The big question have been when are virtual worlds really make a break through. I do not think it is going to be 2014. No new worlds are around the corner. No big updates. Many online games are fighting to survive and Second life gets smaller and smaller. Cloud party and There have very few people online and the Opensim grids are big but empty.
Many people believe that the Oculus Rift http://www.oculusvr.com/
will be the next big thing. I think it will change and expand our way to use computers but only for hardcore gamers and there will be applications we have not seen yet. For virtual worlds my guess is as good as yours. The user interface must be totally redesigned and you need a Kinect or a Leap motion https://www.leapmotion.com/
to really get it going. That’s a lot of hardware and I really do not think that the average user will get all the stuff and then learn how to use it. By the way I will get all the stuff.
The Opensim conference was a great success and all the enthusiasts was there. Opensim is a great way to start a world and the people behind it does a great job but Opensim grids are far less visited than Second life. The builds are in some cases good but not even close to some of the best in SL. I find that when people get there own island they have no idea what to do with it. 2worlds2go have a island on the OSgrid. It have been running for years but not many people visit it. More now as we have a hypergrid port. I also made several islands for download on http://2worlds2go.com
and today they have been downloaded 210 times. This is not a virtual revolution.
Will virtual worlds go away? No I do not think so. I just joined the Vatsim network. http://www.vatsim.net/
I want to learn how to fly my virtual plane in a more realistic virtual world. It all builds on a very old software Flight simulator 2004. But there are when I am write this 644 people online flying all over the world. There are thousands of plane and airports to download on the net and company´s and a community still making new software to expand the possibilities of virtual flying.
This is the way forward. A community and company´s expanding the original software. Linden lab will sooner or later find Second life to be a failing income and scrap the servers but virtual worlds will live on. Virtual worlds are a social experiment and have a loud and lively community. I see a lot of great builds and a area that works is art. I visit gallery´s that I could never go to in RL. It have expanded my life and I hope it will do so even in the future. But I do not think 2014 will be the big break. Just another year with hard work.