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European Union Wants To Educate With Virtual World

| 30 Aug 2010 19:00

The EU has commissioned the construction of an MMO world that will work like Second Life, only with more political discussions and flower arrangement.

The European Union isn't exactly known for being cool or sexy, no matter how hard it tries to fix this problem. In the past, these efforts have led to things like the EU's YouTube channel, as well as European Parliament television. The latest effort to make the EU cool, it turns out, is Citzalia, a virtual environment that looks like a cross between LEGO toys and Second Life.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Brussels-based European Services Network has received €275,000 to develop the project, though it isn't exactly a game. Ahmed El Amin, ESN's project editor, explained: "People are calling it a game. But it's not, it's a simulation of how the parliament works and a forum for readers to debate ideas about the parliament and the EU."

ESN is also covering a quarter of the development costs and is hoping that Citzalia will serve as a prime example of groundbreaking work for future clients to check out. "We're not making any money from this," said El Amin. "We want to show the skills and thinking outside the box that we're capable of."

Citzalia will put users in virtual versions of the European Parliament offices located in Brussels, Strasbourg, and Luxembourg. Accordingly, "players can use their avatars to do everything from choosing flowers and furniture to debating the effects of climate change."

The project is still in the development stage, but it doesn't really sound like anything more exciting than a 3D political forum. I could see this being a useful tool for educators who want to show their students how the EU works, but it doesn't really seem like it's going to get the masses interested in how the parliamentary system works.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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