Role playing is second nature

Bambi Francisco Roizen · August 25, 2008 · Short URL:

Virtual worlds help us to slow down in a fast-paced world

Over the weekend, I spent some time watching my sons pretend they were army men, teenage mutant Ninja turtles, as well as Clones training under Count Dooku. Role playing is part of growing up. And, in many ways, we never grow out of it. Fantasy Football leagues are very popular with adults, said Keith McCurdy, co-founder and CEO of Vivity.

Vivaty, a startup that raised $9.2 million from Kleiner Perkins and Mohr Davidow last fall, is distributing 3D worlds on top of existing platforms, such as Facebook and AIM.

In this interview (the third in a three-part series with Keith), we discuss whether virtual worlds are changing the way our children are socializing. We also talk about the evolution of virtual worlds, starting with Ultima Online, having launched in 1997, it was one of the first successful massively multiplayer online role-playing game.  

From our conversation, you definitely get the sense that Keith believes virtual worlds help people slow down from their very fast-paced lives. Checking email, sending an IM, talking on the cell phone, surfing the Net and TV. These activities make for very short and distracted experiences. Virtual worlds engage people. They "immerse" them into another world, he said. 

Indeed, immersion into another character is nothing new. And, it may be the case that in a world where our minds are thinking of 10 million things at a time, maybe immersion becomes an increasingly valuable thing.

"Virtual worlds are second nature," said Keith. "It's not a foreign idea to have a character."

Sometimes, it's just good to take it down a notch.



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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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What's Vivaty?

Vivaty Scenes is a web based virtual community where users can personalize their own virtual scene and avatar and socialize with their friends.

Vivaty's vision is to make the Immersive Web a reality by transforming the flat web into a more visually rich and expressive experience that amplifies socialization and engagement. The company's end-to-end web platform is designed to enable distributed virtual experiences anywhere on the web. Founded in 2007, Vivaty is led by a team of web, gaming, and graphics experts, and is backed by venture capitalists Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), and Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV).


Acquired by Microsoft.