Meltingdots: Interview with Hiroshi Asaeda, CEO

Tue, May 27, 2008

Meltingdots from left to right, Hiroshi, Ebiichi, Yamazaki, Ito at the Electric Sheep Company’s party for Virtual Worlds, 2008 in New York City.

Ever since my friend Al Kronos clued me in to all the Meltingdots hotness in Second Life, I have been meaning to catch up with them. So when I met CEO, Hiroshi Asaeda and the Meltingdots crew in “real” life, I was thrilled. And, last week I caught up with Hiroshi Asaeda in Second Life ™ (A registered Trademark of Linden Lab).

Meltingdots are a very successful event organizer in Second Life. The screenshot below is a DJ event presented by one of Japan’s major music labels – avex. For more see avex island in Second Life.

Meltingdots also publish Virtual Walker - a virtual world themed magazine.

They held an event in Second Life (screenshot below) just a few days before Virtual Walker was published in “real life”. Hiroshi said: “Everybody joined the conversation, how SL would grow, how users should get involved, and what real companies should do.”

You can participate in Meltingdots events in Second Life every night from 21:00PM Japan time.

The event in the picture below was a lecture course to how to build and customize a “meltingdog.”

Interview with Hiroshi Asaeda, CEO of Meltingdots

Tara5 Oh: Could you tell me a bit about Meltingdots are you still mainly focused in Second Life?

Asaeda Meltingdots: I would answer no to that question. We are starting in many other virtual worlds.

Tara5 Oh: Were are you starting?

Asaeda Meltingdots: Were doing more stuff in avatar services.

Tara5 Oh: Could you explain what that means?

Asaeda Meltingdots: All services in which avatars exist. It can be 3D and 2D. What’s important to me is that it has another virtual YOU in the web.

Tara5 Oh: So like The Electric Sheep Company while you began with a focus on SL you have broadened now?

Asaeda Meltingdots: Yes, but we are not going to quit SL.

Tara5 Oh: How is SL going in Japan? I sometimes visit Japanese sims and see a lot of enthusiasm for music and fashion?

Asaeda Meltingdots: There are many high quality items made by Japanese SL users. And they are very cheap.

Tara5 Oh: Is there also a scientific and educational community as in Europe and US?

Asaeda Meltingdots: Meltingdots built a SIM for a University, but I don’t hear much about an original community yet. The reason for this is that Japan is a small country, that they can actually meet in RL if they want.

Tara5 Oh: Have you got involved with the OpenSim development yet – I know 3Di is very into it!

Asaeda Meltingdots: Not yet in our company. But I think it is hard for companies to be satisfied in the SL client right now.

Tara5 Oh: What are the biggest changes necessary to SL to make it more appealing to a large audience?

Asaeda Meltingdots: Well the biggest problem so far in Japan is that there aren’t many Linden staffs – just one! Jun Linden is my friend.

You can’t buy land in Yen, you can’t buy Linden dollars in Yen. That problem is BIG.

Tara5 Oh: Is this because no-one in Japan has been able to find a way to become what I think Linden Lab calls a global provider?

Asaeda Meltingdots: You have to pay LL to be a global provider and you can’t make money from bringing in new users. People buy land from LL. so there isn’t much benefit.

Tara5 Oh: And LL have no servers in Japan yet do they?

Asaeda Meltingdots: No they don’t.

Tara5 Oh: Have you talked to people at LL about remedying this situation?

Asaeda Meltingdots: To make the business model work, LL should pay back each users registering to the provider. I talked with them a long time ago, maybe about 6 months ago.

Tara5 Oh: It seems to me, although the Japanese community is small, still the interest in an immersive virtual economy like SL is strong – what do you think?

Asaeda Meltingdots: I think it is very strong.

At least I can say there are no virtual worlds that are even close to Second Life yet

Tara5 Oh: What are the Meltingdots builds that you think have been most successful?

Asaeda Meltingdots: We think our events our the most successful so far, buildings don’t matter.

We had real major musicians come in to Second Life. And we had them communicate with their fans.

Asaeda Meltingdots: We publish magazines about virtual worlds, every 3 months, 30,000 copies all around Japan.

We are partnered with one of the biggest media companies in japan.

Tara5 Oh: What are the most popular avatar networks in Japan?

Asaeda Meltingdots: youtube, nicovideo, mobile games, and Second Life. Avatar networks in Japan are mainly game sites.

We’re working with other companies mainly. We’re more like an agency.

Sorry, I have to go. My colleagues are calling me right now!

categories: crossing digital divides, Metaverse, Mixed Reality, Second Life, social media, virtual economy, virtual goods, Web 2.0, World 2.0
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