MTV And There.com Hit The Avatar Zone

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Hi and welcome to the WebProNews clarification zone, where we try to unmash the mashups of media, technology, public relations, and what’s really going on.

Not just any avatars, dear reader. We’re talking star powered avatars, based on reality, or at least a reality show. They present a pleasant escape, to places where warm sunshine and non-stop parties take place, a lot like they do on TV shows.

Our show in question appears on MTV. “The Hills” second season is underway, and they have recently launched a virtual version of it called “Virtual Hills”.

Like last September’s efforts that created Virtual Laguna Beach, Makena Technologies’ There.com has assisted with development of the newest online spinoff.

“MTV Networks is the first to recognize the potential for using social virtual worlds to enhance the viewer experience and build a stronger bond with the audience,” said Michael Wilson, CEO of Makena.

That bond comes inside the 3D social virtual world crafted for MTV’s shows. Just as “The Hills” has been developed out of “Laguna Beach” by following one of its characters to L.A., fans can follow along from their web browsers.

This is where the avatars come into play (hooray!) Now that “Virtual Hills” has debuted, people can do in virtual reality all of the meeting and socializing they like. Stars from the show will be represented in the online world, as MTV and There.com jointly noted:

Currently on the calendar are a series of fashion challenges by stars Lauren and Whitney, concerts and dance competitions hosted by music lover Audrina, and exclusive nightclub and at-home parties arranged and orchestrated by resident social butterfly Heidi.

As online experiences go, “Virtual Hills” and its older sibling are steps toward star interaction that just don’t happen for the typical viewer. Being part of the experience means joining and registering an avatar to represent oneself in the world.

Avatars have to be outfitted, and that means buying clothes. As in other online games, a virtual currency called VMTV Dollars can be purchased and used for those in-game shopping sprees. No one wants to show up for the party of the year in last year’s avatar garb or ride.

It’s all about living the image online.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

MTV And There.com Hit The Avatar Zone
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