If you have not seen MTV’s show, Pimp My Ride, here’s the basic premise: Some fan with a crappy car submits a video plea for help, MTV sends Xzibit a camera crew to get the car, take it to Mad Mike’s customization garage where it is tricked out with pretty rims, a paint job and very often a game system and plasma screens. The owner then completely freaks when they see it and proceeds to treat it as poorly as their previous car.
Well now you can pimp your own ride for a lot less money, a lot fewer f-bombs and without Xzibit making you look stupid. MTV has launched a virtual Pimp My ride site where you fill out a form, install a vMTV app (Windows .exe file) and then… start doing stuff to earn free MTV Bucks (MTV$) like completing challenges, playing games and winning contests. You can also buy MTV$ with a credit card at an exchange rate of MTV$180 for US$1.
You then spend the MTV$ on a virtual car, virtual rims, hoods, paint jobs, gear and even pets to start tricking out your ride. You can also have your avatar wander around a 3D environment, using cartoon bubbles to chat with other pimps. It also supports VOIP and video playback.
This has so many elements of Second Life – a 3D virtual community with microtransactions, 3D avatars, a chat feature, etc. – that I wonder why they didn’t just use second Life? Oh wait, they can microfee you as much as they want, control the MTV$ rate and not worry about pre-existing virtual SL millionaires. Also, SL does not fully support VOIP, though they have toyed with it in the past and plan to offer it down the road.