Dot Friends: New Facebook Virtual World With Some User-Generated Content -- Renewed Investor Interest in Synchronous, Avatar-Based Socialization?
.Friends is a new virtual world Facebook game developed by a company of the same name, with private investment funding. Very similar to Shaker, another new startup which got significant Valley buzz this September, it is like Shaker described as a "Second Life meets Facebook" social space where your real life social identity is connected to a somewhat customizable avatar in a Flash-based 2.5D world/chat space capable of streaming YouTube videos... and so far, like Shaker, not much point beyond that. Dot Friends does have one upcoming feature hinting at some user-generated content: "Soon you will be able to open your own virtual place and create amazing events", .Friends' tutorial says. Depending on how robust that feature is, .Friends might interest virtual world fans, but we'll have to see. At the very least, along with Shaker, .Friends suggests the investment world is re-gaining a glimmer of its past interest in synchronous, virtual world/social spaces. The challenge is integrating them with Facebook. All the variations of Habbo Hotel on Facebook have nearly 2 million monthly users, according to AppData, but that was already a popular world when it entered Facebook. Shaker, by contrast, and despite the hype, has... just 20,000.