Avatars get a bit more expensive

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO – In the real world, it’s something you’re given. In the virtual world, having a full name is going to cost you. The online fantasy world “Second Life” will soon allow residents to customize their characters’ first and last names – at a cost likely to be $100 up front and $50 a year, said spokesman Alex Yenni. Currently, participants in the popular alternative universe can give their digital proxies – called avatars – nearly any first name they’d like. But nearly everyone has to select from a rotating stock of surnames – conventional surnames such as Geiger, Felix and Lancaster, or futuristic, foreign or odd ones like Cioc, Stenvaag and Pugilist. The 3-D fantasy world’s operators, San Francisco-based start-up Linden Research Inc., have approved special names to only a select group of high-profile members, including IBM Corp. Chairman Samuel J. Palmisano and Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards. So far, the company hasn’t charged for them. The company’s business development team decided to create a vanity name feature in part to help legitimize the growing number of executives, political candidates and other famous people who stage rallies and give stump speeches in the virtual world. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more