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Abstract

Metaverses are immersive three-dimensional virtual worlds in which people interact as avatars with each other and with software agents, using the metaphor of the real world but without its physical limitations. The ubiquitous availability of high speed Internet access has spurred enormous interest in virtual worlds like Second Life and World of Warcraft, both in terms of user gaming and as a new technological platform for global virtual collaboration. These environments have potential for richer, more engaging collaboration, but their capabilities have yet to be examined in depth. Of particular interest in this paper is the use of metaverses for virtual team collaboration. We develop a conceptual model for research in metaverses that is based on five key constructs: (1) the metaverse itself, (2) people/avatars, (3) metaverse technology capabilities, (4) behaviors, and (5) outcomes. We present an in-depth characterization of metaverse technology capabilities from a socio-technical view that recognizes the potential for variation in emergent interaction and in outcomes. Example propositions and a discussion of key issues and challenges show how the model can be used to further research and practice in virtual teams in the context of these new environments.

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