At the stroke of midnight on Sept. 1, 1998, BowieNet powered up. The press release, which declared the start of the service as an “all-out cyberspace celebration,” made some unbelievably bold promises for the time, including “webcast performances” by popular artists, live video feeds of David Bowie’s studio, as well as video interviews... Perhaps more intriguing than BowieNet itself is a 3D chat client that was launched alongside it. Called BowieWorld, it launched a solid half decade ahead of Second Life and is built on the “Worlds” virtual community platform. Today, more than a decade and a half later, it remains up and running.
More background on Bowie's work as an Internet pioneer from the BBC here. (Hat tip: Robert Thomas.) Amazingly, BowieWorld still has an active user community even now. And if you're a member, please share your memories of the community in Comments. And around the same time (1999), Bowie contributed design input and songs to the cyberpunk game Omnikron: The Nomad Soul, along with, well, himself:
Thanks to Isabelli Anatine for the video link. And thanks to David Bowie for helping make these words that you're reading now possible.
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