ai sp@ce(pronounced “eye space”) is a newcoming Japanese virtual world service raised its curtain on 8th.
ai sp@ce production committee formed by Dwango(cellularphone contents, parent company of Niwango, Niconico Douga), Headlock(online game), Bushiroad and three R-18 game companies, Visual Arts, Omega Vision and Circus, are targetting 2008 summer release.
View of the virtual world is provide by 3 adult PC games, CLANNAD, SHUFFLE and Da Capo II, each has its own island and connected at the center island reproducing Akihabara.
So it sounds that the basic system is similar with other virtual world services such like Second Life.
The differences are,
- Japanimation-type character design from “Galge” genre (abbr. of “Gal Game”, “Bishoujyo Game”, bishoujyo means beaufitul girl, or “Eroge”, erotic game. Manga/animation style pornographic games are quite popular in PC game market in Japan.)
- Your avatar is accompanied by Chara-Doll (or “Dle” from idle?), which follows and lives with your avatar in the same house
The service is expected to earn by selling items and lands, which is same as SecondLife.
Second Life completely lost its momentum in Japan, although there had been a lot of Second Life promotions on national TV, newspapers and specialized magazines (SecondLife Magazine and Virtual World Walker [J]). This ai sp@ce’s success could be an answer if it was localization failure (i.e. Japanese net users did not like american character designs), or virtual world business does not have much potential anyway.
Their press movie is on my vox account. If you are a Niconico Douga user, here is a link. (It is only uploaded on Niconico Douga, and embedding videos only permitted to their partner blogspaces, not for individual blog like Asiajin, unfortunately.)
Dwango’s Press Release [pdf, Japanese]