Oracle unplugs Sun's virtual world

There will be no more development resources given to 'Project Wonderland'

Oracle is dropping support for Sun Microsystems' Project Wonderland, a Java-based platform for developing 3-D virtual worlds, according to a Jan. 30 post on the project's official blog.

After a protracted delay due to a European antitrust review, Oracle's deal to buy Sun was finalized last week. While many of Sun's products will be a strategic part of Oracle's plans, that is apparently not the case for Wonderland.

"We found out on Friday that development resources are no longer being applied to Project Wonderland," the post reads. "The good news is ... a core group of the Wonderland team intends to keep the project going. We will be pursuing both for-profit and not-for-profit options that will allow us to become a self-sustaining organization. Having anticipated this possible outcome, we already have some promising irons in the fire."

Wonderland has "so much great momentum," with three companies selling products tied to the project and eight others pushing services for building worlds, the blog adds.

Oracle's move dovetails with Monday's announcement that virtual-world provider Forterra Systems had sold its product line to Sciences Applications International Corporation (SAIC), said Erica Driver, principal of the analyst firm ThinkBalm.

Combined, the events represent evidence of "the necessary churn that has to take place" in the space, she said.

There's no telling whether Project Wonderland will gain another corporate sponsor, although the fact that it is based on a language as pervasive as Java doesn't hurt, Driver said.

Alternatively, there's already a precedent for a successful open-source virtual-world platform, in the form of OpenSim, she said.

But it is nonetheless early days for the technology.

The enterprise immersive-software market, which ThinkBalm defines as "a collection of collaboration, communication, and productivity tools unified via a 3D or pseudo-3D visual environment," stood at only about US$50 million in 2009, yet there are some two dozen vendors in play, she said. The market figure does not include systems development costs, she added.

Right now, Oracle is not interested in pursuing virtual worlds, but that could change. "We're smack in the early adopter phase," and early mainstream adoption could come within a few years, Driver said.

There are already some bonafide success stories, such as Cisco Systems' recent decision to hold a major sales meeting virtually, she said. The event hosted more than 19,000 attendees and cost about 10 percent of a traditional event's expenses, according to a Cisco blog post.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags sunOracle

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?