Lively’s Demise Won’t Derail Virtual World Adoption

One of the first questions people have been asking me after hearing that Google was shutting down Lively is “do you think this will have a negative impact on virtual worlds?” Well, I had never really seen Lively as a true virtual world; but, did think it was a nice addition to the 3D space.

My answer to the question, is “no” though because many of the things I mentioned on this blog before still hold true as reasons that virtual world platforms will continue to thrive past the hype they garnered a couple of years ago.


It was nice to see many similar theories put forward in a report released last week by ThinkBalm, an independent IT industry analysis and strategic advisory services firm co-founded by Erica and Sam Driver. Prior to ThinkBalm, Erica was a Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, where she launched the company’s Web3D coverage as part of her enterprise collaboration research.


The ThinkBalm report puts forward that virtual worlds, learning simulations and 3D business applications offer businesses the chance to deeply engage workers and customers. Erica discussed it in more detail with itWorldCanada recently.


As part of ThinkBalm’s Innovation Community, I had an opportunity to get a sneak peak at the report; and, while I am listed as a contributor, there was very little feedback for me to add because so much of it rang true to my own observations. The near future will see internal collaboration as a driver for more virtual world adoption within corporations, and once those users become familiar with the technology, they will in turn think of new applications for an immersive internet experience for their business customers.


Another analyst covering this industry, Steve Prentice at Gartner, seemed to concur in a recent Computer Weekly article where he said “he believes the main use of the technology over the next few years will be in so-called 'intraverses' or virtual world environments that either sit on companies' own infrastructure or their service provider's, behind the firewall.”


So, while I do think there is much opportunity lost with the very early closure of Lively, it is not likely to hold back the advancement of virtual worlds. They may be in the “trough of disillusionment” according to Gartner’s Hype Cycle, but that simply means they are that much closer to true user adoption instead of overhyped expectations.


As Prentice concludes in the Computer Weekly article, “it's now time to get down to the hard work because this is a people issue not a technology one."

About the Author: Laura Pevehouse

Laura Pevehouse was profiled as one of five “social media mavens” in the March 2009 issue of Austin Woman Magazine and named an AdWeek’s TweetFreak Five to Follow. She has been part of the Dell organization for more than 15 years in various corporate communications, employee communications, public relations, community affairs, marketing, branding, social media and online communication roles. From 2014-2018, Laura was Chief Blogger/Editor-in-Chief for Direct2DellEMC and Direct2Dell, Dell’s official corporate blog that she help launch in 2007. She is now a member of the Dell Technologies Chairman Communications team. Earlier in her Dell career she focused on Global Commercial Channels and US Small and Medium Business public relations as part of the Global Communications team. Prior to that, she was responsible for global strategy in social media and community management, as well as marcom landing pages, as a member of Dell’s Global SMB Marketing, Brand and Creative team. When she was part of Dell’s Global Online group, Laura provided internal consulting that integrated online and social media opportunities with a focus on Corporate Communications and Investor Relations. She managed the home page of, one of the top 500 global web sites in Alexa traffic rank, and first brought web feeds and podcasts to the ecommerce site. In her spare time she led Dell into the metaverse with the creation of Dell Island in the virtual world Second Life. Laura has earned the designation of Accredited Business Communicator from the International Association of Business Communicators, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Louisiana State University. Before joining Dell Financial Services in 2000, she worked at the Texas Workforce Commission and PepsiCo Food Systems Worldwide.