I know. You thought Second Life was dead. Let’s be honest: Who would be interested in avatars anyway? No money to make there… Well, think again. A virtual-life-savvy hotel resort on a sunny beach in Japan is making a fortune. In real money :-).
The concept is simple: the resort lets you spend a flower-scented romantic weekend with the virtual love of your digital life. Mind you, not the gorgeous long-legged girl that is operating your favorite manga avatar. Nope… a weekend with a virtual cartoon. Hundreds of manga addicted, 3G sidekick packing men are visiting the resort to date… an avatar. A Japanese beach town has found a new tourism niche by drawing young men and their virtual girlfriends. The Ohnoya hotel and the nearby town attract over 2,000 real visitors for this!
All over the resort, these men point their smartphones at AR codes -a two-dimensional barcode that looks like tiny black and white squares-. Thanks to “augmented reality” (AR) software, their fetish manga avatar appears on the screen overlay of their phone.
Last year, a Japanese man calling himself SAL9000 married his favorite cartoon beauty Nene Anegasaki in a tuxedo ceremony that was an incredible hit on YouTube.
Now obsessed young men hunt for scarce dressed manga girls all over the peaceful pacific Japanese coast to fulfill… well, I’m not exactly sure what ;-).