While automakers are fighting like mad to sell cars in the real world, General Motors' (GM) Pontiac division has found a way to rev up excitement among residents of the virtual world.
Pontiac unveiled its Motorati Island virtual simulation in November, which boasts a virtual dealership where Second Life residents can purchase virtual, customizable versions of new Pontiac offerings such as the Solstice GXP. The automaker also offers a Pontiac Garage music stage for in-world music performances.
Second Life, the 3-D virtual environment created by San Francisco-based Linden Lab, serves as a home for both individual users and companies looking to socialize and sell their goods.
Since its unveiling in November, Pontiac's virtual destination has seen a total of 100,000 visits by more than 22,000 unique residents. The automaker sold more than 250 virtual versions of its Solstice GXP autos, and the Internet counterpart, Motoratilife.com, had nearly 1 million Web hits.However, the new additions to the simulation have been the major draw. On Friday, residents of Second Life were treated to a grand opening event for 25 virtual entrepreneurs and artists who have helped develop the virtual land.
In late 2006, Pontiac began giving away land grants to interested residents, and a variety of projects have been developed for residents to use. Among the finished developments were simulators that allow drivers to drive into walking zombies, a nightclub that lets real DJs spin music for more than 20 hours a week, a mountaintop race and a drag strip for hot rods.
"The cool part of Pontiac Motorati Island is it's a place for Second Life car enthusiasts that was created by them," said Mark-Hans Richer, marketing director at Pontiac, in a written statement. "From races to hip nightclub events, and even a Jay-Z concert, Pontiac Motorati Island has already seen some exciting activity."