Computer giant IBM has built 12 new "virtual islands" in the online 3D world of Second Life. The firm is hoping to use the new space to explore how to conduct business in the world.
IBM has had a presence in Second Life since earlier this year and already has private islands with replicas of their real world research labs. The new islands will be open to the public.
The new areas include immersive learning centres where IBM can teach their clients about complex ideas. In Second Life, digital characters, or avatars, can interact with objects.
One of the firm's first partnerships is with US electronic retailer Circuit City. Together they have opened a prototype shop with 3D replicas of electronics goods for sale.
The firms are also experimenting with an interactive home theatre where customers can recreate their own home environment and then pick an optimal sized TV to fit the room.
As well as commercial and education projects IBM has also built social areas for the 900 IBM "Second Lifers" and for company alumni. The islands open on 18 December.