, "Unity reads mesh information so the prims need to be converted. For our test we have generated a static scene from a Region, but in future that could be dynamic." As Jon notes, Unity also works on iPhone/iPad, which opens up even more possibilities. Making 3D virtual worlds accessible on the web is probably a necessary condition for true mass market adoption, but for various reasons, previous attempts (like this one) haven't really gained traction. However, Unity already has an install base of 33 million, which probably makes it the best contender to pull this off.
More updates are promised from Rezzable soon, which are worth watching closely. Image credit Rezzable. Disclosure: Rezzable is a former partner to this blog.