Linden Labs' Second Life adds VoIP client

At the Virtual Worlds conference in Los Angeles this week, entrepreneurs have gathered to discuss the big business that online worlds have become. Linden Labs' successful Second Life received some noteworthy "fourth wall breakers" today.

Linden Labs and Vivox partnered to create SLim, a messaging client scaled to the massively multiplayer world. SLim is a discrete VoIP/IM client that is meant to run alongside the Second Life viewer. It can complement onscreen interactions, or it can communicate with others not necessarily running the Second Life application.

Linden Labs encourages businesses to set up virtual workplaces and showrooms in Second Life, and hopes the addition of voice communication will enrich that. Currently, however, voice communication is only on a one-to-one basis.

Vivox was founded by VoIP pioneer Jeff Pulver, better known as the co-founder of Vonage, and originator of the VON (voice on the net) Tradeshow. Currently, Vivox is used for Sony Online Entertainment MMOs Everquest I and II, and Star Wars Galaxies.

Second Life has also been made accessible to mobile phones through a free open beta from mobile software company Vollee. Testing in private beta since June, Vollee's application offers the full three-dimensional Second Life experience on the mobile screen. Not exactly a porting down, Vollee adapts PC software for mobile consumption and streams it over 3G networks, attempting to preserve as much of the desktop experience as possible.

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