There’s an Official Iron Man Suit in Second Life & It’s Fully User-Modifiable — Case Study for Current Metaverse Marketers

Above: Standard Iron Man with Watermelon-Flavored Iron Man and Duck Head Iron Man (via Torley)

I had forgotten about this until Linden Lab veteran-turned-guru VC Hunter Walk reminded me when we chatted for my upcoming book: There’s free copies of an official Iron Man outfit in Second Life, part of the promotion for the very first movie in the Marvel Comic Universe in 2008, even before Disney owned Marvel.

And notably, the outfit is fully customizable by Second Life users, as a way of encouraging fan-made content and creativity. This was quite a progressive leap for Marvel at the time, but a good one that understands how metaverse platforms work.

“The challenge for lots of corporations and established companies,” as Hunter put it to me, “is whether they end up defaulting to the controllable level of where the user can modify the outfits but can’t really create [with them]”.

Compare and contrast, for instance, with official Fortnite skins from the MCU and other major IP, which far as I know, are not modifiable. Which is probably one reason why we don’t see many videos of MCU characters in Fortnite doing anything besides participating in standard battle royale matches. (And my guess is the long tail for actual purchases of these Marvel skins are not as good as they could have been, too.)

By contrast, as I wrote back then:

Chances are you’ll catch a glimpse of Iron Man adventuring in Second Life, nowadays– fighting evil doers, cutting through the sky, and acting generally heroic. 

If you’re lucky, you’ll also spot him flirting with bar floozies and exotic dancing, or even hooking up with Wonder Woman

All this wackiness was made possible by Silver Screen, the Second Life division of Picture Production Company, a movie marketing firm that’s promoting Paramount/Marvel Studios’ hit movie in-world.  To help do that, Silver Screen recently launched an SL screenshot/ machinima contest that challenged Residents to make Iron Man-related videos and images in Second Life.  And to do that, they created and distributed an official, modifiable version of an Iron Man avatar, to let Residents play with as they wish.  Since it can be freely copied and customized, it’s spread far and wide through SL…

To judge by the results, this gamble has paid off, leading to a massive number of Iron Man-related screenshots and machinima, a lot of them very impressive, and even when Marvel’s hero is put in silly situations, they’re generally affectionate.

More here.

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