Abstract

In view of the latest developments in computer and network technology, research organizations and companies have proposed several distributed systems that realize a 3D multiuser virtual shared environment. Within that framework, we have developed PAWˆ2 (Personal Agent World), a personal agent-oriented virtual society that built upon the avatar-and-text-communication Community Place system and exposed it to the Internet. PAWˆ2 is a virtual society that improves upon existing virtual environments by providing autonomous personal agents that interact with users in a virtual environment with a social infrastructure. It is publicly accessible on the Internet.

In this paper, we report and discuss the results of e-commerce evaluations of the use of PAWˆ2 on the Internet. The underlying hypothesis for these evaluations was that defining the value of a virtual object in a virtual society makes it possible for that object to be sold for money like real goods. The evaluation consisted of selling a virtual item to approximately eighty thousand registered PAWˆ2 users over a period of approximately two months. The results of the evaluations showed that, in a virtual society, a virtual object that adds functions to a personal agent and can be used as an avatar accessory can be sold like real goods.

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