In recent years, communication networks and computer technologies make it possible to create a cyberspace on the Internet. Recently, several 3-D shared virtual spaces and worlds have been realized in which users can share the same experience in a shared virtual environment. The next important step is to extend these environments into a virtual society.
To realize a virtual society, it is important to obtain a large number of users in a virtual world and evaluate what kind of functions (especially, social functions) and interface should be supported. For this purpose, we constructed a personal agent-oriented virtual society called PAW (Personal Agent World) based on our Community Place system.
PAW is a 3-D personal agent-oriented virtual society. PAW has improved upon past virtual spaces based on avatar and text communication by providing autonomous personal agents that interact with users plus a social and environmental infrastructure. Each user owns a personal agent that acts as user's partner and a mediator in the shared space. PAW was available on the Internet for eight months, during which it attracted hundreds of simultaneous user accesses and thousands of accumulated user accesses. In this paper, we give an architectural and design outline of PAW and the results of a questionnaire survey.