There seems to be a growing number of graphical and 3D Avatar Chat rooms, and 3D Avatar games and services.
Very popular with teens, who tend to be early adopters of online technology, but it’s becoming increasingly more widespread in mainstream audiences.
Some avatar companies are forming commercial links with shopping sites, for example My Virtual Model (which is old school now, as it’s been out since 2001 with little modification); and judging by the brands that they are working with, they are targeting an older demographic.
For those of you who are wondering what I’m on about, an Avatar is a graphical representation of yourself;
Examples of companies who use Avatars include:
Some of the sites allow you to create a representation of yourself to download and use in blogs, on your instant messaging profile and in email. Other sites allow interaction, chat and games; but the more advanced sites are more virtual worlds than websites – for example Second Life and Whyville.
The main players are already well established, this is nothing new; but the increasing mainstream use, and the more interesting ways companies are using these tools suggests the way we use the Internet, and interact with people will increasingly change.
It’s funny how we have had the ability to upload photos, and chat using web cams for some time – showing a real image of yourself, yet people are moving to a more morphed version of themselves – a realistic, but clearly not real cartoon/graphical representation.
For more information about Avatars, have a wander round Wikipedia.