City of London, one of the many great cities of the world, home of the Royal Family, Big Ben, the Tate Museum and home to the 2012 Olympics. Many of you haven’t been there before, and some of your have.
In 2006 Debs Regent and Virtually-Linked, brought England’s capital into the virtual world of Second Life. Four sims based on Kensington, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park and Mayfair London. Complete with shops, offices and clubs, virtual London, is now home to clothing stores such as K-Code, Beck & Carter and xXxtreme. It also a source that connects real life and Second Life together, by bringing businesses into this vast virtual world.
The Torch SLG sat down with Debs Regent, the owner of Virtually-Linked and the owner of the London Sims.
Debs explains how this real life replica hangout came to exist, “ In 2005 my husband was ill and needed hospital treatment. We came to London from our home in Portugal for the treatment and stayed in a hotel in Knightsbridge while my husband was recuperating. It was a very emotional time for me so when my best friend in real life, Fiona May of SL, came to me with the idea of Second Life I gave it a try.”
“I came into SL to stay in touch with her and have fun together and soon we wanted to have a London. That was when I started with Knightsbridge. I really wanted to have a copy of where my life turned around for the better. As much a Fiona wanted to help she couldn’t because of her other SL commitments, so I was left on my own, it was hard but I was very determined. If I started something I really wanted to see it through, and I did.”
With virtual London’s popularity increasing with every new resident that rezzes in world, Debs thought about its popularity, “Is it? I never noticed or seen it as much,” She laughed, “I love it and just work to keep it alive and going. I guess we have a lot of people coming through our doors over the years, at one point it was 5,000 a week.
She went on to inform us about what London had in store for its future, “We;re remodelling Knightsbrigde at present, making it a bit more modern, with new houses and new shops. We’re adding transport as well to get from sim to sim, transport like buses and underground (train) system and taxis. I would love to expand far into London, our gold is to have the whole of London but its too expensive. I have the original plan of 20 sims in my inventory but add that up and you will find it is hugely expensive on tier, each sim is $295 plus VAT.
The London sim stems from Debs’ very real real life company called Virtually-Linked and London accommodated some of England’s biggest names such as British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, Debs gives the Torch SLG an insight into her work, “ My Responsibilities are to meet tier in SL- that is my primary objective because it is only if I can do that,that I can keep London going for everyone who wants to visit. Jessii, the Entertainment Manager for the London Sims, does an awesome job with events, and we are having a lot of fun at least here. But if anything goes wrong its ultimately I who have to sort things out and if I fail everything fails.”
Debs states that her aims are grandiose, she aims to connect virtual reality and the real world. “I confess,” Says the owner of one the biggest sims in Second Life, “ that the anonymity of SL does not interest me. Indeed my face was plastered across the TV screen, so its pretty impossible for me to hide now. I want people to use platforms like second life, but be able to go to places they dream of going to. London here can be a ‘warm up’ to a holiday in the capital in real life, it is unique, that is my dream, for people wherever they are in the world, to be able to enjoy London (and other locations) as they would if they were really there.