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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Oraclesun

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

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?