Here’s one that’s focused on Dutch and French speakers – Taatu, based in Belgium.
It’s not new, having launched in Belgium and The Netherlands in 2005.
The article (in French) says Taatu launched in France in that week:
[…] Il est officiellement ouvert en France depuis cette semaine.
As Taatu is squarely targeting the 12-25 age group, I wouldn’t say it’s an alternative to Second Life (you have to be at least 18 to join SL). A European alternative to Teen Second Life, perhaps, aimed at 13 to 17 year olds.
What about Habbo Hotel, another European virtual environment (out of Finland) that’s aimed at kids? That seems a more likely comparison for Taatu. With both of these, the appearance of the environment, the avatar characteristics and other aspects of the look-and-feel are similar, much more so than the far more realistic Second Life environment.
Either way, it’s interesting seeing such virtual, er, real developments. And check out Taatu’s video presentation – very cool with terrific music.
Something else interesting – a promotional campaign to recruit members into Taatu. Other virtual communities have refer-a-friend promotions, but I’ve not seen one like this before.