As reported by CNET last week, the development will allow a virtual identity to be extended to include an individual's shopping profile, skill level for playing Internet games--and credit card number. That gives users the chance to match video game playing skills, for example, and greatly increases the opportunity for site developers to make money.
"In order to establish friends, relationships, and community in cyberspace, a persistent identity is required," said Maclen Marvit, vice president of development at Worlds.
The money-making potential will give the emerging medium a big boost. The new standard will be developed as an extension to VRML 2.0, the moving-worlds 3D standard for the Internet. Java will be the key language for extending the framework.
It will be used for so-called avatars, which are icons or representations of users in a shared virtual-reality world or multiuser domain.
The proposal will allow virtual-world developers to standardize many aspects of VRML worlds. Users will be able to preserve their 3D representation.
Separately, Worlds said today that Rich Abel, a former Microsoft product manager, would become the company's chief executive officer, replacing Don Fowler. Fowler left to become chief executive of ET Communications, a firm that specializes in automatic meter reading devices.